Spring Break Plans 2016

This week is spring break for a lot of families. Even though we homeschool, we try to do most holidays and breaks that the local school does since that's who we want to minister to ans well as do-life with.

as Jules is Spring Breaking

We'd fallen a bit behind compared to where I wanted to be in our school work so last week I bribed my big girls and trudged through a lot of work to get caught up, allowing us to take this week off from school paper work. Now we can focus on what I'd rather be doing: playing with friends OUTSIDE, enjoying our last days with our #spidie before he possibly heads to provisional care, spring cleaning purging, recovering after a traumatic baby injury, and doing a special unit about EASTER! That's just the stuff we plan to do at home, not including the valley stuff like working on interior construction, cleaning, partying at the building with friends, cleaning out storage units, preping for our Easter service, and normal weekly responsibilities.

El's ER visit

maybe someday I'll be able to talk about this...but not now

If I write all this down, maybe several things will happen, I'll have a better picture of what I want to accomplish and maybe I'll actually do the things on the list! #accountability

I was planning to publish a post last week about minimizing toys in your home BUT then I realized that toys had taken over again. They were everywhere. Requiring way too much of our time during our day to clean up. Having fosters who have been overly *blessed* with stuff as well as 3 birthdays and Christmas in resent months, I had not been diligent about keeping them out of the house.

Playroom Purge

new playroom shelves last year vs this year

The purge plan includes sorting items into #spidies toys to go with him, toys to be donated to the valley, toys to sell at Duck Duck Goose, and then a few toys to keep. The toys that are being kept will be open-ended toys that require imagination, are manipulative for school, and or are educational all by themselves.  

community easter egg hunt

Our Easter plans include the resurrection garden we made Friday night, helping prep for and attending the community Easter egg hunt, the holy week calendar that I'm already behind on, sinning rocks that we usually don't do until good Friday, and teachable Easter baskets that I'm doing similar this year but rather than 4-5 baskets, I'm doing one large "family basket". My hubs and I already had a date night and purchased all the things for it but they're currently in the trunk of our car in the baby pool because...where do you hide that? hehe

We also already have the stuff we plan to use to make our spring baskets for our neighbors. Now we just have to figure out how to get those items out to make the baskets for them without my kids seeing the other stuff. 

I like planning to just stay home. Its nice to be able to plan flexible trips with my family while others are in school. PLUS, lots of our neighbor friends don't have big plans either so we can play lots more with them. What are your plans for spring break?! 

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Eating Rice and Beans for the Month of Love

Have I mentioned how awful our Monday Nights are? Yeah, I don't like them.

image

For the first couple months of transitioning to Manic Monday evenings, our 2 "big" girls and the parent who took them to dance and gymnastics grabbed fast food between classes. It was the easiest chose, saved me from having to think up and pack something that would last for a couple hours in a picnic bag before eating, allowed us time to grab some groceries in between classes most weeks, and to be honest was kinda fun.

Then Monday, February 1st 2016 happened.

We finished dance class, scurried around the corner to the Dairy Queen, because it was the closest fast food restaurant and the girls had never eaten there before. While staring at the menu trying to decide how to order the cheapest {we often share meals and get waters} I realized one of the main factors we have never eaten there...$$$. I couldn't find a cheap alternative so I chose to 'go big' and get everyone their own meal With drink. WOW! When we finally sat down to eat with little time to spare before having to be back for gymnastics, the girls opened their kids meals to find Mustard and onions on the burgers.

The world as we knew it had apparently shrunk up and therefore ended that night. There was whining, nashing of teeth, pouting, and fit-throwing when I explained that I would help them wipe the mustard and onions off but I wasn't going to take the burgers back. There wasn't time and they needed to learn to be thankful, better yet, GRATEFUL that we were beyond privileged to eating out weekly, especially between our not-so-cheap "extra curricular" that are paid for my their grandparents. {HELLO!}

I was appalled. I couldn't believe I'd created such entitled children. We've gone to extreme measures such as

  • minimizing the number of toys they have, never buying just-because toys
  • paying "commission" for chores to help them learn budgeting as well as having just-because-you-live-here chores
  • doing the 30 hanger challenge along with only buying clothes from consignment events
  • only allowing a single "extra" and only when they're 5 years old
  • having them always share rooms
  • becoming a foster family as a way to serve and open discussion about struggles we may have never known

and the list goes on and on. Where had I gone wrong?! Where was the "thanks for the pricey burger mom!"?

