Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tex Mex Supper Was a HIT!

So I plan to share my meal from last night, in recipe form. It was a huge hit.
Cheese enchiladas with queso sauce, spanish rice, black beans--serves with diced avocado, tortilla chips and salsa.

Earlier in the day I soaked the beans  and then set them to simmer with salt to taste and two chicken bouillon cubes. Done. Cooked, and set aside to warm later.

We used white corn tortillas and heated them in a skillet until pliable, then filled each with shredded cheddar and rolled up. Placed them seam side down in a 13 by 9 pan to make 16 enchiladas. Truth be told I would have added diced, sauteed onion if it were up to me, but the moans and rejections I would have encountered just weren't worth it, so they were minus the onions.
Next I made the sauce--which I made up as I went- from 3/4 can Las Palmas enchilada sauce (Taco Bell or Old El Paso or Gebhardt is fine too), about a cup of mexican velveeta, and a can of cream of chicken soup. I microwaved it until creamy. Poured it over the enchiladas and baked until bubbly at 350.

While that was baking I brought to a boil, 4 cups of water, 1/4 cup of the reserved enchilada sauce, 1 tbsp each of chili powder, cumin, onion powder, garlic, black pepper, and salt. I added 3 chicken bouillon cubes. When it was boiling I added 2 cups jasmine rice, reduced heat, covered, and simmered, stirring now and then to prevent sticking, until most liquid was absorbed.

Set table, set out avocado, chips, salsa, beans, rice and enchiladas and we dug in. It was hailed as the best cheese enchiladas and rice/beans yet.

Guess we have a keeper....

Monday, October 27, 2014

Answered prayers

I was going to post the weeks menu, but it is changing quickly. The kids ate several of the ingredients and meal choices in advance, so I am scrambling to figure out food for the week until I get to ALDI, Sam's and WinCo to restock. No one realy wants to know that todays breakfast was Halloween candy and lunch will be leftover chicken BBQ meat, some beefy rice, a few meatballs and three GF chicken strips...possibly served with the last half of a bag of GF pretzels....so I am going to post about answered prayers.

I have a 16 year old and he wants to get some filming equipment before starting to earn steady income for insurance, gas, and cell service (at which point he can get his license). Unfortunately his  efforts at employment were not fruitful. So as his mom, I prayed for something to come along that fit his schedule and activities and for it to be the right timing for him.

So about two weeks after I began praying I saw a FB post that a friend needed twice a month house cleaning. I jumped on it and employed my oldest two. All I ask is $5 gas money. Then a friend called and asked Jacob if he wanted to work on the renovations of their rent house. Sure! Opportunity to work and learn about construction. Win win.  Then he got a call to help someone move items from a storage facility to their home. Done. Then his sister got called to work a shift as a fill in at the local Christmas tree farm and offered her services when needed. She also learned they need boys to work. He is applying today. So God's timing for these odd jobs has provided cash for the teens and references for future jobs and much needed experience. We are so grateful. They may end quickly, but the Lord provided the work needed, at the right time.

I had felt that maybe this wasn't the time for him to have a regular job, given his drama performances and the prospect of doing community theater in spring. God provides. Also, the boy has decided he might just extend his high school by 6 months to a year so he can work more and finish schooling before starting to save for a car and pay for college costs. The process will be slow, but all in His hands. And he will learn the value of the dollar and hard work. Besides, these teen years only happen once and when they are gone, that is it. Adult life kicks immediately into high gear. Might as well enjoy the end.

How has God worked in your family's life lately?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Late arrival of the week's menu

I like to see posts about what people are having for meals. It gives me ideas and makes life easier to have a plan in place. So, I am going to give this a shot, myself!
Homeschooling five kids, directing a co-op, and teaching bible classes, besides being the family taxi, means I have a lot going on and need that plan. Maybe it will help someone out. I will try to post recipes, or you can request them.
I have two kids gluten free so we use gluten free pastas for everyone, and sandwich bread for them. Anything gluten free probably comes from Celeste's Best Cookbook. We buy in bulk from Sam's club for many things, and also use WinCo and ALDI a lot.

Breakfast choices:
  1. toast-cheese and cinnamon
  2. homemade GF muffins
  3. baked oatmeal
  4. GF pancakes
  5. eggs and hashbrowns
  1. GF chicken strips (frozen Perdue brand) with rice and fruit
  2. Mozzarella sticks (frozen) , asparagus , chips
  3. refried bean and cheese tostadas (blended pintos from supper)
  4. fish stix (frozen) with GF pasta (possibly mac and cheese)
  5. sandwiches and chips
  1. Creamy chicken noodle soup and homemade biscuits (recipe of your choice)
  2. sausage and rice casserole with frozen steamed veggies
  3. pinto beans and rice
  4. beef noodle asian bowls
  5. knockoff Chick fil a nuggets and potatoes and beans
Creamy chicken Noodle Soup

3 cups cooked chopped chicken
1 package pasta
8 cups water
8 chicken bouillon cubes
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup sour cream
Combine first five ingredients and cook until pasta is done. Add an extra  cup of water if needed. When pasta is done add sour cream and stir until combined.

Sausage and Rice casserole

1 lb breakfast sausage
2 cups dry rice
4 cups water
4 chicken bouillon cubes
Brown the sausage. Put the rice in a 13 by 9 dish and sprinkle with salt/pepper/onion powder. Tope with cooked sausage (you can also add sliced onions and carrots if you want). In the skillet you used, add the water and cubes until dissolved. Pour over rice mix and cover with foil. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

Beef Noodle Asian Bowl

1 lb round steak -not tenderized
1 head broccoli
2 large carrots
1.5 lb fettucine or long pasta
teriyaki sauce
zesty italian dressing

Cook pasta according to directions. Slice beef into finger size thin strips and stir fry in 2 tbsp olive oil until browned and done. Add veggies and 1/2 cup teriyaki sauce and 3/4  cup italian dressing. Let veggies cook a few minutes-still should be mostly crisp. Drain pasta and place in serving dish. Pour meat mixture on top and toss. Serve.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Early Rise Challenge

Earlier this year...like maybe two months ago....a friend challenged some of us at church to rise early and accomplish the day more efficiently for 10 days.


