Monday, March 31, 2008
I was blessed by talking with this woman and hearing stories of how God is providing for her and what He is doing in her life. When I went home I felt God nudge me and tell me that I have been blessed in order to bless others. Being frugal and shopping the deals isn't about hoarding as much as I can for ME, and MY FAMILY and accumulating a huge stash I can brag about. I have so many things stocked in my gift box and in my pantry that I have gotten for free, or for hardly anything thanks to God's blessing. So, at God's leading, I filled a couple of bags for her of medicines, hygiene items, and non-perishable food and sent it back to her college with her. She nearly started crying when I handed her the bags. At first she said she was tempted by the enemy to think that I had thought she was begging when she was telling me her situation the other day. But then God spoke to her and reminded her that HE is the One providing and desiring to confirm HIS plans in her life and it is a gift from HIM. I hope that this small gift can in some way save her money on necessities and show her that God is taking care of her, even in the little things. I also hope we can support her financially this summer as I have a heart for pro-life ministry and yet don't always know how I can help since there isn't a crisis pregnancy center in our town and we don't have an abortion clinic nearby.
I write this story, not to brag about some good deed I did, because I honestly know it was God who laid the idea on my heart, and God who provided the stuff in the first place, but instead to share with my blog readers one way that they can use what they have to bless others. Many of you are coupon shoppers/deal shoppers and I hope those of you will be willing to share with people God brings into your life. And even if you don't have a lot, sometimes God will require to give up something that you would prefer to keep, or share something you think that you can't afford to, but He will bless you for your obedience!
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
My folks spent Spring Break in Guatamala with my brother who was a missionary. They had a wonderful time and many interesting experiences. My dad, who is a business owner/carpenter/craftsman, got a kick out of the enthusiasm of the merchants in the market. They would throw candy at you and then expect you to pay for it. The merchants in the dress shop were so eager to sell my mom a dress, even though it didn't fit her, that they ripped the dress apart and re-did the seams for her so she would buy it.
To quote my brother, regarding their bus experience, 'It was jam packed and so we had to squeeze ourselves in and stand up holding onto the bar on the bus roof. They kept packing more and more people in and I kept getting forced tighter and closer to the woman behind me. At one point two large women were sitting on each side of the isle and I could barely squeeze my legs through between their thighs. It was quite a ride!" There were about 120 people on a bus built for 40!
My folks also got Jeremiah a soccer ball, Ali a little embroidered apron, Josiah a hacky sack, and our new baby some cute little woven booties.
Is there a "healthy" alternative to Ramen noodle soup? I get hungry for it every now and then and it's such a fast fix for lunches but I don't want my kids to grow up on MSG either! I had it a lot as a kid and like it, but was wondering if there is a better alternative?
Note to "The Momma": I appreciate all your wise advise and comments here! I've tried to comment on your blog but my computer never lets me. I was so proud of your cute shoes you posted a while back and I thank you for the tips on sugar. Even though we tried to control the Easter candy, it was a hopeless cause since everyone else gave our kids sugar and that is likely why they were so awful on Monday!
Where did I find the great books I recently posted on? I saw them in a CBD homeschoolers resources catalog and asked my in-laws to buy them. They either bought them from www.christianbook.com or www.amazon.com If you plan to homeschool, you will find yourself drooling over everything in the CBD catalog!
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
I'm so excited about my new books. Especially after my rough evening with the kids (see yesterday's post!)
I've always been a Josh Harris fan, so of course I love this book by his father, illustrated by him when he was 18. My mom had the 21 Rules on our fridge during my teen years and I think they are great! We've already started memorizing them and coloring the pages and talking about them.
