Thursday, February 27, 2014

Thankful Thursdays- 2/27/14 - Our Boiler

It's Thursday again already and I just want to say I am thankful for our boiler! Yup, that's right, this is a follow-up to being thankful for our radiators. See, the boiler is what heats the water that runs throughout the house to the radiators. This past weekend, the boiler went out. It needed a part replaced.

Thankfully, our friends knew a repair man who could get to us asap. Once he brought the replacement part, it fired right up again. I was SO thankful to hear the "whoosh" of the gas igniting and heating the water.

It was REALLY COLD last night, and it's supposed to be even colder tonight. So yes, I'm thankful for our boiler!

Have great weekend, find something to be thankful for!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Thankful Thursdays - 2/20/14 - Anderson Public Library

We are really thankful for our local library. The Anderson Public Library (APL) serves a lot of customers, and serves them well.

Last week I picked up three new fiction releases I had been seeing advertised through Facebook, emails, and in print.

Ok, I'll admit it, I've already read two of them.

I am truly thankful for our library!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Unrealistic Expectations - for homes

I think we Moms, especially homeschooling Moms, have unrealistic expectations for our homes. Now listen closely, I'm NOT saying we should abandon trying to make our house a welcoming home, but I AM saying we need to think this through.

When was the last time you vacuumed or swept? 

(Wait for it, wait for it...)

I can't remember, can you? It's NOT that my house isn't getting swept, but that sweeping is not one of MY chores. Now, not everything goes as planned around here... but we do have SOME routines that help us have a home that is cared for without stressing us out.

I often hear Moms complain about how they just can't "do it all!"

DUH- that's not your job. Your job is to love and nurture your family. God's job is to sustain the universe!

So how does this work out? How do we set practical, realistic expectations for our homes? 

Start early, start young, start often.

Start early: At whatever time on the clock your day begins, ask God for help! Ask for a clear mind, and ask for grace (for yourself and your family.) Ask God to help you see the small things that DO matter (like dirty toilets) and not focus on the small things that DON'T matter (like how many dust bunnies live behind the couch.)

You WILL need to set aside time each week to make sure the necessary housework gets done, but don't do housework at the expense of your relationships with your children or spouse. If my children just want to talk to me, they can do it while I'm ironing, or making my bed, or cooking dinner. (I'll probably give them something to work on in the same room so they'll stick around longer!) When they really need a heart-to-heart, I'll stop working, but I'm a Mom, I can listen to a Literature recap or science report while chopping vegetables!

Start young: This is the first day of the rest of your children's lives, so make it count. Train them early to pick up after themselves and to help with housework. They are small people, treat them as such. Give them small tasks to start with, and as they master those, add more... or give those tasks to younger siblings and teach them something new. Their first attempts are NOT going to impress you, but they will learn, and the time you invest will reap dividends for years!

Example? At age 2, each of our girls would 'help' fold the laundry. Their task was to fold the washcloths, and Daddy's handkerchiefs. Not always well done, but done. Then they moved up to towels, t-shirts, socks and jeans. See? Each item was a little bit more difficult, but they learned! Hallelujah, they learned!!! Each person in our house is responsible for their own 'hand-washables' but everything else gets washed, dried folded, and put away by the 13 yr old 'laundry girl.' Obviously there are times when she gets extra help, like after a week of vacation, but for the most part, she can spend a few minutes, 2 or 3 times a day, and the laundry gets done while she's working on schoolwork or reading a book, or tending her flowers.

Not convinced yet that it's worth your time to train your children? I wash dishes about 3 or 4 days each year. I'm nothing special, but my 15 year old dishwasher is AMAZING! She takes care of it all, and has, for many years. Occasionally one of us burns something to the pan & Daddy needs to help scrub, but for the most part, I only do dishes on her birthday & when they're spending a week at Grandma's house.

teaching kids to work

One day, that little girl who had a hard time folding washcloths might just ask to use 
the Dremel tool to work on the porch...

teens and housework

Or her sister might learn how to shear a sheep... because you taught them HOW to work!

Is the learning curve easy? No. Is it worth it? OH YES!!!

Start often: It doesn't matter if your children or husband do everything or nothing to help you around the house right now. What matters is that you have a plan, and some realistic expectations! If your child can get something out, they can put it away. If they can walk, they can help clean. (If they can't walk yet, just dress them in fuzzy jammies and let them loose under the furniture to dust for you!) YOU need to set some realistic expectations, and them follow through (with God's help.)

Pick the two or three things that irritate you the most when they don't get done and start with them. If they're "big-kid/ adult" items, like scrubbing the toilets, they DO them, then get on with your day. If they're "small-kid/ anyone" items, like picking up toys or taking out the trash, train someone how to do them if necessary (or require them to do them,) and then get on with your day!

Your house IS NOT going to look like the cover of "Better Homes and Gardens," but you WILL have a better home, and less stress, when you set REALISTIC expectations for your home.

chores, fun, responsibility

When your children start doing more of the housework... you  might have time to go to the fair together!

