Could I Live On Rice? Would I?

Tonia has posted about a 30-day challenge where she and her family, and hopefully others, will simplify their lives in many ways in order to “break the grip of materialism in our hearts and minds.” This kind of a challenge comes at a great time in the life of my family. Luke has taken a job that will ultimately pay less than what we are used to, and we have to figure out how to make that work. I have the responsibility of feeding us on what he makes, and, so far, I am not a very good steward. I admit that I often have to throw out something that has gone bad in the fridge, and my pantry has food in it that I have no plans to use. Both are symptoms of overspending and lazy living.
Also, we have been burdened by what we have learned is happening in Liberia. The country is full of orphans, with very little food and electricity to take care of them. We have been praying for ways to help there, and putting money away for them, over the next month, that we might have spent on our own luxuries just might be the way to go.
This is me, throwing my hat into the ring. If nothing else, I hope to be a better grocery shopper for my family’s needs (not wants:) by October 1st. Ideally, I will have some money left over to send to Liberia.
Who else is in the mood for some self-deprivation?

Meme

A few weeks ago, a dear friend of mine asked me a very thought-provoking question. In fact, I think I have given it more consideration than she originally intended the question to get. She basically wondered what she and I will do when our kids are grown. The reason I have given it so much thought is that every time I come up with an answer, I get to thinking, “Why am I going to wait to do that? Can’t I find a way to take part in these things now, even in the midst of motherhood?”
Here’s some of my answers and how I am attempting to get ‘r done:
*Take a cooking class- I try to watch the Food Network or read about making good food whenever I can, and use what I learn right away. So far, I am realizing that a lot of cooking doesn’t require real talent, just a bit of common sense. And you need to know what tastes good with what; this is the part that will take time for me to get a hold on.
*Make things and sell them- So far I’m developing my card-making and framing. The framing has to be done sans children, but the card-making doesn’t. They LOVE getting out the paper and ribbons and scissors and of course the glue stick (that N thinks is chapstick), and often come up with some unique works of art.
*Travel-the most exotic place we have been to this summer is Wooster, OH, but I have real dreams of getting an RV (I want to see that movie!) and going cross country in it. That would be the only way to do it with so many littles. But how memorable would that be!
*Spend more time with my husband-well, looks like that can happen now, too. He just got a job with OHVA, Big A’s digital academy, and will be working from home! I am excited for him, but I do wonder what this will be like. It is as if he’ll be seeing me in a different way (how I REALLY am:). We were comparing schedules last night, and I felt a little weird. But it will be cool. This is his dream.
Well, what do you want to do, but let your present occupation keep you from doing? I tag my sister and honey to tell what they dream about on their blogs. (Honey has already posted one great pursuit here.)
Have a lovely week!

Works For Me Wednesday – Granola

I quickly discovered that when I had four children seated around the table for breakfast, they could easily go through an entire box of store-bought cereal. Not to mention the health risks of eating such a non-nutritive meal. But I really like the speed of something poured into a bowl and covered with milk; I don’t have all morning to fix something, feed it and clean it up. So I was pleased to come across this granola recipe, and extra pleased to find that I liked it. (I had tried many recipes for it and they weren’t much better than sawdust!) Please give this one a go, and happy eating.
Granola (from Nancy at Above Rubies)
4 c rolled oats
1 c crushed almonds
1/2 c whole grain flour
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 c shredded coconut
1 c sunflower seeds (I omit)
1/2 c wheat germ or whole grain bran
1 c pumpkin seeds (I omit)
1 c honey or maple syrup (I do half and half)
1 t vanilla
Combine dry ingredients in mixer. Combine honey and/or maple syrup and vanilla, pour into dry ingredients while being stirred. Scrape out onto large bake pan. Bake at 300-350 degrees for 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Store in airtight container in pantry.Makes a bunch.
I multiply this by one and a half, and that batch feeds my kids about 3 days. But we don’t usually have it every day, so a batch can be around all week.
Works for me! Check out more ideas at Shannon’s.

Lazy Summer Afternoon


It’s funny how a simple porch swing can add so much to a house. It is as if we now have another room, a place to go that is calm and cool (most days) to watch the world go by. Additions like these make me not mind staying in this house a bit longer. Not that we are discontent with the way things are, but we realize sooner or later that we will need a bigger, newer home.
For now, though, we have our “Pretty Blue House”, with a porch swing in front.

Works For Me Wednesday – NoyNoy

I don’t have a tip today, but it is my little N’s birthday! He’s a two year old bundle of energy. I love his words right now-phrases only I and his closest confidantes (siblings) can understand. An added element is that he is saying most of these around a pacifier. A tutorial:
Dinty binky
Dady baby
Yaya A-Major
Bawa Big-S
Deemy Little-S
Gawa granola
Geeky cookie
Ditty (not to be confused with dinty) kitty
Mmmm time to eat
There are many more, but this is a good sample. We love you, NoyNoy.

