Friday, January 23, 2015

Silence and Solitude!

Last Sunday Tyler preached a great sermon....You can see a brief outline of the message from this link or listen to it (I'd listen if I were you).  It was the January 18 message.  He talked about several things but the one I have been thinking about all week is the section on "Transformation of the Mind" (also the body but I'm still working that one out).

He talked about finding peace in Silence and Solitude....actually seeking it out to quiet the mind and listen to God. During the sermon I leaned over to the King and snickered and said "Yep.  I'll be able to do that in 15 years or so."  But it has been eating at me all week.

My children are not the noise in my mind.  They ARE the noise in my house....but what clutters my mind and steals silence and solitude?  The internet.  Facebook.  Pinterest.  Email.  As a stay at home mom, I use the excuse a lot that the internet is my connection to the outside world.  It may be the only adult conversation I have all day till the king gets home.  Blah blah blah.

But it steals my silence.

It steals my attention from my kids.

It most certainly steals my solitude.

As much as I want to tell myself I can handle being online just a little is clear that I can not. Not without serious and strict boundaries.  So I am setting those boundaries.  There are some online connections I need to maintain (keeping up on homeschool events in the area, online recipes I use often, knitting patterns, etc)....but I need to limit myself to break this habit.  And find silence and solitude.  And transform my mind.


  • I will limit my facebook/pinterest time to 1 hour each day....with a timer.
  • I will not be online at all if I have not yet completed my personal Bible Study and journaling.  

The rest of my day will be filled with the kids and school, housekeeping, and hobbies that I enjoy.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Trip to Franklin Tennessee!!!!

The King was attending a class at Financial Peace Plaza for his job the last few days.  The kids and I tagged along and filled our days with Civil War Museums/homes/battlefields and the Science Center in Nashville.  It was a wonderful trip!  Now for pictures!  There are LOTS of them!

First stop the Carnton House grounds.  This historic plantation served as a hospital during and after the Battle of Franklin.  We did not go inside but walked the grounds seeing the smoke house, slave quarters and the battle fields around the home.

The Confederate Cemetery located at Carnton House.

Walking the battlefields around Carnton.

The Princess and I on the walk.  I just LOVE this picture!

Fun at the science center!

L was OBSESSED with this car.  OBSESSED

Moon walk.  

Another moon walker.
Even I walked on the moon.  The kids were way better at it than I was.

This was in an exhibit of the digestive system.  The slide was the large intestine and when you popped out the end it made a big fart noise.  

Another piece of Poo.

Everyone did the slide.  

Future dr????

Silly silly silly!

And finally she sleeps!  

We also visited Carter House which was at the center of the Battle of Franklin.  The boys were uber impressed with the canons.

The outbuildings (this is the smoke house) were FULL of bullet holes.  According to the workers this building and the farm office next to it are the most bullet hole filled buildings that are still standing from the civil war.  

Sitting on the porch of Carter house.  Just to the right is a staircase leading down into the basement where the family (mom, dad, and 4 children) hid during the battle raging around in their yard.  

Stretched our legs in Metropolis and visited Superman!

And totally discovered a tardis (and a Doctor Who themed comic book store) just down the road from Superman.

We had such a wonderful trip and although he isn't in any pictures, the King was there.  He was just in class during the days.  The kids learned and had fun!  Homeschooling and "vacation" WIN!!!!  Now back to real life!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

2015 = Blank calendar = a year worth of potential

There is something about a new week or a new month that inspires me to do something different.  "This is the week I start getting up early for some quiet time"  "Next month I'm going to get back to clean eating"  "Its Monday and I have a chance to not snap at the kids this week"....but a new year? It is 12 months, 52 weeks, and 365 days to become a better version of myself.  To improve. To grow.  Or I can use those 12 months, 52 weeks, and 365 days to become a bitter version of myself. To diminish. To stagnate.  Clearly there is a "right" answer.

A blank calender is one of my favorite Christmas time purchases and I always get mine while we're gift shopping for the kids.  I love to look at all the ones with pretty pictures (Foreign landscapes and architecture), Bible verses, quotes, and animals doing stupid things.  But I never end up with one.  I get one with BIG squares.....and lines, lines are So important.  There are a lot of us and it takes a lot to keep me from missing things (often).  All those blank boxes with unfilled lines (although January is filling up fast) are full of potential.  Will we keep them blank and do nothing?  hardly....but will we do things that are worth writing down?  Worth making a note of?  I hope to make 2015 noteworthy!

In the spirit of embracing the potential in 2015, I am setting some goals.  I've picked 12 and they are in no particular order.  Just one for each month of the calendar (cause things like that make me feel happy).  As I/we achieve these, I will mark them in my special section (the calendar I use has a bullet point checklist for each month) in the month I feel successful.