The book, Hints on Child Training is a good one for me. I enjoy hearing the wisdom of older people who have been there and done it and this guy is great! H. Clay Trumbull is the great-grandfather of Elisabeth Elliot, and he was an evangelist, a Civil War chaplain, a biblical archaeologist, and Sunday school pioneer who raised 8 children of his own. He wrote this book in 1890 but it's still practical for today. I was blown away by his chapter on denying kids things because he was talking about how many things kids "nowadays" are given and how many toys they have and how many are over-indulged. I thought, "Man, what if he could see our kids in 2008!" I haven't read all of it, but I have been especially encouraged in giving my child more choices, never scolding or yelling, and one of the best points I've read so far is not trying to over-do it. I think sometimes, especially when I'm with people I want to impress or people I'm sensitive around (like in-laws) I try to over-correct and get super uptight about making sure my kids are "perfect" or that everyone thinks I'm doing a great job of parenting. I loved how Mr. Trumbull emphasized sometimes letting the child alone and not being overly conscientious at parenting, like many in our culture today seem to be. Another great point he had was not to break the child's spirit. I've seen so many hard-core books on child discipline in Christian circles and this chapter really challenged me and helped me to see that it's not about forcing them to my will all the time, but training them to choose what is right.
Mommy Teach Me is a book for moms of preschoolers and I'm anxious to read it!
This book, published by Vision Forum, is a good storybook for children, emphasizing the alphabet and stories about Christian character.
Monday, March 24, 2008
My usually happy little guy has been a whiner and fusser and wants to be held ALL the time! He cried for half of the church service in the nursery just because he thought that I was going to leave him, even though I kept telling him that it was my week to work the nursery! He was fussy at the church Easter dinner. He is fussy sometimes at home when he has no reason to be. I'm not sure if he's teething but whatever it is, it's ANNOYING! Then my friends had a little get-together for me at McDonalds to celebrate my birthday (thanks gals!) and my daughter was being a pest and hitting other kids; kids we don't even know as well as my friend's kids. Embarrassing, but typical! Can I go crawl in a hole and come out when my kid is in elementary school? Then, when we got home my little boy was due for a bath, having smeared himself and me with my birthday cake, and I undressed him and was preparing to give my daughter her additional punishment for being naughty at McDonald's and she was screaming, he was screaming because he was scared and he began running around naked, peeing all over the carpet and the doll on the living room floor! Ahhhhgh! I threw him in his little bathtub and tried to finish up with my daughter but he was screaming like he was being tortured and kept climbing out of the shower (we don't have a big tub) and slipping and falling out of the shower and smacking his head and trying to crawl across a wet floor while slipping and sliding and screaming! I could not for the life of me understand it as he LOVES baths and jumps to take one! So here I am with a kid playing slip-n-slide in the bathroom, getting all banged up from slipping and falling, another kid screaming bloody murder and all the while trying to scrub pee up from the living room all at the same time and live through all of the insanity! I was definitely more drill sergeant-like than gentle during this whole time! I finally got them calmed down and to bed and was so weary I wanted to sit down and cry. I'm just so glad that my in-laws bought me a parenting book I'd been wanting for my birthday. I think I'll go read it right now!
....To be continued......
Friday, March 21, 2008
It's easy to see why mothers, myself a the top of the list, struggle with gentleness. We have SO MUCH to accomplish in a day, that it's hard not to feel frustrated, angry, harsh, and snappy when little someones are doing everything they can, or so it seems, to make our lives harder and more difficult as they create more and more work for us.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
A. Eat it if it's yucky junk food loaded with preservatives or sugar
B. Stock-pile it just because I can
C. Bust my butt to get the deals when I'm tired or sick or can't make the trip to the store
D. Beat myself up over coupons I forgot or deals I missed that my friends got
E. Do every deal my friends do
F. Pay for something (even just a little bit) if it's something I would have never bought or would never use but decided to get just because of the coupon. This is tempting because sometimes I can get $5 shampoos on clearance for 50 cents or a dollar a bottle but I REFUSE to buy it knowing that I have about 5 bottles of free shampoo to use up from Walgreens and I absolutely DO NOT need to pay for more that will just sit around forever and will eventually be given away or sold at a yard sale.
