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Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday August 24, 2009

My facebook status now reads:

Kathy Eller childrens' frustration that we havent started school like "everyone" else somehow involved a water bottle and being locked outside and mud. now Im cleaning and school planning and disciplining. Before coffee. Hello Monday.

BUUT....Im going to take a quick break and answer these questions. Not because I think Im all that interesting but in hopes of breaking the ice and getting to know people a little better.:)

1. Do you cook every night?
Yes. Nothing that great or exciting. The same few meals over and over BUT we eat and are thankful for that. (Can you tell that this has been addressed before?)

2. What kind of laundry detergent do you use & why?

Tide FREE, High Efficiency because I have a front load washer/dryer and have a highly sensitive child (follow Feingold program) and have not gotten around to making my own laundry soap. I have bought some detergent on Etsy. But find Tide on sale and with a coupon and earn cents off gas. I also use Tide in my Bissell carpet steamer.

3. Do you do laundry every day or loads at a time?
EVERY single day. I try not to on Sunday. I pre-sort by doing big boys now day, little boys one day etc...I alternate cloth diapers and towels/rags. I dont put things away :) Either people put their own clothes away or i sits in baskets until my husband repeatedly asks me when "we" are going to get to putting the laundry away.

4. How often do you eat out per week?
We almost NEVER do. But I will scrounge change and eat Taco Bell when Im out running errands.

5. Where do you usually eat out?
As a family? Subway. Me? Carls Jr with a coupon, Taco Bell. Seems like forever since we actually ate out together as a couple....

6. What is your favorite retail store?

Target. there isn't one nearby....

7. What's your favorite thing to drink?
Coffee, red wine, Mountain Dew,....

8. Do you take vitamins? What kind?
Im not too good at the "every day take one" and am kind of hit and miss :) I am still working through a bottle of Rainbow Light Pre-natals.
Really like them though. I would like to try the Supermom.

9. What percentage of the household chores to you do?
Its getting to the point where I am overseeing more than doing. But it still takes ALOT OF TIME.

10. Do your children do chores? {Or will they, did they, etc}
Yes, they do and are pretty good about it and trustworthy. I need to work on a schedule of morning chores, afternoon chores, evening chore and before bed chores....

11. Do you go to church?
Yes. Love love love "my church" The teaching is solid and sound. The people have been so gracious and amazing and generous to us in so many ways the past 8 1/2 years that we have lived here. We attend a Reformed, Presbyterian (OPC) church a half hour away.

12. Do you have a housework schedule?

No but I can really see where that would be freeing :)

13. Do you keep a working budget?

Would LOVE to work up to one. Right now we spend the absolute bare minimum and juggle bills to be paid.

14. What do you do at night as a family?

We prepare and eat dinner, clean up and prepare for bed, "do" family worship. My husband works in the early am hours so he and the babies go to sleep. The older kids linger longer and longer to spend time with me OR get out of going to bed....I clean up the house, handle paper work and watch tv/go on the computer (usually until about 2am)

15. How do you prepare yourself for a new week?

What I really WANT to start doing is go through the weekly evaluation sheet in This Planner
Click here to visit Graham Family Ministries.and pray about the week being better than the last:)

16. What should do your mornings look like?
I got this all down on paper last night:)
We gather at the table
(so wish it was this one:) for breakfast and Bible reading together. Chores are done, people are dressed, diapers changed, rooms tidied. Big kids start individual math lessons, Madelyn and I do a seperate devotional, babies watch a short video and the days goes on switching "activities every half an hour-hour...

17. What time do you get up in the mornings?
Really working on that :)SHOULD be between 8 and 9.

18. What time do you go to bed at night?
about 2am. Hoping this is just a "summer schedule" and I can turn things around:)

19. How do you manage all of the paperwork that floods into your household? {bills, school work, magazines, ads, etc}
Increasingly and increasingly better :)

20. How do you keep your household organized? {calendars, charts, etc}
There is a calendar on my office wall. A daily schedule in the dining room. A laundry schedule and chore schedule in the hallway....

There are more great ladies answering these questions HERE.

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Thriving When Little Ones are Added to your Homeschool

It seems that we have been homeschooling for a while now:) This year my children will be: 8th grade, 6th grade, 3rd grade, age 3 and age 1. As I'm taking time out to plan this year's academics and our days, I'm not as worried about academics. They are important to us and we have strong opinions. The question upon my heart is how to balance the instruction of my "older" children with the care and nurture of my "littles." they are both important to me, yet there is only one of me.