10 years ago our girls were 3 & 5, and I did 95% of the housework. Now they are 13 & 15, and they do 75% of the housework. I am not cruel, mean, or overbearing. I just learned. I learned to have realistic expectations. I learned my kids are great. I learned I couldn't "do it all" - nor did I want to! I learned that grace is an amazing thing. I learned that it is better to have a wrinkled shirt, than to not get enough sleep. I learned that a dish can be re-washed if necessary, and that a little dust is not the enemy. I learned to love my children enough to train them to become responsible adults. I learned that God sustains not only the universe, but our home as well.

sisters, camaraderie, work

Work can build some great camaraderie !

I'm praying you'll learn about grace, and set realistic expectations for your home. May God sustain you today!

Monday, February 17, 2014

New Color

I just changed the color on the blog... again. Sorry for those of you who dislike change, but I'm still experimenting, so it might change again.

Sometimes we need a change in our lives.

Maybe we feel stuck in a rut, maybe we're just wanting to try something new, or maybe, we realize what we are currently doing just isn't working. Don't be afraid of change. It can be good, if we are following God's leading.

Are you asking God about the changes you want to accomplish? That's always the best place to start. Maybe He has something else in mind, or maybe HE is the one nudging you to change.

Most outward change isn't permanent. You can cut your hair and it will grow back, you can repaint a room if you end up appalled at the color. Inward changes should usually be permanent. If God is asking you to be more loving, less judgmental, or quicker to offer a hand, THOSE are changes you want to keep.

So while I contemplate what color pen to use today, or you choose what color to change your hair to for Spring, let's not forget to let God change us on the inside!

Here's to lasting, internal, eternal changes that make us more like Him!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Thankful Thursday - 2/13/14 - a warm fuzzy blanket

I am SO thankful for my new warm, fuzzy blanket. I feel like my toes have been cold forever... well at least since November-LOL! I saw this blanket before Christmas, but I didn't purchase it because I didn't NEED a new blanket.

Then January came, with it's twice the normal snow and bitter cold winds. It took me all of a week of that before, armed with my trusty coupon, I returned to the store for the blanket. It is faux fur 'sherpa' on one side, and a short pile on the other. It is SO warm!

I am thankful for my new blanket! It is 100% Polyester , which is unusual for me, because I normally prefer cotton or wool. But guess what? I don't care, because my feet can get warm!

Thankful for my warm blanket today. Even more thankful that it's supposed to get all the way up to 34 degrees this afternoon. Maybe some of the crazy icicles will fall off the house and some snow will melt. That would be something else to be thankful for.

Stay warm, be thankful, talk to you again next week!

Saturday, February 8, 2014


We've been watching the Olympics most of the afternoon. I imagine we'll watch more TV in the next two weeks than we watch for the rest of the next three months. We like watching the Olympics. It's a great conversation starter for a lot of topics. Many of my friends are doing Unit Studies about the Olympics. We're just watching and talking about topics as they come up.

Last night the girls watched a good part of the opening ceremonies while kid-sitting. They told me about what they watched, and how the countries were introduced in the parade of nations. I found it unusual, but appropriate, that the countries marched in in order that they come in the Russian Alphabet. So instead of coming in the U's, we entered in the C's. (I looked it up, here is Google's translation of 'United States of America' in Russian: Соединенные Штаты Америки

Yeah, I think I'll stick with English spelling!

So what other topics have we covered so far? Training schedules, sportsmanship, country flags, geography, fashion and uniforms, wind drag, impact (physics), pacing, breath control, types of ice skates, and disappointment.

What will your kids remember from this Olympics? While the pageantry can be awesome to watch, the real learning happens while you discuss everything else. One of the local news reporters shared this morning that he had already walked 46 miles this week. Because in Sochi, walking is the main form of transportation. I can see why he was ecstatic to take a bus ride back to town!

If you're watching the Olympics with your children, know that you're not alone, and yes, it IS normal to discuss Putin's politics, Tchaikovsky's music, and why the Netherlands' Olympians are wearing  orange all in the same hour. :)

Friday, February 7, 2014

Thankful Thursday 2/6/14 - Ragamuffin Movie

On Friday I get to have a night out. One of my friends and I are going to see the Rich Mullins movie "Ragamuffin." I have been inspired by his music for a long, long, time. I know his life wasn't perfect, none of ours is. Yet I always found a simple, true faith speaking through his music.

Besides wanting to see the movie, I'm really looking forward to a night without the kids. I'm having my own share of cabin fever this winter. We've had twice our normal snowfall and the temperatures have been below normal, making me long for Spring. I enjoy spending time with my friends, but it doesn't happen often. We're all Moms with our own homes to manage, and budgets to stay within. When we get together it's usually for something inexpensive.

Friday night's movie is a treat for me. One I'm really thankful for! I'm also thankful that my husband told the girls this was a "Mom only" evening. Sometimes, it's just nice to get away... know what I mean?!

I'm thankful for today, for a movie to go see, and for some sunshine!