An organized life for Momhood…

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Organization: A blessing hidden in a curse. The thing about organizational systems is that it’s easy to create more than you can keep going. What is supposed to help you keep your life together can, if overcomplicated, become your nemesis and because of that I may have overloaded my organizational plate. I started off with a basic life planner and have slowly added in more—or tried to keep it slow and manageable. Needless to say, I’ve attempted to keep certain areas of my life separate in an attempt to stay focused and organized. My planners- My Erin Condren Life Planner- I use this for daily life tasks. By that I mean that I use it for things I must not forget. It is my calendar on the go that doubles as my life scrapbook. I use this for the daily reminders and such. It is my brain dump.
Fauxdori- This is something new in my life. I started this in February. I use this for all my to-dos (detailed lists that wouldn’t fit in my Erin Condren) my menu, my reminders, my notes (things I want to do more on) and etc.
My prayer journal- This is actually based off of a youtube video I found. I wanted to be more intentional in my prayer life but just having no system doesn’t work for me. I need to set up “rules” for myself and systems or I won’t do things. I used post-it tabs to mark the sections and the more I used this, the more I see which ones are being used and which I’ll have to change. I can just remove the post-it out and use it elsewhere. Wonderful invention those post-it stickies! I started this in January as part of my New Year Update You kind of thing (spin off of New Year Resolutions ;)) I recently found this on Amazon and LOVED it. I have a calendar on wall and I write events that affect the family on it for my husband and children but its hanging high so it’s more for my husband. I love that there was space on this to write out tasks, chores, reminders, for all to see and I loved that there was room for everyone to have their own section. I was thinking about using this as a family planner. Well, my AWESOME Mother got this for me! Showed up on my door one day and said, “Here. Enjoy.” So this will be our first week implementing this and I’ll update on that further on. Other things I have to keep up organized is; Week Menu’s (This month is my pantry/freezer challenge. I try to do this every quarter so that nothing goes bad or rancid.) Homeschool schedule Each Day activities and responsibilities for the children (who also have gotten into the whole planner thing) Daily Routine- family and personal So, every Sunday, I sit down and set up my different systems for the coming week. To be continued…

Winner! Winner! Terri Blackstock’s book

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Ok, so, this was suppose to be published last night…. but we had dinner guests and afterwards I sat on the couch to rest for a minute or 10 and around 3am I woke up… Ooops.

So, let’s announce the winner! We had 5 entries! THANK YOU LADIES! And I used my trusty method for picking a winner (aka random.org) and the winner is;

And then went over to the blog post- and our second commenter is;

CONGRATULATIONS JENN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Please contact me so I can get this book in the mail for you!

We are doing a lot of gardening this weekend… and you know what that means! Blog post soon to follow.

The First Day in Lent from a newbie.

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Today is the first day in the Lent season.   My facebook feed is filled with what people are giving up during this time before Easter. It sounds wonderful and like a great endeavor to give up something and put your focus on growing in your faith. I have never understood what Lent is and why it is celebrated or why people would give up something for it. So today I looked up what Lent is, where it came from, and the purpose for it. The gist is, Lent is a time for reflection, a time to pause and the reason we all tend to give up something is so that our minds are turned back to why we are participating in Lent to begin with. Lent was started to remember Christ and His 40 days in the wilderness as talked about in the gospel of Matthew. (Matthew 4) Christ was 40 days without food and was led there by the Spirit. It is a good lesson to see how the devil can twist scripture for his own purpose and how Christ, the LORD was still in the flesh on earth and was “ministered by angels.” (Matthew 4:11)

I have a really hard time with giving up something during this time. Certain things are habits of ours and I would want to take whatever it is I am giving up, very seriously but its habit. I can see giving up coffee and in a tired state of confusion in the morning making a cup of coffee and being halfway through it before realizing that I was giving it up for a time. It’s my personal preference not to make a commitment that I know I am likely to fail to keep.  I think instead I am going to adopt the verse that says;
“do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

