Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Preparing for Sunday

Saturdays are spent preparing to Worship our Savior on Sunday. With four little ones, its very important in our family that we are well prepared, otherwise our Sunday mornings are crazy and we don't usually feel prepared to worship and learn.

Here are some things we do to make sure we are well prepared to leave Sunday mornings.

We line up everyones shoes Saturday evening.....

Lay all the kids clothes our and Dad and I make sure our clothes are ready to go....

I pack the diaper bag with diapers, wipes, extra clothes for the little ones, water cups, a some sort of snack, usually bananas or popcorn to be eaten on the way home or in the nursery if we get desperate.

I plan to either have a crockpot meal, so that all I have to do Sunday morning is throw the ingredients in the pot and turn it on, or have a very simple meal that has very little prep work for when we get home. 

We eat our big meal after we get home from Morning Worship, then everyone takes naps. =) Then we all eat a biggerish snack and head to church. I will usually take yogurt, cheese sticks, bananas, rice cakes or popcorn for the kids to get one more snack before the Evening Service starts. Then they get more of that snack when we get home for the night. The kids have fun getting to eat snacky foods on Sunday's. =)

Sweet Fellowship!

I had such a sweet time of fellowship with my kids this morning! I've found that if my kids are up before 7:30, it doesn't go well. :-/ So, the way it works is if they wake before 7:30, they have to stay laying down somewhere so they get enough rest. At 7:30 they are allowed to get up. Breakfast is at 8. For whatever reason all four were up before 7:30. sigh. Josie was awake at 6:40 wanting to nurse, so I fed her then got my shower. When I got out, the middle littles were awake and Abby was behind them after a few minutes. I had Josie in her bouncy seat and the older three were laying in my bed. They still had about 10 minutes before they were technically allowed up, so we had story time. I asked if they wanted me to read a story and Felicity, 3, excitedly says "Yes! A Jesus story!!" =) I was already planning on reading them a Bible story, but it was so sweet to hear her request that.

We all laid on the bed and I read them Luke chapter 4. They aren't usually all up then, so it was extra sweet to have that time of fellowship together!

Calendars to (attempt to) keep me organized =)

After reading the book Large Family Logistics by Kim Brenneman, which is an extremely helpful book, I started making my own Home Management Book. It was fun and its very helpful! My oldest daughter, 7, was looking through mine as I was teaching her how to use it. She was very inspired (and dramatic =D) and decided to make one for herself to use in her bedroom. It was cute to see her working so hard on it. =)

Once I got my Home Management book up and running, I started nailing down my daily and weekly schedules. Once I got it figured it out and how it works best for us, I started making up a monthly calendar for chores. After doing that for two months I was kinda burned out on it. Sad, I know. BUT! It took a couple of hours to make it. I am holding out on buying a ready made, large calendar, so I make my own. =) I take four pieces of construction paper, set them together in a square, line up the edges and put a few pieces of tape on it. Then I take my trusty ruler and marker and measure out the squares. Then I have to copy everything over from the previous month and adjust as needed for that particular month. I also used it for my meals. Takes me a couple of hours to finish it completely. Then I got the brilliant idea to just make one calendar for just chores on it! Then I wouldn't have to make it every single month. Am I good or what?! (yeah, I can be a little slow sometimes...oy) =)

