Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Why I Never Use Profanity


It's grievous to hear a professing Christian use profane words, or use God's name irreverently. The Bible says that one day we will each have to stand before the Lord and give an account for every idle word spoken. Every Idle Word.

That's a little mind blowing, but it is right there in scripture. Profanity is defined as 

Profane [proh-feyn,]

adjective
1. characterized by irreverence or contempt for God or sacred principles or things; irreligious.
verb (used with object)
6. to misuse (anything that should be held in reverence or respect); defile; debase; employ basely or unworthily.
Synonyms
1. blasphemous, sacrilegious, impious, ungodly. 2. temporal. 3. unhallowed. 5. low, mean, base. 7. desecrate.

I wonder if

Friday, November 13, 2015

Bundle Up in the Cold Assists Your Immune System

Have you ever heard the old saying, "You'll catch your death of cold"? This was a pretty common phrase several decades ago. 

There is a actually a scientific reason why

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Cold Season

November has been beautiful in our area with blue skies and beautiful leaves everywhere. Our new house is coming along and we're getting it a little bit more organized.

We've been doing well fighting off the various coughs and colds that are going around.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Healthy Substitutes for Deli Meat

Lunch foods have always been my biggest culinary challenge, health-wise and budget-wise.

Trying to eat healthy on a budget takes planning and work. I am trying to steer my menus away from

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Video! Battle of the Bibles

I love truth and I am so excited to share this video, "Battle of the Bibles" by former evolutionist, turned Creationist, Dr. Walter Veith. 

The Bible says, "Do not be deceived by the devil, but rather expose his evil deeds."  

As Christians, we are basing our eternity on God's Word, so it's vitally important that we make certain that this book, upon which we're basing our eternal destiny is truly the Word of God. 

Dr. Veith says, "The question we have to ask ourselves is whether we are dealing with a direct translation that gives as accurate a rendition of the original words as possible, or are we dealing with a dynamic equivalent translation that places the original words in a new setting that often reflects the paradigms of the translators? In the latter case the translation may turn out to be dynamic, but often anything but equivalent."

The truth is that God is unchangeable, and so is His Word.  
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. - Matthew 24:35
 I hope you will find the video profitable in your search for truth and uplifting to your faith in Christ Jesus.

Total Onslaught: Battle of the Bibles


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Peace of God

I've been looking forward to blogging again, but many things in my life have taken priority that it has been a season for waiting and not writing. Nothing that was too hard for my God, though. And all things have been working out for good.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

6 Ways to Prevent & Treat Mommy Headaches

It's hard to be a good mom when you have a splitting headache. More and more people are experiencing migraine headaches which can be debilitating. You cannot properly take care of your family or your home when your head is pounding.




It's common to reach for Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen, or other various over the counter drugs to numb the pain. And while they do help reduce pain, they also

Friday, May 1, 2015

The Kindness of God

Have you ever noticed the gentle ways that God causes us to wake up each morning? First, the sun begins to rise ever so slowly. (Actually, it's the earth's rotation that makes the sun appear to rise. But, a rose of any color...).

Anyway, the sun begins ever-so-subtly to absorb the darkness around us. Unless you sleep with blackout curtains, your eyelids perceive the light and it begins to

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Eggs In A Nest

Ever since I saw this breakfast being cooked in Moonstruck, I couldn't wait to try it out at home. It just looked sooooo delicious, especially to an egg lover like me. 

So far, I have made this several times in the last month with different kinds of breads and it is just as yummy as I hoped it would be. It is seriously scrumptious.  This morning my husband declared this meal his favorite non-meat breakfast.

But it gets better — you don't need many ingredients. In fact, in the movie, it looks like she only used bread, butter, and eggs. I added some toppings to mine, but I'm sure it's just wonderful in it's puritan form, too.


Eggs in a Nest

Sour Dough Bread
Real Butter
Large Eggs

Optional toppings:
Feta cheese
Tomato slices
Avocado slices



First just pull out some of the center of the bread to make a hole. 

Melt a good amount of butter (about a tablespoon) in a hot pan and fry the bread slices in the butter. 


Lift the bread up on a large spatula, melt more butter and flip.
Crack an egg into each hole and let cook for a couple of minutes.


Next, flip them over (like you would with pancakes) and cook on the other side for another minute or two.


Plate and top with Feta cheese, tomatoes and avocado slices. 


This is an easy breakfast but it looks a little fancy. 
Eggs in a nest — fast, healthy and absolutely delicious!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Healthy Chocolate

Chocolate is a staple at my house. Just a bite every so often and I'm good to go. And while chocolate itself is healthy and an antioxidant, the sugars and other added ingredients of grocery store chocolate are not. 

And fancy chocolates can get expensive. I bought a "specialty" chocolate bar at Sprouts for my husband as part of his Valentine's Day gift and it was over $3! Not my idea of a budget friendly treat. 

My solution: make my own at home using 4 simple, healthy ingredients: 

Coconut Oil
Cocoa Powder
Raw Honey
Celtic Sea Salt

optional add-ins include:

Shredded Coconut
Chopped raw nuts
Almond Butter
Peanut Butter
Dried cranberries

In terms of health, coconut oil outshines all other oils and has too many health benefits to list here. 
Raw honey is superior to processed and retains its many trace beneficial properties. 
Cocoa powder is loaded with health benefits and is a known antioxidant. 
And a pinch of celtic sea salt adds flavor balance and does not cause a mineral unbalance in the body as table salt does

An added bonus is that you can whip up a batch any time in the comfort of your own home. I love that phrase, don't you? "In the comfort of your own home." It's such a blessing to have a place to call home. :)

So these are the ingredients I used to make my healthy chocolate:


Then it gets really complicted. 
You dump them in a bowl and stir. :)


Sprinkle in any optional add-in ingredients you wish. I used shredded coconut. Unsweetened gets preferential treatment, but this is all I had so I used sweetened. 
Didn't bother my conscience a bit. :)

 

I then pressed the mixture into a silicone mold and chilled in the refrigerator. 


To the left over chocolate in my bowl I added about 1/3 cup almond butter and pressed into another silicone mold I had. 
Into the fridge it went to chill. 



In half hour or so they are ready to pop out and enjoy. 



Friday, April 17, 2015

Quick Lasagne

I normally make Lasagne with a long simmered meat sauce, but when I just want to get dinner fixed fast, I have no problem taking shortcuts. :-)

This is such a friendly meal to make and fairly easy. It assembles in under 30 minutes and I usually have the ingredients just hanging around in the fridge and pantry begging to be layered together. 


