About Me

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Saint Joseph, MO, United States
I'm a stay at home Mom of two children and I have the unique privilege of being able to homeschool both of them. I am a stepmother to two older daughters one who is going to college. I enjoy shopping, baking, cooking, cleaning, organizing, running, clowning, making soap, playing piano and lately painting with ASCP paint! I am learning to enjoy the little things in life and make the most of it...clinging to my Savior through the tears that life brings and enjoying his GRACE He gives us every day! Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Apple Butter

WE are having AMAZING weather right now.  We had such a very hot summer, and then a severe cold snap and now....I can't even tell you how much everyone is LOVING this weather....and my dear E seems to be doin awesome with no asthma difficulties like we have had for the past 2 years!

We went to the orchard on Friday and yesterday I made my super easy Apple Butter. I got this recipe from my mother and I ADORE it.  It was the first "canning" project I have ever done.

12 cups of apples sliced and peeled...put in crockpot for 5 1/2 hrs.

Then add the followng:
3-4 cups of sugar--I personally add 3 1/2

1 1/2 tsp of ground cloves

3 tsp of cinnamon

Stir and cook in the crockpot for another 1 1/2 hrs.  Then ladle into jars and let sit until you hear the wonderful "pop" which means your apple butter is sealed!

Your house smells WONDERFUL and you now have yummy goodness to be enjoyed all winter long!

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Day for the Orchard

It was a glorious day! The weather was sooooo perfect! There wasn't a lot of apples....sadly...but then I just bought a bag of "already picked" apples....its the "fun" of picking...but then I enjoy making some apple crisp and apple butter...and with our little tiny bag of apples...I needed to purchase some:)

My E and T....loved watching them walk together, picking apples, enjoying being together.  E enjoyed the slide and swinging and running through the maze....glorious day of pumpkins and cornstalks and crunchy apples with fresh honey straws...ahhhhh! Glorious Day!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Our Final Goodbye to Summer

We finally made it to a major baseball game for this year....it seemed like such a process to be able to go.  We were so busy this summer we just had a hard time making time for it.  Last week brought on an unusually early cold snap and we were very worried that it would be very hard to get it in...but...tonight...the weather was perfect!

I was brought up to hear all the wonderful stories of baseball and my Father enjoyed baseball, played it, and I just adored hearing and seeing how excited he was about tonights game.  Truly, a wonderful evening to be with my husband, son and Father.

Def going on my one thousand gifts list!

Monday, September 19, 2011

FAith of a Mustard Seed

Matthew 17:20

"Because you have so little faith, I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there and it will move.  Nothing will be impossible for you."

How big is YOUR mountain?? Mine right now seems "jinormous".  I keep telling myself it will get better when this happens....but it doesn't.  I keep thinking as time passes the problem will just "leave", but it doesn't. 

I looked at this verse on a blog actually...and it made me look up and read the WHOLE verse and ponder it.  I'm in waiting for the miracle to happen but waiting not believing...waiting not thinking it will come true...waiting almost "daring" the miracle to happen because maybe I don't want it to...I just enjoy thinking that bad things only happen to me.  Perhaps I've been my biggest enemy all this time.  Thinking that joy is for others, that friends are for others....isn't that what Satan wants from all of us though? Doesn't he enjoy taking us and separating us from one another and whispering into our ears all our faults and biggest fears.  Then he enjoys telling us that if God really loved us He wouldn't let us suffer like this!

Life isn't easy...it calls for hard work, it calls for stretching ourselves and making ourselves do "uncomfortable" things.  I'm not telling you I don't have days that I cry and wonder what is going on....but there is always a new morning....a new day with a bit of sun in it....a new bit of joy to be had...if I have FAITH....I can move mountains.

Tomorrow morning as I take my run...I will continue the race....and press on....

May His name be praised!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Over the gravel roads we go!

Saturdays have lately turned into my new favorite days.  They are filled with soccer, and other activities that my kids enjoy.  We own our own business so its usually just me with my kids on Saturdays...but I still enjoy it even though I'm solo. 