I know you can't read it, but I thought I'd throw a picture in here so you could see what it kinda looks like. I have the days of the week across the top. The red ink are the chores that are (supposed) to be done each day.
~Monday is Laundry Day in our house. Each week I rotate between washing the kids bedding and mom and dads bedding. (yes I do wash it other times if its needed hehehehe). Each week I have a cleaning chore for the laundry room. I have to do laundry throughout the week of course, but I try to get it all done on Monday, so I'm all caught up.
~Tuesday is Kitchen Day. Each day is a chore(s) that is in the kitchen or dining room. I also use that day to do some extra cooking or baking that isn't a part of my normal cooking -  yogurt, laundry soap....
~Wednesday is my Office day. For chores I use it to straighten dresser drawers and closets and to work on the next months menu/grocery list. I try to do any sewing repairs that are needed on that day as well. Not really Office work I know, but it works for me. =)
~Thursdays are basically my Bathroom Days, but that sounds odd, so lets call it my Cleaning Day. =) I am super bad about cleaning my bathrooms. Its not like its hard, I'm not grossed out....I just don't remember to do it! Frustrating. So! I designated a day for it. =) We have three bathrooms, but one is a guest bathroom and doesn't get used all that much. So one week we deep clean the kids bathroom and spot clean the other two. The next week we deep clean mom and dads and spot clean the others and so on. I also have assigned walls that we dust. 
~Fridays are our Family Rest Day. My husband is a Pastor and we don't feel like we get a true day of rest on Sundays. He doesn't for sure, since its an actual work day for him. So we have set aside Fridays to rest. I try to not do a lot of work around the house, just light chores, so he can just relax and not feel bad for not doing much. Friday is also our library day, one of my daughters favorite things to do. =) We occasionally go out as a family to do something fun, but generally we just stay home, rest and enjoy being with each other. 
~Saturday is Prep For Sunday/Outside Chore Day. =) Our week rotates around Sunday, so most of Saturday is spent getting the house in good order and prepared for Sunday. 
~Sunday is the LORD's Day. My husband has taken to doing dishes for me on Sunday's, which is so very nice! I used to just leave them to Monday, but it doesn't really work anymore with the kids. =) Since dishes isn't a normal chore for him, he does them for me, so I can still honor the Sabbath and not work. =) 

So, now I have a Master Chore Calendar hanging above my desk where everyone can see it. =) I make a monthly menu calendar though, since that changes every month. For that, I take four pieces of printer paper, tape it together just like the other, and draw my lines, add the dates and voila! I think it looks so very boring, so I get a pretty blue crayon and color along the edges of my paper. =) 

Looks kinda pinkish purplish...but its not. =) Having these calendars has been such a help to me! I know exactly what needs to be done each day and what I'm to be cooking. I can get my meat out for thawing a couple of days in advance so I'm well prepared. Love it! =)

Monday, July 16, 2012

I've decided something.....

I've decided that dishes.....

and laundry.......

grow when I'm not looking. =) I'm convinced of it! I JUST did dishes and I have some in my sink again! And the laundry...my baskets always have laundry in them. =)

Now the big question that I need an answer to....if laundry is always growing, then why do I have a sock bin half full of socks that don't have matches? sigh. My heavy pondering for the day. =)

My Mission Field

I've had a rough few days physically!! While tending to my son who had fallen and cut his lip, I had an iPad dropped on my foot. ouch!! I wasn't able to walk very well on it for 1.5 days, but it was a very pretty shade of blue. =) Then Saturday morning I was sitting on the ground talking to my baby, stretched and put my back out a little. grrr. I take good health, my feet and my back so for granted most of the time. So when I get injured or sick, it really makes me count my blessings and I strive to be grateful for them even when nothing is wrong.

I woke up this morning feeling pretty good! I still have a little pain in my back, but its not holding me back from doing my normal activities, and I can walk just fine on my foot. Praise the LORD!! I was sooo excited and so very thankful to be fully able to serve on my mission field!

What is my mission field? When someone says "mission field", most people think of a missionary working in a different country or of some sort of outreach program. As a wife and mama, my mission field that has been given to me from my Heavenly Father, is my husband and my kids. My focus is to be centered on serving my husband and kids. My goal is to train my children up in righteousness. What a high calling!! I love my job!!!