 Lasagne can be made with as many or as few different cheeses as you would like. I like to imagine how the first Italian wife must have stumbled upon this masterpiece one day in her kitchen. Maybe she was in a hurry and didn't have time to cut her noodles into the smaller sizes of fettuccine or spaghetti, and just made wide slits. Looking around her kitchen, she used leftover meat, cheeses and sauce and layered them together.  

In the same way, I like to invent or adapt recipes in my kitchen. So I swapped out the traditional mozzerella cheese for Monterey Jack in my lasagne tonight. I also used cottage cheese instead of ricotta. 

I had a stray tomato looking for a home so I sliced it and added it to the top. 

After I got dinner in the oven, I washed all the dishes because I believe in the "clean up as you go" method. Makes for a much less frightening kitchen after dinner's over. :)\

Next up was a quick tossed salad that I placed in the fridge while the Lasagne baked. And an hour later - voila! - dinner's ready!  :) 



Beef Short Ribs

Last night's dinner entree was beef short ribs and they were yummy! 

I think this is the second time I've attempted to make ribs and both times I have done so in the oven. The thought of making them always intimidates me because they are unfamiliar territory for me. I run to google and look up how to make them and then I remember with a smile that are easy, so long as you've got the time to do it. 

I imagine they'd be great in a crockpot, too. But I haven't tried that method as of yet. Since I knew I'd be home all day, I just went with my oven routine. :)

First I marinated the ribs in bbq sauce 




Then into a 300 degree they went to slow roast for about 4 hours. (I started them around 2pm.) 
During the last half hour of cooking I brushed layers of bbq sauce over them every ten minutes to give them a nice thick glaze.  



While the ribs were getting happy in the oven, I got out my trusty corn meal and some fresh Napa cabbage to prepare some coleslaw and cornbread.


I baked the cornbread 1/2 hour before I put dinner on the table so it could be served warm. It turned out golden brown and yummy. (For extra moist cornbread add an extra egg!)



 My coleslaw was made by slicing the cabbage as thinly as possible and mixing it together with a simple dressing of mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, celery seed, salt and pepper. 


Then I made some stuffed eggs while the cornbread was baking. 



I made the bbq sauce from scratch about a week ago from this recipe. If you've never tried making your own bbq sauce, this one will not disappoint. It is delicious! I had all the ingredients in my fridge and pantry and it was so simple to whip up. I put it into a canning jar and stored it in the fridge. I expect it to keep for about a month.



Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Happy Tax Day

It's April 15th and you know what that means: time for Uncle Sam to dig into the pockets of poor Americans.  Have you gotten your taxes all done and mailed? We are good to go on that front. My husband just taught our oldest son how to file his tax returns. Wow, they grow up fast!

So tonight, the chef (that's me) gets the evening off and we are going out to dine out at our local Sonic Hamburger stand. Do you have one of these places in your neighborhood? If you do and you like their burgers, they are offering half price cheeseburgers tonight on account of it being tax day.

There are several other tax day promotions going on at places like McDonald's, Burger King, Hard Rock Cafe and Boston Market.  (Just google it for details on the deals.)

It may not be much compensation for the annual government gouge, but considering these retailers are not at fault, it's awfully nice of them to serve up some special deals, isn't it?

Have a blessed day in Christ!


Sunday, April 12, 2015

Does God Hear Your Prayers?

Have you ever wondered if God hears your prayers? The bible is God's word directly to mankind. It tells us that we can know whether He hears your prayers or if his ears are closed to them. Here's what Scripture says on the matter:
John 9:31 - Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.
According to this scripture, who does God hear?

Anyone who is a worshipper of God and does his will.

Who does God not hear?

Sinners.  Sinners are those actively sinning. They know what they are about to do is wrong and do it anyway. They rationalize it. They say they are weak. They say they can't help it. There are a lot of excuses they have come up with to keep on sinning. They are sinners.

Notice that this verse does not say that God doesn't hear the heathen or unbelieving. It just says he doesn't hear sinners. Who are sinners? Sinners are those who know to do right and do not do it. A The difference between a Christian who sins and an unbeliever who sins is that a believer stumbles into sin (unintentionally, absent mindedly, accidentally) and an unbeliever sins with intent.

Unfortunately, popular preaching today says that Christians are sinners and that we're just "sinners saved by grace". But if this were true, then, according to the verse above, God would hear NOBODY. Instead, this scripture accurately divides people into two categories — the sinner and the saved.

Romans 6 declares that we WERE sinners. Past tense. That we were once slaves to sin, but NO MORE. If a Christian is still sinning (deliberate acts of disobedience) then something is wrong. (2 Corinthians 13:5)

 
Proverbs 28:9 - He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.
Is your ear turned away from the law? Have you ever witnessed children whose hearing was suddenly faulty when their parents called them?  Their hearing was just fine. They just "turned away their ear" because they didn't want to answer. God's law shines light onto sin and makes sin "exceedingly sinful". If your ear is turned away from hearing God's law, then your prayers are like an abomination. Strong words.
Proverbs 15:29 - The LORD is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous.
Who are the wicked? The wicked are those who do not fear God. The wicked are people who sin on purpose. God says he is faaaaaarrrr from them. The righteous are people who fear and obey God. In other words, when there's a hard choice before you, do you choose right? If you do, you're pleasing God and in turn, his ears will be open to your prayers. I don't know about you, but I need God to be near to me.
Psalms 66:18 - If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:
How does your heart regard iniquity? Do you let it influence you? If you give thought to it and have desire toward any thing that God calls sinful, then God will not hear you. Have you ever noticed that when some people pray, nothing happens, but when another person prays for the same thing, God is quick to answer? (This reminds of the passage in the book of Job when God told Job to pray for his friends and then he would forgive them.)
1 Peter 3:12 - For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that DO evil.
Again, a clear-cut case of the righteous being heard, and the evil doers/sinners not being heard. Think of it this way — what if your husband was just a little unfaithful to you? (We all know there is no such thing as a little unfaithful, right?) What if he said he just couldn't help it? You'd be pretty insistent about that being hogwash.

God's got a cure for the sinner who claims he "can't stop". He says to simply remove the offending body part. If you're sinning with your eye, pluck it out. If it's your hand, chop-chop.

God's serious about sin. These are drastic measures to deal with sin, but he said it would be better to enter life (eternally in heaven) than be cast into hell with all your body parts intact. Whew!