Ten days went by and we were all very encouraging as we tried to tidy the house before bed, rise early to exercise and pray and get a jump on the day. It was so great that we decided to continue as a group through the school year. We have our own social media group to post and keep up. It has been great! BUT...I have been noticing some things about our group.
1. not everyone is wired to wake early.
2. most of us need to nap if we wake early--or hit the caffeine by 2pm
3. early rising means early bedtimes, which aren't always possible
4. time changes make a huge difference for some of us

My personal obstacle is the sun.  I can't get going if the sun isn't almost up. I refuse to walk the dog or jog in the dark, and don't want to wait around an hour before doing that. I also don't want to disturb the kids...they have to accomplish school. And I don't want to "need" a nap or caffeine in the afternoon. So for me, getting up more than 20 minutes before sunrise is not happening. But luckily the autumn time change is coming! Early light is wonderful to me...early dark - not so much. But it happens.

When the time changes I will gladly rise earlier. Until then I am going to sleep in the darkness of the morning hours. And I will continue to post and enjoy my group as we encourage each other each week of the "school year". For that reason alone, it is worthwhile.

No photos???

If you have read this blog for any length of time you probably noticed that I rarely if ever, add photos. I have a very good reason.

I blog from the desktop computer which happens to be Vista operating system--probably the worst OS ever. It won't load itunes songs properly onto devices or store pictures well without crashing or run most educational software without major glitching. But it is what we have so it is what I use. My sons laptop is used for his schoolwork and movie editing and has no photos on it. The Lenovo laptop is (was) an excellent option until it was dropped, the screen broke and a few keys fell off. It has pictures, but being slow to load from the drop and having missing keys, it is difficult to type on. My phone could do it, but seriously---who wants to do a blog post from an iphone??? Not me. Thumb typing is hard enough on texts.

So that is why I am sans photos at this point. I hope this changes in the next 6 months---searching for a Windows 7 laptop for school and basic use.

Until then I will just have to run my mouth. And I hate that because pictures add so much!

It is what it is.....

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Healthy...but not a Trim Healthy Mama

Some of you read my post about my healthy journey. I know a healthy lifestyle is all about eating well and exercising (and getting enough rest). But still, I have some problems with both eating and exercising.

The exercising is about finding things I like to do, and know I will do. I know I will walk and jog in my neighborhood. I know I will do pinterest workouts in my home and with my kids. I also know I will swim with the kids in summer. What I will not do is a workout dvd, go to a gym or anyplace I have to drive to workout, or anything that requires me to leave home/pay money/get up early. I know, it sounds very lazy and cheap. It probably is to some extent. But I know what I am and am not willing to do. So I do what works for me...and honestly i exercise quite a bit. I walk about 15-17 miles a week give or take--(sometimes with leg weights, sometimes jogging a little), and do about 5-6 pinterest workouts.

Food is my other huge challenge. I love to cook. I love baking and making traditional meals. I LOVE it. I also like to eat. However, eating has never been a big draw for me, like it is for some people. My appetite isn't huge and when I am done, I refuse to eat more. I can't, really. Food becomes gross to me. And I also don't care that much for sweets. Seriously. Odd, I know. A couple of bites and I am done....like, for days. One cupcake will hold me for a week if I can finish it. Soda is not something I like either. But I love casseroles, hearty soups, veggies, fruit that is tropical (or berries), salads, and all the mainstream foods, especially if it is salty. Cheeses are iffy for me, as is all dairy. I have an internal monitor that tells me if I can eat dairy on any given day. "Lactose levels are strong in this one" (read that in a Jedi voice). Some days I can't even be around the smell of dairy products.
So what is my problem???

It's that blasted Trim Healthy Mama book I keep hearing about, and the results I see on other people. I get the premise. Don't ever mix fats and carbs in a meal because you can't tandem burn them, so you store the one you don't burn. Unfortunately, most foods we eat are a combo of fat and carb. Think bread and butter, grilled cheese, burgers, lasagne, potato soup, tortilla soup, salad with cheese and a side of crackers, cake with frosting, quesadillas.....and on it goes. SO along comes THM with its own recipes and substitutions that work to burn fat while you eat your faves. That is great news for many people. The 600 page book has been a wonderful thing for so many, and I waffle about whether I should buy it and try it. I could actually burn the last bit of fat I have hanging around the torso. That would be awesome. But here are reasons I don't do it. Won't do it. Can't do it. Oh, and did I mention I am also a bit stubborn??

First, I am on a food budget for this family of 7, a budget I had to increase this summer even though it really wasn't financially feasible, in order to accommodate the new gluten free status of two kids. That stuff is costly to keep and I have to make food separately for them most of the time. Also it was a new way of cooking that I had to learn. And most of us in my house don't want to or need to eat GF so to keep costs down it becomes more labor intensive for me. If I added THM to my life it would be more costly to buy the new products (they are pricey) and time/labor intensive to learn how to combine and cook all the new recipes. And it would be just for me.  I just don't have the desire to carve out the time and energy to do it. Or the extra grocery money to do it. Some days I struggle just to remember what needs to be done and get everyone their specific food and medicines. I mentally cannot add more to my cooking life right now. It seems very overwhelming to even consider it. And there is the crux of why I cannot bring myself to do THM ...yet.

So, for now I will hang on to those last few pounds. I am going to refer to them as curves :). And maybe, just maybe, one day when the kids are bigger and I am not cooking for a whole family and the money is available I might try THM, because clearly, the results are real. Right now it is too overwhelming. I am just going to do my best to eat well rounded meals made at home and keep exercising. Because right now, if the whole family can't eat it, it won't get made. I am just not up for running a home restaurant at this point in my life.

But one day....just maybe, I too will be a THM! Until then I will be cheering on my friends as they become Trim Healthy Mamas! You go girls!

Friday, September 26, 2014

How Do You Do It???

Ahh, the old question some of us moms get from new moms...especially if our kids are older or we have more than two. Well, I am here to dispel the myth. I am here to reveal the truth of how we do it all and get it all done and maintain such well behaved kids and look so fabulous.

We don't. That is it. We just don't.
You see a miniscule glimpse into our life when we are out and about. You cannot imagine what it might have taken to get out of the house. There were compromises, probably arguments, almost certainly frustrations and delays...and DO NOT under any circumstances, ask to see what the house or inside of our van looks like now that we have made it out of the house. Because they both look like the whole family has been actually living there. You also assume that the smile on our face or the well behaved kids mean we are perfect and have all the answers. Nope. Not even close. What goes on inside us is doubt and anger and joy and thinking and pride and frustration and second guessing and strategies for getting through the rest of the day and night. The kids might have been manipulated and groomed for what they were heading into. They may have been bribed. They may or may not have underwear on. Just saying...They may have some medication in them, or maybe just coffee. Who knows. Some days go better than others. Some are a surreal dream. Some are a surreal nightmare.

