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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

What's in my Bag

 I have been going through the links on Sugar and Dots and am feeling very inspired. I am also feeling a little nosy and thought that maybe I should share the insides of of my bag.

Be warned: I am not organized. I have a friend who used to come visit every few months and while she was here, she would organize my purse. Then she got married. And then she had twins. My bag has never been the same, apparently she found more worthy places to use her organizational skills.

Another friend came to visit and brought me this bag:

I love it. Truth is I don't change it very often. It doesn't match much or blend in at all. But here we are.

Let's look inside:

Scared yet?

here is my wallet: bought it at Goodwill awhile back:

Here are my attempts at primping, just in case I cam across an occasion worth primping for.

Here is where I keep all my store cards and ocasional gift cards. Bought at GoodWill:

Same friend who brought me my beloved bag also brought me some Juicy sunglasses. I wore those things to death and they finally cracked in half. Yet, the case still lives in my bag and sometimes hold a $5.00 pair of sunglases from Ross:

BUT I do have two pairs of cute little boys' glasses fro two cute little boys:

Then there is a roll of packing tape that my teen son decided I might need:

I finally broke down and put a tape measure in my bag in hopes of avoiding all those times when I buy things that dont fit into our vehichle or the room they were bought for. It hasn't worked so far:)

Here is the bag I keep my receipts and coupons in. Also purchased from a thrift store.

I may keep too many receipts. You know all those things you mean to return and don't? I really do. You know all those surveys at the bottom of receipts that you know are a waste of your time? I complete them all. I have yet to win anything for it. When my daughter got her first purse (around 2-3) she stuffed it full of scraps of paper because that was what Mommy's purse looked like. EEEKS! So, I bought this little bag and I shove them all in there and zip it up and feel a little better.

Yet, here is pile of things that didn't make it into my nifty receipt/coupon holder.

There you have it. You really should head over to Sugar and Dots and see all the cute and organized bags there--Thanks so much for humoring me here with mine ;)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Boardgames and Family Time (a Morphology Review)

 I always wanted to be a family that got together and played board games each evening. People would drop by to bring us fresh baked goods and come join in the fun. I like the camaraderie and classic feel of board names and welcome the lessons in civility and graciousness they bring.

Then I got married and had a husband who comes home from work tired and we had kids (and I seem to have lost the majority of my brain cells) and we committed to Bible Studies and evening activities. Then we stopped and looked around and our children had lost all the pieces to the board games I'd stocked away and they were at all different developmental stages.

STILL this is something that I really wanted so I worked at it and worked at it and THEN was given the change to review the board game Morphology.

The game itself intrigued me right off. Many games feel like you're playing down to younger ones (Love Chutes and Ladders but I can only play sooo many times) I'm trying to accommodate 7 people: some of us are great artists, some of us not so much. This game held up for all of us with our vast ages, intelligences and life experience. Pretty big shoes to fill.

You can tell a lot about the depth and intellectual appeal of the game when hearing the idea behind its creation:

"The idea for Morphology first emerged during a snowstorm in Minneapolis, MN. Morphology inventor and recent Macalester College graduate Kate Ryan Reiling and two of her friends were stranded in their apartment and decided to play a board game.

They wanted to do something creative (and help their friend learn Spanish) so they opened a Spanish-English dictionary and built words using Jenga® blocks and Pente® pieces. Inspired by how much fun they had and how amazed she was at what they could build, Kate spent the next years prototyping what would soon become Morphology"

I hear that there are plans for a Morphology Jr. in the works--get in on the excitement now.

Definaltey one you want in your game repertoire. And hey, if you are ever in the neighborhood, or state, stop by and join us for a game. We can pull off that hospitality, right?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


 It's no secret that we live well on very little money. Most of it is completely God's Grace and nothing smart or clever on my part. I guess though, that He has taught me a few things along the way. I'm also a little quirky, was raised by people who survived and thrived in the depression and 'm very very cheap. I'm not going to judge you for using paper plates, or paper towels or disposable anything. I hadn't realized though that people do laugh at my quirky ways.

One of those is not using disposables. Now, I do sell Tupperware. BUT I did these things before I did. I wonder too, if I sell Tupperware because if these ways. Any which way.

These are loose and not hard and fast rules but we store left overs in Tupperware or glass.

