Thursday, March 30, 2006

Jungle Fever

I was doodling today with my lessons. I had fun playing around with all this color. Although, I think I need to invest in some really good markers.


I felt restless this morning. The morning was moving along nicely but my heart was heavy with several things. Even as I read the Bible I wasn't connecting. "God, I need you. Please show yourself. I need to hear from you." I was flipping through the Bible trying to find a passage that would speak to me. But finally I closed it because I had no idea what to read. Isaiah 43 popped into my head. Huh? I opened my Bible to that passage. This is what I read:

But now, O Isreal, the Lord who created you says: "Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name. You are mine. When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Isreal, your Savior...You are honored, and I love you."

Tears of relief. Thank you God.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

I Think Of You

Into the phone she spoke
And told the fearsome news.
The untrasound showed something wrong.
Using the scale of one to four.
Yours was a four plus.

I cannot read. I think of you.

No food tonight.
They fear the worst.
Everything is urgent.
Tomorrow under the knife you go.
Perhaps a lymph node too.

I cannot sleep. I think of you.

I know you think of her.
She seemed like your sister
More than your mother.
They told her what they're telling you.
Would God let this happen twice?

I try to pray. I think of you.

What does tomorrow hold?
What have you told your children?
I see mine sleeping and wonder.
Where did you find the words?
What are you thinking?

Tears are falling. I think of you.

Please pray for my friend tomorrow and her family.

Drawing School

Well, my drawing school continues. I have been learning so much from the book I'm reading. In fact, while I was doing some of the lessons my eldest daughter came in and looked at my work. She said it was exactly what her art teacher had taught her. The more we talked we discovered that she's been going through these same lessons. She's ahead of me but it was fun "talking art".

I have been so consumed with drawing that I've been letting the Art of Homemaking go to the wayside. So last night I tided up and it felt good. I decided that I want to have art supplies in the kitchen but I also want the ability to put them out of sight. So I began cleaning out the cabinets to make room. Some of my cabinets were orderly but some were just a jumbled mess. My spice cabinets were pathetic. When I started sorting the spices I realized that I'd bought doubles because I couldn't see what I had. So I took them out, sorted them and stored them alphabetically in three different plastic shoe boxes. Yes, I had THAT many! No wonder that cabinet is always in shambles. I de-cluttered my baking dishes. I still have quite a few but I whittled down a lot. Then I attacked my plastic dishes with lids. Man, those can get out of control in a HURRY! I got rid of half of them because they didn't have lids or were damaged in some way. It was nice to get so much cleared out. Now I have a cabinet by my little desk that is cleared out and ready to put my art supplies in.

I started clipping "ideas" from magazines last night of things to sketch and put them in a little box. Maybe someday I'll have files of things to choose from, but for now my little box will do. Well, I need to go. My children seem to be dragging their feet this morning. I think we've been on spelling words for forty minutes! :) I need to get the fire going under their tushies. We've still got math and history to go!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

First Sketches

Here are some of my first sketches. I haven't posted pictures before so bear with me. I had to erase my name while editing all of these thus the little white box in each of the pictures. First-timer's mistake I guess. I'll know better next time! This afternoon I am reading through Drawing with Children - A Creative Method for Adult Beginners, Too by Mona Brookes that Supermom (also an artist) graciously loaned me. I am thoroughly enjoying it so far!

If there are any sketching tips you'd like to give, fire away.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Sketching Crazy

Since I bought that sketch pad the other day, I have been a sketching maniac! My little mister told me today, "Mom, you are drawing EVERYTHING!" He's right. Anything standing still is fair game!

Today I even attempted to sketch my sister. When my kids saw it, two out of three guessed it was her. That's improvement. So far I've drawn: a window, a jar, a vase, a half-eaten cupcake, a Build-a-Bear, a Ken-like doll, Little Mister's shoe (It's his fault, he left it out), a candle, Little Miss (while she was watching a movie), Little Lady (from a picture - she and little mister won't sit still enough yet), flowers off of my kitchen wallpaper, pepper shaker (until the waitress moved it) and numerous other sketches that I've tried to duplicate from books. I'm having SO much fun!!