I freely admit I have moments, sometimes days, where I feel like I just want to give up. The day just isn't going right, my children aren't learning their lessons as quickly as I'd like them to, I can't get my attitude under control.....you know those days. But I need to recognize that I'm going to have hard days. That not having the right attitude is a sin issue and I need to get my heart right with my Saviour. Usually, when I get my heart right with GOD, the day goes so much better!! The kids might still be misbehaving and struggling with obedience, but because I'm looking at it with the correct attitude, it just gets better.

                                                                  Silly Little Ones =)

One thing we try to do in any counseling or disciplining we do with our children, is to bring them back to the Word of GOD. What a blessing it is!! I often hear my oldest encouraging the younger kids to not speak rudely, because Jesus doesn't like that and explaining how they should respond. Hearing that makes my heart smile! Its so rewarding to see the fruits of my labors.

I've had such a blessed morning, serving on my mission field, that I wanted to share it with you and to encourage you to keep serving on yours!! Its a lot of hard work being a mama, but its so rewarding! To know I'm raising up warriors for Christ's Kingdom......what an honor. Very humbling to think that GOD chose me to raise my children for Him.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Helping Mama

Having littles ones in the kitchen helping isn't always easy..or help keep you sane =) but its a great time of learning and can be great fun!! Two of my littles ones helped me make laundry soap this morning. First they helped me measure and pour the ingredients. We had to measure out six cups of water, so Micah helped me pour while Lissy counted - we got to work on coordination and math! They also got to stir the mixture together in the bucket and had a blast doing it!

Recipe is on another post titled Homemade Cleaning Solutions

Monday, July 9, 2012

Galations 6:9 - Do not grow weary

Ever had one of those days where you just want to curl up in your bed and wait for the next day to start so you can begin the day again with a fresh start? Or want to pull all your hair out? sigh. I was having one of those days this morning. I'm so thankful its gotten better!! I think every mama's theme verse should be Galations 6:9 - Do not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. =) I was quoting that verse to myself a lot this morning.

Two of my kids were sick all last week, my husband was traveling, we had to make a trip to the doctor, we had a traumatic event happen in our neighborhood....augh!!! With Dad traveling and kids being sick, their behavior wasn't the greatest. Most of it was due to being sick and being at an age where they don't know how to handle being sick, so it shows itself in crying....a LOT of crying.

We went to church yesterday morning, but I spent the entire time in the nursery because Micah felt miserable and didn't know how to handle it. Poor boy. I stayed home with the kids while my husband went to church and got to preach. I was soooo tired yesterday. Tired from the long week without Dad around. Tired from taking care of sick kids. Tired of hearing the kids cry all the time.....well, it felt like it was all the time anyways. =) This morning, I was ready to just throw in the towel.

When I was at my lowest point this morning, I received a big blessing. My sister texted me to ask how the kids were. I answered her and also told her that for some unknown reason I'd decided to start potty training my daughter and start summer school this morning, on top of having crying little ones. She responded "because we are mad mama's!! GOD helps you see "there is a time and a way for everything, although a man's trouble lies heavy on him". My theme verse for the day." It was such an encouragement to me! Even though I'd been saying Galations 6:9 all morning, it wasn't until someone else came along side to say they understood the type of day I was having and offered some encouragement that my day improved. It improved a lot after that sweet text!

As mamas we all have days that seem hard or like its the end of the world, but we need to remember that we have a Friend who is always there for us and will help us through our times of trial. I'm so thankful HE put someone in my life today to help encourage and inspire me.

Raising my four littles ones takes a lot of work, but its so rewarding! To know I'm raising them to further GOD's kingdom is an amazing thing!

To see their sweet faces.....

To see their grins (even cheesy ones).....

To see the love they have for each other....

Makes it all worth it!

Its the little things....

                            Look at this adorable bracelet my oldest daughter made for me!!!

The large M stands for Mama and the four square beads surrounding it have the first letter of each of my kids names - Abigail, Felicity, Micah and Josie. =) She came up with the idea all on her own and surprised me with it. I LOVE it!! Such a sweet gift!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Bruising or muscle pain? I have a solution for you!!!