When we take lunch somewhere, my husband brings two sandwiches in a Tupperware sandwich keeper set. If we are bringing lunch for all of us: we make sandwiches, cut them in half and put in a container and then bring plates for each of us. Sometimes I just bring peanut butter, honey, bread and a spreader and we make sandwiches where we are:)

When I started making meals for the freezer, I slowly invested in freezer storage. I couldn't stomach the extra pennies to store each meal that I was making to save money. That was 15 years ago and I'm still using the same containers. Those pennies added up.

I have a chart showing the cost of disposables vs Tupperware. It is helpful having someone do the math of how muich one sandwhich bag 5 days a week costs in one year.
***The chart is a PDF file and I can NOT figure out how to share it here. If you know how woudl you email me? Eller at i love Jesus dot net. If you'd like your own copy of the nice chart, email me and I will email it to you:) **

Back to the chart: Honestly, they spent more than I would. For instance they give the cost of the Sponge bob Sandwich keeper set. I would have bought the neutral set, on sale. Again I'm not judging:)

I am joking about the judging, because who would? But I am also reminded of how hard we can be on ourselves. You have been sick in bed on bedrest and rech for disposbale diapers, feed your kids on paper plates and order take out. Are you a bad mom? Not in my book. You use paper plates and show up to the park with Happy Meals while I am making our PBJ on the parkbench, I dont judge. There are many seasons and many different ways to do things. I share these habits, maybe quirks of mine in case they can help in some way. If they don't, you're welcome to laugh at me.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Parenting is so humbling

 I have been worn out and spread too thin for awhile now. It has boggled my thinking. I want to fix it. I want to find the right book or the right advice or the right Biblical wisdom and have everything returned to joyful. That isn't happening.

I have grown up without a mother, without parents, without family. I am fine. I beat cancer. We survived having no income for over three years. We have home schooled through it all, thrived as a family through it all. Things are great right now. From the outside looking in we are picturesque at the moment:  great kids, great life, husband working full time, living in a mansion while many are losing their homes. So why is it hard for me now? Why is it now that I feel a true struggle?

I sat down desperate and in tears and tried to figure out the "problem." I have a headstrong teen who will be a great leader someday but right now I really don't appreciate his strong personality. I have two preschoolers who need to be watched. Every second of every day. Except for two in the morning when the teens need to talk. I have a young girl who a few months ago was a sweet sweet girl and is now trying to figure out what being a young woman is. That is heavy stuff. There is no problem to fix or a person to eliminate. It's just all too much all together. It's not that I don't have time for each of my children or the laundry and meals for 7 people and cleaning a 3,500 square foot home, and planning, and replanning and praying over the education for 5 people. ALL of my time goes to these things. I don't want a "break" from it all. This is my life. The life I have prayed for, the life carved out for me.....Then why is it is tiring and confusing and draining? Am I doing something "wrong" if it isn't simple and easy and there aren't fireworks whenever people look in on our lives.

I don't need strokes and affirmation from outside people. I'm not looking for it. Yet, people sure like to offer their opinions. I have NEVER claimed to have this together. Why must people point out to me that I don't? You need to tell me that my 14 year old son isn't mature think yours is? You haven't noticed the binge drinking and casual sex in the Facebook pictures of your own but can see every flaw in mine? I will revert my eyes back to my own issues and be quiet.

Sometimes I do long for someone else as involved in and invested in my children as my husband and I, to bear the "burden" and share the praying. The people who want to jump in really dont know what they are jumping into. No my kids aren't perfect. I need to stop pointing that out to people. This is their story too. Parenting is so humbling.

I have good kids. No major sins or law breaking. Yet there is so  much to be worked on. My olders know. They have been taught right from wrong they know what they should be doing. Yet they are children and I find myself following them around and managing them. We somehow get this false idea that if we just train our children properly and follow some formula everything will be perfect and joyful. But really? The kid in Juvenile Hall wasn't told to share and not steal? My child just hid and ate all the ice cream for my birthday because we didn't have proper rules in place? Maybe. Maybe Not. These kids are flawed and sinful and will make mistakes, some can be blamed on me some not. They have been taught and trained by sinful and flawed parents. They have seen the Grace that God has offered those parents too. I can only trust that God has a plan for them and a plan bigger than their flawed character.