Thursday, March 23, 2006


I received this email today. I just had to share this after my last post.

"...reminded me of a study that changed my attitude about aging. It evaluated famous people throughout history from all walks of life and occupations (artists, statemen, writers, etc.) and ranked them according to the importance of their greatest accomplishment and the age at which that accomplishment took place. It was determined that 35% of the world's greatest accomplishments (as ranked by critics) were completed by people in their 60s; 23% were done by people in their 70s; and 6% by those in their 80s. In other words, 64% of the greatest accomplishments of all time have been done by people who are 60 or over!"

Encouraging, huh?

Loosing Perfection

Lately I have been learning how to let go of my perfectionism. Now, I'm not one of those perfectionists who does everything perfect. No, I'm the one who fears doing anything because I can't do it perfect. Flylady has been teaching me how to overcome that in homemaking. As she says, "Housework done incorrectly still blesses the house."

There are so many things that I long to do but don't because I don't know how. Translation: I'm afraid I'll do it wrong. I'm a homeschool teacher right? So you would think that it would have occured to me that sometimes the only way to learn something is to jump in and do it! Like when I'm teaching my kids how to bake something. I could tell them everything I do, let them read about it in a book and even taste the finished treat. But the best way to teach them how to do it is to let them do it.

I was fearful of writing, but this blog has been my stepping stone for overcoming that. I've also been longing to sketch. And seeing Stephanie (she's also here) just put it out there for everyone to see has been so inspiring (I hope you don't mind that I keep referring to you). It made me realize that my perfectionism is once again holding me back. So, last night as I ran to the store for some milk, I bought myself some tracing paper (to learn from other drawings) and a sketch book. After my kids went to bed I sat down and began tracing anything and everything. Then I started sketching free-hand. It was so exillerating! I felt free. At one point I thought to myself, oh, I probably shouldn't sketch anymore on this page, it's getting full. What?! What difference does it make? I'm free from being perfect! So I continued adding more to that page just to prove to myself that it didn't have to be perfectly spaced. (And for those who know my graphing fettish, this is huge!)

And do you know what happened? My kids came in this morning, saw my drawings and immediately wanted some paper to draw on. They drew without hestitation. I smiled and felt this overwhelming relief. They are not yet thorted with perfectionism. And maybe, by some miracle, they never will be.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Finding Me

I was reminising about my college years and feeling a tinge of regret that I can't go back to that person. She was happy, thin, and filled with hope for the future. She laughed a LOT. Where did she go? Is she still down in me somewhere? Sometimes I get glimpses of her. Other times I feel horribly distant from her like that was millions of years ago and that I'm not even that person anymore. The other day I found a notebook full of notes from classes or just things I'd gathered during my senior year in college that meant something to me. It was a walk down memory lane. And the most reassuring thing was that what I wrote so long ago seemed familiar. She was still me and I was still her.

I have been reading a book lately called Thin Again by the Hallidays. He uses the imagery of being wrapped in grave clothes like Lazarus. It's like all the pounds I've gathered over the years or other addictions that I've had are the things I've wrapped around me to keep me safe or to lock in my deepest hurts. Only, I'm not dead. So why am I wearing grave clothes? Layer by layer, God has been lifting them. It makes me feel naked and scared sometimes. Other times I feel free. Since one of my addictions has been food, He's showing me how to turn to food only when I'm physically hungry but to turn to Him when my soul is hungry.

I want to be so much more than my stupid struggles. Maybe living this life is always going to be with the tension of struggles and beauty. Beauty lifts my spirits and restores my hope. So I enjoy Stephanie's sketches; read other blogs; watch the rain and listen to Switchfoot sing When I Look At the Stars. Thanks God, for beauty.