Pulpit preachers do not warn the flock faithfully on this issue. It is despicable, but many clergy are ravenous sinners themselves. They will counsel you, but they will agree that it's just the "sin nature". And although popular, the Sin Nature teaching is completely unbiblical.

It may be unpopular to say that you can stop sinning (deliberate acts of disobedience toward God), but it's scriptural!

But God gives us all a choice whom we're going to obey and whom you're going to believe - God or man.

God gave his Son's blood to save us and free us from sin. The gospel is the POWER of God. This means that believers have the power to do God's will. When we read the Bible, and believe God, we renew our minds to our saved condition. The Bible says that I'm a new creature. The Bible says I don't have an "old man" anymore.

The Word of God is sharp and powerful and can "update your operating system" so to speak. I have read Romans chapter 6 carefully and I believe every word of it (and the whole Bible). The Bible says that when you repent and trust in Jesus, you are a blood bought, born again child of the living God. And it is the power of Christ within you to live a righteous and holy life.
James 5:16 - Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
Again, whose prayer availeth (profits, makes available) much? A righteous man's. Confess your faults...a fault implies a failing, a weakness or an error. This is different than a deliberate sin. A sin as I've said before, is a deliberate act. Have you ever accidentally robbed a bank or kissed anyone other than your husband? The courts differentiate degrees of murder by intent. Unintentional murder is dealt with differently than first degree murder. It's all about prior intent before the act.
Isaiah 59:2 - But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
Are you seeing a pattern here?

The thing that hinders prayers is sin.

It separates us from God.

When you cross your conscience in a deliberate act of sin, you cut off the prayer line.

If your heart is toward the Lord, seeking the Lord, walking in Truth, taking the narrow way over the wide gate, turning from what is abominable to God and doing what delights him, then you are obeying him. This is the power of God to every one who believes! And it's exciting! God's power is awesome! And his ears will be OPEN to your prayers. It is very exciting to know that my prayers are reaching the ears of my Father in heaven!

Walk in holiness, dear sisters in Christ. Shun evil, and fight the good fight of faith. Do not grow weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap if we faint not. (Galatians 6:9)

Friday, April 10, 2015

Bedroom Care

There is a wonderful book for homemakers by Cheryl Mendelson called, "Home comforts: The Science and Art of Keeping House" that is full of pretty detailed homemaker stuff - have any of you read this? If not, I would encourage all domestic divas to get your own copy.

If you're like me, you appreciate books that organize the information by category so you can jump right to the subject you want information on, which this book does beautifully. Granted, it is not a skimpy quick and easy read. The author goes into great detail, and often times more detail than I would prefer. But the I find the details she offers always seem to make sense.  In other words, the details don't seem to be there just to fill up the book, but rather explain the whys and hows, which makes it much more bearable. (My tolerance for pretense and fluff is painfully low.)

Of particular intersest to me was the chapter on bedroom care on page 660. She points her readers to the age old custom of airing out the bed (& the room if possible) for an hour every day or more. Most of us fall into one of two camps: those who get out of bed and rarely make it up and those who get out of bed and make it right away. I'm from the second camp, but both are wrong. Who knew?


Cheryl writes:
"Each day when you arise, air the bed. Open the windows, if possible; throw the bedcovers back over the foot of the bed. (If the bedding will otherwise drag on the floor, stand a chair at the foot of the bed to support it.) Let the bed stand this way, unmade, while you shower and eat breakfast. The bed should air for at least an hour if you are going to work, or even longer if you are staying home. This helps immensely toward keeping the bed feeling and smelling fresh until you next change the sheets."

She goes on to present some very good reasons for this practice:

"While you are sleeping, you breathe about two pounds of moisture, along with breath odors and flocks of microorganisms, into the air, your pillow and your bedding. You also perspire, perhaps a cup's worth, and exude skin oils and body smells. And you use up the room's oxygen and replace it with exhaled carbon dioxide. When there are two or more people in the bed or the room, these effects are multiplied. All this explains why, if you sleep with closed windows, the room has a characteristic stale morning smell (although you might not perceive it until you leave for a few minutes and then return.) Unless you leave the bedcovers pulled down and the windows open for an hour or two, the moisture you have left in the bed either does not evaporate or evaporates very slowly, which makes for an environment in pillows and mattress in which dust mites, molds, and other microbial life have more of an opportunity to multiply. Opening the windows lets in new air to dilute the pollutants (microbial and particulate), carry them off, and bring in fresh supplies of oxygen."

Um...yuck!

When I think back on all of the years and centuries that people did not have central air & heating and the average home was NOT air-tight. Whoever heard of cancer back then?  Ever watch an old movie or read in old books where people routinely opened their windows at night? Yah, I think they knew what they were doing. Doctors would prescribe fresh air as a remedy for various common ailments. My husband and I have been sleeping with open windows most of our marriage and now, I'm going to start airing out our beds daily. It's a pretty cool excuse for not making the bed, too, I might add.

Whenever the weather and temperature allows, our windows are open. In our previous house, our bed was positioned up against the window in the master bedroom and the sweet fresh air that billows in as I fall asleep is sublime and makes me drift off to sleep like a baby. Now our bed is up against a wall and I am really missing the fresh air wafting down on me.

So glad we're having an indian summer so I can throw open the windows at night and air our bed and bedroom out in the mornings!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Homemakers Need to Be Ready To Give an Answer, Too!

proofthatgodexists.org

If you're ever in a situation to direct an athiest to God, I recommend referring them to the website named above. It is simple, brilliantly constructed and has a pretty powerful impact, in that it "forces" the user to exercise logic and reason — the pillars upon which athiests have constructed their religion.

Just because we are housewives, mothers and homemakers doesn't excuse us from the Great Commission.  We can sprinkle seed wherever we go — the grocery store and other shopping venues, online forums, blog posts, comment boxes, and social media such as Facebook & Twitter.

Often the most committed atheists were once "christians". It's important to understand that a christian is not always equal to being Born Again. Christian simply means professing to follow Christ. There are non-born again Christians and Born Again Christians. But only the latter are saved and accepted by God the Father through Jesus Christ his Son:

John 3:7
Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye MUST be born again. 

Is there visible JOY in your life? The reason that I am joyous has nothing to do with my situation or circumstances on this earth (because we'd all like to change at least something in our lives for the better) and everything to do with the fact that I am sealed and saved in Christ. My sins have been paid for, I have been washed white as snow and the door to my prison has been opened. I am free. THIS is the good news.