I am going to pray. Sounds simple enough right? But it’s actually hard for me. I am a “think and ponder in my heart” kind of gal. Prayer isn’t easy.  For me, I know and have a personal relationship with Christ because of what HE has done on the cross but it has never left my heart that I serve THE LORD. The Creator of all. The God of the Old Testament (have you ever really read the covenants of the Lord and the consequences therein?) As Isaiah says, The Lord is the same yesterday, today, and forever but it is because of Christ’s blood that we are forgiven but knowing that doesn’t create that relationship I crave.  I have to act. Doesn’t make it right, I know, I am really working on it because I do know what the New Testament has told us, how God is LOVE (1 John 4:19 and 1 Corinthians 13: defines that for us)

So that is my “goal”, if you want to call it that, for Lent, to be more intentional in my prayer life.

Dictionary.com tells us the definition for prayer is;
“· A reverent petition made to God, a god, or another object of worship.”

So tonight as I attend Ash Wednesday service,  I will pray that I will grow in truth.  And isn’t that what the spirit of Lent is?  To honor the One who made the ultimate sacrifice for us just a few short weeks later?

Have you ever gotten creative with how you honored the spirit of Lent? Will this be your first year? Please share in the comments below. I love to hear your thoughts.

 

River’s Edge, A Terri Blackstock Mystery- Sodbuster Review

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River's Edge (Cape Refuge Series Book 3)
Book Description;

The man Lisa Jackson loved most may have betrayed her.
Another used deception to manipulate her.
But did one of them kill her?

Ben Jackson is sure to defeat Jonathan Cleary in Cape Refuge’s mayoral race, until his wife turns up missing the day before a major debate. Suspecting foul play, Police Chief Cade launches an island-wide search. But it takes a psychic’s “vision” to point police to the riverside—and Lisa’s body.

The evidence implicating Ben in his wife’s murder is convincing. But as a local scandal escalates into a national media circus, Cade’s instincts tell him to dig deeper. And he’s not the only one. Blair Owens of the Cape Refuge Journal is using her investigative skills to uncover a rat’s nest of dirty secrets—and more than one person with a motive for murder. But Blair’s methods are jeopardizing her relationship with Cade, and an unsolicited prediction from the psychic only adds to her troubles. Is the man’s so-called gift truly from God, as he claims?

Did Lisa’s murder have anything to do with the mayoral race, her husband’s alleged affair, or her decade-long struggle with infertility? Whoever the killer is, he’s about to take his evasion of justice to the next, lethal level. And someone else is going to die.

 

Terri Blackstock’s, River’s Edge is the third book in the Cape Refuge Series. I recently requested this book on the BookLookBloggers program to read and write a review on.  While it is the third book in the series and you get ideas that there is more to the story than just this third book and I didn’t feel like there was a disconnect with the characters. I could easily pick up what was going on without ruining it should I go back to reading the first two books.  I am a mom, I catch reading snitches at the dinner table, before the lights turn off in bed, and whenever else I can (sitting in traffic aka 2 minute stop light) so when I started thing I had teh feeling that this had a slow start but imagine my surprise when I hit a stopping point to realize I had already read half the book! People, this is almost 400 pages!

You are wrapped up in the main characters of our story.  First the Pastor running for Mayor and his wife, Morgan, are trying desperately to conceive and suffering a miscarriage on top of a tragedy and the stress of a mayor campaign was handled so beautifully and realistically that you felt the emotion. You felt the drama but it wasn’t so depressing that you were just done with it.  Since they run a house for people with a trouble past, you know you are going to be walking in conflict and emotions but it was beautifully tied into this story.  Blair and Cade make a cute couple.  Cop and news reporter, gotta love the spark and fire between the two and the love they feel as a newly dating couple.  I look forward to hearing more about their story.

Four stars.  Really enjoyed this book.  Would definitely read it again and would recommend it to family and friends.   In fact, I would love to bless someone with my copy.  Fair warning, the spine did arrive damage in shipping but it looks brand new otherwise.    To purchase this book, simply click this link to be taken to Amazon!