Monday, March 20, 2006


I am loving these rainy days. It makes me want to take a very long nap...ZZZzzzz

However, I have a little sick boy that's had a virus of high fever and horrible coughing for the past five days so none of us are sleeping too well. The doctor's office called this morning to check on him. I have NEVER had that happen before. I told them that he was still coughing, that his fever was up and his appetite was down. They told me to bring him back in. They did Xrays on his chest and told me that he had a slight form of pneumonia so they're starting him on antibiotics. The poor little guy is pretty weak. He keeps complaining about his "wiggly legs". The girls seem to have a form of the virus too but they have not been as sick as he has.

Tonight is the Switchfoot concert that I was supposed to go to. Oh well, it's not that bad. After all, I love being home and I checked out a movie to watch after the kids are in bed. Little Miss is going to the concert thanks to Daddy helping with it. I lovingly refer to him as the "Big Kahuna".

I'm trying desperatly to keep my house looking tidy even with sickness in the house. I am determined not to fall too far behind again. I've got a good thing going and I don't want it to end! Hubby did like 12 hours of laundry over the weekend. That's one area that I have not put in my routine yet. No, I'm not kidding, we were that behind and he took it upon his precious little self to do it ALL (wash, fold and put away). Applause for the Big Kahuna!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well, I hear little Mister starting to hack again so I better go check on him. It's getting close to dinner time, maybe we'll have some Chili Frito pie...

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Spring Break

We've had Spring Break this week with my sister and her kids. It has been SO MUCH FUN!! We've played at the park, adopted new friends at Build-a-Bear, acquired new clothes at a thrift store, stayed up late, slept in, practiced and put on a "show" at our very own skate rink (backyard patio), had a Moms-Only night out on the town while Hubby watched the kids, and shared the joy of watching Bride and Prejudice AND Pride and Prejudice. (Yes, those are both new movies out this year and since I LOVE Jane Austin, we had to watch them both.) I am very sad that my sister's leaving to go visit my parents but I guess they deserve their turn too. ;)

One very valuable lesson that I learned this week: You can lay out breakfast the night before and not have to get up to feed everyone. It's very handy for sleeping in.

If you're wondering how we did that, here's the (not sugar-free) list:
  • Monday morning: Krispy Kreme Donuts, individual Capri-sun juices
  • Tuesday morning: Pinch me cake (made ahead and sat covered on a cake plate) with little fruit bowls that were pre-cut and Saran-wrapped in the fridge.
  • Wednesday morning: Banana bread (sliced and in a large baggie in the middle of the table) and cereal boxes set out with non-breakable bowls at each place (milk in cups in the fridge, ready for pouring if needed).
  • Thursday morning: Bagels (on the table in bag) and cream cheese (in the fridge) with granola bars handy in a bowl for the picking (in case someone didn't want a bagel).
My next idea is to try slow-cooking oatmeal or eggs in the crock pot for a hot breakfast in the morning without having to wake with the dawn.

P.S. I am not sure what is with the weird font and sizes. I've tried to correct it over and over but I can't seem to get it to post right. Oh well, it adds a certain new flavor to the blog, don't you think?

Things I Heard This Morning

Things I Heard This Morning:

1. They don't want me to play with them. (What they actually said was they didn't want him to play like he was an animal. They did want to play something else with him.)

2. Daddy showed me a dead mouse!!!

3. My sister usually wakes me up, well, scares me up.

4. I hope there isn't a family of mice in there.

5. Man, I would like to see that (dead mouse) if I get a chance!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Grocery Marathon

Today I did a grocery marathon. I have company coming and they will probably want to eat while they're here. :) I had some great coupons from some of the big price stores. So I mapped out my plan and took off.

First stop: 10 lbs of lean hamburger meat for $1.46/lb; green beans, corn and creamed corn for $.25/ea. Ahead of schedule, I zoomed to second store. (Fortunately, these stores are not too far apart!)