G. Take freebies that are worthless to me (air fresheners, denture creams, etc.)
H. Compromise the quality of my life or my family time (not to mention wasting gas) in order to deal shop
I. Deal shop constantly and become a shop-a-holic even if I am a "non-spending" shop-a-holic
Sunday, March 16, 2008
see if I get the most enormous with #3 since I'm stretched out from previous pregnancies. It's hard to imagine being bigger than I was with Jer since he was so close to the surface and seemed to go straight out!
I know that as you age, these things don't really matter and with each kid you have you lose a ton of modesty and personal privacy. But still......I am so thankful to have midwives!
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Monday, March 10, 2008
The top of the microwave is another clutter-magnet. I store new recipes I find in the newspaper or jot down from the internet on top of the micro and the pile looks very unruly. I decided to sort through them and throw out the things I'm never going to get around to making and save the promising ones in a cute folder for a neater look.
The top of the fridge was getting very cluttered and dirty. All of the school-type stuff was ending up on top of the fridge (playdough, foam letters, paints, crayons, markers). It was all jumbled up. Next week's project will have to be organizing all of our school/art supplies in a plastic bin. All of our numerous medicines and vitamins were overflowing the basket and box. So, I sorted through them and put the ones we hardly use away in our first-aid kit in the bedroom. I made them look a little neater and put the ones we use often in the box that is within close reach. The basket now holds miscellaneous odds and ends.
Saturday, March 8, 2008
A fall dress in one of my favorite colors that looks hardly worn. Also a summer maternity dress and some brightly colored maternity pants for this spring and summer.
Friday, March 7, 2008
Things That Shock Me:
1. When people mail a letter to someone in town that they see several times a week (someone in my family, who shall be nameless, does this!)
2. Not washing out ziploc bags and re-using them.
3. When people pay $20 to have their hair trimmed straight across, or bangs cut. A layered or styled cut is worth every penny (take it from someone who tried to do their own and regretted it for over a year!) However, any husband or friend or mom can do a simple trim on long hair!
4. Buying a brand new car off the lot. Unless you have loads of money and feel God leading you to do this, I just don't understand this. The only way it makes sense is when business men (like my Dad) buy new trucks for their work because they can't be sure how used trucks have been treated and they can write a new truck off as a business expense.
5. People who don't look at sale ads at all and just buy everything top dollar. There are lots of people like this. I used to be a cashier at a grocery store!
6. Throwing leftovers away at a restuarant when they will keep perfectly well for lunch the following day if you took them home in a doggy bag.
7. Trying to motivate yourself and in the process wasting money. Some people are motivated by the expense of a gym membership, but all too often people join clubs and gyms and other things and never go, never follow through, and just waste money.
8. People who actually buy cereal at the price our local grocery stores charge. A lot of the name brand boxes are about $5 a box!
9. Buying the highest priced toliet paper, diapers, or garbage bags. Why pay top dollar for things you throw away? An exception would be if your child was allergic to the cheaper diapers or you had to have the cushy t.p. for some medical problem.
10. When people don't tighten their belts and they NEED to. I have known folks who have been in financial hardship and yet they continue to eat out, pay for luxuries, and buy fancy Christmas presents even though they barely have the money for groceries and have to live off of the credit card. This absolutely shocks me more than anything on this list! If times are bad, I believe you should live like it; rice and beans, no extras, etc.
My hubby adds:
11. When men buy big toys.
12. Eating out every day.
13. Paying money to service your car if you have the ability to do simple maintenance yourself.
For more frugal tips than you can handle, check out Frugal Friday at www.biblicalwomanhoodonline.com/blog today!
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
So, right now, it seems to me that a bigger vehicle is a need and we've been praying about it. We don't want to take a loan to buy a van or bigger vehicle so we figure we will need about $3,000 for a decent used minivan.
