We've all been there. Busy, busy with a project leading up to a special day. I can remember many tech weeks where I ate, drank, and breathed whatever show I was working on. Exhausted, I would fall into bed with every muscle in my body rebelling, only to wake up a few short hours later to start all over again. My dreams weren't really dreams, but ... thoughts about what we had to do next and reviewing what we had already done. Then. The day would arrive. The day that I would awake by no prompting other than the excitement buzzing through me. My eyes would fly open, my brain would try to catch up with my heart and figure out just what the specialness of the day was. Then in an instant, I would remember. It's opening day! The day when all of our labor, heart, and time would be shared with others.
I can also remember many nights working on a child's birthday preparations and cake until 3 am, only to be awakened by my own excitement three hours later. A special day. A day to rejoice in the birth of one of my children!
I'm sure you all have those memories. Perhaps a special trip, a get together with special friends from time gone by, or a date with your husband. Today, I had an awakening such as that. My eyes flew open, my heart pulled me out of bed though my body was still confused. My mind searched and searched, what is special about today? There is something special about the day ... WHAT is it?
Then it came to me in a rush. Today, I get to be a mother. I get to be a mother to my children! How incredible is that? They only have one mother and that is me. There is only one me and I am it. I am their mother. I am blessed beyond measure and need to live my life to reflect that.
We've been under personal attack lately and my focus has slipped at times. Last night when I was putting the kids to bed I realized how much of me I was holding from them. My worries, my pain, my thoughts all occupied my time when I should have been giving all of that to God, giving all of me to Him. When I give all of me to Him, He directs me to them. My children had been missing out. I resolved right then that I would be my children's mother today. I stayed up late last night finishing up some chores so that I could start our day as stress free as possible.
I woke up this morning excited because today, I get to be a mother. There is no job like it. No, not one. We, as mothers, have the responsibility of shaping little lives into extraordinary people. There are no do-overs in raising children. Every minute of every day counts toward something. What will your day count towards?
Here it is the last part of May and I'm sitting up to write my first blog post of the year. You see, there is something on my mind. My grandmother had a stroke. Praise God, she is doing amazing even if she doesn't realize it. We've gone in and out of D.C. to sit with her in the hospital just about every day this past week (how on Earth my mother did that commute every day for 20 years is absolutely beyond me!) and I'm pretty much exhausted. However, here I lay in bed tossing and turning. Unable to sleep for the thing spinning through my mind.
No. This thing keeping me awake has nothing to do with my grandmother or the incredibly long D.C. trips. It is fidget spinners. Yes, I know I'm late to the game. Apparently homeschoolers aren't the only unsocialized ones, their parents qualify too. Granted I learned about fidget spinners much more quickly than I did "Rick rolled" which I looked up this past week to find out this new to me phenomenon began in 2013. (Edited because apparently my desire to remember the facts regarding Rick-Rolling have me remembering the year wrong ... I was only off by a decade or so ...)
The concept of fidget spinners isn't new to me. It is one I've employed since I became a parent to a boy. However. This craze is absurd. These fidget spinners, ranging in price from $4.99-$1,000 (in my limited research on them, done exactly 2.2 seconds ago) do nothing. They don't. Nothing. No thing. They are nonsense. They are hunks of plastic, bamboo, or metal NONSENSE.
I allow my boys to keep a handful of Lego, a Matchbox car, or if they are old enough and self controlling enough a stick to whittle. They know they have my permission to use these during our read alouds, church, or any time they are required to be quiet without any reason to use their hands, such as writing.
Only one of my girls really needs the help, but they are all allowed to knit, hand sew, or do any of the above things mentioned for the boys. (Just so I don't get any disapproving comments, OF COURSE I would allow my boys to knit, embroider or any such thing ... they'd rather the Lego and cars!)
These things allow their brains to focus on the words they need to be hearing, they are things we already have, and these things have purposes of their own.
We also use exercise balls and classical music to help us focus when auditory focus is essential.
So. Please, SOMEBODY, explain this insane craze to me because I am completely lost.
One week. Yes, just one week until Christmas. I'm still amazed that it is 2016 and all of a sudden 2016 is almost over.
I intend to use the time I have left to 2016 as wisely as possible. That starts with using the next week as wisely as possible. That means doing a whole lot of fun things with my babies. We are done with school until January and plan on crafting and baking until our hearts are content this next week.
I always want to do way more than I get done so this year I'm starting out by making sure that I have all supplies and recipes/ideas ready before we start. Instead of ideas getting lost to our Pinterest boards (Yes, our. My oldest has joined me on Pinterest and we are having so much fun pinning together.) I even made a Pinterest Planner. As much as I love the virtual boards, I just need a pen and paper when I'm ready to actually try out a pin ... or else those pins just stay lost on our virtual boards. Pinned and forgotten. How sad is that?