Second stop: Milk for $.88/gallon; Capri-Sun individual juices 10/$1; 2 lbs. of Baked Chicken Tenders for $6; and large Gatarade for $.88. Long line delayed me but my car was in a close parking spot.

Final stop: Aldie's -my favorite store! My grocery cart was more than overflowing. I was having to hold some of the stuff on board. I bought almost a month's worth of groceries for a family of five and still had $50 left in my grocery budget!!! (See why I LOVE that store? That's enough money for two boxes of Angel Food!) I was feeling gleeful inside but the people behind me were getting impatient. It took me about fifteen minutes to sack it all because I didn't have my helping hands. Got home. My helping hands rushed out to meet me and exclaim over all the food. They were glad that we weren't low on everything now. Meaning: bread, cereal or milk. Thankfully, the toilet paper was holding out. Everyone was hungry. I told them that work came before food. Groceries were put away quickly and we all enjoyed the chicken tenders.

Tomorrow's journey: Bake and cook till the freezer's full; and clean until my house is shiney! Stay tuned to find out how Banana Bread turns out...

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Little Happies!

Just a few little happies that have come my way lately:

1. Just when I was having my Homeschool -Mom-Monthly-Meltdown about whether or not my kids were learning ANYTHING, my eldest daughter popped her head into my doorway and asked, "Do you know where the Mozart c.d. is?" She knows that's Mozart?! Handel began singing in my head Haaaaaaaalleluia, Haaaaaalleluia, Halleluia, Halleluia, Halleeeeeluuuia!

2. The other day my kids asked Hubby about moving to a new house. He answered, "The way our house has been looking lately, I don't know if I want to move." Again, Handel began singing in the background and my smile went ear to ear. Could you say that again, Honey? I'm not sure I heard that right the first time.

3. My sister is coming to visit next week! Girls just wanna have fu-un, Ohhh, girls just wanna have fun.

4. I gave five boxes, and three trash bags of "stuff" to Salvation Army. And I've scheduled them for pick-ups for the next three weeks to motivate myself to keep de-cluttering and getting rid of things I'm not using. I feel lighter! I can Fly, I can Fly, I can Fly!

5. Chocolate eggs. I ran an errand last night to Drug Mart and wouldn't you know it? Their Dove chocolate eggs were on sale. I bought a package and enjoyed a few tonight. Mmmmm. Sorry, but I can't think of a song for this one.

Note: In my comments, Michelle came up with the perfect song for this: Oompah-Loompah, Doopa-dee-doo... I just had to add it!

No Condemnation

No condemnation - those two little words have so much packed into them. Last week was depressing. I couldn't shake it. So by the weekend I had to take a good long look to see what was going on. I found it. It was my old "failure routine". You know, that montage of failures that replays itself everytime you mess up. This is going to sound weird but, I realized that I hadn't forgiven myself. God was gracious to remind me that Jesus did not come into this world to condemn the world. So why was I still condemning myself? Yes, I still mess up. I'm sinful. But I don't have to stay connected to my failures for all eternity. I can let it go.

That afternoon, I ran an errand to the eyeglass place to get my glasses fixed and adjusted. I was having one of those, "I feel fat" days. My condeming thoughts started again. "You look ridiculous in those jeans."
"You're never going to get this weight off." "People are staring at you." "I hate this body." Then I realized what was happening and in my mind I said, "Stop!" I stopped. My heart answered all those yucky thoughts with, "Yes, I am overweight, but God is helping me in that area. And yes, I might not look like a teenage model but doggone it, this body has served me well! It carried three beautiful children for nine months each and then birthed them. My legs take me anywhere I need to go. My arms have hugged countless people and worked hard at making my house a home. Even my tushy has given me adequate comfort while I sit. In fact, this body has been wonderfully made and I should be thankful for it. Maybe, I actually like it! So there."