I continued to fume as I took my gymnast to her class and my dancer grocery shopping with me. I text my hubs and angrily announced, "Mags has just earned the family a week of rice and beans. Ungrateful, over-privileged, punk was non-stop complaining about the mustard on her expensive burger."

After talking through the awful night with my hubs, the decision was made to do a month of teaching through rice and beans lunches for a month supplemented with videos about children in 3rd world nations that have to eat this meal, videos about ministries that help these children, and lots and lots of conversations about how privileged we are.

One Month of Rice and Beans for Lunch one families attempt to learn gratitude

Negatives to the month-long lunches of rice and beans:

  • although our children understood the basic idea of why were were doing it, selfishness still exists
  • even with major efforts to make the experience a teachable time, it still ended up feeling like a punishment to the kids
  • our stomachs suffered...I have to admit that the last few days, I had to skip lunch or alter the meal by just eating rice with milk or something to try and finish out the month.
    This isn't the healthiest meal to provide children in poverty but it is the cheapest. 

Positives to the month-long lunches of rice and beans:

  • simple menu planning- we already have the same things, depending on the day of the week for breakfast and similar things for the night of the week for dinner
  • less than 10 minute meal prep- we cooked the rice/water for about 7-8 minutes in our large micro-cooker and the can/can and 1/2 of beans for about 2-3 minutes in our small micro-cooker. {side note: we use these almost daily for lots of recipes including browning our mix'n chopped meat. You can find them HERE.}
  • low grocery bill- we went through 2 large boxes of minute white rice and close to 35 cans of beans {mainly black but some great northern}
  • my kids could Easily help with making lunch
  • no options- there was less and less fussing about what we were having because they just knew what lunch was going to be. They could eat a little of it or a lot of it {I've seen similar effects with scheduling routine meals other times}
  • we all learned how privileged we are- all of us, even parents quickly saw how we were accustomed to having too many options when we didn't feel like eating something
  • we became more grateful for the gazillions of options we have
  • we became more interested in ministries that can help children without our options are are hoping to use money we saved on groceries to support them a little

What are you main concerns with scheduling an intentional rice and beans meal with your family?

 

I found very few simple recipes to try and switch up our lunches during the month of February. Most recipes I found on Pinterest only differed in the way they prepared the rice/bean {ie in a slow cooker or pot on the stove} Our fairly standard recipe was as followed:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups white minute rice
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 Tbs garlic pwd
  • 1 tsp onion pwd
  • Salt/Pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Stir water and rice into large micro-cooker, attach lid, and microwave for 3.5 minutes. Open and stir to reduce overspill. Cook 3.5 minutes until all the rice is soft and water is fully absorbed.
  2. Open can of beans and pore beans into small micro-cooker. Stir in seasonings. Attach lid and microwave 2 minutes or until bean are completely warmed.
  3. Serve

 

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Seeds Family Worship new Lullaby album {review and giveaway}

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Congrats Hannah on winning the Lullaby Album!
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Our family owns several Seed Family Worship CDs. They are on a mission to get God’s Word through Seeds into as many homes (and hearts) as possible around the world.

Seeds Family Worship

It's fun to listen to this music while we're doing school or in the car. The songs are so catchy that they're not distracting but can be amazing background that sinks deep into everyone's hearts. All Seed Family Worship music is pure scripture. No interpretation, no false theology. Just plain Bible verse to music. An amazing way for you AND your children to memorize scripture together. On top of that, the music is quality, variety of styles, repetitive {in a good way}, and rarely cheesey. I have to be honest, every once in a while it's a bit cheddar, but it's kids' music so little bit is expected. It's upbeat and fun. There are kids singing {again still quality} and encourages my kids to sing along  and dance up a storm. 

Recently, we were given their new Lullaby album to review. Logically, with new foster babes in and out of our "guest" room, it was nice to have more "sleeepy time music" for bedtime in their room as well as in the car for dreaded car-naps on long rides. But on a deeper level, it is an amazing thought to know that scripture is sewing into them, no matter how long or short a stay they have with us.

SEEDS FAMILY Giveaway!