This has been weighing heavy on my heart. I don't want to ask my older children to train and "raise" my younger.
There is alot that has to happen each day for this overflowing house of 7 to function. I don't want to miss out on the limited time I have with either...I came accross a ministry today that seems to understand the balance that I want to achieve.
Values Driven I am really excited about the book that they describe this way:

As a homeschool Mom, you've probably asked yourself some of these questions:

>> How do you homeschool older children and adequately nurture your little ones?

>> Is it possible to keep a clean house, raise infants and toddlers, homeschool--and more?

>> Can you successfully "do it all" and enjoy doing it?

As a homeschooling mom, your day is full . Juggling home management, family, ministry, often work-at-home, and your children’s education is a challenge. When you add infants and toddlers into the mix, things can get downright hectic. The Growing Homeschool can help you not only survive, but thrive!

You will discover the difference between balance and integration, and how to leverage both for maximum effectiveness. Learn from an experienced, but in-the-trenches homeschool mom of six how to prioritize, develop a workable routine, address the needs of different ages and stages of children, homeschool with greater ease, keep the little ones productively occupied during school time, and—most importantly—continually focus on the things that are of greatest value to God.

Click here to view more details
Will you check it out with me?

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Meatloaf on Monday or Making Do

Yes. I'm going to preface again. This may be a huge "duh moment" or maybe you'll think "why aren't I doing that." Maybe you'll think I'm really pathetic. Sometimes my ideas and expectations are a lot bigger than my energy level, money, or undivided attention. Sometimes things are just harder for our family--I don't want to miss out on anything because of that. If there is a way that I can save money or make do I am all over it!!

I like the idea of Menu planning and KNOW that it will save me money in the long run. I like the *idea* of Once a Month Cooking and LOVE the book Dinners in the Freezer,it just doesn't work for us, right now. I read about a family in Family Fun magazine and I'd like to adapt their adaption :) Remember this Planner I have been raving about where she suggests you double a recipe a week before the holidays. With all that swirling in my head...

Here is what works for me:
What I WANT to do: Once a month or so our whole family takes a Saturday morning or a free evening and makes a BUNCH of one of our favorite dishes...We use the food processor to chop a ton of onions. We're all chopping and mixing and joking and making meatloaf and then for the next few months we make meatloaf once a week. Then we get together and make meatballs. Then....I have run out of meals :) My daughter and I don't eat dairy, my son follows the Feingold diet and doesn't eat tomatoes. We don't eat a lot of casseroles....ANY SUGGESTIONS?

My other dilemma has been the money up front to make more than one meal a day. We were recently given a gift card to a store that had this
on sale. I stocked up on the ingredients for how I make meatloaf :) Not sure if I recommend it but what I do is half ground turkey/half ground beef, oatmeal, spicy mustard, egg, and water.

We quit using Teflon and I have yet to replace all of our baking dishes. I gathered what we have:

and I mixed the meatloaf in my trusty Tupperware freezer containers for better transfer later :) I baked them for 45 minutes and then took out the extra three to cool. I left tonight's dinner (including baked potatoes) to cook another 15 minutes.

I didn't exactly have the time to do this tonight. We had a death in the family and I cant believe I'm planning a trip to ANOTHER funeral (I was on the phone alot) my children didn't do their normal chore and my two year old cried and then ran around outside like a Banchee....but this will give me more time later for training on meatloaf nights...RIGHT??

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Saturday, August 8, 2009

Almost time for Holiday Planning

Im getting so excited about Autumn coming and the hoilidays and cozing up with a blanket and my littles....

I came across an amazing deal and resource that I want to share with you!!!

A dear friend of mine uses this planner:

every Holiday season. I am soooo impressed with it. It is so much more than a calendar or list of presents to buy. The Graham Family Ministries have done SUCH a good job of including all the things important to me :)

I "borrowed" this description:
What you will find in this 146 page ebook:

Blank monthly and weekly calendar pages for planning your year

Weekly "To Do" lists showing exactly what needs to be done each week

Thanksgiving and Christmas Menus forms

Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Recipe Card forms

A Holiday Self-Evaluation form

Shopping Lists

"Sheri's Tips"- tips to make your holidays meaningful, shared throughout the ebook

Christmas Craft and Gift Ideas

Memory Making Ideas for the Family

Holiday Journal Pages

Many, many forms such as:

Christmas Gift Shopping List
Gift Making Checklist
Christmas Card Checklist
List of Baked Items to Share/Give Away
Favorite Meals to Freeze for Later
Decoration Ideas
Needed Supplies to Purchase This Week
Holiday Baking Schedule
Kids' Gift Idea List
Christmas Gifts to be Shipped

PLUS!!! This ebook includes "The Glorious Coming: A Jesse Tree Celebration of Advent" - Jesse Tree devotionals, ornaments, and instructions to make your own Jesse Tree!