The thoughts were silent. No condemnation.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Cooking Questions

This is a questionaire from a friend of mine. She tagged me to do it and I thought it would be fun.

1. How many meals does most of your family eat at home each week? How many are in your family?
We eat almost every meal at home. We do eat out on Sunday evenings and sometimes Sunday noon. There are five in our family.

2. How many cookbooks do you own? Six! I've been cleaning them out and I've given away lots of them. I've been putting my favorite recipies in my recipe box so I don't have to hunt through an enormous pile of cookbooks to find that
one recipe. My favorites are:
1. Miserly Meals written by Jonni McCoy and
Kraft Food and Family magazine that is FREE if you sign up online. Supermom introduced me to it and I love how most of the recipes are simple but delicious. I don't usually sign up for magazines because they become clutter around my house but this one is worth it!

3. How often do you refer to a cookbook each week?I usually look at them weekly. I try to have my meals planned a week at a time and plan them on the day of the week before
Errand Day so that I'm ready to go grocery shopping.

4. Do you collect recipes from other sources? I always love getting a new good recipe. Anything I eat at someone else's house or a potluck, I ask for the recipe!

5. How do you store those recipes? I usually store them in my recipe box. But Michelle mentioned putting them in a photo album and that sounds like a great idea!

6. When you cook, do you follow the recipe pretty closely, or do you use recipes primarily to give you ideas? I do both. I like following by the book but if I don't have an ingredient then I put in something different. Some of our favorite meals came out of improv!

7. Is there a particular ethnic style or flavor that predominates in your cooking? If so, what is it? Home-style. I try to have creativity throughout the week if I can. For instance: Chicken casserole, meatloaf, Tortillini, Vegetable soup, and something in the crock pot for Errand Day.

8. What’s your favorite kitchen task related to meal planning and preparation? (eating the finished product does not count) Choosing the meals and thinking through the week.

9. What’s your least favorite part? Washing the dishes. I don't mind loading the dishwasher it's just the hand washing that drives me crazy. I know it doesn't take that long but mentally I have a block.

10. Do you plan menus before you shop? Yes, it helps me stay focused and not be tempted to buy extras, saves money.

11. What are your three favorite kitchen tools or appliances? My dishwasher, my ceramic slow cooker ( my mother-in-law gave me for a wedding gift and it's still working wonders), and my coffee maker (can't deny loving that Heavenly juice).

12. If you could buy one new thing for your kitchen, money was no object, and space not an issue, what would you most like to have? A new oven. Mine is old but it still works fine. But if money were no object I would enjoy all the new gadgets on a brand new one.

13. Since money and space are probably objects, what are you most likely to buy next? Pampered Chef vegtable steamer because my sister keeps raving about hers.

14. Do you have a separate freezer for storage? Yes, and it's a large one. I love it! It's especially great when I'm having company. I can cook ahead and freeze.

15. Grocery shop alone or with others? Mostly with others since I homeschool and my kids are with me most of the time. But I shop at Aldi's my
most favorite store. My kids are great at being my runners. We also form an assembly line to bag all the groceries; unload them into the house and put them away. It actually takes much longer now when I go alone. I don't have all my helping hands. L

16. How many meatless main dish meals do you fix in a week? Probably one. It's either mac'n'cheese or some other kind of pasta.

17. If you have a decorating theme in your kitchen, what is it? Favorite kitchen colors? I don't really have a theme other than a romantic look. The colors I have now were there when we bought the house. It's dark blue and cranberry with floral wallpaper. I like it. But, if I could pick my favorite kitchen color it would be a sunny yellow. We are in there so much that I would like it to be light and airy with bright color accented elsewhere, like red, orange, purple, and green.

18. What’s the first thing you ever learned to cook, and how old were you? Hmm, it would either be chocolate chip cookies, mac'n'cheese or tuna casserole. I was probably in 4th or 5th grade.