If you have not had time in the word of God today, I encourage you to simply open up your King James Bible (no other version for this exercise) and read Romans chapter 6. Read the reality of a blood bought Saint. Do you believe it? It is the literal description of the state you are in if you are saved. If you read that chapter and don't "update your operating system" (your brain) with the renewing of your mind, then you are missing the party.

It is because of the hope that lies within me and the glorious redemption bought by my Saviour, Christ Jesus that I can even smile. He is the reason that we are a witness to others. That we spread and share the good news of the Gospel. If you don't already have some, get yourself some good Bible believing tracts (recommended: Chick Tracts and Living Waters) and leave them around when you do your shopping, go to the library, Doctor & Dentist appointments, etc. You will be fulfilling your call as a homemaker AND the Great Commission!

1 Peter 3:15
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

This verse has a couple of interesting conditional phrases. The first is to answer those who ask. This suggests that someone has been prompted by something they have observed in you. What does this scripture imply that was observed? Hope.

A Sinner's life is fraught with doubt, trouble, despair and sadness. They don't have hope for their life here much less the one to come. But when they see a blood bought Saint exhibit Love in the face of  hate and Hope in the face of trials, it simply BEGS the question:

What is the reason for your HOPE??

The next conditional aspect for this verse is the spirit or attitude of the asker. A lot of people misread this verse to mean that the "meekness and fear" portion applies to the way the Saint is to give the answer. Wrong.

If you look carefully and read it with grammatical correctness, it is the ASKER who is to approach you with meekness and fear. That excludes the person who would ask facetiously, which is to treat serious issues with deliberate defiance or a flippant attitude.

Jesus said not to cast your pearls before swine lest they turn and rend you (rip you apart). Be wise as serpents, gentle as doves. Remember to use discernment when you give an answer and if the asker has meekness and fear (sincerely), be ready to give them an answer! :)

Have a blessed day in Christ!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

How to Be Well Groomed (1949)

I love the 1940s. If I could travel in time, I'd plunk myself right down in that era. There was no political correctness. Roles were well defined, genders were clear. No worrying about what you might encounter in a public restroom. Children could play in their neighborhoods without undue fear. Neighbors were neighborly and families were in tact for the most part. Big band was in full swing. Materialism had not taken root nor had television.  You could tell a man from a woman instantaneously. Fashion was at it's peak, in my opinion. The hairstyles for women were feminine and work savvy. Hair styles for men were dapper and clean cut. Kitchens had back doors that the woman of the house would answer for friends, neighbors and milkmen. Husbands were the established breadwinners an allowing wives the time to take care of their home and children. Wives would diligently plan nutritious and thrifty meals for their families and not rely on convenience foods or drive through (which didn't exist).

I also love thoughtfulness and thoroughness which Americans gave to the basic aspects of living. The fact that they took the time to make the short "how to" films on good manners and good grooming (below) is so great in my opinion.

I know there were hardships of wartime, racial inequality and other problems. But every era has something. No era is "perfect".  But I do think that some were better than others. This was one of them. For all the problems that existed, there were a dozen ways they were better off then than we are now.

Imagine a time when poor grooming and hygiene were on a short list of "problems" facing Americans. As I look around at today's Americans, I'm ashamed for what I see. We've become a nation of immodesty, immorality, railers, abusers and haters of God. Keeping up with the Jones' is evident in every trend. sigh.

But this video is delightful. It's a good reminder of how good grooming takes time. Too many people cut corners on the mainstay of grooming and hygiene and then reap the consequences of eroding health and social lives.

I thoroughly enjoyed this little film and all it tried to accomplish in giving an overview of good grooming. My 18 year old son heard it playing on my computer and came over to watch with me and he liked it too. Hope you do as well. :)


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Free TV

I've been meaning to write this post for quite some time but kept forgetting! I feel it's an important topic for thrifty homemakers in Christian homes.

For years we paid the high price for cable or satellite TV thinking that it was the only way to get any television channels. But the cost was not the only issue. Along with the good channels like Turner Classic Movies and HGTV, there were ungodly channels that we wanted nothing to do with. But with Cable and Satellite tv, you have to accept the bad channels along with the good ones. So we used the "block" feature on every bad channel.  But still, the monthly cost was ridiculous. Sometimes we felt bad that we were not watching enough tv to rationalize the price!

About 5 years ago we moved and decided not to renew the TV service. And I'm happy to say, we have never looked back.

For the first couple of years, we went without any tv and just watched a video now and then. We really thought that this was our only option. But then some friends of ours mentioned getting an antenna for their home (they, like us, also had no TV service). Just then, a light bulb went on! I could not believe I'd forgotten about the antenna option!

Why had this not crossed our mental radar? I started to wonder if we were just dumb or if maybe other families had been lulled into the same idea that the only option for tv was to pay for a service.


I can see why we thought this. Everywhere you go, cable and satellite companies are advertising their services as though they are the only possibility. I remember wishing that TV was still free like it was during my childhood. We never paid for TV when I was a kid! We had the rabbit ears on the living room tv set (anyone remember calling it a "TV set"?) complete with aluminum foil on the ends for better reception. :) We had the basic channels and it was good enough.

Well I'm happy to say that TV is still free! :) Thankfully we longer need to mount precarious rooftop antennae or use clumsy rabbit ears anymore. They have digital antennae that are as flat as a pancake and you can hang it flush against a wall or sit it on top of a flat surface. Coolness. They come in a range of prices and styles. My husband wanted good reception for football games so he got the nicest one Walmart had. I think we paid $39.99 for it and it works great.

So now we get upwards of 55 channels or so — all for FREE.  No, we don't get HGTV, TCM and a host of other cable specialties, but you know what? I don't even miss them! Instead we get a great variety of great programming on Create, GetTv, MeTV, Decades, Cozi and some Christian channels like Daystar and TBN. We also get all the broadcasting channels for local news sports and weather (NBC, CBS, ABC) and even some shopping networks.

What about DVR's? Don't you need to have cable or satellite in order to have one of those?

NOPE!

My husband found this DVR on Amazon that digitally records programs onto a hard drive OR  a DVD whichever we choose. It can pause live tv just the same as the ones the tv service companies sell and loan. So far we've had ours for almost 2 years and it works wonderfully. We can record a program and then watch it when it's convenient just like before. Super easy.