Last night I was awake for about an hour with my knees and ankles aching like crazy. Ouch! I'm not used to driving a lot and I had spent almost three hours driving yesterday. Add in not having enough water yesterday, equals mama having aching knees and ankles. Sigh. I couldn't take it anymore so I forced myself to get up and get my Arnica Cream out of my purse. I rubbed it on wherever I ached and within a few minutes I noticed I wasn't hurting as bad. I was soon able to get to sleep again! Yay!!! Kids have a tendency to fall a lot, get bumps and bruises, especially when you're not at home where you can easily care for them, so I keep Arnica Cream in my purse for that reason. :)My little nephew is at the age where he's starting to stand and uses furniture to walk around....which means he falls more. He has benefited from my cream on more than one occasion. :) I have a friend, who is in her 50's, fall and bruised her arm super bad. It looked horrible! I offered her my cream and by the next day it looked 50% better! She's in love with the stuff now. :) You can also get Arnica Tablets that are great for muscle injuries. Using the cream externally on the injury helps it to heal that much faster.

Diaper rashes aren't much fun

If you've never had one of your kids have a diaper rash....please write me and tell me your secret!! :D My kids have all had them at some point, ranging from really bad to pretty minor. I've tried using aloe straight from a plant and buying a couple different types of natural diaper rash cream. The more I learn about products labeled "all natural" is that it's not always exactly all natural. But I've found something that works sooooo good on diaper rashes! Coconut Oil. You can buy it in most grocery stores now, in Whole Food stores, online in small jars or huge five gallon buckets. We recently bought one gallon of it from tropicaltraditions.com and went through it pretty fast. So next time the five gallon bucket goes on sale, we're buying it! Back to diaper rashes.....just rub a little coconut oil on your little ones rash and the next time you change the diaper, you should see improvement. Exiciting, no? :) My little one got a rash and I forgot we had the coconut oil, so I used the natural cream. It didn't do anything! When I changed her diaper the next time, I remembered the coconut oil and slathered it on. The next time I changed her diaper, it was almost gone!!! I was amazed!

I keep a small mason jar filled with coconut oil for external use - diaper rashes, of course, bites, cuts, cradle cap.....anything really! =) I keep a big mason jar filled with coconut oil on the counter next to my stove for cooking purposes.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Natural Flea Control

Don't you love home remedies?! I know I do!! We've been using natural remedies for a number of years now, and I'm amazed at how little I know sometimes. I'll be doing some research for a specific remedy and will learn something new about Tea Tree Oil or Garlic. Herbs and Oils are amazing things!!

I just bought a 4oz bottle of Tea Tree Oil from Amazon.com and when it arrived, they had sent me a 4oz bottle of Peppermint Oil instead. sigh. I bought the Tea Tree Oil to use for flea control. They have gotten sooo bad in this Florida heat. Bleh. I was all set to email Amazon and ask if they would give me a discount on Tea Tree oil or give me some credit since they made a mistake, but then I decided to do some research first. I learned that I can use Peppermint Oil for flea control too! In the exact same way too! Since the Peppermint cost less than the Tea Tree, I just asked for the difference in the prices to be refunded me. Amazon was great and gladly did that for me. yay!

So tomorrow I'll be bathing my dog, the putting several drops of Peppermint Oil in-between his shoulder blades and rubbing it in. Another tip I learned is to put Peppermint Oil on a cotton ball and just sit it on the counter. As the smell permeates the room, the fleas.....flee. =D I'm going to try to corral the fleas into one room (ha! yeah right!) and put salt down on the carpet and hopefully kill them all......or should I open the front door and see if they all run out? =D Kidding!

I'll have to let ya know how it works.

Croup, Fevers and Aching Ears, Oh my!