19. How did you learn to cook? I learned a lot from watching my Mom. She was an incredible cook but I didn't really take an interest until I was engaged to be married. It was sort of a crash course. Then I continued to learn just by following recipes and doing it. (Still learning by the way)

20. Tagging… I’m tagging
Supermom and Kyle. But only if you have time and want to play, of course… I won't be offended AT ALL if you opt out. It's kind of lengthy, I know.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Holding Out for a Hero

You know that song, Holding Out For A Hero by Bonnie Tyler? The one that says, "I need a hero, I'm holding out for a hero till the end of night, He's got to be strong, He's got to be fast and He's got to be fresh from the fight". (For you young'uns, it was the song on Shrek2 when he comes back to save his lady) Well, that was my song last night and boy did my hero come flying in! Hubby came home (must have had that super-hero costume on underneath his clothes) whisked the kiddos outside for some skating and baseball. The kids came running into the house saying Daddy was taking them to the park near our house. I cringed. They all needed baths and LOST was coming on in an hour. I explained my dilemma to him. He smiled and said, "Don't worry, you can watch your show. I'll take care of the kids." Sigh. See why I love this man?!

So he gave me an hour of silence BEFORE my show and then let me have uninterrupted T.V. time. I did laundry, cleaned out drawers, cabinets and such. Getting so much accomplished and having some time to de-grump lifted my spirits. I finished my day by reading in bed and fell into much-needed sleep. I awoke this morning refreshed. But two fights, five whines, and eight interruptions later I'm beginning to wonder if I'll need that hero again.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Insert Loud Screaming Here!

Today has been one of those days. Everything is getting on my nerves! I feel like I'm just in a bad mood but is that really a good excuse? I know it's not. I have HAD it with the constant interruptions and complaining! For example, Little Mister came into my room whining about several things. I didn't want to hear it. I told him to go into his room until he could come back and talk to me without whining. He threw a big fit grabbing his throat as if dying of thirst (but letting me know he was dying to talk) and wailing. I just looked at him. I told him I didn't want to hear a fit and made him go sit on his bed. He wailed the whole time and then wailed on his bed. I told him that if he didn't stop that he was also getting a spanking. Then I let my tongue get the better of me and snapped at him. I knew I was wrong immediately after I'd said it but I was so frustrated that I didn't care. I had to get off to my bathroom and lock the door for a little prayer to stay calm with the children that I love. Grrr. But I was still feeling really fowl. I was stomping around the house and they were staying out of my way. I had to ask forgiveness for snapping and stomping. They forgave.

To continue my story, Little Mister quickly finished crying then came to my room to ask if he could get up. Only, he whined while he asked. I told him I wasn't listening to whining, it hurt my ears. So he attempted to ask me three more times (I should have only let him ask once) each time whining and each time I repeated it back to him in the way I wanted him to say it. I was beginning to get really upset.
I told him that he had no more chances but would have to sit on his bed once again until I called him. Of course this made him let out another wail. I told him to quiet down or there would be a spanking. When I let him up he FINALLY chose to ask in the right way.

We have continued this throughout the day. As I write, he yet again, came in complaining about some toy the girls have that he doesn't. (AHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!) This time I didn't snap. Must be a miracle. I told him to sit on his bed. He started crying and saying that he forgot. Forgot? Are you kidding me?! I DON'T CARE!!! I told him that was too bad, he still had to sit on his bed without a fit before I would let him get up. Thankfully, each time he's coming around a little faster.

Maybe it comes to the point of breakdown before I really see what I need to see. Because later it occured to me that what I've seen lately with my eldest daughter snapping at her siblings may actually be coming from me. I hate it when that happens! OR maybe it's because there are some things her siblings are doing that I'm not seeing and I need to be more observant and empathetic to her. Anyway, I need wisdom and a little sleep probably wouldn't hurt. I didn't get much last night so that might be where all this is coming from. If you think about it, send up a prayer for me today. I'm still feeling grumpy.