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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

First Day of School

We don't start school until after this little lady's birthday:

So on September 7th. The weather went from Summer to Autumn just like that. I was up very very early and made breakfast. If you know me well, you may not believe it. Stayed cozy in my PJs for way too long.

We tried really hard to stick to THIS schedule. Except for losing a few math books:)

We were all cheery and sweet and on task. Seriously!! Everyone was so kind and excited. I fell apart around noon and everyone was kind about that too:)

We did have our share of mishaps like when I yelled "Where is my coffee?" from one side of the house and my two year old find it on the other end of the house and brought it to me. Apparently, he has quite a swagger and I had lost my coffee a lot earlier than I realized (it was cold:)

Our first day of school did go remarkably well. It has been several weeks and I still havent posted this--although it was written in it's entirety that day. Why? because after that first day EVERYTHING fell apart. I have spent my days since then trying to repair and revamp and rebuild. I figure I can get it running smoothly by the Holidays. Then we'll take a nice break and start all over again:)

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Saturday, September 11, 2010

12 Week Holiday Planner

Last Autumn I shared with you how much I love this Holiday Planner.">

Still lOVE lOVE lOVE this planner and look forward to using it every year.

Sheri Graham improved it! Little tweaks here and there, new and improved graphics, holiday coloring pages and an added two weeks after the holidays.">

This planner is an especially good fit for me because I have great ideas but am not much of a beforehand planner. I can see after the fact what we should have done differently. I now have a place to record these flops and improve next year. There are so many good ideas and implementations in here-
Sheri Graham does what I don't even think of.
She plans out things like:
- doubling meals and freezing before the holiday rush so you don't have to make dinner DURING the holiday rush.
-planning time to make decorations and gifts for others (with tons of great ideas and links)

Do you have those moments on Christmas morning when you think: OH MAN! I forgot to extra coffee? Why didn't I freeze muffins and buy sausage when it was on sale? Oh NO! Did I mail them a Christmas card already? With a holiday planner as great as this on, you won't anymore:)
The neat thing about having a planner that I come back to each year is that I can figure out what works best for us and repeat it each year instead of spending the whole Holiday season planning. I like the idea of: plan once and celebrate repeatedly.

You want to know more about this planner, right?

Here is the full product description:
What you will find in this 171 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
Holiday Wardrobe Planner
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!!! Two bonus weeks with family tradition ideas, menus, and
PLUS!!! Some of our favorite holiday recipes!
PLUS!!! Holiday Coloring Pages!

Here are some sample pages.

You can purchase your own planner: HERE
You can win one! yes I really mean it!
Sheri Graham offered me a copy to share with you. I feel so honored!

To enter, do any (or all) of the following, and leave a comment for each:
*like Graham Family Ministries on Facebook
*follow this blog
*tell me your favorite holiday tradition, memory, or something I should add to ours
*purchase something else at Graham Family Ministries.and tell me about it

This planner begins October 2nd. To ensure enough time to get all situated and excited-- I will choose a winner (at random) on 9/29/2010.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Pear Butter for the Lazy Woman

This could NOT have been easier! Believe me when I say if I can do it, you can too:)

Here's a little background on why this is exciting: My oldest can't tolerate most fruits but LOVES pears. We have peanut butter sandwhiches every day for lunch (working on that)

A freind called and said she had tons of pears for me--could I come over and make pear butter? Wouldn't ya know it--I couldnt leave. So she, the amazing, amazing, person that she is, brought them to me. We stood and chatted while my daughter chopped them and put them in the crock pot. I added one cup of water and let them cook overnight.
Later that night dear friend, who makes things happen for me, brought over lemons from another freind's tree and a ricer.

Next day, I let the pears cool and my son ran them through the ricer. Dont know if that would happen again but both older sons were very excited about the ricer. Then the same son juiced enough lemons to get 2/3 of a cup of lemon juice. I also added 8 cups of sugar and a tsp. of nutmeg. Then, I again let it cook in the crockpot overnight.

Next day, I left the glorious mixture cool and poured it into a variety of freezer containers.

There you have it. Texhnically took two days but not much effort and I now have a more exciting peanut butter sandwhich AND feel like I actually accomplished something above maintenance and survivial:)

Linking up at Feature Friday, Tickled Pink Fridays , The Sunday Showcase Party, andTutorial Tuesday,
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I made granite cleaner!!

