Sunday, April 13, 2014

What We've Been Up To



Sick, sick, and more sick. That's how I would describe the last month. It feels as if every Monday afternoon for the past few weeks, at least one of the kids is coming down with some sort of illness and then usually by Wednesday all of the kids have caught the sickness too. Poor Luke seems to be the one who gets the brunt of it, which has been really hard for me(him too, of course!) It's so sad seeing your babies sick, especially when they can't tell you what's wrong.



Thankfully we've been able to avoid antibiotics(my preference is to treat illness naturally, although I'm not against using medicine if the need arises) and hopefully soon everyone will feel better. In the meantime we've been enjoying a more relaxed routine, extra baby/toddler/big kid cuddles, and getting as much sunshine as possible.

Speaking of sunshine, it is finally starting to feel like spring here in Illinois! Last week we had a couple of beautiful days, and we took some "spring" days. I mentioned on my facebook page that we didn't take any snow days during the winter, so now we can take a few days off from school work and enjoy this beautiful weather. Last week we went to the SIUE gardens and spent most of the morning and early afternoon playing out there.



I also went to my first homeschool convention a few weeks ago, and oh. my. word. was that place amazing. So many books, so many vendors, so much curriculum to look at. Thankfully, I have a pretty good idea of what we are using for next year so I wasn't completely overwhelmed, but definitely would have been if that hadn't been the case. I also scored this book that I've been wanting to read for a long time.


Oh, and I was so excited to tell you all that I was recently asked to become a monthly contributor to the website Raising Homemakers. I actually posted over there last week if you'd like to go check it out!

How are the rest of you doing? Has anyone else read Large Family Logistics? 

If you enjoyed this post, I would be honored if you followed my blog via email or"liked" my page on facebook. Thank you so much for stopping by!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

5 Awesome Things about Having Kids Close in Age


"What on earth are you going to do when they're all teenagers?!"

"How are you going to pay for college for that many kids?"

"Your poor older children. They never got to be the baby for very long."

These are just some randomly rude comments I've heard in the last few weeks alone, from strangers. I'm never quite sure how I'm suppose to respond to any of it, I mean, do they even expect me to give an answer? Quite honestly, a. It's none of their business. and b. my older children seem to be doing pretty well, so far. :)

As I've thought about some of these comments, I've been reminded yet again that while it's definitely not easy having so many little ones underfoot, it's also got some benefits.

1. They are each other's best friends. Sure they have their little arguments, and sharing issues, but they all love being together and playing together. Especially when I look at Lily(my four year old) and Anna(my five year old) I can't help but think how much fun it must be to always have your best friend around.

2. They are all on a similar schedule. Obviously Jack's daily routine is different from Luke and Max's, but they all still have an afternoon "quiet" time, and they all go to bed at the same time. The kids typically go to bed at 7:30, so we get to relax a little before heading to bed ourselves.

3. They have similar interests. For example, we can go to the park or the transportation museum, and everyone will genuinely have a good time. When we have family movie nights there really isn't any arguing over whether or not something is a "baby" show.

4. They are used to babies. The kids love babies, and there isn't usually too much jealousy when we bring a new one home(although it's not perfect.) But the children are already used to seeing Mommy and Daddy with other kids, so they don't generally get too worked up when they see us holding a new baby. Plus, they just think babies are cute and love playing with them.

5. It teaches you to relax. I always smile(well, sometimes I cringe) to myself when I think back to when I just had one child. I would stress out about every little thing and make myself sick with worry reading What to Expect in the First Year(Is he smiling enough? He's not clapping yet, what are we going to do?!) I had a strict bedtime routine and nap time routine for him, and heaven help the baby sitter who went even the slightest bit off of that schedule. That's not to say bedtime routines are bad, but really I don't think it matters if your child's grandma wants to rock the baby to sleep one night when you usually prefer to let your baby go to sleep on their own. Having multiple children, can certainly help you get a little more confident and relax.