PLUS!!! Some of our favorite holiday recipes!

Some things that I hadn't thought about but should have: doubling a recipe each week to avoid the drama later during the holiday rush. Planning time for your children to make gifts for people.

During August and September you can get $4.00 off this e-book by entering:
Click here to view more details

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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Birthday Finds...As in they find me:)

First off! I want to say that:


2nd time around Tuesday

are like my youthful carefree Saturday mornings shopping with friends :) Thanks for caring about my thrifty finds :)Thank you cyber space!!

Remember how I was whining about having a birthday every month during the summer? Whine whine whine here

Our little town just got a GoodWill and I am sooo loving it!!

Remember when I got this:
there for 7.99? Well a friend was with me and when she saw this:

for 3.99 she bought it for my son who will turn 11 next week.

I went in last week with another friend and my two year old. My little guy found this funky mask and fell in love with it. He wore it and talked to it and called it his "man." There was no price tag. They couldn't sell it to us. He cried and cried. My friend needed to go to Walmart so I drug my crying two year old and while I wandered I found this:

his "man." Apparently it is a paintball mask that Amazon lists for 49.99-59.99.

We went back the next day. And bought it for 3.99.

On the way there, my 10 year old told me he thinks I have some BIG birthday surprise for him. I don't. He found this:

Nerf Rifle
and asked if there was anyway I could get it for him and he would forget and it would be a surprise? Amazon lists it for $23.99. We paid 2.99 (It may be missing some shells)

He also found this:

Wooden Gordon Train, new, in the package for $1.99. Amazon lists it for 21.99. It will be wonderful for my soon to be three old to play with on this:
The house that we are renting has BIG over six foot windows. Five of them. When we moved in, there were blinds on the over 6 foot windows. They lasted a few days. Blinds were not meant to go accross an over six foot window. I tacked a navy blue curtain accross the window in my boys' room. It was supposed to be temporary, but every morning I climb up on my sons' dresser and flip up that stupid sheet to let some sun in. I got really annoyed at my boys last week for having a sheet tacked over their window. How cheap. How ghetto. (I don't know how this is there fault, but trust me...somehow it is) I started to wonder what kind of curtains belong in a bedroom shared by a 13 year old and an 11 year old. I couldn't figure it out. I KNEW I coudlnt afford them. I can't sew either. Or afford the materials to sew them...I walked into Goodwill the other day and found out what they needed: denim tab topped curtains (with buckles like overalls) two panles for 7.99. total. Not a great picture but SUCH an improvement.

Somehow. Things come together :)

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We had a horrible few days here. My hormones are leveling (or something.) My husband bumped his head at the park a few weeks ago. It got stiff. He cant move it and missed 3 days of work. He doesn't have the paid time off for 3 days. We spent money on magnesium and pain killers. I was up all night with him. My older kids had to chip in more than usual and are feeling left out. There are opportunities that we just can't give them and they are noticing. Our van needed brakes. We ran out of money. My son's birthday is next week and he realized that we ran out of money. He felt more and more sorry for himself. Our baby is very very mobile and voicing his every opinion. Everyone was at their worst, everyone was acting up and saying things they didn't REALLY mean. Everyone seemed to blame me. Honestly blame me and voice it. I cried and cried and tried to find an escape route....

A few days have passed. Everyone has talked everything out. My husband's neck has loosened a little. He may be getting laid off. He may be getting further training. So much up in the air. We sought wise counsel and asked for help. We are still eating. We are happy together and joking and laughing--laughing until we are in tears. What changed?

Im getting excited about Fall and thinking about school. I asked around to borrow some curriculium and just may have what I need. I am really really wondering how I am going to juggle the teaching of my older children and nurture and training of my babies AND keep us all fed and clothed and moral. If anyone has any tips, suggestions, words of wisdom they are VERY much welcomed.

We made meatball soup tonight. I have a sourdough starter waiting for me. Life feels good.

It FEELS good. It felt horrible a few days ago. It is both good and horrible. My attitude hasn't changed the situtaion realy hasn't changed much either....Can I explain that? NO.

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