The point is--regardless of appearances, we all live our life. We have kids that obey, and disobey. We lose our temper, and are kind. We wonder why our day is going poorly. We struggle to find time to read the bible and pray. We wonder why we have no energy. We forget to set food to thaw for supper. We have lists everywhere. We forget to write things on the list because we moved from one room to another and lost the thought. The kids fight. The kids leave things all over the house. We have messes. Laundry piles up. Dishes are always dirty. Someone is always hungry. Kids have to be constantly reminded to pick up and put things away. They argue. We argue. We discipline. We break away for a few moments alone. We sweep and mop probably 20 times a day. Sometimes we let it all go because someone is sick, or its really nice outside. Sometimes home is clean and sometimes it is not. Sometimes we all get along and sometimes we don't. Mostly you see the product of daily habits of picking up at regular intervals through the day, spending time on good character and relationships (things that matter in the grand scheme of life) rather than lots of academics and sports, and a hearty work ethic in the form of chores (aka life skills). When we have an event (think party) you see the product of a few hours of serious cleaning. Some of us are more OCD with cleaning than others. Some are more relaxed. Pop in randomly some day and you will see.

"I want to come watch you and shadow you for a day to find out how you do it"....Ummm, nope. Not going to happen. Know why? Because the moment anyone steps into the house (besides those who live there) the entire dynamic changes. It isn't real. We now have "company". The kids know it. I know it. And besides, every single day is different. You need to be a fly on the wall. You would see life as it is. And it would make you feel really good because you'd instantly realize you are actually doing a pretty great job. You are surviving the way everyone else does...by finding your own path.

So the bottom line is this--we are all struggling, because marriage is hard, parenting is hard, life is hard. But it is also very, very joyful.  Joy and happiness are choices. Life takes hard work. It is not for wimps or lazy people. There are no manuals anywhere for your exact situation. You just have to keep walking your path, seeking wisdom, applying what you learn, and praying for a good outcome. If you don't like what is going on, examine the circumstances and start thinking about ways to make work it better for you and your family. That takes work and time. No one can, or wants to, do it for you. But it is certain that little effort will yield little results. You are not a tree. If you don't like where you are, move. And remember this line from Its A Wonderful Life--It is better to want what you get, than to get what you want. Bloom where you are planted. Tend to that garden you were given.

You may not see it but your influence is great. Sure, your life and your kids aren't like other people's. Theirs aren't like yours either, you know. Somewhere there is a mom or two who looks at YOU and wonders how YOU do it all. Did you know that?

You are capable of being enough for your family. They love you deeply. Love them in return. That is the secret. But if it makes you feel better, wear a cape. That's cool too.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Mommy Bloggers

The new trend (for me anyway) is to get news from facebook feeds and such. I think that is both good and bad. In one sense I love it because I have learned so much and have seen that other moms feel the same as I do and struggle with the same things. I have learned what to pray for and how to be more organized, exercises to make me healthier, alternative medicines to use, and new dishes to cook. Parenting strategies and Christian studies that have been very helpful have also been wonderful. In another sense it can breed covetousness and feelings of inadequacy if you can't live up to the pretty posted pictures, and get too caught up in the lives of the other people in the world.

My favorites are the mommy bloggers. You probably know some. I follow several. Some of my tops are Scary Mommy, Rage at the Minivan, Pennington Point, Mix and Match Family, Pioneer Woman, We Are That Family, and Marathon Mom to name a few. Some I readily identify with. They truly seem to live a life similar to mine. They have more than 2 kids, the house is always behind in cleanliness, and they second guess themselves. They live by trying to make ends meet each month, raise wholesome kids in today's world, and manage a crazy life. Then there are the ones living in homes that look like mini-castles, homes that never seem to be dirty or even mildly dusty, who wear the cutest fashions on their tiny frame, and who have parties where even the cookies are out of my budget (but they are awesomely cute!).

It is ok not to identify with everyone. I can still learn from them all even if we are on completely different playing fields of life. And we are. We all are.  Everyone out there is sharing and that makes me happy. The world doesn't feel so alone. I find things to strive for. I love all the neat posts no matter how varied. I don't always agree or identify with them but they are still learning experiences for me.And they are way cheaper than magazines.

Sometimes I ponder the idea of making my blog earn money for me, like many of them do. I just can't seem to be interested enough to want to carve out the time to figure out how to do that. I'm not a tech person, and I am quite busy with things I feel are important. This just doesn't yet rank up there in the important things of my current life. Also I am prone to long dry spells of blogging. If you make money from your blog, it needs to be posted to consistently, like daily.

Yeah, not happening for me. I may glance at FB daily and twitter a couple of times a week, and post a picture to instagram once a week or so, but beyond that, it is just too exhausting to do more with media, for me. Maybe one day I will jump on the mommy blogger bandwagon...but by then I might have to be a grandmother blogger. Not quite as relevant I guess. So I will just be content to keep reading what these lovely ladies share, and keep my blog mostly private for the time being. Because while many women can and do make the time for blogging, I think my feelings on it can be summed up in the phrase....Ain't nobody got time for dat!

Keep it up ladies! I love reading your stuff....and you will probably never see mine ;)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Health and Nutrition Are Important-but there are consequences

The history of my health is not inspiring. I was a normal kid who rode bikes and played on swingsets and jumped rope. We had an hour of PE and two recesses at school. It was required. From age 9-12 I played summer softball. From age 13-16 I performed with a drill team in autumn. I never played sports beyond that. Didn't want to, wasn't interested. I ate what I wanted. Then I went to college--basically out of shape and with teenage eating habits (candy, sodas, and chips). Still, I was not overweight. Never have been. I just had "well placed fat". I hated working out so I took my four PE credits asap and worked, while taking a full load of classes. I lived on coffee and bagels for a couple of years and lost weight. Too much weight--like down to 109lbs for a 5'7" medium build frame of a girl who needs to be a good size 8 misses. I was a size 6 and was told I could not give blood because I was underweight and not healthy enough. Then I began teaching and eating and cooking (I was married). I got up to that size 8 and stayed there for years. It was about where I was in high school but with more womanly curves. Oh, and almost no exercise at all, except for walking now and then.