Maybe I should print this list off and hand it out to the people at the grocery store who make these comments...;)


What else would you add to this list? 


If you enjoyed this post, I would be honored if you followed my blog via email or"liked" my page on facebook. Thank you so much for stopping by!



Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Cultivating Thankfulness



There was a time in my life where I would spend hours reading and studying my Bible in the quietness of my room. My journal pages were full of heartfelt prayers. Sometimes I would even look up different verses in different translations of the Bible, just to gain a better understanding of scripture.

It was wonderful, and I will always look back on that time in my life with fondness.

But now I'm a mother. I don't have hours upon hours to quietly study scripture. In fact, most of the quiet hours that I do have, I'm asleep!

While I do still try to keep up a journal, I'm definitely not as consistent as I once was.

Nowadays most of my prayer time feels like I'm constantly sending out flares.

"Jesus, please help me speak with a kind voice."

"Lord, give me grace to not snap in anger towards this child."

"God, I can't do this, I'm so tired, please give me the strength and energy I need to get through this day."

I'd venture to guess I'm not the only mom whose prayer life looks like this. It's praying without ceasing at it's finest.

Something I've been thinking about, and convicted of is that my prayer life is almost always centered around requests(mainly requests for help.) While I should be constantly asking God for help, and relying on his grace to get through the day, I've also been feeling led to remember to thank God for the random things that happen throughout the day.

"Jesus, thank you for this precious baby with the adorable belly laugh."

"Lord, thank you for allowing me to be home with these children, and for giving me the opportunity to point them to you. Thank you for blessing me with a hardworking husband."

"Oh, Father, they are so cute writing stories! Thank you for their imaginations, and for allowing them to be such good friends."

The amazing thing is that the more I strive to be more intentional with being thankful, the more joy I start to have. The more joy I have, the more peaceful our home is.

And isn't that the kind of home we all long to give our families?

It's a beautiful thing to show our children not only how dependent we are on Jesus, but also showing them how thankful we are for them and the things around us.

Be sure to enter the giveaway for ABC Say it with Me!

If you enjoyed this post, I would be honored if you followed my blog via email or"liked" my page on facebook. Thank you so much for stopping by!

Linked to A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Raising Arrows, Walking Redeemed, Raising Homemakers, Modest Mom




Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Moore Family Films Review & Giveaway





The television and I have a bit of a love/hate relationship. When I'm able to have self control, and only use videos for special occasions then I'm completely fine with letting my kids watch movies every once in awhile. Honestly, I'm in the camp that thinks that television can be a great tool when used in moderation.

Unfortunately there have been many times that I haven't used television in moderation with my kids and eventually one show would turn into another, then another, and before I knew it I had kids who didn't enjoy reading, were having trouble keeping good attitudes, and would have melt downs over little things. Couple that with the fact that some movies(even some geared for young children) can have some scary scenes in them, it's enough to make me want to give up the television for good.

So when Moore family films offered to send me a copy of their new video, ABC Say it with me, I was excited but a little unsure of what to expect. Thankfully, any concerns I had were put to rest as soon as I watched it. ABC say it with me is an excellent video to have on hand. Not only does it help teach my children scripture(I've talked about it before, but memorizing scripture is one of my primary goals for my children right now), but it also helps reinforce the values that my husband and I are teaching our children.

If you're looking for a movie that presents your kids with the gospel, helps them memorize scripture, and reinforces the values that you're trying to teach at home I would highly recommend ABC Say it With Me.

If you would like the chance to win a copy of ABC Say it with Me, Moore Family Films has generously offered to giveaway a copy to one of my readers. Just enter below!

Good "luck!" ;)







Monday, March 17, 2014

Trains, Planes, and Birthdays


This past weekend was Luke's birthday weekend, so my family came in town to help us celebrate. Friday morning we decided to drive into St. Louis and check out the Transportation Museum. 

The kids had a blast walking through trains, seeing old cars, and getting to take a train ride. 