I was going to list the Christmas Planner in the shop, but I've decided to give our readers a Christmas gift... the Christmas Planner and the Pinterest Planner both completely free.
I hope you can enjoy it and that it helps you spend more time actually *doing* with your family.
Please leave a comment if you enjoy these freebies and also let me know any other type of printable you would like to see!
It isn't too late!
You still have time to print out an advent calendar to mark off every day in December leading up to Christmas!
I cannot believe that this is the last day of November. Last day. Seriously. By the time I'm done typing, it will actually be the first day of December. Wow. I know, it's a chliche, but TIME FLIES!
While we haven't decorated for Christmas yet, I have been indulging in peppermint anything I can manage. I did toss around the idea of decorating today while it was overcast, however school planning won out. (Yes, I'm patting myself on my back!) Which ended up to be a good thing because a certain little girl in our family turns 9 on Sunday and just decided that she wants to decorate on her birthday.
I'll make the kiddos and Smokey some crock pot hot cocoa and a cup of this amazing delicousness for myself.
Yes, it's peppermint. Yes, it's coffee. Yes, it's sugar free. Yes. It is Trim Healthy Mama friendly.
I will never ever make it as a food blogger because I never write anything down. Sorry. But, the gist follows.
Brew one cup of coffee (or, do as I did and take cold coffee from three hours prior and heat it on the stove top. What? I got distracted.) Melt some cocoa butter in a sauce pan and add your coffee if it needs to be heated up. Add your cofee and cocoa butter to your blender (did you get your Ninja last week?!), add a cap of MCT Oil , a spoonful of collagen (Great Lakes is my favorite!), sweetener to taste (I like Pyure), a few drops of ingestable peppermint essential oil or peppermint extract, and half and half to taste. Now, give it whir in you blender. Pour and drink. So yummy.
No, it isn't exactly a White Chocolate Peppermint Mocha from Starbucks ... but so much better for you. I'm kicking around trying one of the S sweetened condenced milk recipes floating around, and maybe even just a peppermint creamer so I wouldn't have to drag the pot out if my coffee wasn't three hours old!
What are your favorite traditions when decorating for Christmas? PLEASE share with us in the comments!
(This post contains affiliate links.)
Psst! Don't forget!!! It still isn't too late to get your December Memory Verse Prints!
It's that time of year again ... the time when Grandma has to ask me repeatedly what everyone wants for Christmas. I'm awful at giving lists. BUT! This year I'm on top of it. Or at least trying to be.
I figured while I was compiling lists I would share it here in case anyone else is looking for book gift ideas.
Today we are focusing on our book wish lists.
Want to share some of your favorite books for any age? PLEASE leave your own book ideas in the comments.
(Affiliate links below, you know, to save for more books later.)
That's right! Our Memory Verse Art Prints can be purchased right here! There is no need to go to Etsy for Salsa and Tea. Just use the SHOP button on the top right. We'll be adding things often.
December is ready!
Since our van still isn't fixed, Thanksgiving is a mere three days away, and I have fall crafts riddling every spare inch of every closet, shelf, and corner I was trying to decide what to do. We missed every single fall market and fair ... that's a lot of wreaths, floral arrangements, mason jars, signs, and garlands.
I thought about just labeling it a Crafty Yard Sale and setting up on the circle as everyone is on their way home from work ... and I may do that for some Christmas items. However, it just wasn't what I want to do. We live in a town house. With 56 neighbors on our street. We've actually spoken words to three of them. I'm pretty sure we have 56 crafts that we can secretly drop on doorsteps. Soooo, what are we doing? Tying this little greeting around each one. Then, when everybody is at work tomorrow my kids will try out their Ninja skills. Pray we aren't caught and that we are a blessing, OK?
WOULD YOU LIKE TO BLESS YOUR NEIGHBORS, FRIENDS, FAMILY? Here, as a Thank You for your incredible patience with us these past three months, download your own Tag Printable for free. Just print, cut each one out, then use a hole punch to create your hole, and some twine or ribbon to tie to your gifts or just cut and place in an envelope to use as a card. :)
Also, don't forget about our November Memory Verse Prints!
Lord willing I will be posting December Memory Verse Prints later this week.
A few years ago the children finished their curriculum for the year early. Three months early. Three months before it was in the budget to purchase new curriculum. While trying to figure out how to pay for it, I decided that we would give Etsy and Craft Shows a chance. At first it was a major flop. We had prayed, we put a lot of effort and time into it. Then, slowly our little fundraiser started to take off and somehow without us even really realizing it we had a full-fledged business on our hands. As we tried to balance school and business, the business started to take more and more of our time. We were getting school done, but it has never been my desire to just get school done. I've always purposed not to rush, rather savor life and our time together.