Along with my album, they are offering my readers the same album for one of you to enjoy! To Enter To Win:: click through this link and fill out the Rafflecopter. I'll use this secure system to choose a winner and announce it on Monday {3-15-16}.

seeds lullabiesa Rafflecopter giveaway

winner be ready to communicate via email about shipping 
within 24 hours or I'll have to choose the next person

Who knows, maybe it will even get to you in time for Easter. 🙂 Maybe. Speaking of Easter...Seeds Family Worship has an Easter ep. Check it out HERE as well as click around to find more goodies including FREE scripture wallpapers. {NOT AN AFFILIATE, JUST A FAN}

 

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Congrats Hannah on winning the Lullaby Album!
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When It’s Too Big a Number

There are some days I can't manage one more thing. One more meal prep, drink refill, lesson plan, doctor appointment, Staffing, grocery list, load of peed-on laundry, caked on dish, bed time routine, refereed fight, maintenance of another humans life.

When it's too big a number {what's the perfect number of kids to have}

When I can't handle one more kids'...anything, all I hear are the words of the mean lady on Cheaper by the Dozen, "12 is just too big a number". I'm not naïve enough to pretend that's not what some people think about me. I know what they're thinking. What I can't handle is proving them right in any way.

I've been to the doctor nearly every week for a month and 1/2. I feel like my body is falling apart. I watch all these other mom's with "just 2 kids" parenting in ways that only lead me to wonder, "Could I be parenting like that if I'd stopped at 2? If I'd 'planned' my children further apart? If I didn't have too many?" Mom guilt on a whole other level. My insides hurt and I start comparing in the opposite unhealthy way, "Well at least I ___. My kids are better off because there are more of them because ____. At least I do ___ for my kids." And in that moment, I'm not living Christ-like and satan wins.

I started this post weeks ago and wanted to write a post defending large families. I wanted to give a list of why my kids are better off in this family. I wanted to fight for why our family fostering and bring yet more people into this chaos is right and why everyone else is wrong. Then. God.

"It takes all kinds. It takes all kind. It takes all kinds!"
As a whole, all of us together, good qualities, make up an image of Christ. We can't be perfect, having all God's perfect qualities. It takes all kinds to build that accurate picture.

Thanks for reading my pep talk to myself. 😫😂 Thanks for being another part of that image of THE Only One who has it all together. Keep trucking mamma of lots of littles as well as mamma grieving lost littles. His plan is bigger than ours.

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Listening to God is Sometimes Like Drivers Ed Rules

I was terrified to start drivers ed in high school. I’d turned a corner too sharp after driving for 2.5 seconds and put my mom’s giant station wagon into a ditch a couple years before. I wasn’t sure I could do this thing. Driving. That all my friends seemed to love.

Listining to God is sometimes like Drivers Ed Rules

The drivers ed coach was so relaxed and his one rule when we started the actual driving portion of the class {assuming we all knew the textbook rules of the road} was go straight unless I tell you different. I constantly wanted to double check that I was still doing what I was supposed to. Being the only teary eyed newby, I refrained from asking over and over again. I was overly cautious to the point the coach had to tell me I was allowed to speed up a bit during one of my first drives.

I’ve learned my kids are so much like me. Whether out of caution for fear of not doing the right thing or not trusting that I’m paying attention and know when and what is coming.

Mags is in constant need of my reminders to “do the next workbox” for school. Keep working. The plan hasn’t changed. Trust me.
Iz finishes part of a chore and wants to move on to the next thing with while leaving the first ½ done. Complete each step. There’s reason behind my logic. Trust me.
J worries if maybe I’ve forgotten him and wonders if it’s time for a movie yet because surely it is and I just didn’t know. Trust me.
El nags about her cup, even if I’m in the process of filling it, until she’s got it in her hand. Trust me.

As frustrating as it is, I’m glad God doesn’t have the same responses I do toward my children in these situations. REALLY! Finish already. CHICKA!  Don’t be lazy. DUDE! Maybe we don’t need a movie. GIRLFRIEND. I’m Holding The Cup.

God is constant. Unlike us as earthly parents who get distracted and are lethargic at times, God is steadfast in his patience with us as we show our distrust for Him and His all-knowing, grand-planning, goodness, provider-ship. We quite when we think he’s not looking and it gets hard. We cut corners thinking it won’t make a difference. We remind him of His promises hoping He remembers. We beg for Him to take care of us as if He needs our assistance in that.

Often when we're trying to hear God in what He wants us to do during a season of our lives, we forget our drivers ed rules. God gives us simple, generic, across-the-board direction for Christian living. Sometimes we're hoping for specific rather than just driving straight until he tells us to turn again. For a couple years now, I've had to take a page out of the Abraham play book and remind myself that, sometimes, God doesn't speak often. God expects us to go back to the last thing He told us and keep on in that direction until further notice. 

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