This week has found us in the midwest with a bit of a cold snap that we weren't expecting already and I have two children that have grown out of a lot of things...especially my E....clothes shopping wasn't too exciting for them...but I did actually take the time to buy myself TWO items...yep! Its true!

Tonight my E and I took a little adventure to my friends house that lives out in the country.  My E has taken quite a liking to my dear friends son....she said that she would like to marry him someday....or Jackson...but Jackson took away her toy the other day (so I think that might have taken him out of the running).  ANYWAY, she couldn't wait for the party and so we headed out...apparently she wasn't used to gravel roads....or very long corn fields...but we made it despite our GPS telling us that there was NO coverage!

I've decided to take a little idea from some people and start making EVERY day picture worthy...and today...well...I'm not a John Deer fan at all...we have nothing in our house that has to do with hunting etc (not that I'm against it) just no interest in it....and well...this pic just cracks me up! E wanted to know how this thing went....so funny....her first time on a John Deer...I had to snap a pic!

My list of gifts continues:

318.  Finding a freinds house who lives over the gravel road and through the cornfields:)
319.  Ice-cream that my E can have--just like the other kids
320.  Juice that my E can have--just like the other kids
321.  Watching sheer joy on my E's face-childhood--no worries
322.  Shopping for new clothes.
323.  Cool nights made for snuggling!

May you enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Drama of Being a Momma

Ok......I started this blog to be open and honest....so here goes....my life....all out there...today...this is it....don't be scared...I'm just a Mom.

I clutch the steering wheel to my awesome mini-van...we have a love/hate relationship me and that van.  It doesn't like me...yes, its true...I know its "alive".  Sometimes the slider doors won't open, or the back window vents and lately the passenger window won't go down...well that happened back in May...however, that puppy can hold the "stuff" as I pack in a million trips on my day of errands...that is when I "love" her...but most the time...I hate her...don't tell her though...I don't want to hurt her feelings!

So, here I was...clutching the steering wheel playing the events of the day in my mind...my T was argumentative today...AGAIN...my E was whiny and once again....a time out at dance...she just couldn't bring herself to stop being a "frog" when it was time to be a "crab"...so all the other little girls got a sticker...but mine...she didn't....even brought her "case" before the teacher....and said she would try harder next week to be "good".  So, the whole way BACK into town to get my T from soccer (who kept texting me about where I was)...and I had myself a little cry....of course when one is feeling down...ALL of the failures come back...Why won't my E flush the toilet or wash her hands without being reminded every single day of her life several times a day...why can't my son T see the piles of clothes on his floor or think that the cover on the bed under the comforter won't be seen as a huge lump in the middle of the bed? Who has the kids who do their chores without complaining?? Who has those kids and why don't I?  Will there ever come a time that I don't have to say "Put the LINER in the trashcan!" or my personal fav..."Seriously, I'm the ONLY one who can replace the toilet paper?"...or my spotless, just cleaned bathroom have fresh "toothpaste spots" all over it....it can't even be clean for THREE HOURS?????

To me its like we keep hitting a brick wall...the only common denominator was me right? Some people can say  to their kids...do this...and there is no whining....no drama...they obediently and sweetly do it....I used to be that Mom....but somehow....now I'm the Mom on the other side....praying for my child NOT to get a timeout at dance class, hoping that my child is being good at cubbies, praying that my T is not being a "sass" to others....I pray for them every day and night....I teach them verses, tell them stories, punish them for not doing what they need to...but somehow along the way I feel that I have failed....and am failing miserably.

Lately, I've wondered if I should just take a week off of school as we work on drill for obedience (yeah...that sounds like someone needs to go to "crazy town" eh) Then as I drove along I realized.....

These days will be gone soon...and even though they feel incredibly hard now soon...they will just be a memory...this is just a "hump" in the road...it will not always be this way and then....I hear from the back seat:

"Mommy, I won't ever leave you....not even when I'm a big girl at cowage!  I will come back and stay with you foreber!"  Now, who can NOT smile at that!