Then came children, starting when I was 28. Five of them in 8 years were born. It should be noted I gave up soda when i got pregnant the first time and have only had them sporadically over the last 16 years. I really don't care for soda. Anyway, I was at my heaviest after the second was born (two kids in 19 months). But after nine months I was back at the size 8. I was an active mom with active kids. We walked everywhere and rode bikes and I carried the whole house with me everywhere usually with a couple of toddlers and a baby in my arms or in a monstrous stroller. I had some muscle! I know because one thing they do to moms is weigh them often, and I went from 130lbs to 150lbs at that size 8, over the years. So, i guess I was doing better just by being a busy stay at home mom.

When the youngest kid was 6 I decided it was time to exercise, for me. I wanted to be healthier and toned up. I found some great workout wear on clearance at JC Penney and actual workouts on pinterest. I got an exercise ball, some arm and ankle weights, and started walking daily and working out. I thought I would tone up and that would cause me to get a little bit slimmer in the process, along with eating better. I cook most things from scratch. I really do eat well and drink tons of water. I don't care much for sweets either. So...here is what actually happened when I got healthy (at age 42, by the way):

I walked and did my workouts about 5-6 days a week, trying to push myself to be stronger and have more endurance. Then a friend asked me to do a 5K with her. I did, and signed up for an extra one just for practice. I began jogging with the couch to 5K program. That nearly killed me. I have never discovered the "runner's high" that some experience. I still hate running most of the time. I jogged for about a year and then injured a foot tendon from wearing improper shoes. Let that be a lesson to all of you! Get the right shoes! I know they cost big money but I promise you will want to use your feet every day of your life. I was still eating right and working out with weights. It paid off. I took a self defense class and found out I really was strong! Encouraging. Yes! I was not jiggling. I was strong. My blood work came back great. I had endurance. I was healthy!
But there was a side effect. I was not a size 8 anymore. I was a 10-12. And still am. You see, getting healthy means you will gain muscle, and that weighs more than fat. I put on about 10 pounds ( I know this from the doctor's office. I have never owned a scale) and was rounder in many key areas than ever before---think rear, and calves, and arms. My abs were tight, but that just made the loose pregnancy skin sag more. Not fun. But the muscles were tight. The strength was present.
I have endurance. I don't jog as much to save my foot from surgery, but I still do it sometimes. I'm just a little stubborn. I walk/jog a minimum of 2 miles a day...usually more like 4. I do workouts with 8lb arm weights every week. I do yoga poses, ballet tightening, cardio, and crossfit work outs. I fit in at least 3-6 of these every week. I eat right and drink lots of water and take my vitamins. And I am bigger than I was before I started it all. Women who are like me have to get over wanting "thin". Wanting a certain size clothing. We have to wear what fits well and flatters. Anything else looks awful. We have to dress the body we were given by God and take care of it by keeping it healthy. My husband likes it now that my body is tight and I am healthy. I am a better example to my kids--and I make them work out now too. I feel better. But I do admit to sometimes wishing I was still that smaller size. Media does a number on us girls that are over a size 6. It is hard not to notice. But I also notice most women who are really healthy are not tiny little people with bones showing. They are toned and fit and strong, and come in all shapes and sizes.

When I was thin I was my most unhealthy and light weight and a smaller size. That isn't true for everyone, but it was for me. Not everyone gets the results I got from working out. And that is ok. I still find it hard to clean out the clothes that are now too tight thanks to working out. They were a smaller size that used to fit, before I was fit. But that is the way it goes. I am getting older, and am healthier than I have ever been, and this is me. God made me and I take care of what He made. It's all good.

Home Improvements?? Indeed.

As I told you over the summer, we were facing some challenges with a couple of the kids. A storm of life. And we struggled and prayed and searched for solutions. It was hard. Sometimes it was so hard I really wanted to just throw in the parenting towel and be done. I am not kidding. But through prayer and patience and a trial and error system we have come to a good place. My kids will survive this school year and so will I. Not only will we survive, we will thrive. Last year I couldn't say that.

So what changed??? A lot has changed. Hindsight lends so much insight. What I thought was a behavioral issue with one child, actually led to a realization that another child had a major food issue. So we tried the proverbial killing of two birds with one stone. First, I spoke with a therapist. I also spoke with several friends who deal with the same issues in their children. Then i formulated a plan. I decided to use an elimination diet for gluten. I hated it because I love to bake. And the gluten free stuff is so hideously expensive. I also hated that there would be no more burger joints or toast or rolls or pancakes or crackers or any bread without offering a GF option as well. Big FAT bummer.

However, after doing this diet for three weeks, there was a significant difference in one of the kids---not the one I was originally trying to help mind you. SO that was awesome. But still the issue remained with one. It was better, but not enough to be good. One meltdown every three weeks instead of once or twice a week still wears a mom down fast..So I employed essential oils.

Folks, I am a natural skeptic. I didn't want to believe a GF diet would help or that these oils I saw as "mystical" and weird would help, but I was at the end of my rope, short of psychiatry. So I did some research and chose some and gave them a try. i also found out about a supplement that helps ADD kids and employed that. So where are we now and what have we learned?

I can homeschool these kids. In July I wasn't so sure I could do that ever again. But some new things have to happen. These kids MUST eat GF bread products, especially avoiding the processed kind (homemade is not as bad). These kids MUST take the supplement and some DHA every day.
These kids MUST have their essential oils about 3 times a day, every day. I do not know or care how or why they work, but folks, they do. I even got some for me. This makes them behave like regular kids should.

It is amazing. It is an adjustment. I don't always like it. Do the kids? No, not always, but they see enough difference in their own selves that they remind me to give the oil and remind me of the supplement and refuse to eat bread products with gluten. They know what life was like before and what it is like after. So we have made improvements in our home environment. It kind of feels like a band aid, but we have to deal with the physical ailments caused by gluten and ADD, and what I believe to be a chemical imbalance due to some early age head injuries from normal childhood falls.

If you want to know what oils and what supplement I use  I would be glad to share privately. Just know that sometimes conventional methods and medicines are not the answer.  I am thankful for the solutions we have come upon. I have gained much knowledge, from my personal experiences. HOWEVER, though this worked for us, it has become glaringly obvious that different things work for different families based on a number of parameters.

Blessings to you and yours!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Off to a good start....

We began the homeschooling year on Monday August 25. It was a good week. We have some pretty good solutions for the ADD and gluten intolerance, and oils/diet/behavior modifications for the one we suspect has a chemical imbalance, and the LD is getting more manageable.
The high schoolers are working hard and doing well. One is about to job search. One is planning her calendar and working in solace. We are waking at good times in the morning, and thanks to some wonderful ladies at church, we sisters are challenging each other to rise earlier than family, read bibles and get a jump start on the day. Also, our co-op starts next Friday, along with an activity group, a homeschool PE class, and dance classes , including one for moms! This is all good stuff.

