Monday, September 30, 2013

A Week In My Life

For those of you who didn't believe that our normal life is a crazy life, then I thought I'd show you just how crazy it can be.  In pictures!

 The never ending mountains of laundry!

Homeschooling....I'd like to say it always looks like this....
but usually it looks more like this!!
 we had a week full of appointments to doctors, chiropractor, orthodontist, and we spent a lot of time in the van looking at this view!

canning the last of the produce from the garden
a dad who was hospitalized due to an illness that caused kidney damage {thankfully the damage was only temporary and as he recovered so did his kidneys}

During this same week we also had a death in our family, started homeschool co~op, and soccer practices and a game! 

I know someday I will miss these days, but sometimes a little less crazy would be nice, too!


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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Can It!!

This is my first year growing a "good garden".  When we lived in town, we had just a small area for a garden.  While I did have success growing some vegetables, I never had enough to  freeze or can for later.  This year we moved and we now have room for a larger garden.  I have had a great harvest of peppers, carrots, beans, cucumbers and tomatoes.  Since this is something I plan to do every year,  we invested in a good canner.

I have become addicted to canning!!  I love it!!  I find it very enjoyable to prepare food and store it for the winter!  I love to see the shelves of my pantry filling with jars of vegetables, juices, and sauces.  There is something very gratifying about not only preparing our home with food, but knowing it is home~grown.  I am very much looking forward to using this food in the coming months.

Canning may seem like a costly investment, but it will pay for itself each year you use it.  We not only had the cost of the canner this year, but also a large number of jars as well. Remember, though, that these are one time costs.  But this cost will be well worth it as we are enjoying healthy food that we grew ourselves!  Next year we will have all our supplies, and the only cost will be the cost of seeds and our time.  If I had been thinking ahead of time, I would have started buying the jars during the winter so I would have been prepared.  Then I wouldn't have had all the cost at once!

If you've never canned before, try it!  Preparing our pantry is something you can't go wrong doing!  And you might become a canning nut like I did!


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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wordless Wednesday!

Sometimes you use whatever is available to write notes.  Sometimes it's funny!!


Monday, September 16, 2013

Oat Flour~An Easy Alternative

I love to bake.  I also love to try things that make my baked good healthier.  One simple and easy way to do this is by adding oat flour.

Now, don't go running to the grocery store to pick this up.  You probably have what you need in your pantry already. 

All you need is oatmeal!

That's right, oatmeal.  Take some oatmeal, add it to your blender or food processor, and process until it is a fine powder.  That's it!

I like to add oat flour to my bread recipes.  It adds a softness to the bread that I don't get just using regular flour.  I usually substitute 1/3 or so of the flour for oat flour.  Don't make too much oat flour though unless you're going to be using it within the next day.  Once oats are processed this way, it goes bad quickly, so storage isn't recommended.

Next time you are baking, try oat flour in your recipe and see if you think it makes a difference!



Thursday, September 5, 2013

8 Ways to Save Money on The Everyday Things

I'm always looking for ways to save money, even if it's only a few dollars here and there.  Here's a list of a few things I've learned throughout the summer to save some money!

1.  Hang clothes out on the line.  If I am lucky, I am able to hang out clothes from April through October.  Since I average about 2 loads of laundry daily, this saves an incredible amount of money on electricity {not to mention wear and tear on my dryer} over the year.

2.  Keep lights OFF!  This seems to be an ongoing problem in our house as I often find rooms with lights on and no one in them!

3.  Wash your own cars.  Washing your vehicles yourself can not only save you money, it can be a fun time together as a family.

4.  Grill out.  Keeping the heat out from cooking of the house will help with cooling costs. 

5.  Stay in the basement.  This was a blessing to our family this year as it has been our first summer without central air {how you take it for granted when you have it!}.  We have one window a/c unit, but it does not cool the entire house.  The basement was the coolest room in the house!  Although, I know not all of you have basements!

6.  Garden.  Grow it your self and freeze or can your harvest.  This is my first year canning vegetables and I love it!  It may be a little extra work now, but it will be worth it this winter when we're eating from our pantry shelves!

7.  Give your own haircuts.  I can't believe how costly it is for kid's haircuts!  We do them at home ourselves and save that money!

8.  Use a rain barrel.  Many of us are going through a dry spell right now.  We have a rain barrel to collect the rainwater from the roof gutters. This is what I use to water my plants so I'm not using tap water.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Our Normal Is Crazy

I was recently asked by someone if our life is ever normal.  I had to answer "this IS normal for our family!"

We have five children, two adults, and one fat cat living in this house.  One of our children has autism and a physical disability.  One of our children has a skeletal defect that required surgery, follow up appointments, and in the future another surgery. One of our children had a heart defect taken care of several years ago, and has doctored for heart problems several times since then.  We just found out that our youngest daughter has significant hearing loss and needs hearing aids.  We are in the process of updating and fixing up our home.  Add to these things the routines of dental and eye exams, homeschooling, church activities, co~op, laundry, grocery shopping and housekeeping.  Life is always moving and things are rarely the same from one day to the next.  And some times it is just plain crazy!!

I do sometimes wish for days when I can stay home and not worry about who's got the next appointment or what the next project involves.  I do wish I could spend a day doing exactly what I had planned.  I wish my house was always clean and tidy.  I wish I didn't have to think about finances, specialists, or special equipment.

But I DON'T wish these days away.  I know they are fleeting.  I see that when I look at my 16 year old's face and wonder how we got here (and why I have to look up to even look into her face!).  I see it as I watch my 14 year old slowly turning into a young man.  As I watch my 10 year old solve math problems he thought he'd never be able to do.  As my 7 year old wants to help with supper.  As I hear my 4 year old ask if he can "do school". 

There will come a day when the only appointments I need to think about are either hubby's or my own.  There will be a time when my house is always neat and tidy, and I can finish something I start. 

But Oh, how lonely {and quiet!} that sounds.

I am thankful that God has placed these things in my life at this time.  I sometimes need to be reminded that they are indeed blessings, and are all part of His plan.  In the midst of the craziness comes peace.  A peace that is in knowing this is all GOOD.

I love our "crazy normal"!


Monday, September 2, 2013

The Hands Of Time

Sometimes I wish all of our clocks looked like the one above.  Time could just stand still and kiddo's would never grow up. 

That's how I felt this week.  Our 6 year old decided to put on a one~singer~concert.  She of course was the one singer.  As we sat there watching her, I couldn't help but think back 10 years to when her older sister was this age.  She would do the same cute things as her younger sister is now doing.  Putting on concerts or plays.  Coming up with a new game we just had to do with her.  All those fun and cute things a 6 year old comes up with.  I wish I could just freeze time.

But of course I can't.  I need to cherish today and be grateful for it.  Every day is a gift and I need to remember to look for the beauty in it.  Each stage of childhood is unique.  If I freeze time on my 6 year old, I'd miss the joy in the stages as she grows.  Someday our kids will be grown with families of their own.  Then we'll start a whole new stage in our kids' lives! 

Will I look back on this time with them and say that I enjoyed each day with them.  Did I live each day to it's fullest?  Did I love them with all my heart and teach them to see the beauty in each day?  I pray I will say YES!

Will you?