To enter, just put your name in below and I’ll use random.org to choose one winner.  Please make sure I have a way to email you should you be the chosen winner.

 

All opinions are my own.  I was not paid to write this review.  The book was freely given to me with no strings attached other than writing my review on it.

I failed this morning’s quiet time

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“Make time with a God a priority in your life!” They said.
“Get up early and devour yourself in His Word!” They said.
“I’ll do it!” I said.
So I stumble to bed at 12am in the morning. Dishes washed. Counter still needs some cleaning off but the floors are swept and the last load of laundry is folded and I got my daily bible reading in so I could complete my check list for the bible in a year program
The alarm is set for 5:30. I feel myself fall asleep all motivated for the morning.
Sometime around 3am I hear a small cry “mommy?”. The 2 year old is beside my bed wanting snuggles. We try to put him back to bed but sometimes we are so tired we can’t even get up and when I say we I mean my husband cause he’s the strong one….. ….. ……
I wake up with a start 4:30am. I’m awake… I should get up. Why waste the opportunity but I know if I do that I’ll be grumpy the rest of the day from lack of sleep so I try to snatch another hour of sleep. It’s not hard to do.
The alarm buzzes. I wake with a start and jump over the sleeping child to the alarm. I’ll hit the snooze just once. 9 more minutes of sleep would be wonderful right now.
The alarm buzzes again. “Oh yeah, I wanted to read!” So off the alarm goes and I stumbled to the kitchen to heat up leftover coffee and look around for my bible. Oh yeah, I left it on the shelf in our bedroom… I am never going to find it in the dark and I don’t want to wake up the sleeping child.. Maybe I can find something online. So I sit down at the laptop determine to stay focus and do this thing. Before my fingers can finish typing in the search bar I hear a small cry for “mommyyyy”.
My eyes jump as I glance at the clock expecting to see more time passed than I realized only to see that it is only 5:44. She normally doesn’t waken until 6. So off I go to get my 1 year old. Maybe she’ll be happy with a fruit pouch and I can finish this in and feel like a good Christian.

I set her on the couch with a warm blanket and those wonderful creations that my kids love. Great way to get veggies in them if they are picky! And off the internet I pull up an article on a “15 minute devotion for busy moms complete with a free ebook”, that I could pick up too.
I start reading when I feel a tug on my flannels… Baby girl wants to sit on moms lap. Ok. This will be great, we’ll learn together just like Timothy’s mom and grandma. I start reading again… and the two year old stumbles out. He heard sister and wanted something to eat as well. Ooops I fed her the last pouch. The mad scramble to find something for this child that doesn’t involve much prep and is something he can eat (before you think “fruit” I’ll tell you that I have to be very careful with fruit for this child). Puffins! Ok. I grab a handful of puffins and place them on the table slightly scattered so he can’t stuff his face in one fell swoop. Where was I? Oh yes devotions… but that smell! Oh dear diaper duty first. There is still time! I got 8 minutes! So I change the diaper place puffins for her at the table and sit back at the laptop and read the suggested verse, I am about 2 sentences in when the eldest comes in and says “Mommy, I’m cold.” She looks it too. Hubby is up and doing his morning routine. He’ll start the fire soon. Its 5:56 but I sure got my verse in! So I grab a sweater and toss it to her and hope she wakes up a bit more before asking for anything else. And then I sit back at the laptop and wait for the next interruption. No seriously I did. I sat starring at that screen knowing that with three children awake before 6am that either the fourth would wake up or there would be some kind of catastrophe that would need my immediate attention. Before you could type that sentence out I hear a scream and “MINE!” only 2 feet away from me at the breakfast table. So dear Lord, my devotion today is to meditate on that verse, say lots of prayers, read the children their devotions and let it satisfy me because the in depth study that I would choose would go right over their heads so just pure and simple scripture. “And Mary kept all these things and pondered them in heart”.  I’m still growing in my Christian walk.  I am not where I want to be. I never will be.  Right now my devotions are the real life moments that make me pause and think about my beliefs and how to teach them to the children.  In all the daily life and the question the children ask, there is so much opportunity there for me to “ponder” these things and its the Christian walk lived! Sometimes I think we just need to take the Lord at His Word.