It cost $299 which is not cheap, but when we considered the money we wasted and basically threw away on cable/satellite, the investment was worth it and it paid for itself in no time.

So now, we are able to have similar benefits we'd get using a tv service (minus some specialty channels) only without the contract and the hefty bill each month! A very low investment and a very high return. I highly recommend ditching the high cost of cable and satellite and going with antenna TV.

How about you? Do you pay a service for TV? Have you ever thought of what you could do with the hundreds you could save each year by not paying for TV?


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Instilling Initiative Into Our Children

Getting kids to do their chores, or any work for that matter can often be a pain. We as their parents desire to see them want to help, want to learn, want to grow in maturity, selflessness and grace. We want them to take initiative and be intuitive. We want them to develop good habits. We want to raise willful children into caring, competent adults.

So when they're little, we give them chore lists according to their ages and abilities.  The list clearly states WHAT the chore is and WHEN the chore should be done.

They look at them, understand what's expected and everything is rosy. When they are little, moms tend to remind them when it's time to do a chore.

Even though this works, it's bad training.

Why?

Because the power of a law is only as strong as the penalty of the law. (Keep repeating that until it sinks in!)

If you give your child a list of chores with no deadlines or penalties, where is their motivation to remember to get their rear in gear? It's nonexistent. A nagging mom is not motivating. A nagging mom is a dripping faucet. And worse, it trains them to wait for mom's reminders.

Initiative cannot be exercised in the face of a reminder. It must come from an inner motivation to do right or pay the price.

And as any responsible adult knows, taking initiative is a BIG part of being an adult. So this is an extremely important part of training them up in the way that they should go.

The good news is that this problem can be remedied. :-)

If you train them when they are still little to be responsible for beginning their chores on their own initiative, you are saving yourself the trouble of doing that when they are teens. I wasn't as effective in enforcing the habit of initiative when mine were younger, even though they did do their work well and mostly with good attitudes.

But now that they are teens, I realized they are still dependent upon my reminding them — for far too many things. I decided I'm not going to remind them anymore so they will have to rise or fall on their own merits or pay the piper for their own good!

Last night I laid down one new rule. If the trash is not taken to the curb every Tuesday by 8am, the penalty is $5 payable to mom or dad.

This morning at 7:45am, all signs pointed to me being $5 richer. But then at 7:57am, I heard my younger son trudging in from the front door. He'd made it with only 3 minutes to spare, but he made it! I congratulated him, and my husband ribbed him.  This was a major victory and the first time the trash was taken out without any kind of reminder from me.

The weight of the penalty was motivator enough.

Both of my sons have part time jobs so a monetary penalty makes sense. If they were younger and had some money saved up, or maybe a way they are earning some extra money (I don't believe in giving children an allowance) I suppose I might still recommend a monetary penalty because it's very motivating. They will find the same principles in operation in real life (tickets for speeding, library late fees, late bill payment fees, etc) so they might as well learn it now.

I'm going to make a list of all the things that they need to do without being reminded and the penalty for not doing it by the specified deadline. I'm pretty excited about this. It means freedom for me and maturity for them - win-win!

Take out the trash by 8am every Tuesday or pay $5
Make your bed before coming out of your room in the morning or pay $1
Brush your teeth after breakfast and dinner or pay $1
Pick up your clothes from the bathroom floor or pay $1
Pick up your stuff at the end of the day or pay $1
Feed the cat every morning or pay $1
Feed the cat every evening or pay $1
Clean the cat litter every morning before breakfast or pay $1
Clear your dishes from the table and rinse them or pay $1
Change your bedsheets and trim your nails every Saturday morning or pay $1

If you have younger children, and can't or don't want to use the money penalty, then use an equally effective penalty.

Make your bed by 8am or go to bed 30 minutes earlier that night.
Sweep the kitchen after dinner or miss the next dessert.
Clean up your room before bed or get an extra chore the next day.
Pick up your toys each night before bedtime or no tv the next day.

If the penalty is not strong enough, it will not motivate. If you write it into law, you MUST abide by it or you have made yourself out to be a liar and untrustworthy in the eyes of your child. They have to face the consequence or they will truly never learn.

I'm thinking about trying an alternate course of action for my sons just for fun — a reverse fee system. I would collect for the penalties at the start of the week ($14) and put that cash into a mason jar and label it with their name and the date. Then each evening, if they were successful and didn't "break any laws" they can retrieve that day's fees back into their wallets. Otherwise, the money stays put.

This will serve as a reward or "getting paid" for doing well, even though it's their own money. In real life, I don't get speeding tickets and the $110 fine that I don't have to shell out is a big reward and reminder for me to be a good driver.

I'm adding some bonus reward money to their jars for a perfect record for the week. This represents discounts and incentives that adults receive in real life adulthood as is the case with auto insurance and the bonuses that come with maintaining "good credit".

The other thing I like about this system is that THEY are responsible for retrieving their "fees". In other words, I don't have to say, did you clean the cat litter? Did you make your bed? Nope. They will have to come to me and tell me they did x, y and z and how much they can take out of the jar at the end of the week. More initiative training! I love it. :-)

How about you? Do you have a system that is working initiative into your children? Do share!




Sunday, February 15, 2015

Fix a Sagging Mattress

Shopping around for a new mattress these days can be a pain. Literally. My husband and I both have trouble with back pain occasionally (and increasingly the older we get) and it's important to have a good mattress to sleep on. But the ridiculous price tags are daunting.

When it was time to buy a new mattress last August, we thought we'd give IKEA a try. We spent hours at the store lying on mattresses and studying the differences between the different models. They don't do normal money back returns for mattresses and instead give you a gift card for their store. But their prices were appealing and their claims for superior durability and comfort very alluring.

So after several hours of testing and deliberating in the store and thinking we found a good one we made the plunge and bought one. It was roughly $550. We got it home and within a month, it started sagging. The body grooving was causing us both increasing back pain and sleep loss. We knew that  returning it would only get us the dreaded gift card but it was either that or get no sleep in have increasing back pain. sigh. That was not money that we had planned on "losing" to IKEA. But that's a whole other post! :)

Before we returned it, we had to secure a replacement so we wouldn't be stuck sleeping on the couch. Our first stop was Costco. Amazingly, they happened to have mattresses in the warehouse AND they were on sale! We found a King size mattress and slid it onto the floor and tried it. It was nice and firm and $250 off so we only paid around $500 for it.