So, like my 5K that I'm determined  to finish under 40 minutes....I'm just going to keep working, praying...and working and praying...for only God can change the hearts of my children....but through discipline given in a loving manner....and lots of prayer....change can happen...if I don't grow weary!

Hebrews 12:1,2

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of  our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Don't give up.....I know that its to important of a fight to give in!

May His name be praised....this pic was taken around Christmas of last year...I can't believe how much they've grown since then....

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Table Runner and Such Things

I know...seriously interesting....but there is a lot going on in my little head tonight!

First of all....I DID it! I ran with my group tonight and we ran for 20 minutes straight...a LOT different that running on the treadmill.....BIG time...but I did it! I walked or like 40 seconds but other than that I DID it.  We went about a little over 2.0 miles...I still have a lot to do for the 5K in 5 weeks...but I know now that I really CAN DO it....and that feels REALLY great!

Second, today was a pretty good day school wise...perhaps because T and I were apart a lot of the day (sometimes that is needed).  He is enjoying french, guitar, chess and martial arts in home school coop and I'm thrilled!  He told me some things that he would like to change as far as our daily schedule.  It seems that his looking at the lesson plan for the entire day overwhelms him...I had no idea.  I thought he liked being in charge of his "destiny" for the day...but it seems he does not...he wants me to tell him what subjects to do when...which is hilarious because I NEVER would have thought that...I thought he enjoyed being in "charge".  We still have things we are working on...but today I just made sure that I went crazy over the good and gave him big hugs and he seemed to respond very positively to that (today anyway).

Last but not least....I finally got my table runner done (ok....my Mom did)  I don't have a sewing machine (because I have my Mom you see) and I have a very big table....no regular runner would ever fit. 

Cost of project $11! I was going to stencil at the bottom but now after looking at it I think it looks great all by itself!  What do you all think???

I love decorating for fall and so glad that its here!  I will be taking pics of the house again since a lot has changed since last year....also hopefully apple picking time can happen this Friday??? That is so much fun! Not to mention YUMMY!

Have a great day!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Some Days are Made for Constant Prayer

He looks at me with determination...and yet a bit of rebellion....wanting to let his anger go...but afraid to hurt my feelings....I think?

There is a long line on the way to being all "grown up" and we think we want to be there RIGHT NOW.  Then, once you get there...you long for when you could just "stand in line" have the biggest worry be...homework, or a test....but here he is standing in line...impatient to grow up...and how he wrestles with that in his soul.  He goes between anger and happiness almost at a constant pace....he is never content to just BE...he blames others for his faults...not accepting responsibility. 

I find myself nowadays being the one....for this dear boy once held his Mommy's cheeks in his chubby hands...as I grieved his father...who left us for heaven...and said to me...."Mommy it will be alright, please don't cry!"  So many times I wish I could go back and continue on with that little boy...where did he lose his fight? Where did I let him think that things could have been better...."if only?"

I look at families with their three to four children...evenly spaced...nice cars and houses, looking like the amazing perfect family...and I say...."Why?" Why do we know such grief, such sadness, such heartbreak...and then....I hear it every time "Why not you?"

Part of my spirit wants to whine....and say "it's not fair" but why do people that don't know how to take care of their children get pregnant time and time again...while people like me...pray for years and get a baby...while others pray for years...and...don't.  Why do some Daddy's go and fight for our country and never come home...while others hit their children and yell...and never seem to go away? Why? Why?

I will never be answer those questions this side of heaven...but I do know that we are better because of our hardships....not that it makes us like them anymore...but I am who I am...because of the scars that I wear.

I love to laugh...and make others laugh....I forget that sometimes...caught up in the pain of life...caught up in the business.

Today, I had a boy who had some hurts....who needed to learn to preservere, that life isn't fair, that just because you don't like school doesn't mean you can't go...that you can't blame others for your bad attitude, that you can't talk to your Mother like that even though you are starting to tower over her...BECAUSE I am STILL in charge!  Today was a day that I realized I'm not going to be liked and that my child behind that door is even saying he hates me....and that hurt...but it had to be so....so I prayed...and asked for strength because I was running out...and I knew that I wasn't going to make it.