Here are the goals I have towards getting one in 6 months or less:
1. Pray daily about this need and ask for God's provision. Pray about ways of earning extra money for this project and pray that a really good deal would come to us at the right time.
2. Be entrepreneurial and look for ways to earn extra money. I'm tossing around some ideas right now but I also realize that the two kids and one in utero that I already have keep me so busy that it's not wise that I start anything big or get over-committed in this area. I want to be very careful about not taking on too much when it comes to money-making ideas. Ideas I'm tossing around: Blogging ads, writing projects, selling leather shoes, etc.
3. Cut corners and save as much as we can. If my husband can work it in, I'd like to commit to saving $100 monthly to Project Minivan; more if possible. In addition to this I will be continually trying to trim the grocery budget and my goal is to cut us down $20 per week to $85 a week so that we can put an addition $80-$100 a month into Project Minivan. (Though our weekly budget may look like a lot to some, I buy diapers, stamps for my newsletter (costs anywhere from $30-$50 per month), household products, gifts, medicines, and clothing out of this grocery budget. I also have two kids who are voracious eaters!)
4. Put our tax bonus that is supposedly coming towards Project Minivan.
5. Sell our Toyota Camry, which we could probably get $500 for.
6. Put any extra gift bonuses towards P.M. If hubby gets a raise or a bonus for some overtime hours or if someone just happens to randomly give us money (when does that ever happen?) we will put it into P.M.
I'll keep you posted on Project Minivan as the weeks and months go on. Having this posted on my blog will help keep me accountable to this endeavor.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
One of my favorite bloggers, Amy Scott from Amy's Humble Musings, wrote a post today about balance and love on the issue of the "Quiverfull" movement. It's one of the best, if not THE BEST, articles I've heard on the subject. So please read it here.
Also, it's hard for Christian women to find good info about how to continue to be a godly Christian woman in spite of the challenges of dealing with PMS, postpartum depression, or menopause. I have so appreciated the series done by the Girl Talk bloggers on this. Check it out here. It has been an ongoing series of posts for a couple of weeks.
I took my daughter to the pool this weekend for some fun Mommy/Girl time and I felt like I got a glowing Mommy report card. No, it wasn't because someone walked up to me and told me I'm a great mom or that my daughter was the most angelic they've ever seen. I wouldn't have believed that! It came about after I observed what my daughter wasn't doing!
There was a little girl about 6 years old playing in the kiddie pool with us. She proceeded to fight another kid over one of the ride-on toys and shoved this much smaller kid down. Another mom got after her. She was being really agressive and hanging on to the irate's mom's son, who was about her age, and kept rough-housing with him to the point that the irate mom said firmly, "Don't touch him anymore! Keep your hands off him!"
The girl returned to the pool after a few minutes in the bigger pool and began fighting the same boy for a toy. She was dumping water on him and his mom. So the mom took the toy away and said "No!" The girl kept grabbing for it, which shocked me, because she was defying an authority figure who was clearly saying no. I heard a mom yelling at the girl from the bleachers, but she was oblivious to it. The lifeguard came over and lectured the little girl. The mom of the girl came down from the bleachers and told her daughter it was time to go. The daughter wouldn't leave. The mom, a very large woman, took off her shoes and came into the pool room door and tried to persuade her daughter to leave. The girl took off, so the mom started rolling her sweats up and attempting to get in the kiddie pool and chase her daughter. A young teen lifeguard then took up the chase and another mom in the big pool helped corral the girl and tell her to listen to her mom. The mom drug her out of the pool room, no doubt fuming and that girl was probably in deep doo-doo when they got to the car!
