Sunday, August 24, 2008

Haven't posted for awhile-for good reasons

I haven't posted for awhile-and with a good excuse. My oldest daughter has been having eye pain in her left eye-not around the eye but actually inthe eyeball. We had her checked out for this back in May, but I had her rechecked a few weeks ago. The newest dr requested she have an MRI. Then, at her eye check up the next week, the Optomitrist saw elevated, or swollen, optic nerve heads and requested the MRI be done quickly. It was done the following Monday and the results were normal-praise God, she is fine :) We are still heading to an Opthamologist to discuss the eye pain and see if there is something that still needs to be treated as this is quite painful for her and has no real reason for setting off the eye pains.
Anyway, that all kept me busy and kept my thoughts for the past few weeks. It's funny how when we face things like this, it is SO hard to give it to the Lord and let go of it. We fret and worry and wring our hands-the whole time never thinking to just hand it over. My mom used to tell me to not go fishing for those problems. Throw them out in the sea and let the Lord wash them, rinse them and just take care of them. I always tried to picture myself throwing that problem out into a huge ocean, watching it fly through the air, and *plop* there is would land way out in the water....of course, then as I started to worry again, I could picture myself with a big ol' fishin' pole, with hook and bait, trying to catch that problem again to take care of myself. Why? I know God is mightier than me. I think it is a Steven Curtis Chapman song that say something about God is God and I am just man...He is so mighty and already has those things bothering us under control. He already knows the plans He has for us, what issues we will face in our lives and hwo to best deal with them. We don't....
Ok, so I say all this, will I remember this next time I have a trial to face--probably not. It's so easy to tell this to others, than to do it yourself. Practice What You Preach-yes, practice it. Practicing is doing something over and over until you accomplish what you set out to do. You practiced riding that bike without help until you could take off without falling. You practiced baking until that first cake came out so yummy you almost ate it all by yourself! You practiced that sheet music until you got every note perfect. One day, it won't take practice to let God have complete control over all aspects of my life-I won't worry or fret and I will just hand it over and let go-or throw it into that sea and not grab that long stick to fish it back out ;)
It's also nice to be able to depend on a few close friends-those you know will stand in faith with you that all will be well. Who will uplift you in prayer. Who will support you and listen to you vent again about whatever-lol! It's also nice when you know you can do the same for them when they need it ;) I have a few special friends like that and it means the world to me to be blessed with such special people in my life!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Crockpotting Challange

I'm going to do it-I'm going to jump into making myself plan one meal a week, at least, that is done in the crockpot. A few reasons why I am doing this.
1) It's pretty easy-put ingredients in crock and go on about my day.
2) I can make dinner in the morning, and especially when we are gone during the day, have a meal ready for my hungry clan almost immediately :)
3) Better than heating up the stove/oven and heating up the whole kitchen (which is next to the living room where we all retreat in the evenings)
So far, I have accomplished this goal this week :) On Saturday, I placed a whole chicken in my big pot, added water to cover the bird and turned on the pot :) That was it. Yes, I did check on it now and then, and as the water sort of cooked down (it was becoming a nice, rich broth), I would carefully turn the chicken over to be certain it was cooking all around--probably not necessary, but I felt better about making sure ;) When it was cooked, I let it cool a bit before putting it into a baggie and into the fridge to be picked clean on Sunday. I drained the broth and put it in the fridge-I plan to drain it a bit more-strain it really-and save this yummy broth for some soups when the weather is a bit cooler.
On Sunday, I picked the meat off the bones and shredded it a bit. Placed it into my now clean crockpot and made bar-b-cue chicken for BBQ sandwiches that evening. This did not need to cook long-just get the sauce which I made sort of marinated into the chicken pretty well. I would say about 4 hours on high-started this about 12:30 and we were eating about 5. It was a simple dinner-well, except for picking the chicken off the bones, but I'm pretty good at this job now ;) And, I was able to have enough left overs for a couple lunches this week ;)
I also tried making rice in my crockpot-using the info on it from A Year of Crockpotting Well, needless to say, we did not have rice with our meal on Saturday (which was my other plan on Saturday-had two crocks going). The rice turned out partially over-cooked and sticky, with lots of mixed in pieces uncooked-ugh! Not sure what I did wrong, but I will probably try this again in the future anyway ;)
So, while I will never be able to crockpot everyday for a year, I do feel like putting myself to the challenge of having one meal, even a new meal to us, once a week, from my lovely favorite kitchen appliance will work! We shall see and I will be using online resources like Stephanie, the Crock Pot Lady ,, and CrockPot Recipes from this site.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Frugal Summer Jammies

I remember a friend telling me about this a while back, but forgot about it until I read it on another blog (think it was Men's or boy's boxers make great summer jammie bottoms. Buy them a bit bigger than you think you might wear (or your child might wear), stitch up the little hole in the front nad there ya have it! I bought one package of 4 (it was a bonus pack which are so prevalent right now before school starts) and it was only $5! I originally about them for my oldest son, but they were too small. My youngest dd tried them on and they fit her perfectly! They are camo design, but had two pairs of blue camo that look great for a girl too. My youngest son wears the other camo designs and they are huge on him, but he will grow into them somewhat next year. Pair these with some t-shirts bought on clearance or that youmight already have and it works nicely (I suggest buying the t-shirts a bit bigger for a growing child so they last a bit longer than just this summer). My sister used to do this to years ago and she and my mom would tye-dye them....very cute :)

Happy Chocolate Day!!