So, moms with littles that happen to stumble across my ramblings and this typed out post, I hope you will be encouraged.  Live as Christ has lived. Serve.  We all need refueling. THis I know to be true. Admist everything that there is to do and all that we have to do and never find time to do, find good rich worship songs/hymns to sing. You are doing the good work… We are raising another generation.  Finish today. Try again tomorrow.  Smile.
Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day. Psalm 119:7
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. Psalm 119:105
But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. Luke 2:19

Sodbusting this week

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We are, afterall, Sodbusters. People who toil the soil. Get our hands dirty. Work the earth that is dry. Prep it with lots of mulch for the upcoming extreme heat temperatures (110+ weather). Much like tending out children isn’t it? We nurture them, get them prepared for the rest of their life and for the hardships that may come. Give them a good start so they have the tools to go forth into the world. The thing is, kids are more fun, they can say the funniest thing that plants can’t among other things.

Ok so sodbusting! Well. This weekend we will work in our main bed. It’s a 10×12 “plot”. We used railroad ties to mark it off. We covered it with wood chips for at least 2 years. Pulling them aside for a simple row planting but then moving it back when the plants were gone. The chips have decomposed into the soil and have really given a richness than our dry desert earth needs. My husband will take empty trash cans to a local feed barn and rake all the fallen alfalfa and other straw/hay type stuff and place them in the trash cans. So we get those for free. WE layer them on the beds and wet them down for at least 2-3 days if not a week or 2. Then we get the kids involved. We dig a foot down into the soil and turn it. It would be lovely to have a rototiller to do this kind of work cause its hard and exhausting but it’s a better workout then you’ll ever pay for. Whoooooie! (No charge for that frugal tip!) So once that is done my husband (you’ll here me speak a lot of him in this post and I’ll tell you why later on) takes a pvc pipe, lays it on top of the soil with slight pressure to create a straight line. Now we are ready to pull the seeds out. It’s works like a assembly line. One person goes ahead and creates holes (boys) and other person meticulously drops the seeds one by one into teh holes (girls) and another covers up the holes and lightly pats the soil down (parents). We use a rake (not a leaf rake though) width for each row. How this is set up is… 1 rake is our path, 2nd rake measurement is a planting row. Another rake measurement is another path (to get between the rows) and another rake measurement is another row and so on and so forth. So we do this with each row of seeds we plant and then we scoot the mulch up close but not covering the seeds we just planted, maybe leave them about 3-4″ of breathing room. And then we water. What do we typically plant in this bed?

  • lettuce
  • swiss chard
  • kale
  • green beans
  • peas
  • beets
  • carrots
  • onion
  • broccoli (first year and what a success!)
  • garlic
  • radish
  • whatever else we decide to throw in.

In the other beds (not previous discussed but implied) would go things like

  • tomatoes
  • squash
  • cantelope
  • zucchini

things that need more room to grow.

So, I told you I would explain why my hubby is mentioned as the main gardener… well, I have a black thumb.  I touch the garden and I kill it.  I even had my own plot last year and ended up with nematodes on my tomatoes! This fall, I told my husband I was NOT touching it at all. I felt sure that something would happen, some catastrophe that would prove my innocence among the plants. But, as it so happened, we had cats use our plot for liter box, we had kids running through it, we had a horrible wind storm, we had a gopher…. and we also had our best crop ever.  I’m doomed!  No worries. I’m donning my gloves, hat, overalls and big girl boots this spring and I’m gonna get back in the saddler errr soil and pitch right on in and conquer!

Our best gardens have always been in the fall.  It’s mid-February here and we have already experienced some 70f weather. We will plant a spring garden because good vegetables are hard to come by affordable and we love for teh children to have that hands on experience of knowing good work ethics.  You don’t work, we won’t eat. Plants die. Good cycle lesson there.   I think it is important to grow your own food as well as teach your children.  It’s a lesson that is dying in our culture of ready-packaged foods.  I hope one day my kids will learn how to butcher meat to feed themselves…. and I hope I have stomach enough to be right there beside them learning and realizing that I will be eating that.