1. Improve physical fitness with strength training and stretching  (Starting Bikini Body Mommy again on Jan 5th)
2. Continue to "eat clean" after a time of detox from holiday junk food (I'm eating a frozen snickers bar as I type this-sigh)
3. Get debt free!  (This is a HUGE goal for us!)
4. Remodel the kitchen!!  (Oh please let this happen!  PLEASE!)
5. Break wood in taikwando.  (still have to work through 2 more belts before I get a chance to try.)
6. Daily Bible study both alone and with the kids.
7. Improve my calm parenting skills and be a happier mom.  (class starts at the end of January-Woot Woot)
8. Continue to declutter the house (think I'll try this calendar)
9. Have a booth at one craft show with knit and sewn items....with a friend or two.
10. Keep track of menu plans and good recipes so I can remember them and don't have to reinvent the stinkin wheel every month.
11.  Less facebook and more facetime (actually real life facetime-not facetime on the ipad-HA!) This one will be harder than I 'd like to admit and I need to make it more concrete....but I gotta work it out.
12. re-implement and actually use a weekly cleaning schedule.

Clearly there is a lot on this list!  And they all won't be accomplished at the turn of the calendar page.  But setting goals in order to become better and move forward is the only way to become better and move forward.

It is clearly not Jan 1....I didn't get this done in time.  And my eating clean hasn't gone well so far this year Jan 1 = Casey's pizza  Jan 2 = Buffalo Wild Wings  Jan 3 = Amish buffet (I did order off the menu and didn't get the buffet but I also ate a BIG piece of coconut pie) and Jan 4 = Monicals pizza.

But the menu planning is off to a killer start and I've gotten the groceries to actually do better now.  I also tried a menu item at Bdubs that will be easy to recreate and make better and better for me at I'll call that meal research!  HA!  A budget has been made through march and we are on track.  And the decluttering continues with the above mentioned calendar (I loved starting my household binder-yes I'm a dork).

Instead of focusing on the "failures" (but also not denying them), I am going to focus on my potential to have a wonderful and successful 2015!!!!  :D  Lets get this party started!!!!!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Christmas 2014!

This is later than it should be.  But there was a lot of stuff going on....

I don't have as many pictures of christmas as usual because I was playing with the kids and involved rather than trying to get the best picture.  But there are a few!  OK more than I expected!

We decorated christmas cookies at Nanny's house....they were almost all eaten as they came outta the oven.  Just as it should be ;)

Ready to open presents Christmas eve!

My Charlie's Angels, err um, tough guys ready to go play some air soft.  (those are air soft pistols not real ones so take a deep breath if you are worried)

Christmas morning.

hhhhhhm  everyone is very serious about this present opening thing

YES!!  Sonic screwdrivers for EVERYONE!

And another game of air soft.  This time with Uncle G (who had to work on christmas eve during the first game)

We had a great Christmas!  Lots of fun and food, friends and family.  Hope yours was just as great!!!

Freezer prep cooking with friends- Part 3 - Prep and Take home notes!

 So prep day was a big day!  First some pictures..
90% of this food will be used today.  There is a gallon of milk and some lettuce and string cheese that is mine.  HA

Lots of canned goods

Onions.  Lord have mercy did we cry!!!!

Spices.  Lots and lots of spices.  I buy them in bulk at a local amish store.  So much cheaper and they are good.

Let the chopping commence

Just keep chopping.

Just keep chopping.  I think at this point we were all crying.  There were so many onions

The floor was a mess after all the chopping.

We cooked all afternoon....this is what we ate for dinner!

We started by writing all the recipe names and cooking directions on the freezer baggies.  I didn't get gumbo on the list.  If someone wants those please ask.  I didn't write I'll have to ask.

Since I brought all the recipes together I sent each family home with a copy of the recipes and a list of the ingredients they will need to have on hand for serving.  It looks like THIS!

I put the spreadsheet, printed recipes, and take home notes in a binder so I can do this set of recipes again without any work.  I can also make notes on the recipe itself on what we think.  If we hate one, it will be easy to cut that recipe out of the set because each recipe is listed individually on the spreadsheet.

I had chopping directions written on my handy dandy white board....and we each picked different veggies.  We chopped and chopped and chopped.  Only veggies.  We saved the onions for last and after those took a coffee and snacks break.  Save the meat for when you are ready to bag it.  Don't want chicken setting out or chicken juice spreading where it doesn't belong.  eeeeeewwwww!

Then we started bagging (I forgot to take pictures).  But we put the freezer bags in half gallon pitchers to hold them upright.  As we started we each took an ingredient and passed the pitchers around the table.  We found by the end it was easier to leave the pitchers stationary and take your ingredient to them.  That way you knew which ones you'd added to.

As we came to the end it was clear that the dry beans did not make as much as I'd thought they would and we did not have enough beans to make the enchiladas.  So we divided the softshells and cheese for those and everyone took those home.  We added the corn to the gumbo (not traditional but it won't hurt).  The canned goods I will work into the menu next time.  Cause there will be a next time.

Overall, it took us 4 hours.  We each got 10 meals for our freezer so 50 meals in total.  As you can see there are only 4 moms in the wasn't able to make it so we bagged hers for her!  We had a great time!!

Other than the bagging "style" the other things we will do differently is to:
1) leave the broth out of the freezer bags.  they leak.  :(
2) next time I will not include meat in the groceries I buy.  Instead I will give each mom a list of what meats to bring with her and how they need to be chopped/prepped (brown the burger)....

Yay!  Eleven Ten crockpot meals prepped and ready to go in my freezer.  What a successful and prepared feeling!