Oh Yummy! Today is Chocolate Day!! Enjoy it by eating some yummy chocolate :) Make something with your kids or learn where chocolate originated from and how it came to our country.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Summer Boredom Busters

Whew! It's HOT!! Wow and it's a bit hot to just play outside at times, but the kids get bored and just end up argueing with one another. So, I started thinking of things we could do. We have no sprinkler and I really do not want to waste a whole lot of money in water run off-lol! So, I started searching and started thinking. Here are a few ideas I came up with-warning, these are probably very frugal ideas in most cases, or will cost very little, but hopefully will be enjoyed by the kids anyway ;)
** Make a treasure hunt-this can be as simple or elaborate as you like. You can even enlist one of your older kids in the hunt (like I am enlisting our 14 yo who isn't into treasure hunts so much but would be into making and hiding clues). I plan to set up clues that will lead us to a picnic lunch at the local splash pad not too far from our house. But, on another day, I can easily switch this up for another quick trip to a playground close by as well. It's all free except for the gas, but won't take much gas since we are so close to the parks :)
** Check out your local $ stores-yes, this can cost some money, but you can set a budget beforehand and plan to only spend that amount. You can buy packs of bubbles, little bug catchers, frisbees, etc that the kids can share and get outside with. If you give them one activity/toy a day, it's like a new surprise and who knows what they ccan do with them-or even learn-especially when you find some new weird lookign bug and look it up online. Let them use the digi camera if you have one to take pics before releasing the bug. Also, you can enjoy some science with bubbles-try using different objects in the bubble solution and see which makes the best bubbles. Here are some ideas for fun learning-Bubbles, Bubbles, Bubbles for the younger kids and Bubbles for Learning for older kids.
**Just Way to Hot for Outside Play-Indoors- Hit your library-again, cost of gas but you can combine it with another trip out. Pick up some books on a certain area-for instance, why not have a Hawaii Day. Get some books on Hawaii, maybe a dvd or video about it, or get corny and get an old Elvis movie-lol! Don't forget a couple cookbooks so you can make some foods from that area too! Get online and print out some things for that area, or make crafts that relate to it. For Hawaii, you could learn to hula, plan a luau, and well, you get the general idea. Oh, how about making a volcano (this might be great for done early outside to avoid a huge mess ;) Or, if you happen to find them at the $ store, get some shells and put them in the child's sand box for them to dig up and enjoy a 'day at the beach'-spread beach towels out on your living room floor, get an oceans sounds cd and make some icy/slushy drinks to enjoy while keeping cool. You could also have a seashell hunt in your living room to give the kids a bit more activity. Even put a fan up so you can pretend it is a ocean breeze :)
** Neighbor Cook Out--why not let the kids get involved with you and set up a cookout with some neighbors-as many as you like. They can help you plan what you all with bring, decorating, etc. They might even enjoy thinking up some game ideas for the other kids who will be there (and maybe the adults will join in too).
** Make a fort-again, as elaborate or simple as you want. Have some extra wood (or know where you can get some-perhaps found some on Craigslist)? Make a cool treehouse (with adult suervision of course). Or, you can use boxes, chairs, blankets, sheets, etc to set up a simple fort. This could be done both inside or outside. It can be permanent or semi-permanent... but can keep the kids busy for the longest time! Do your kids argue ove who gets to be where in the fort? Well, make mini forts-one for each child or two (this is SUCH an issue at our house, but it helps alot when I make mini ones and they can visit back and forth from fort to fort-offering a whole new take on thsi project).
** Find a New Craft Idea Online--there are TONS of craft websites and you can find simple fun ideas to do with your kids. These can also be used for making gifts for the Holidays as well. Why not get a jump on Christmas? Let the kids help you find things and think about some things you have laying around the house that can be recycled into gifts. I made my dh small picture frames one year using cardboard cut into shapes with holes in the middle for the picture to be viewed through and then a cardboard backing. I covered the front with some stuffing and then covered that with fabric I had left over. I covered the back with fabric (just used regular school glue to hold it all down). Placed the pic onto the inside of the back piece and covered it with the front piece, carefully glueing the back and front together. It was cute, and simple. You could attach some magnetic strips to the back and they could be a neat little gift for Grandma and Grandpa or another special person...Here are some Summer Craft ideas, and you can use this site also for looking at Christmas ideas Summer Crafts
**The Olympics are Coming!! --Have your own Olympic Games. You can take one day for each different game, learn about China, eat Chinese food, etc...and just pretend you are right there with the Olympians. Get out and play some Volley Ball, show off some gymnastics routines of your own (or that your child has made up), if you have a pool-put on your own swim races or synchronized swim routine :) This can be endless and at the end, you could even give away some medals made up by you using ribbon and juice can lids Winner's Medal  Make your own winner categories for these like "Best Flip" "Goofiest Jump in the Pool" "Wildest Floor Routine" etc...
Just a few ideas...Im sure with some thought and searching you can come up with your own great ideas. It doesn't have to take much in planning or spending in order to give your kids a break from boredom and sometimes, when you start something, they end up going their own way and mixing it up a bit :) Then, they have learned to make their own fun (and given you a break ;) Have a fun and blessed day!