Papa and his little buddy. :)

Saturday was Luke's birthday. However the poor boy was so worn out from Friday's adventure that he slept through his birthday party. ;) Seriously by the time he finally woke up, everyone was gone(my mom and dad had a four hour drive ahead of them.)  It was all right, though, the kids, Erik, and I still had fun celebrating with him. 

Really, though, the main thing with a first birthday party is seeing the new one year old smash into his cake.


Here he is, not quite sure what to think about all of this sugary goodness.


And here is, apparently not impressed. :)

Oh well, something tells me he won't always be so sad when it comes to eating cake.

***

Goals: 

1. Finish up The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. My heart is so happy that my kids have been enjoying this one so much. Start in on Wisdom and the Miller's.

2. Exercise 3 times this week.

3. Go through our clothes and start giving stuff away either to friends or goodwill. I'm feeling the need to get rid of stuff!

Menu:

Breakfast- Oatmeal, Granola, Eggs and Toast, and bagels

Lunch- sandwiches, salads, and leftovers

Dinner- Leftovers, pancakes and eggs, tacos, Bacon wrapped maple chicken with sweet potato fries and broccoli/salad, cheeseburger soup, ham with mashed potatoes and carrots

How was everyone else's weekend? Anyone else been to the Transportation museum in St. Louis? 

If you enjoyed this post, I would be honored if you followed my blog via email or"liked" my page on facebook. Thank you so much for stopping by!

Be sure to enter the giveaway for the book How to Build a Strong Christian Home!

Linked to Titus 2 Tuesdays

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Time Flies


One year ago, this sweet little boy came into our lives. Seriously, this has been the fastest year of my life, I can't believe Luke is already one.


He started out as a really fussy baby, but by the time he was a couple of months old he's been a pretty laid back and happy little guy.


Lily loves to pretend like she's his little mommy, and he's(mostly) happy to oblige.


He loves to watch all of his brothers and sisters, and Jack is especially protective of him.


Case in point. :)


Happy first birthday, Luke! We love you, and pray that you will grow into a man who loves and serves the Lord!

If you enjoyed this post, I would be honored if you followed my blog via email or"liked" my page on facebook. Thank you so much for stopping by!

Be sure to enter the giveaway for the book How to Build a Strong Christian Home!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Hug, Kiss, and Pray



I am extremely blessed to have women in my life who encourage me as a mother. A lot of them are friends who are in a similar season of life as me, and some of them are "older" women who have older children or kids that are all grown up.

I absolutely cherish these friendships. There's nothing more encouraging to me than sitting down with other moms who love the Lord that can relate to my struggles, but ultimately point me back to Jesus and what the Bible says about raising our children.

I can remember not too long ago talking to one of my friends(she has older children, and has been homeschooling for quite awhile.) I was telling her how I was concerned about trying to homeschool two different grade levels, while trying to keep the three younger children entertained and out of trouble.

She listened carefully to my concerns. She gave me some tips for managing my schedule. Then she told me three things that she would focus on if she could go back to when her kids were little.

1. Get God's Word in their heart. Make that the priority. There will never be another time in our children's lives that they will memorize things as quickly as they do now, so this is an opportunity to hide scripture in their hearts.

2. Teach them to help. It might not be perfect, or be exactly the way you would want things done, but involve them in the house work. By putting in the effort now, they will become a huge help as they get older.

3. Hug them, kiss them, and pray with them about any issues they are having. Childhood is fleeting. Let them know that they are growing up in a home where they are adored, and that they have a Father who will help them when they are sad or scared or when they just can't get along with their sibling.

These three things have been my focus this year. Yes we still do plenty of math and reading, but ultimately I strive to make these things our home's priority.

If you enjoyed this post, I would be honored if you followed my blog via email or"liked" my page on facebook. Thank you so much for stopping by!

Be sure to enter the giveaway for the book How to Build a Strong Christian Home!

Linked to Raising ArrowsA wise woman builds her home, Walking Redeemed,Titus 2 Tuesdays

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