It’s good to enjoy life…. and we’re enjoying it one sodbusting day after another.

 

Books I recommend for the sodbuster at heart; (Frugal tip! Check out the titles at your local library!)


Square Foot Gardening


Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre

Extreme gardening- How to grow organic in the hostile deserts (by The Garden Guy)

One Acre Homestead: Planning for Self-sufficiency and financial independence.
(I would use this more as an inspiration rather than a book I, personally, would reference for gardening. I really enjoyed it and once in a while pick it up to read it, smile, and go back to reality. ;))

 

Eat more Kale

Why is it that we almost step not just 10 feet away, but out the door and onto the side walk away, when we hear the word, “Kale”. It’s harder to give away than Collards or Swiss Chard, never understood that since I use it the same as I do the other ones. But I get it, new things are always a bit daunting.

Here is a simple dish using Kale.

  • 4-5 cloves of garlic diced (Love me some garlic!)
  • 1 diced onion
  • 2lbs of chicken diced
  • Bunch of kale washed and chopped
  • Taco seasoning.

 

  1. Saute’ garlic and onion in a bit of olive oil on medium-high heat, don’t let it burn but get it a nice golden color.
  2. Add chicken after 4-5 minutes. Sprinkle with taco seasoning (I love to make my own using salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne (a pinch mind you!), cumin, chili powder, and oregano.
  3. Cook until the chicken is almost done and add the kale. Kale can take a while to cook which is why I add it before the chicken is fully cooked.

Tonight I served it with quinoa (don’t shudder!) asparagus, and small amount of refried beans because my kids have been eating like cows lately.

 

This week’s Goals – Link Up

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Over on Money Saving Mom Blog, Crystal Pain is sharing with us this week’s goals.  I like goals… I feel like I am heading in a direction and have a map to get there.

When I did my New Year Resolution, I decided to focus on 3 changes each month.

January’s were to be up at 5:30, Start a Prayer Journal, and continue on a Trim Healthy Mama plan.  I did really well! I was up on time for the most part. I am really excited about my prayer journal after watching many youtube videos.  My Trim Healthy Mama was for the most part on plan but I haven’t been consistent there as I should be.

February’s goals are;

  • Continue with January’s goals.
  • Walk 3 days a week
  • Plan something fun with the kids
  • Journal

So with that in mind, continuing on this WEEK’s goals, I will try to incorporate more of my monthly goals.

Mothering/Wifehood (especially with Valentines on Saturday)

  • The way to a man’s heart may be through his stomach but with my dear one a clean home is a happy home.  I want to really put a lot of effort into having the idea of a better homes and garden… not saying it will be one but I would like the feeling that we’re aiming for it.  Everything in its home or gotten rid of if it doesn’t have a home.
  • Read to the children every day.  This is a hard one for me.  During the day there is so much to do and not enough time and I think its a good activity to do before bed so we wind down but I admit, come bed time it’s like “shoo, shoo, I need quiet.”  Love my children but… I also love quietness.  But isn’t that motherhood? Learning to die to self? Yeah… I’ll let you know how this one goes.  Rome wasn’t built in a day.
  • Walk three times a week.  Not gonna happen today (I like Mon, Wed, Fri) so I’ll have to figure out a better routine for this week.
  • Write a few letters and make and mail a few cards.

Business Goals

  • Sew some burp cloths
  • Knit some dishcloths.

 

Planner picture is my Erin Condren Life Planner.  Love mine!  If you sign up with the provided link, you will get a $10 off coupon emailed to you when you fill out the required form.  I hope to do a VLOG soon for you on how wonderful this planner is and how it changed my life.