I sat there watching all of it and realizing that while my daughter has tons of energy and while she does sometimes embarrass me and bop a playmate over the head in front of their mom or some such thing, she is only a brand new 3 years old and behaves 10 times better than the 6 year old at the pool. It's not because I'm a perfect parent. There are so many times when it's hard to be consistent or I'm at a loss with how to handle her. But being mostly consistent and doing the best that I can, however little, has paid off in the way she acts publicly. If I called her at the pool, she would come. And if another adult tried to reprimand her, she would listen. And I can't see her wrestling a strange adult over a toy they took away or dumping water on their head at the age of 6. I haven't had to get a posse together just to wrangle her out of the pool.
This experience was a little window into motherhood for me. All the behind the scenes work really does pay off and you will get your "Report Card" someday. If your child learns manners, obedience, sharing, and is generally a delight around other people, both friends and strangers, then you can count yourself a blessed and hardworking parent! Being a good parent is not about raising kids that are the top athlete, the valedictorian, or kids that became famous or wealthy. It's not about your kid being in all the right programs or having all the newest toys/gadgets or becoming a pastor or missionary (although that would be wonderful). The badge of honor for a parent is the child's character. I realize that children are born in sin and that sometimes in spite of the parents' loving instruction, a child will turn away from the Lord, as with my brother. But even though my younger brother isn't a Christian right now, he still speaks respectfully to strangers, has a compassionate heart, and stands up for the underdog continually. He works hard and believes in right and wrong and justice and is one of the most giving people I know. He's good with children, is doing a job he loves, and deep down, I know he knows the Truth and I believe he'll come back it to it one day soon.
If a child is belligerant to authority, talks down to other kids, or doesn't lift a finger to help with anything, it's a reflection on their parents. If a youngster is consumed with material things, uses filthy language, or has racist or chauvenistic views, they're probably mimicking what they see at home. If they don't listen to their mom when she tells them to come (like our Mexican neighbor girls who are 5 and 6) it's because no one has ever enforced those commands, so why should they listen? One of my friends' who is a teacher had a student who tried to manipulate her with tears at every turn. When my friend didn't give in, the student was pretty shocked! The tears must work the parents over well at home! Other friends who are teachers in the public school system have talked about how the biggest hindrance to the kid's learning nowadays is the lack of discipline. Classrooms are like warzones these days as parents don't discipline (which means training) and teachers have policies and rules against so many things that there is hardly anything they can do except try to reign in the chaos!
Note to parents of toddlers: Life with toddlers is so unpredictable, I hope you don't take this post to mean that if your child throws a fit in the grocery store due to being tired or hungry or just himself, that you are a bad parent. The Mommy Report card concept I've discussed here is talking about kids of elementary school age on up, though hopefully you do see some results, like I do in my daughter, earlier than school-age. Our kids will never be perfect and they will always challenge us, and sometime humiliate us, but overall, the training you do at home will be reflected in how they act in public. Toddlers are still so little and so self-consumed. Believe me, I've had a few of those grocery store moments myself! But as Ali gets older and out of the "toddler years" I see her putting into practice more of those things that I've been harping on for a long time!
Monday, March 3, 2008
One blessing is not having to be apart from King Jo, something I always hate! When he goes on a snowmobiling trip away or I go away once a year for a Ladies' Night or something it is always hard to be apart, especially if it's half a week to a week. I even had 3 e-cards all lined up to be sent to him once a day to tell him how much we missed him while we were gone. I had stuffed the fridge to the gills with casseroles, homemade bread, and things for him to eat. No, he's not a helpless male that can't boil Rice-A-Roni or make a frozen pizza but something about grieving drives me to cook, and huge quantities of food at that! So, he would have been set for over a week, but the good news is that now that we all stayed home, I haven't had to cook for a few days while I've been dealing with clingy, whiny, Jeremiah.
Alathia had been so excited to see her cousins in MN that we eased the sting of not going by taking her to McDonalds' with one of her playmates and then I took her on a Mother/Daughter swimming date to the pool.
I appreciate Lyndi's offer to trade wipes with me from her couponing stash and hope that offer still stands since my Pa-in-Law will be coming out in less than 2 weeks to snowmobile.