Husband's company is in turmoil. The company is offering the hourly employees the same healthcare package and 401K matched retirement that the salary workers get, but the union protests and has chosen not to strike. There has been a lock-out until an agreement is reached. The union chose to meet for talks on September 21, so until then, DH is working from 4:40am until after 5pm each day, six days a week. It is hard to have so many long days each week. We are trying to be quiet at night and are going to bed at a more decent time. But it is hard not getting to see him much. It is almost like he is on a continual business trip. So we count our blessings that he is employed at a good company. We have food on the table and a home.

On a rather somber note though,  coming up in a week is the 9/11 anniversary for America, and tensions are high. Recently ISIS has been beheading Americans and Christians and causing all kinds of evil  havoc, Russia is invading Ukraine and defying everyone and making sure we all are aware they have nukes, 11 jets disappeared from Libya--really?--you can track people but you miss this??, and that is just the tip of it all. A world without God is turning more and more Godless. Or so it seems...Sometimes things have to hit rock bottom before they turn around.

On a more positive note, I choose to pray fervently and stay loyal to my God. The world situations are out of my control except through prayer anyway. Each day has enough trouble of its own. We are not to worry about those who kill the body, for they can't kill the soul. Still, the world is a scary place, some seasons more than others. And honestly, if it weren't these looming things, there would be something else. there always is. My job never changes. love my neighbor, be a follower of Jesus, pray and study and teach the truth in gentleness and love, raise my kids.

I hope your year is going well and in the midst of all life's situations, that you can see and feel God's blessings abounding. They are there always. Blessings to you and yours.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

My PSA for you and yours....You're welcome

I have five kids. Guess what they do....guess!! guess!!!!
They grow up. Yes, they do, and inevitably they want to drive. And given that we live in the USA, they need to know how, if they are physicaly and mentally able to do so responsibly.
Kids can apply for a permit at age 15. Then they can learn to drive, ALWAYS with a supervising driver (parent or guardian) in the vehicle with them, and they are covered through the insurance of the supervising adult at no additional charge, should anything go wrong.
However, as I shockingly discovered this week, not all insurance companies will allow a permitted driver to be covered under the supervising guardian. My company was one of those. They have their underwriter put in the policies that once a teen has a permit for six months and reaches the age of 16, you must either pay a premium on your highest rated vehicle (for the maximum insurance payment) or exclude them so that nothing is covered. And according to their policy, it makes no difference that the teen has no license. I was floored. You expect me to pay to cover a supervised permitted teen who doesn't have a driver's license and hasn't even finished driver's ed???Are you insane???
Apparently the answer was a resounding YES- WE DO EXPECT THAT...or we can exclude him and you have no coverage should anything happen.
Now, I am generally pretty logical and calm (relatively speaking), but this angered me to the point I was shaking and sick to my stomach and got a migraine. I am not exaggerating. So I did my research and contacted DMV, state insurance licensing board, and spoke to many people with teen drivers. Everyone thinks my company is nuts---except for my company.
I spoke to them about my research and explained my position that we should not have to pay for coverage for a permitted driver without a license (especially not on the vehicle he will likely NOT be driving). I explained that we expect our kids to work and pay for their own insurance, because we will not pay it for them, and he needed to finish driver's ed. They didn't want to hear it because they made their policy this way on purpose. My guess is so that at the earliest possible moment they can receive the highest possible payments from consumers. I didn't like or appreciate that AT ALL. In my little world I call it extortion, but maybe I am just being extreme.  I could not, and would not, abide by their policy. I did what I thought was best-- switched companies.
For auto insurance, I cannot say enough good things about State Farm, my new carrier. Rates are excellent and they insure licensed drivers. Permitted drivers are covered under guardians policy at no charge. And they don't care how long you have the permit. Only licensed drivers are required to pay.
So....my insurance company is not my company anymore. Not for auto insurance. Or life insurance (way too high on premiums for terrible coverage--dropped them years ago). And I wholeheartedly cannot ever recommend that any family use them for auto or life insurance. Because if you have kids, they will eventually learn to drive, and they need insurance when they earn that license.
My old company can keep my homeowner's policy. It is reasonably priced and has good coverage and rates and service.
If you are curious who this old company is, I will tell you privately, but not here. The initials are FB...It is a large company like Allstate or State Farm or MetLife, so you can guess.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Summer...what happened???

It is only about 2 1/2 weeks until we begin the new school year. I had such hopes of an easy, laid back summer. Mostly it happened, but as expected, some kinks came our way.
We did spend lots of time at the pool, went to camps, went on mission trip, did service projects, attended lots of youth rallies, did a tiny bit of schooling, did VBS...twice, and went bowling a few times. We finally had the June birthday parties in early August along with the August birthday.
We connected a lot more with friends and I connected more with other moms. That was awesome for me beyond words! The kids got deeply involved with church friends, and barely saw their homeschool buddies. That is all about to change though.
Some unexpected things??? Yes. Two of mine went on gluten free diets with the addition of essential oils. The results have been amazing. I cannot describe how different they are. The house vibe is different. I have hopes for a better school year. Last year was the kind I could not endure twice. Public or charter school was becoming an option. Now it is not. We also have a surgery for the oldest coming up very soon. He is not excited or amused. Also found out he needs braces to avoid losing all his front teeth in about ten years. Joy.
We have the a/c in the van blowing heat, but thankfully this has been one of the coolest summers on record. God is watching over us...and I asked Him if he would kindly let this be the norm. The weather, I mean. Especially if it comes with a cold winter again! I love that.
So, summer is winding down. Today I registered the kids for dance, and next week I will meet with my partner in Friday school crime, and then in two weeks we will hold our registration event, and school will start and life will get crazy.
But for tonight, i am going to slip into my swimsuit and hit the pool again.
Have a great summer, friends!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Changing the World One Step at a Time