 

 

 

 

 

Homeschool Kindle Book deals

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Finding affordable Homeschool resources for the frugal family, can be an ovewhelming task.  Here are a couple finds from this morning, that I have personally added to my Kindle collection.  If you don’t have a Kindle, tip, you can read these on your computer.  Be sure to download the proper program provided free by Amazon.com


Margaret B. Pumphrey has created a wonder classic story of the time of the Pilgrims and Native Americans. Audience does not have to wait til Thanksgiving to enjoy the richness of the culture outlined in this wonderful 258 page fiction work. Great for history and literature study.

 

This book I just got on my Kindle.  I saw it in the discount and I have yet to find a biography of William Tyndale floating around in my thrift shop excursions so I am really excited to read this one to the children. It is a recent published book so no reviews are posted yet but it seems like it is part of a series written by various authors in the “Long Line of Godly Men Profiles” series.

This is a free resource book!  At the time of writing this post the cost is $0.00.  Prices are subject to change and for free why not try!  Again, JUST got this book so I have no personal feedback on it. It has an age level of 10 – 18  

 

All prices are subject to change without a moment’s notice on Amazon. I am an affiliate blogger. Your clicks earn me a percentage that helps the family budget! Thanks.

Why I do not shop every two weeks- Budget friendly ideas

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The great thing about doing what is best for your family is that quite often you will reevaluate what you are doing and if it works for you and if it really is what is best for your family. Recently this was in my budgeting and my groceries. I have tried to do biweekly shopping trips because I have read all over the web how that is the best saving tip out there. Maybe it is and I am doing it wrong. I switched to grocery shopping every week though because quite often I would make my menu, go grocery shopping for the two weeks and then when the second week came along a lot of the things I had planned were eaten. I can’t really blame it all on the kids, or even my husband. We work hard. I would even plan snacks out to prevent this but inevitably I would end up making a second or third shopping trip during the week or last minute have to come up with something new. That can get costly. Just sayin’.

I get my grocery ads every Wednesday in the mail. I look them over. I will then go to the fridge and the pantry and see what we should try to use up. I will write them down. Then I go back to the add, see what is on sale and see what we can incorporate into our menu.

We have a budget of $100 week for our family of 6. It seems like so much writing that out especially when I was at $40 a week at on point with the four of us. But the prices of food are so crazy right now. Approx $3-$5 a dozen of eggs! I don’t even buy beef anymore and that is not just cause it doesn’t fully agree with me but it really is just not frugal! I know I am not the only one that faces these kind of challenges. So hopefully you can figure what works for your family and what options you have available for shopping. We have 2 options here for grocery shopping. Since we are a gluten-free family and my husband has a serious diet challenge to help with his health sometimes it seems more costly then ever. For the record, we have always been gluten-free. You don’t have to buy special gluten-free foods. I don’t. I am gifted a lot because I have generous friends that give them to me when they are done but for the most part they just don’t fit within our frugal budget category.

So, that being said, I made inventory (dark brown tab), I made my menu (laminated sticky note pad from Studio Oh! . I like these because you can make a menu and then pull the shopping list off. They also have really cute designs available. Anyway, make my menu, write out the shopping list. If I have a coupon that will be useful, I am sure to note it so I don’t forget it. The “s” and the “a” tell me which store. Sometimes I put prices next to items that I may not necessarily need but are a good price. That way if I write it down and see that I don’t need it when I am in the store, I am reminded why I wrote it down. This is a relatively small list this week. I also get a vegetable box from the local co-op group for approx $40 a week. I have found this to actually be cheaper or about the same cost as veggie buying from the local store. The thing is sometimes its different stuff like rutabaga, Jerusalem artichokes (not really artichokes) turnips, etc. Thing you may not be use to cooking. I have liked it. I’m really learning how to use different vegetables and can barter a lot of my fruit for more veggies. I really do want to do the Pantry Challenge for February and use what is in the pantry as our main source. I like to do this before the hot weather comes because we loose a lot of our pantry stuff due to rancid and whatnot. Anyway… That is my plan for this coming week.

So, that is one reason why I don’t shop biweekly. It is actually saving us money in the long run I think. I keep trying to go back to biweekly every so often but for my stage in life this works great.

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