Thankfully, tonight was my son T's Gold Banquet...in which he was very happy because he got to move up one more rank....he is now a tenderfoot....his attitude changed, his sweet spirit returned....AND he even sat by me....which was QUITE huge.

So, today....not a day  I want to repeat......EVER....but a day that I realized I was digging in the trenches...and I just can't give up...even....when.....he....doesn't....even.....LIKE.....me!

Prov 29:17

Discipline your son, and he will give you peace; he will bring delight to your soul.

I have to keep going....keep fighting....keep working!

Tomorrow I am running with my group for our training for our 5K....even though my body PLEADS to stop...I try to keep going....the same seems to be said for my spiritual life as well...keep going...do NOT stop!

May His name be praised!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Cranky Doctor

This was our first week of schooling...even though we did just four days in three days....instead of our five days worth of school in four days.  I do the four days on purpose because I need a day of errands, library etc before the weekend craziness of church activities and soccer etc.

I must say that the first week of any thing you do is difficult.  Throw in half days from my husband's daughters that attend the public school and the week gets even more interesting....add a bit of my husband's "asthma, chronic coughing" and well....its just "survival mode".  However, we weren't going to the doctor with my E for asthma issues...no one this year decided to throw a rock through my van window....I was truly feeling pretty good about our week.  It wasn't perfect...but it was showing some promise.

There are about 2 million children in our wonderful country that are home schooled.  I'm not here to stand on a soap box on why  you should home school....its a very PERSONAL decision, requires a lot of sacrifice and someone who can say "no" to others when trying to interfere with the home school schedule...which isn't to say that we don't try to be "flexible" beause we do...just have to have a time for school.

So, my T has been having issues for about two years with his eyes.  We have been to the chiropracter, the optomterist, and this time the eye doctor gave glasses with a stronger lens on one eye to get his eyes to work together.  It has been working very well and his headaches are a thing of the past.  The mother in me still wanted to "MAKE SURE" that there were no other problems so we were referred to an opthamologist.  The receptionist was wonderful, the technician a blessing as she ran through the whole eye exam...showing me where T had a focus issue in his left eye...totally in line with what our optometerist had said.  So of course as we are waiting for the opthamologist....my E decided she had to use the facility.....and of course the doctor came in while I was gone.

The events that happened next...had I known....would have had me leaving...well...quite an "impression."  I will only tell you that my son was asked where he went to school and when he replied home school...the doctor said "do you learn anything being home schooled?"  The rudeness continued with him looking up on the INTERNET a question that my son had asked him about history....the doctor wanted him to give a question to stump him....instead....he had to look it up and then tell him he was wrong...interesting...that he had to look it up....when I asked why he gets headaches he informed me that ALL kids get headaches (REALLY?????????) Yes, that was the long awaited appointment. 

As we walked to the van my son informed me of the questioning before I got back to the office....I of course was about to SCREAM I was so mad...my son was upset...this was our first time ever having anyone treat us this way for behing home schooled.  I don't like to walk around with my son's test scores...and have he and his friends questioned so that we can constantly PROVE our worth.  I don't like to be treated like I'm doing something wrong if on a Friday we are running errands after 1 and our school is DONE for the week....but when I get this....this is when I want to scream...but I didn't...I went by my husband's store and screamed...then....like every mother.....

I went and ran my errands....took my children to subway...then the dreaded wal-mart....kept my chin high...and almost DARED anyone to ask me why we were NOT in school...go AHEAD I DARE YOU! Thankfully, for my sake...and (their sake also) no one did...and we had a lovely time...and Mommy bought oreos...and only had 3 I am proud to say (so far!)  I decided to "sort of let it go"...its tough being a Mom...I question myself constantly...but in the end...its the simple things that I like best about homeschooling.  Even just a nice little lunch together...after a frustrating morning with a mean ol opthamologist!

I will not tell you my kids are perfect...far FROM IT! However, I was given these two children...and I'm responsible for their lives...and this is what I feel is the BEST for them...and hopefully whatever your choice is of schooling...we can all learn to SUPPORT one another....instead of it being a competition.