As promised I am going to tell you a little about our upcoming homeschool year, followed by some information about making an impact on the world.
In a little over a month we will be embarking on our 12th year of homeschooling with kids in 3rd, 5th, 6th/7th, 9th and 11th grades, respectively. The oldest two are in high school and are following Sonlight cores 100 and 300 with added Life of Fred math, Rosetta Stone spanish, and Apologia science for one.
The middle schooler is still on track with the youngest two. These will be doing a combination of Saxon and Teaching Textbooks for math, Learning Language Arts Through Literature (with some supplements) and gradespelling.com for LA (and I'll throw in some reading and writing projects here and there), Story of the World and Texas history units, Apologia science, art.
So far we are in a good place and I have very high hopes for a smoother year on the new gluten free diets. The kids will also take some dance classes and participate in co-op again. There will be various activities within the church and community as well.
This brings me to the changing of the world. I want my kids to know the bible, but also to make Christianity their own, and truly follow Jesus. Whatever they choose to do, this has to be something they choose to make time for, set aside money for. We have always given to the local congregation, and visited and served wherever we could, usually within the church programs, and those typically serve only our local church members. Nothing wrong with serving internally, but shouldn't we be serving externally in the world, just as much? If the church congregation doesn't do it, I can do it on my own, I reasoned. It has been on my heart to help the world at large with major needs that we don't feel and experience here in our comfy little American life bubble. The command to go into the world means we Christians have to go. When we can't go, we have to pay to send people and support their work. Changes take time, and there are so many factors affecting each situation. My personal call to action came through reading three specific books this spring: Crazy Love, not a fan., and The Hole in Our Gospel. I began to see that my ministry at this time may my children, the neighborhood in which I have contact, and social media. BUT, being middle class, surely we could spare some cash to help globally, right?? I thought so. I want my kids to be aware of missions, and give now and then, too. I did some research on reputable charities that I felt good supporting. Here are the ones I decided we could and should support on a regular basis as much as possible. I hope you will check them out and decide to help globally, too. Or find some other ways to help reach the world with basic needs and the gospel. We can change the world one dollar and one person at a time. But we have to be the ones who go, and the ones who give. Here are my charities of choice, though there are many worthy causes out there:

Raffa Clinic
Children's Medical Center
St. Jude Childrens Research hospital
World Vision
Doctors Without Borders
Eastern European Missions
China -Missions.org
Habitat for Humanity
Local food pantries
Local children's homes

Matthew 22:36-4036 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Matthew 25:31-46  31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[f] you did it to me.’41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

 Luke 18:18-23  18 And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour your father and mother.’” 21 And he said, “All these I have kept from my youth.” 22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 23 But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich.

Matthew 28: 18-20    18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[b] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”


Monday, July 7, 2014

The Bottom Line

The gospel (aka good news):
God is the creator of all. His Son, Jesus, was a real man that came from heaven to earth to live amongst us, yet he was not acknowledged by most for who He truly was. So he was killed by those who thought He was coming out against God. God loves his creation like parents love children, but so much more. He yearns for us to love and obey Him, but He will not force us. Sin separates us from God for He is holy and cannot be in the presence of sin, and we cannot enter His holy heaven without those sins being taken away. Jesus died on earth for that purpose. He was sinless and His lifeblood paid the ultimate price for our sins, so when we believe in who He is and decide to repent of our sins and change our lives to follow Him, His blood, through our baptism, will wash our sins away forever. That is how we are added to His kingdom. His kingdom on earth. And after living faithfully as a follower, we can enter heaven with Him. That is it. The good news. 
Really, that is all the early Christians knew. They didn't have the bible. Maybe some scrolls and letters distributed, but no scriptures to check out whenever they wanted. Grace covered them as they were growing and learning. Everyone is growing and learning, all the days of their lives.
The whole gospel hangs on two things: love God, and love the people He made. Love them enough to meet their needs, and show His love through your actions, so they will see it and want to be a part of what you belong to. Most people do not feel anything is missing in their lives. They can't see a need for salvation and change. Change takes time---often lots of it. They probably don't truly believe in God and heaven and hell. These concepts are fairy tales to many. They can't be held to the Christian standard any more than we can be held to the standards of the world. Only by doing selfless love and THEN explaining your reason (because you are a Christian and love the people God made) will people see tangible proof of God. We, who have the Holy Spirit  living inside us, are the ones who have to show the world who God is. 
So Christian, let's all try to do what Jesus asks. Do good to your neighbor, to the least of these (Matthew 25), to our fellow Christians. Let's study the bible and put it into practice to the best of our ability. Get out there and be a part of society rather than isolating yourself among those like you. Try to be like Jesus. Serve your fellow man, alleviate suffering, pray often and specifically, try to avoid sinning. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love.
This is truth. This is Christianity, as I see it.

Monday, June 30, 2014

New Adventures?

That is really just a nice way of saying "we got issues here".  We do. We've known for a long time that there likely was something wrong with the youngest. We have seen patterns of behavior, physical and mental since about age 3-4 months. We do what we can to help her work through the issues. So far it hasn't stopped them. She can't seem to control them. Worse, she is starting to be scared by her own reactions, as are her siblings.
So, new adventures in finding out what might help are upon us. I am speaking to a professional first, and I have a few new essential oils I am going to test out. I am not 100% sold on the oils. I use some that have worked and love them. I gave others away because I saw no evidence of effectiveness. But they do have their merits. I also hate to say this, (I don't want to be "that mom"), but I am going to try some gluten free foods to see if that helps. I really want gluten to be a non-issue. I cannot adequately express how much I want to just eat normal food! But today I purchased almond flour, xanthan gum, tapioca flour, and white rice flour, and pastas made with rice. I started a pinterest board of gluten free recipes and found some gluten free food lists. I am learning what to combine to make breads for her, and found out Bob's Red Mill and Pamela's are a great source of gluten free flour, pancake mix, pie crust mix, and oatmeal. But it is all so expensive, even if you make it all homemade. My kid is angry with me for making her try it. I get it. Hey, I am not doing it 100%. But if it helps, she will have to do it. If not, we can stop. I am also thinking of switching to a more holistic pediatrician.
Also,  but I have a son who has complained of upset stomach several times a week for over a year. Could it be gluten intolerance? I don't know. Is it just nervousness? I don't know. Does he need to see the holistic pediatrician? Maybe. No one else knows what is going on. But he has some behavioral issues too. Just not quite as severe.
And I already blogged about the kid with the  non verbal processing issues.
All three have been on DHA and St.John's Wort this year. All three have limited sugar intake. All three are going to use oils. I sincerely hope that can help them.
I did my research. Lots of internet reading from many reputable sites. Studies have shown that DHA can help a little with behavioral and digestive issues, but are not necessarily that helpful. High grade essential oils are generally very helpful, but not for everyone. However, eliminating food dyes and gluten help nearly 100% of the time. Interesting.
So, yeah, we are about to become "that family"...hopefully temporarily. Maybe permanently.  But if it helps my children learn and control personality aspects, then so be it. They are worth it. I can take it. They can be mad. At least they will have their health. And that is important.
Thanks FDA, for adding all the hormones and antibiotics and dyes and preservatives and GMO to our food supply. And the pesticides. Must thank Monsanto too. These are the reasons so many many people have food issues nowadays.