Well...after a month or two, THIS mattress started developing body grooves, too! We were pretty disappointed. But I was determined not to play ring around the rosy again with mattresses. The only alternative seemed to be to shell out major money - thousands! - to get a "top quality" mattress.  We couldn't afford to do that, so I scoured the internet for help.

Eureka! Not only did I discover how to fix the sags in our brand new mattress, I found that what we were experiencing is more common than we ever would have thought. Brand new mattresses just aren't made with durability in mind, yet manufacturers and retailers are charging as though they were.

I read literally hundreds of comments from people who have experienced the same problems we were having only with mattresses that were all over the price spectrum. From cheaper mattresses all the way up to three and four thousand dollar ones. Sagging mattresses! And who wants to just chuck their very costly investment? Not many of us!

So what is the solution? Simpler than I ever would have thought. By placing an old pillow underneath the mattress where it sags, you essentially "fill in" the sag and voila! Problem solved. We didn't have any old pillows, so I emptied our pillow shams and used those pillows. But they were a little too lofty, so next we tried using sleeping bags.  We kept adjusting and folding them just right until we felt comfortable. We've been sleeping like babies ever since.

I suppose any soft filler, like a blanket, would work for this. It's amazing that such a simple fix could be such an effective solution.

I also discovered some products sold on Amazon that are made specifically to fix a sagging mattress but they're a bit pricey and after finding such a viable solution at home, I found them unnecessary.

So there you have it! If you suffer from a sagging mattress, now you know the cure. :)

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Words of The Mouth

I wanted to write today about ways to express ourselves that bring honor, and not dishonor, to the Lord. The Bible says in Matthew 12:46, "But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment." SO we're each going to give an account of ourselves to the Lord one day.  So we need to be mindful of the words and expressions we use. There are many (professing) Christians are dishonoring God with their choice of words, making them very poor ambassadors for Christ.

A whole new generation of people are using God's name in vain, as though it were meaningless and they won't be held accountable. They use his holy name to express anything from surprise, joy and amazement to frustration, disappointment and sadness. Some insert filthy words along with it. Even though it has been reduced to initials (OMG) the intent is the same. They aren't trembling now, but they will one day. Such a frightening thought.
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. Exodus 20:7
What about those who say that when they use OMG, they really just mean "Oh my goodness". They might think God sees their heart so they're not worried about it.  But are they off the hook....because God sees their heart? For one thing, goodness is godliness. When the rich young ruler said "Good Master" Jesus said there is only ONE who is good — GOD (Jesus himself).  So even this is an inappropriate expression as well as unnecessary, because there are many other words available to use.
All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the Lord weigheth the spirits. Proverbs 16:2
Human nature makes us all want to fit in. The Lord calls us sheep and that is a fitting description. But even though we're sheep, we can still honor the Lord. Loudly, quietly, steadfastly faithful to him. He gives us the strength to do so.

I suggest Christians start bucking that trend and using our freedom of speech to bring honor to the Lord and shame to the devil and his children. There are many words of exclamation to express our surprise, joy, frustration, etc.

You know the people who win the tv contests, game shows, and the people who open their eyes for a home improvement reveal? They all say OMG.

How about the next time someone near you says "OMG", you respond with, "Holy is his name!" I actually did this the other day in a store when a woman in the same aisle as me was on her cell phone. I overheard her say "OMG" to the person on the other end of the line. I had been thinking about responding this way for a long time and next thing I knew it just spilled right out of my mouth. (Out of the treasure of the heart the mouth speaks!) The woman didn't hear my response, but God did.

Many people use pseudo-cuss words (words derived from Holy names of God) and don't even realize it. Such as:

Gee (form of/short for Jesus)
Geez (form of/short for Jesus)
Gee-Whiz (form of/short/pseudo for Jesus)
Dagnabbit (mixes up sounds for d*mn and God)
Doggonit (mixes up sounds for d*mn and God)
Holy Cow (reference to Old Testament animal sacrifice for sin)
Oh my goodness (only God is good; at the very least, a description of God)

Do we need to use these stupid yet common forms of expression? Certainly with one voice at a time, we can stop the trend of dishonoring/blasphemous utterances and bring some dignity back to the English language. Let's communicate our emotions and reactions in an intelligent and God honoring way. :)

Here are just a few examples:

Wow
Super
Terrific
Isn't that something!?
Just brilliant!
Who'd have thought?
That's amazing
That's fantastic
How wonderful
I'm just amazed
What fabulous news
Incredible
Wonders will never cease
Words fail me
That is disappointing
How sad
Oh dear
I'm so distraught
I'm sorry to hear that

I think that we as Christians should not remain silent anymore when others around us speak God's name in vain. To respond with "Holy is His Name" is neither a rebuke nor a comment. It's praising the Name of the Lord. If a stranger wants to inquire about it, it's an invitation to share the gospel with a lost soul. Let's be ready to Praise His Name. He's coming back soon! :-)

What do you think? Do you have any expressions to add to my list? Are you silent when you hear a casual OMG said around you?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A TV Mother To Admire

There are many, many tv shows to choose from. Many, many tv "family shows" with tv mothers. But I have not seen a single one that was really worth admiring until I found the Donna Reed Show. This little gem of a sit-com stands heads and shoulders above the crowd of all other family shows, in my opinion. To me, there's the Donna Reed Show and everything else. It's that good.

In this show, Donna plays a very devoted and very loving housewife and mother. She is unashamedly respectful to her husband and that alone is awesome to watch. She is loving yet disciplinary to her children and runs her home with efficiency and grace. She displays a generous heart that's too big for her body. She's kind to neighbors, hospitable to guests, generous to the down-hearted, yet she's given a real enough quality that demonstrates her weak sides, too. She's not "perfect". She's just admirable in a way that any loving wife and mother can relate to and admire. I find the graceful way that she approaches life quite inspiring. Now if they'd also made them a Christian family, it would be nearly perfect.

I also enjoy her old fashioned 1950's house and decor. I love her little letter desk by the stairs where she conducts all her business like opening mail, writing letters, paying bills and taking/making phone calls. I love the cheery back patio where they sometimes have meals or a glass of lemonade.

This show is a just a pleasure to watch and really the only show I can think of that I recommend whole-heartedly to anyone. Especially mothers. Things I don't like are the way they portray the siblings sometimes with the typical "sibling rivalry". But even this aspect is mild and often overturned when they are shown devoted to one another or making each other laugh.