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today is my mom’s birthday, so I thought I would write about what a great person she is.

B-believably the best cooker of potroast and spaghetti
R-rather than avoid us like the plague, she seems to like it when we come visit
E-eventually she will have completed every Soduku puzzle there is
N-never do I go away from her house hungry
D-do you know what is on tv tonight? She does
A-an excellent help meet to my dad

Just a few things that came to mind. In 1999, she had a heart attack, and at that time we all were forced to think about what life might be like without her. God was gracious in healing her, and we are thankful to have such a great Mom and Grandma in our lives.

Gearing Up For Homeschool

It is that time of year again! We received our K12 stuff via UPS this week, and are very excited to start Big A in first grade this year! We participate in a charter school called Ohio Virtual Academy, OHVA for short. This has been great for us. I am not ready to send my five year old to a public school, nor am I fully convinced that a child should be homeschooled all 13 years, either. I happily sit on the fence when it comes to this issue, because OHVA makes it possible for Big A to enjoy the benefits of public school while learning at home. For free. I sing their praises on a regular basis. Unfortunately, not all states have such a sweet deal. Ohio just happens to have a charter school that uses the K12 curriculum. It would cost families in some other states to use K12, so I realize how blessed we are.
This year A has 7 subjects-Math, Science, Language Arts, Phonics, Music, Art, and History.I’ve drawn up a schedule for our school days that I hope will work most of the time, if the littles cooperate. Ideally the first four will get done daily, while the last three will get done at least 3 times a week. Fingers crossed.

Book Review

Along with sharing the bands I like, I might as well share about some books I like, too. I’ll start with one I just finished, called The Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman, by Anne Ortlund.
There was so much good stuff to take away from this book. I think the one most important thing that I needed to hear was that I need to be zealous about focusing my life around three priorities: God, then the church, then the lost. If in the middle of a day I find myself feeling out of control, I simply think back to those priorities: Did I have time with God yet? Do that first. Am I doing my best to serve my family today? How can I make improvements? How about outreach and evangelism? Anne set goals of making so many disciples in a year’s time. I am challenged to do the same.
At first I disagreed with her about the second priority because some phrases of hers made it sound like your husband and children aren’t more important than your brothers and sisters in Christ. At this time in my life, I think that my children are my mission field; they take up most of priorities two and three. But the time will come that I am more focused on people outside of my home to minister with and to. I think she means that, in general, a woman will stand before God someday, not as someone’s wife or mom, but as a woman. What will I have to show for the many days He’s given me? Psalm 90:12 says, Teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom. Wisdom is something I need daily, in large doses!
I’ve been challenged by this book to simplify things so I have time for what matters. I want my home to reflect Christ, and attract others to Him. I want to take care of myself so that my husband can be proud of me. I want to teach my children how wonderful God is.
Though written in the 70’s, this book is remarkably right-on when it comes to disciplines of the Christian life. I think she gleaned much in her own life from Brother Lawrence’s writings, and
wrote this book with a female spin on them.
I really enjoyed this book. Along with Created To Be His Help Meet, this book is one that motivates me to improve many areas of my life as a wife, mother, and homemaker. More on Created… in another post.

Not a Dud Among Them

I’ve been thinking back to all the Christian music concerts I have attended. There wasn’t a single one that I didn’t enjoy immensely. Here are the artists I have seen. If you ever get a chance to see any of these talented folks, go with my blessing.
The Waiting
Sixpence None The Richer
Brian Hall *not a Christian artist
4Him
Caedmon’s Call
Chris Rice
Jennifer Knapp
Selah
Casting Crowns
Selah’s, Chris Rice’s, and Casting Crowns’ concerts were my favorites. Makes me want to go to one again soon. But Baby A probably would have something to say about that.

W F M W – Narrate Your Art

I have this selection of shells on a shelf (say that three times fast!) in my kitchen. One jar is from California, one from Florida, and the biggest haul comes from Nantucket. I tossed around ideas on how to label the jars, and am still playing around with that. But I noticed this great quote over at LFL Tuesday, and a lightbulb went on in my brain.
See, I’m always looking for ways my decorating can speak about what I value and hold dear. I have started matting and framing prints and pictures myself so that I can add a box for a Scripture verse or quote that goes with it. Anything that goes on my walls, I want it to say, “I love Jesus” more than to say “House Beautiful”, for the eyes of any who walk through my door.
Look around your house at the items you have on display. Is there a way you can give them more of a voice?

Thanks to Shannon for giving me something to blog about on Wednesdays.