We have been mostly gluten free for almost two weeks without ONE stomach ache or meltdown. The kids are totally on board now and they like the results. They are willing to make almost 90%-100% of most days gluten free because they see and feel a difference. I am learning new recipes, because I just love to cook good food.  And the whole family has eaten the gluten free food and not noticed! We will keep this up until September and then evaluate where to go next, but I suspect this is the new normal for us. I praise God for sending people into my life and showing me things I needed at the right times in my life. God is good all the time, and all the time, God is good.


It has been a long dry spell here. Most things I post to facebook because frankly it is easier and more convenient. But I do want to share a couple of things in the next few days.
First, a spiritual post.
Second, a post about life struggles.
Third, a post about the upcoming school year.
And now, I bid you farewell because it is the end of June and I have to get my first of the month groceries for a family of 7. It is a daunting task and takes most of the day, especially since I am searching for gluten free this time around...sigh.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

LTC time

Tomorrow is the North Texas Leadership Training for Christ conference (www.ntltc.org). It is an annual competition on bible knowledge, and skills that youth need to develop, to be leaders in the church when they are adults.
Our schedule is rather full with four of the five kids competing. Our oldest two compete in more categories than the younger ones. It is a fast paced, fun 24 hours. Today we pack, and quiz and finalize art projects.
It is a great time. My prayer is that the patrons of the hotel where we compete will see Christianity something they would like to be a part of. it is a chance for us to shine as light, give witness to the world, conduct ourselves for His glory. It is for me, the most important aspect of my life, and my prayer is that my children will each choose to make following Christ their number one life purpose, too. But ultimately it is their individual choice. If you read this blog and are interested in learning about the love of Christ or want to know about God, or want proof of God as creator or that He exists at all, I am suggesting the following books:
The Bible (ESV or NASB)
The Case for a Creator
Investigating Christian Evidences
The Case for Faith
The Case for Christ

If you want to grow as a follower I recommend:
The Bible (ESV or NASB)
Crazy Love
not a fan.
The Hole in Our Gospel
Do Hard Things

And lastly, explore the links on the sidebar labeled reference. Talk to people. See if what they say contextually agrees with the bible. I was once a non believer. I wasn't able to use the bible at first, because it was just another book to me until I heard/read evidence that there could actually be a God. If you don't believe in God, the bible may not be the best initial starting point for you, but I still recommend reading it--all of it--as you seek. Psalm 118:8
I will pray for open hearts for all who seek truth.
God's Not Dead...find Him.  One day it will be too late.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Aging has its perks

Odd title I know. But as you age, some things just get better. You really come into your own and feel much more comfortable with who you are, and your past experiences and your current status.
I think as I have aged I have become less and less concerned with what other people believe about me and more concerned with what God thinks about me and how I am doing personally, rather than measuring myself against others and their narrow definitions of what a Christian is.

 I know more than I ever did before, yet I realize how little I really know and how far I have to go. I post what I want on facebook because it is my page, and i try to make sure I say things that I can fully stand behind. Then I don't look back. Rarely will I check back on a post if I have said what I need to say and it involved my opinions. If it is a biblical fact check, maybe I will go back and discuss.
I have found much wisdom in the words of Edna Mode from The Incredibles, " I never look back, darling. It distracts from the now."

Living in the past is not living. At least not for me. I have too much going on in my incredibly blessed life of a great husband, great kids, and wonderful friends and activities. I have no time to compare my life to what others think it should be, without detracting from living my own. Not worth it. Besides, I encounter far too many people who are too much like the old me (and I wasn't very pleased with the old me). She was judgmental by her own legalistic ideals, she was saved, but not doing much good to lead others to Christ in a loving example. She put a very bad taste in many people's mouths with her legalism and I am pretty sure she caused a few families to want to find another congregation and sever ties with friends. She was bull headed, tactless, harsh, and came across as holier than thou, because if you weren't thinking like her, you were probably not very Christian! Repelling is how I would describe her in retrospect--at least that is my opinion of her. I think she was probably tolerated as a member rather than actually befriended. But thanks be to God that some people did try to tolerate her until she changed. I am trying to have love and patience with those who are like I used to be, because I know (or at least hope and pray) that their day will come when they see the light. None of us are great at seeing who we truly are or how we are perceived by others, in the moment.
NOTE: Just because "I believe" I am a far better, kinder, person than I was in the past, by no means implies that I am good. I am not. I am a sinner, a work in progress, and will never be what I should be or all that I need to be. I need TONS of work. I just forgive myself now and start fresh each day. Grace is awesome!

Maybe I am not exceedingly better now, but at least I am not "her" anymore. I think that shows growth and that is what I am after. Always growing and trying to be more like Jesus wants me to be. Loving others and being kind in word and deed. I think all that came with age. Not finished, and never will be...and that is ok. It is supposed to be that way.

Age also brought wrinkles, gray hair and more body pain, but it has been good. It brought an awareness of who I am and what I am supposed to be doing. I started taking care of myself, which in turn set a great example for my kids of a healthy lifestyle. I started leading, and sharing and all that was good, too. I started sticking to the scripture rather than making up rules about how I think we are supposed to be. I found a few hard and fast keepers, but found many guidelines where we have freedom to choose as long as we aren't using it as opportunity to sin. Rarely will I judge anyone anymore. I don't know their struggles, circumstances, how far they have come, what the day has held. I just try to offer a smile and a kind conversation. Even when bad stuff happens with my kids, I don't jump all over it when others have different reactions than I would like. I just pray and try to keep perspective and kindness at the forefront.
So I am getting older and blogging much less. But that means I am reading more, exercising more, staying involved in life-- being in the moment. That leaves less time for stuff that distracts from the now. I may not be perfect (who is?) but every day I wake up and try to be the best I can be. Whatever others think, is fine.

I don't wear a superhero cape and never will. But I like "me". I am a work in progress and thankful for the journey. And that being said, I will probably talk more in a few months. Lots of life to live.

Side note: This started out as a homeschooling blog, but most days I don't want to write about that. I just want to share, like a diary. I am living the home school life every day and to write about it would be very tiresome. You can check it out on facebook instead...at least the things I decide to tell. ;)
Have a good one!