This past weekend I had one sick little boy. =( We left on Friday to go visit family, stay the night at my parents, then help get ready for our Presbytery Church Camp on Saturday. Friday night, we went to a friends house for dinner. She had just bought this house and hasn't done a lot to it, except start moving in and making the inside homey (its sooo cute!!!). Anyways, she has a small goldfish pond...thingy out front. My 20 month old son had no idea it was water as it had green algae stuff growing over the top of it. Both his dad and I were telling him no and to stop! He was trying to comprehend what we were saying and even trying to stop walking, but the ground sloped JUST a little right there and he had too much momentum.......so he fell in. He was fine for the first second, but then he went under. I was standing 3-4 steps away from him, holding the baby in her carseat, the two older girls were standing near him, but aren't old/big enough to do anything to help. I'm sooo thankful the LORD placed Daddy within one step of our little boy. He pulled him out very fast! Poor Micah was shaking he was so scared!

Okay....enough of my scary story. =) That night he started sounding croupy during the night and felt a little feverish. The next morning my mom watched our three oldest while Dad, the baby and I went food shopping for camp. When I got back, I realized he felt hot. Not warm, but HOT. My sister helped take his temp while I did something with one of the other kids. It read in at 104. Yikes!

I'm all for leaving fevers alone, but this was too high for his age. sigh. I don't like to use tylenol unless I really need to, and since I didn't have anything else with me, I gave him one children's chewable tylenol and started sponging him off. From Saturday till Sunday night at 10pm he ran a pretty consistent fever of 101-103.

I gave him Black Elderberry a couple of times and sponged him down when his fever spiked. We ended up having to give him tylenol once during the day and at least once during the night, when his fever wouldn't come down, even with sponging. Sunday all the kids and I stayed home from church. My husband is the Assistant Pastor, so he got to go to all the services. =) At one point during the day on Sunday, I cut open a Garlic Tablet, squeezed all the gel stuff out, put a little chocolate syrup and whipped cream on it and he ate it just fine. =) I know, I know! Sugar is horrible to have when you're sick as it breaks down your immune system, but I felt it was the best thing to do at the time.

Back to the scary story for a moment. =) Micah's mouth was open when he went under, so I was beginning to wonder what tropical jungle disease was in the water that he probably swallowed. Yikes!! I've never been relieved to have a child get sick, but when our second daughter, Felicity, got sick with the same symptoms - croup, fever, runny nose... - I was soooo relieved!! (and felt horrible for feeling that way!) She didn't have the high fever like her brother did, so I'm thinking his body was fighting some of the icky water germs, plus the sick bug he had, which produced the high fever.

                                         My sweet, sick little boy, getting some needed sleep

THEN, Tuesday night he slept horrible - kicking his feet, pulling at his ears and rubbing his head. =( We rarely go to the doctors office, so I didn't even think about the office being closed on July 4th so I called and called the office, and even called the doctors home phone number they gave on the recording. You're probably thinking "duh!"....yeah, I know. oy. Our family doctor is in Lakeland, 1.5 hours from us, so I loaded the van up Wednesday morning and we headed to my moms house..again. My husband is at camp all this week, as is my mom, dad and siblings. So we had the house to ourselves...which was really strange.

The LORD was very gracious and allowed us to be seen first thing this morning by the doctor. We willing drive the 1.5 hours to see this doctor because he has a very balanced view. He will prescribe antibiotics and medications, but also encourages you to live a healthy lifestyle and to use natural means to heal your body. His goal is to find the root cause and to not have to see you again. Its so refreshing to see him and have him say "If things don't improve, come back in to see me, but hopefully I won't have to see you again." The ear Micah had been tugging on was slightly red, so he probably did have some sort of ear infection, but his body had already cleared it up before we even saw the doctor. Yay!!!

Lessons learned - I can wait it out at home when my kids have ear problems. Now I know. =) I specifically asked if this happened in the future, if I could just treat them at home. So I was doing good! Yay for me! =) Give them garlic, echinacea, vitamin C and Black Elderberry. Make sure they are drinking lots of water and avoid sugars, even fruits.