I will also say that we celebrated another victory...my E....was EXTRA good in dance class...and got a EXTRA special sticker!

Even got TWO stickers from dance!
May everyone have a GREAT weekend!  As for us...we have soccer season starting again....(you know, for my crazy son that is "socially deprived") I just HAD to add that!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Organized for School

I know that since we home school that our organization of how we do things differs...but if it makes you feel better...there are days I wish I just had a backpack to deal with...but alas...that is not the case.

We have home schooled for three years now and I believe that we have found our "groove".  I started off with the drawer system which we still use every day and it is WONDERFUL! The picture that I took was from when we first started.  I have since bought another one and labeled them for each subject so that he doesn't have to open each drawer to see what he needs.

Ignore the messiness behind the wonderful drawer system!
Next, we move on to baskets....I had a schoolroom on our third floor of our home which happens to also be the bedroom of my oldest stepdaughters...we used a corner of the room...which is very large...and even had a desk set up in there...but I kept finding both children sitting around the kitchen table no matter how nice I had it looking upstairs.  So, that created a bit of another mess....I hate things that function but don't look pretty!  So, I found some baskets to help!

These baskets hold my teachers manuals and various things that I have to have in order to teach!

I also took our old china hutch and made it into craft storage!

I just took cheap old fashioned candy jars and put crayons, markers, paints etc in them so that they are still pretty to look at.  I apologize for not getting clearer photographs.  YOu see, I'm really trying to get a new camera for Christmas....lets see if it works???

Last but not least...the lunch idea has been the greatest thing ever.  I took it a step further and bagged up all chips, teddy grahams, all fruit, and have them in various baggies and stored according to their need.  BOTH of my kids loved it...and it worked super duper fabulous.  Not only did I know for sure what went in their mouths but no produce went to waste!! YEAH!

Before I forget....this summer I designated a place in our kitchen for a chalkboard wall....it has been wonderful! My E has not gone a DAY without writing on it!

Happy School Year Everyone!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

First Day of School

Today we finally started back to school! My E was so excited because she kept saying "We are neber, eber going to go back to preschool again?"  So, after the excitement of a new swingset...it was time for school.

This is our third year of home schooling.  I'm very excited about some of the things we are changing and looking forward to all the wonderful things we will be learning!

I'm blessed to be allowed to home school! Such a wonderful blessing to be with my children all the time.

Our new swingset

May I first say that we as a family do pretty well. We aren't rich but my children have all of their needs and MOST of their wants. We own our own business and in this economy our business hasn't flourished but we still are doing just fine...and for that we are grateful. However, my little E is number 4 of our kids...there will likely not be any more little babies....so spending that much money for one child....while we are getting ready to have one go to college, another start driving and another is eating me out of house and home...and shoes...seriously..the shoes and the jeans...anyway, we could not justify spending the amout of money for one child....maybe that makes us horrible people but we just couldn't! However, for awhile now my little E has been begging or a swingset. She was very specific in what she wanted....hmmmm who could she take after? As we shopped and shopped and scanned sales, garage sales, craigslist....could NOT find a swingset that wasn't over at least $500. The ones that were in the lower price range looked as if they would fall apart as soon as the child got on the playset. Not only that but assembly was like 8-14 hrs. I hardly EVER see my husband ANYWAY....he works six days a week....so I decided to hire someone...that was going to cost me an extra $200 bucks! So, I prayed and prayed that God would give us a nice wooden swingset, with a slide and a place for my E to be able to crawl up on and have a little play tent....and one day I put on facebook (in desperation) if anyone knows of anyone wanting to sell their swingset please let me know....and I checked my inbox...and I had a dear friend saying we could HAVE her set...that's right sister...HAVE it...meaning FREE.....and God answered down to every last detail. We still have some tweaking to do but as you can see my E is as pleased as punch!
May His name be praised! This is def on my one thousand gifts lists! oh and by the way....we had a dear friend who gave HALF his day to help us take down and put back up! We are blessed in the friends department to say the least!