Friday, February 14, 2014

OH!!! Sweet, Sweet Baby!

Babies are just delicious! I love they way their skin feels, the little way they curl up, the way they look at you. Preciousness. And today I got to savor some sweet baby! She doesn't have a name yet...well, she did, but it was Timothy. Because she was thought to be a boy, until she arrived and surprised everyone. What a great surprise!

She was born yesterday to one of my dearest friends, who is my age. Her momma called me early this morning to come visit this afternoon and I was glad to oblige! I love visiting with my friend, but oh, to hold that sweet bundle and feel her and smell her, and see my girls hold her and her siblings hold her.... It was love.

I am so perfectly content with my five kids, but for years I felt a constant yearning for more. After the last child was about three, I realized it was not a yearning anymore, but a strong sadness and longing for the days that had passed by, missing the wonderful time of babies and toddlers. But yet, I had a contentment with the ones I had been blessed with. Part of me will always be joyful at the thought of another baby, but the larger part is content to meet the daily challenges of the five I have. And that can make me feel very overwhelmed at times, and like I am not fully equipped to do what I need to do to raise them well. So I am content.

Also, we as a couple originally decided to have four kids. And truthfully, my dear husband would have agreed if I had felt that motherly contentment after two were born. But God had different plans for us. We "planned" two of the kids, hoping for four, and the Lord sent the rest. Five in all. And even if I were not content, my husband is. His quiver is full. And I am good with that. Dads can feel content, too. We love every kid and want to be fully present to focus on the raising of these blessings.

However....should the Lord ever see fit to bless us again, I certainly would not be distressed. I would rejoice and be exceedingly glad. Babies, little humans, are such a gift to the world. I am so happy for my friend and her sweet family!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Snow Day

Well, today is slow. Because it is snowy. SO I am blogging again. This has been a colder than normal winter. I am kind of enjoying it. I like a good, cold winter with snow. Especially here in the suburbs. A definitive change of the seasons does my heart good. Although there are things I like better than others in each season.

Winter: love the cold air, the snow, the playing in the snow--do not like ice storms
Spring: love the blooming plants and cool/warm temps--hate the severe weather, insects, snakes, and high pollen counts
Summer: love the sun, time at beaches and pools, being outside, lots of daylight, wearing shorts and dresses and sunglasses--hate temps over 95, sunburn, bugs, creatures and bugs (especially bees/wasps), heat, heat, and heat
Autumn: love the temps and the colors of things, being outside a lot, fresh air and open windows--don't like...ummm...if I think of something I'll tell ya (besides football season)

One thing they all have in common is God's beauty of a changing creation. It is like watching those kids grow up. Seasons of life passing by, each one with good and bad times, likes and dislikes.

Today, on this snow day, I already drove to the store once, and am about to go out again, just for the fun of it--and to get CANDY. All that playing in the snow needs sugar energy!
And I want to get out of the house for a bit--and see if the teen can learn a bit of snow driving :)

My biggest concern is that tomorrow is our co-op orientation and our standing policy is that we close if ANY surrounding ISD's close...and several shut down today. I really hope they don't close tomorrow. We need to have orientation. Otherwise we will have to do it on an alternate day next week, which messes up the schedule. But it has to be done before Friday the 14th, first class day.

Anyway, I am off to get some candy, then settle in for the completion of homeschool work, watching movies, eating good food, and hanging out with the family!

 Hope you enjoy the day, whatever it is bringing.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Growing Up

The kids are inevitably growing up. I have loved watching it each day. Their development fascinates me. Ok, so sometimes it makes me scream and want to throw stuff in frustration, but mostly it fascinates.
A real truth is that the older your oldest gets, the more you realize they have to learn to start breaking away with their friends and becoming their own person rather than a family unit member. not that family isn't important. Our family is with us always. We will most likely see them on holidays if not more often, for the rest of our lives. But once we are grown, we each should be ready to be married, develop careers, become parents...and our kids rapidly move toward that. It really hits home when they turn 13 for me. I realize that in 5 years they have to be independent people.
While they were all young I had them as a family unit most of the time, and they played together daily. Where one went, we all went. Not all the time, mind you, but I reinforced family togetherness often. But to require always being with family...it just isn't healthy, or fair to them. It gets really  awkward when they become teens, if not before. Continuing to move as a unit and stick only with family members, in my opinion, really hinders development toward independence and outside relationships.  I don't want that for my kids.

I know when kids are really young, like under age 10, they do better moving with family units --most of the time, (and I did that, often for convenience), but I want my kids to know that they should have their own friends, they need them, and to be able to interact well socially, apart from parents and their siblings. Siblings should never expect that because brother or sister gets to go here or hang out with this group, or do this activity,  it is appropriate for them to be there too. That goes for always being in the care of their own parents too. As a parent I am also someone's wife who wants time away with my husband. I am a woman with my own interests that don't always involve  them, and one day it will be just me and husband again. I won't be mom all the time anymore. And my kids need to understand that my life involves raising them to be independent humans that can make their own life in the world, not wrapping myself up in their every need. Our world should never revolve totally around the kids, and they need to know that.  They fit into our life. Then they find their own life.

We are blessed to  have a large group of friends who get their kids together regularly for social time and learning time, with distanced parental supervision. They are all comfy interacting with each other, and the adults alike, but mainly amongst themselves. Our church youth group is similar. I never have to worry about where my kids will go or if they will be well supervised when they are with our youth minister. He is great at appropriate supervision and fostering them toward independence. It starts when they are 12, and it has been excellent for my kids. Our older ones are still very close to family, but they are branching out very well. I don't have worries about my oldest two entering the adult world. (The youngest three are works in progress ;) ) They know how to be sociable and work hard and choose right paths.

I often pray for some of my friends whose kids don't seem to do well without all the siblings present. They almost always move as a unit--even though some have kids close to teen years and some already have teens. If the family can't all go, no one goes.  I wonder how the ones who leave home first (if they go) will be able to form appropriate outside relationships for marriage or workplace. 18 is an awfully late age to start getting used to being apart, to learn how to fit in to your own social setting.  I just pray for them.  But it is their choice of how to raise their kids into adults.
It is hard to walk that line of protecting/sheltering, and letting go, as a parent.
It caused me many tears, and I am sure there will be many more to come, but watching our kids grow and become wonderful, well adjusted,  faithful, Christian adults with careers and marriages and families will be so rewarding! Each season has its many blessings.