I just wish I'd known about this great show when I was a young mother raising my kids. It would have had a much better influence on me than I Love Lucy! :-) The Lucy's are funny and I still enjoy them for their comic relief, but as for admirable wives and mothers, Lucy doesn't make the cut.

No, for my money, if you're going to watch a family sitcom, Donna is the one to watch.

Have any of you watched the Donna Reed Show? Where I live, it is on a station called ME TV in the morning. The series is also available for purchase on Amazon. I've bought three seasons. Does Donna inspire you, too? I'd love to hear your comments!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

When Your Home is Chaotic

I crave peace like water. So as my kids were growing up, I had to set limits so that our home would not be chaotic. After all, mom lives here too! :-) My goal for my home was happy, peaceful, ordered and normal. Not museum-like. Just flowing and somewhat organized. But a home is only as peaceful and orderly as its inhabitants. That means a self-disciplined wife/mother who is willing to train her children. 

Some key elements to kicking out the chaos: 

Regulate your sleep. 
If you don't get enough sleep, you're setting yourself up for failure and trouble. If you've got infants, it is a trying time because you're losing sleep in the middle of the night.  Work out a plan so that you get at least 8 hours of sleep per 24 hours. Whether that means taking a nap during the day with the kids or getting to bed earlier each night. Don't rely on stimulants for energy. 

Plan your meals.
Pick out 7 breakfasts, snacks, lunches & dinners that are reasonably healthy, quick to prepare and economical. Use your crockpot at least once or twice each week.  

Train your children.
If you're not training your children to obey, your home is undoubtedly chaotic. Children need to know the rules and rules are nothing if they're not enforced. Read To Train Up a Child and No Greater Joy Volume I, II and III. They are worth their weight in gold for the advice and stories they offer. Untrained children are the biggest cause of chaos in a household. Moms, start with yourselves. If you yourself are undisciplined, get your act together. Start slow and work on one thing at a time so you don't get overwhelmed. But DO get yourself together. Cause your children be thankful and obey you. Speak in a normal tone of voice and try very hard to never yell. Spank kids for deliberate  disobedience and calmly insist on their compliance with an unwavering resolve. Be joyful. Do not ever think that the arm of discipline can outreach the arm of love. Love must be firmly rooted, established and flowing in order for training and discipline to be at all effective. Love on those kids and make sure they know and feel loved. Then if they're out of control in any area, slowly begin bringing them into line.

Go outside.
I know it's a challenge when you have a lot of little children, but whenever possible, try to go outside at least once a day. If you live in a cold, snowy climate, then the activity of getting snow boots, coats, hats, scarves and mittens on is a GOOD replacement for what is often meaningless playtime or tv time. It is healthy to get fresh air and sunshine, play in the snow, and run around. They will expel much of their burgeoning energy which will mean good naps and peaceful play indoors. I used to work at a preschool and I had TEN 3 year olds in my class that I had to take outside to the playground everyday.  We went out even in the cold weather and stayed inside only when it was raining or stormy. I had to help each one on with their coats, shoes, mittens, gloves and hats to go out and then again help them off with their things when we came in. Twice a day!

Have a playpen set up in your living area at all times. And use it!
If you have babies, a playpen is an absolute necessity. I used mine anytime I couldn't be in the same room or right there with my baby. It's extremely useful for when mom has to use the bathroom, answer the door, be on the phone, tend to cooking or any time you need to leave the child or the room. If they aren't used to being in a playpen, you need to slowly work up to it. Use it when you're in the room and don't go anywhere yet. Play with them while they're in it. Make it fun. Don't take them out when they cry or you'll be training them that crying is the way to get out! Instead, only take them out after they are playing happily for a bit. Once you've established this as a normal part of life, then you can use it anytime.  

A Sample Schedule 
(These time frames are approximate due to variances with number of kids, their ages and other varying circumstances.)

Morning

  • 6-8am WAKE Wake up, wash your face, brush your hair and get dressed. (Shower at night.) Put a little makeup on if you wear it. You'll feel and look pulled together. All this only takes 5 minutes or less! If you hear your baby crying, remember they will survive until you get there so don't turn it into a 5 alarm fire. When mine were babies, they just made happy morning noises while they waited in their crib.  Wake up the children and bring them into the kitchen with you to help get breakfast underway, feed pets, unload the dishwasher, etc. 
  • 7-9am EAT Breakfast and kitchen clean up. Have your children help with all the kitchen clean up after meals. NEVER send them off to play when you are working. They are your helpers! Give them meaningful work. They can wipe the table, brush the crumbs, put dishes away (I kept plates and cups in lower cupboards when mine were small so they could put them away easily.)
  • 9am WORK Get them dressed for the day. Teaching kids to get dressed by themselves, fold and put away clothes, tidy their rooms, brush their teeth and comb their hair — hear me now — these things ARE THEIR MORNING PLAY TIME.  This is the activity. If it takes an hour, so be it. They are learning FAR, FAR more than they will ever learn from playing with brightly colored plastic or watching Sesame Street. Make this *the* activity of the morning. As the older ones grow more proficient and finish before you're done with the youngers, you can give them tasks to do while you're finishing up. Empty the dryer, put things away, dust the baseboards, sweep a floor. Teach them that morning time is work time. Where is Daddy? Daddy's WORKING right now and so are we! It's fun, it's happy, it's productive and it's training little ones in life. If you homeschool, you could do some homeschooling projects after the morning work.
  • 10:30-11am GO OUTSIDE if possible. After all the mouths are fed, dishes washed, clothes put on, teeth are brushed, beds are made, rooms are tidied, and homeschooling is done, it's fun time! Time to get on coats (if it's cold) and shoes and go outside to play or take a walk. Walk to a nearby tot lot, playground or field and let them romp and run. Bring a ball, a kite, a magnifying glass (to observe tiny critters you may find), whirly gigs and have some fun. 
  • 11-12am EAT Come home, take off coats & put them all away. Time to line up at the sink and take turns washing hands. I would always beam with a compliment when I saw my children standing patiently to wait their turn for anything. They are learning such good manners! Everyone's washed up and it's time to either sit nicely at the table, or help fix lunch. I did both when mine were little. Sometimes they helped with lunch, sometimes they didn't. But they can NOT run wild. Give them options for what to do while you're prepping lunch. Color at the table, read a book quietly, string wooden beads, etc. Lunch was always simple, like a PB & J sandwich, a veggie, fruit and milk. 
Afternoon