I have This:

Amazing kitchen.
and found this great stuff on Amazon:

I also have hard water and money got really really tight this month. And now both vehichles need work and 3 children grew 2-3 shoe sizes and t's time to buy school books.....I can't spend $6.00 a bottle for this great stuff right now:(

Have you met Melissa at 320 Sycamore? She is amazing and I admire her on so many levels. She has this amazing eye and frugality. She can see an ugly framed picture that I have walked right past a hundred times at yard sales and thrift stores

and turn it into this:

OK. Maybe that wasn't a good really need to go look around her site:)

Once again Melissa is one step ahead of me and makes her own grnaite cleaner. here is her recipe.

I made some!! I took the bottles that I had used before which were 12 0z. I used 1.5 ozs. of rubbing alcohol (roughly 1/8th)a tiny squirt of dish soap and added some peppermint essential oil and the rest with purified water. Do you see how amazingly inexpensive that is?!?! I want to make cute labels:) My kitchen smells so great and my counters are so clean.

Now I pray for a free mechanic and shoes to fall from the sky:)

***I took my son to a Drs appointment and stopped at a smelly old thrift store out of town--PERFECT shoes for him, we all agreed on tehm, brand new condition--$3.00. Doesnt that qualify as falling from the sky???

linking up at Friday Favorites, Frugal Fridays, Works For Me Wednesday, We Can Do it Cheaper!
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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The boy Who Changed the World

Book Sneeze gave our family the opportunity to review : The Boy Who Changed The World, by Andy Andrews

Andy Andrews also wrote the New york Times Best Seller: "The Butterfly Effect: How Your Life Matters"

which showed adults "The decisions you make and the way you treat others have more impact than you may ever realize."

The Boy Who Changed the World paints a picture of this principle for children by showing us a glimpse into the life stories of Nobel Laureate Norman Borlaug, Vice President Henry Wallace, Inventor George Washington Carver, and Farmer Moses Carver. We were immediately intrigued by the amazing illustrations of Philip Hurstand how they were interconnected. The book follows a fun and imaginative format: The story shows the butterfly concept and how each person makes little impacts on the lives of others. It is divided into little sections showing the effects of different people on different people and on the world itself. These mini divisions made it easier to break our reading into smaller sessions for the preschool crowd. It also exemplified how many people change the world and you could to. My high schooler, junior higher and grammar school student all enjoyed the book. It warmed my heart to share with my children that all of our actions affect the future- not just our own future but those of others. This book is not preachy at all but gives so much hope and encouragement in each of our ability to change the world.

We recommend this book to everyone! It is readily available at many retailers including Amazon:

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Thursday, September 2, 2010

The countdown has begun

Still don't feel ready for school. I got organized, made a schedule, made chore charts, moved some furniture around, keeping having pep talks with my kids and long cleaning sessions. Now Im tryign to shove some more fun Summer stuff in before Labor Day. We still have birthdays between now and then:)

Holidays are an event for me. I LOOVE them all (except for maybe Halloween:)My kids really are my world and I want them to know how special they are. If not on their birthday then when? My time is so packed as it is and it's hard to fit anything else in. I cannot make a boxed cake. Seriously. you would not believe how many nights before birthdays I have spent in tears. We live on a very limited income. We have been so blessed with 5 children. ALL summer birthdays. We don't buy expensive or extravagant gifts. BUT if we plan a special birthday dinner or buy themed paper plastes there goes our budget. One of the problems with not having family traditions to pass down is the temptation to pass down all of everyone elses. Do you see my dilemma?

Our 3 year old turns 4 on Friday and our 9 year old daughter turns 10 on Monday. My husband is working and then on Saturday I am working....when?

WELL! We have this new friend. Great great friend. Who asked if she could come over with a birthday cake? Uh YES PLEASE!! We have another sweet friend who offered to take pictures of the progression of Nate's Scleroderma. On the same day. INSTANT PARTY!! and here it is:

And here are some pictures of Nate. I had no idea how hard it would be. Apparently one of the points of photography is to use light that softens imperfections and hides features. that isn't what we were looking for:)

She was able to take over 100 in differnt lights and at different angles. CVS is having a print one 8x10 and get one free special this week. I also had $2.00 off. I was able to upload and print photos to take to his Drs visit next week:)

Feeling pretty accomplished and at peace. Mostly just very blessed:)