I found out that "success" meant spending often times more than FIVE HOURS A WEEK merely shipping sold items, dragging my babies to get shipping supplies, packaging orders, and standing in line at the post office. All to make a $2 profit. For a while I told myself that it was a good experience for them, it was part of their education ... how many elementary school students had the opportunity to have a hand in making things from scratch and sending them all over the globe? I was getting 2 hours of sleep per night, but I just kept telling myself that it was only until we saved enough to move to a house with more room and were better able to build up inventory and shipping supplies to be efficient with our time.
Then, everything started to break. I do mean everything. My Silhouette needed a new cutting strip (regular maintenance that I hadn't expected but I was using my machine so much more than normal that it just crept up on me), the air condition in our van broke, the air conditioning in the house broke, the dishwasher broke, the van broke completely, the washing machine broke, the power cord for the Silhouette was mysteriously ripped in two, my printer broke, the van broke again, the washing machine broke, the van broke again (and three months later is still broken).
My production time slowed waaaay down. Soon, even ready to sell items were delayed because I had no way to get out to get shipping supplies and we don't have room to store any in bulk and I had no way to the post office. I let customers down. I let myself down. I missed paid for markets and craft fairs.
Not wanting to give up, I tried my best to get everything out and devised a plan to only make items that used like shipping materials that were easier to store. That still didn't work well. During one of the times that my van was "fixed" I was making a huge run to the post office and the van broke again with everything inside which ended up never making it to the post office.
Defeated and not wanting to let anyone else down, I decided to only offer digital items. I even went as far to ask for volunteers in my Facebook Group who were willing to share family photos to in exchange for free Christmas card designs.
Then, suddenly my laptop wouldn't start. It was nine months old and under warranty so I sent it to be fixed. The entire hard drive was completely wiped clean. Gone. Poof. All of my designs. Everything. I couldn't even follow through with digital promises.
Finally, my laptop is back to me and I'm starting from scratch. I have six people waiting on orders and hope to have them recreated and in the mail by next Tuesday.
This time off has made me realize just how much time we were spending on the business and while each of us did enjoy it, we desperately needed this time to focus, to bring our family back to the basics. We were beginning to lose touch with what our main goal was. How on earth did we go from trying to fund curriculum to trying to fund a new house? We will fulfill our remaining obligations and take most of the rest of the year off. We love creating so may do one show in December, but only if we feel we have enough inventory ahead of time while still sleeping a decent amount at night and enjoying our days together.
Thank you so much for sticking with me and for those that were praying; You will never know how much it means to me.
(Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links ... what? I need to fund the curriculum budget somehow!)
I have always wanted a big family.
On our first date Smokey asked me how many kids I wanted.
I said, "Ten!" then was shocked when while I waited for a disgusted snarl or a mouth wide open look of bewilderment, a slow smile that eventually adorned his whole face appeared.
I won't lie ... some days are hard, so very hard. However, in the midst of the hardest days a rainbow always appears.
Just the other day was one of those, "WHAT IN THE WORLD WAS I THINKING?! I CAN'T EVEN DRINK A CUP OF COFFEE WITHOUT SPILLING IT ALL OVER ME. HOW MANY HOUSEPLANTS HAVE I KILLED? WHAT ON EARTH MADE ME THINK I COULD RAISE ONE KID, LET ALONE SEVEN? SHOULDN'T THERE BE SOME SORT OF PARENTING DRESS REHEARSAL OR A TEST TO PASS BEFORE HAVING KIDS?" kind of days.
There was fighting, there were unfulfilled responsibilities, there were tears. During my temper tantrum (You know those words -plus plenty more- that ripped through my heart, swirled through my brain, and are now in quotes and all caps up there?) I was so *me* focused. I was so intent on my own shortcomings, shortcomings that I was absolutely certain were the reason my children didn't follow through with chores, were mean to each other, and were never ever going to succeed at anything. After flinging dirty laundry, a cup of coffee (that I didn't spill), and a little time with the Lord we all sort of just returned back to normal ... drifted back together with softened hearts. It was just a rough morning; One little infraction after another that made us all miserable.
Us all. Not just me. We are *all* sinners, falling short of the glory of God. I can teach my children, I can beg them, I can even command them to do what is right. Some times they will even obey. However, I'm not a stand in for Jesus and I'm certainly not their Holy Spirit.
With my eyes opened to truth and without allowing Satan to whisper lies into my ears, I was able to see and hear the beauty around me.
Abigail (my oldest) made Lucy (my second youngest) a card with handmade hand dyed confetti. Lucy kept carrying it around, showing everyone and saying, "My Abigail made for me!"
All of those years that I imagined having a family and what it would look like, I never imagined it would be so amazing watching the bond between two sisters, 12 years apart, grow. The feeling I get when my kids love on each other ... well, it's indescribable, let's just say that no houseplant (dead or alive) could make me feel the same.