  • 1-3pm NAP Every day after lunch, it's time to lay down for a nap. Train them how to stay in bed until you get them up. Try not to let them sleep more than 90 minutes no matter how tempting it is. I know the elation of having a quiet house when you've got little ones and you just want to let it go on and on. You can do so much when they are not underfoot! I know how that feels. :-) But getting them up after 90 min or so will ensure they sleep when it is bedtime! So wake them up after that nap.
  • 3-4pm STRUCTURED PLAY After nap, have a little snack (a graham cracker with a smear of peanut or almond butter, fruit or veggie sticks with ranch dip, pita bits with hummus, etc). Then have a structured playtime. It can be whatever you choose, but make sure you give them ONLY 2 (or 3 at the most) options. "Okay my darlings, now you can either play with your toys or make a sofa fort." Keep it in line with their interests. If you have girls, they might like to play with their dolls, etc. But have a timer set and let this time last for about 1 hour. Alternately, you could do some homeschooling during this time, too. While they are playing or doing some worksheets, you can get a little laundry and housecleaning in. Then sit and do something you enjoy - reading, handiwork, craft, music, etc. After playtime, clean up the mess, change any diapers and get ready to go out again.
  • 4-5pm GO OUTSIDE if possible. You might think you've already done this and therefore don't need to repeat it. But this activity is so needful for young kids. They need the energy release, the fresh air and the unstructured play area. Outside they can RUN, JUMP, ROMP AND ROLL! If there isn't something interesting to do outside, then you'll have to fix that. If you have a back yard, get some slides, swings, a sand box, jump rope, hoola hoop, etc. so they have things to do. Maybe a little table with benches for those interested in doing something at the table (giving mom a place to sit also). Try to keep them out for the full hour if you possibly can.  If you're confident they will play safely in your backyard, you can put the baby in the playpen (or down for a short afternoon nap) and work on getting dinner plans going.
  • 5-6 HOUSEWORK  Houses don't clean themselves. Make a simple list of work that needs to be done each day and do it now. Give each child some work to do, tailored for their ages.  They can also follow you in your work as you show them how to do it. But either way, have the kids WORKING when you are working. They may not last as long as you and that's okay. A 2 year old can give you 5, maybe 10 minutes of work. A 3 year old can give 10-15 minutes. And so on as they get older. Tell them what they can do when their job is finished. Expect and enforce their obedience in all matters. This cannot be stressed enough. For a non-chaotic home, the kids must be caused to be obedient.
Evening
  • 6-7 EAT Start dinner if you haven't already got it going in the crockpot. Have the kids help with setting the table or any other work there is to do. Greet daddy when he comes home with a reasonable amount of fanfare and excitement. Teach them to appreciate all he does while he's away by talking about it and him in high esteem. 
  • 7-8 BEDTIME ROUTINE  Get baths and jammies going. Have a plan of action and announce how it will go. Have the kids go potty before getting into the tub. Get the older kids (2-8) in the bathtub. Always stay in the bathroom when the kids are in the tub. NEVER LEAVE THEM. So that means if you have an infant, they're safely tucked away in a playpen, crib or bouncy seat. You have a phone nearby so you don't leave the room to answer it. If not, let it ring. The phone is for YOUR convenience, not the caller's. Have some bubbles and a few bath boats and toys. Have safe bathtub rules and cause them to be obeyed.  (No BIG splashing, slower movements when moving around in the tub, no standing up, no getting out until it's time.) Announce when it's time to shampoo and wash up. No whining, no sass allowed. Smile and be happy. You've got a family to take care of and you're doing a GREAT job!
  • 8pm PUT KIDS TO BED  I always put my kids to bed by 8pm so that I would have enough time to be a wife sans kids to my husband. We would brush teeth, get jammies on, read them a story, sing a lullabye say a bedtime prayer and tuck them in. No getting up! 
  • 8-10pm HUSBAND & WIFE TIME  It's important when you've got little ones to carve out some time in the day just for yourself and also with your husband. This is your free time so use it however you wish. 
Managing Errands
For your weekly tasks, such as shopping, you have some options. Choose whichever one suits you best. Some mothers grocery shop at night when the kids are in bed. The stores are emptier and she can think better without all the kids in tow. Some moms train all her kids how to behave when they are out and she enlists their help when she shops. Insert your errand runs into a the times allotted to play or outside time. It's important not to interrupt meals or nap times for errands. 

Activities Outside the Home
I am not a proponent for activities and classes outside the home when you have younger kids. For me, it just seems like a mother and her children should be home most of the time in order for all the children's basic needs to be met. I think occasional, non-recurring activities and get togethers are normal part of life. But when you have regular clubs, or classes etc, it is going to tax a new mother beyond her capabilities and it sets her up for a chaotic home. 

Adjusting As They Grow Up
As children grow older, they are naturally moving further and further into autonomy and away from home. It's a gradual process. So when they are 12 or so, it's nice to have a couple of activities they can look forward to each month. This is the stage when outings should become more common. A good base in home life until then will establish many, many things. Good behavior, discipline, good attitudes, etc. They should have a handle on life by that time. 

And of course all of your housekeeping, meal, nap and bedtime routines will evolve and change and adapt to life with older kids as well. Do your best to make the transition slowly and sure-footedly. Keep planning your meals, keep your bed times early and your household orderly. Our whole house shuts down by 9pm even though we have teens. Teens actually need a LOT of sleep because they are growing and transforming from kid to adult. All those teen hormones, you know. :) So they get at least 8-10 hours of sleep every night. 

I hope these ideas will help you smooth out the bumps in your housekeeping and homemaking. It's a daily process and much of it is routine, so make sure you don't "lose" yourself in it all. Make sure your interests do not suffocate underneath the mound of children, cleaning, cooking and wife-ing! Keep your sense of humor and motivate your children with your OWN zest for living. Be fascinated with the world around you. Keep learning new things and share them with your kids. 

It all goes by fast! People used to tell me that and I'd wonder why they said that. At times it felt so very S L O W to me! After all, time moves at the same pace whether you're just beginning your parenting/homemaking journey or you're near the end of it. But I guess when you're near the end of a journey looking back, it just SEEMS like it went by so fast. Theory of relativity, doncha know!

You can do it. Make your home a place of creativity, peace, joy, order and love and you will find that you have a life that is sweet indeed to look back on one day. Get rid of clutter, too many toys. Set limits. Write out a master plan for how you would like to design your best life and home and pray that God would help you do it. 

May God bless you in your journey!