Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Organizing RoundUp - The Office


Honestly, I was too ashamed to take a before picture of my desk. Last September I organized my desk, but within the year it pretty much had gotten back to unorganized. So, we'll just say that if you want to see the before picture for this year, you'll have to click the link and imagine it one year later. YIKES! :(


BUT... here's the after:



First, let me explain the decor: We put the oldest boys in the same room recently and decided to move the "office" into Will's old room. So now, I have Thomas the Train to keep me company. :)

And here's a little more of a closer look into what I did to organize my desk...


One thing I have learned from doing all these Roundups is that everything needs a place. If it doesn't have a place, it's just going to make a disorganized mess. I've also learned that I like things to be hidden while in their place if at all possible, so when I found these cute boxes at a craft store for 60% off, I snagged three of them! They fit perfectly and it is amazing how much space was made by putting the contents in the boxes!


More space was also created because I have quit my SLAH business. I replaced old catalogs and business supplies with a white basket to hold our monthly file folders. They are legal sized and don't fit in a standard filing cabinet, so this basket works out great and they are right at my fingertips if I need them:



In the decluttering of the old SLAH supplies, I found a bunch of top loading plastic envelopes. I've put a few of these to use in holding my rebate receipts, my "to try" recipes, and information about our next vacation. I've also got my 3-ring binder for the 100 Days to Christmas set up! I found a 2009 Family Planning Calendar for 75% off and will be getting that started soon. It's on my desk as a reminder to get it done. Can you believe that 2009 is just around the corner?! Agh!




After all the organizing, I ended up with an open shelf! Wow! This is great for when something else needs a home on my desk... which will most likely happen. But this empty shelf really gives me hope that I can keep up with the organization this time. It's not just cleaned out, it's organized... and there's a big difference between the two!


As always, a big thanks to OrgJunkie for hosting!

Next month is the craft area!! Watch out stickers, markers, papers, and brushes... here I come! LOL!

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Costume Parade

UPDATE: CLICK HERE FOR THE PARADE

The Dirty Baby Carnival was such a hit and I the only thing cuter than dirty babies are ones in costume! I think there would have been even more participants in the last baby carnival if there was more time to advertise for it, so I'm giving you a whole month to spread the word!

Photobucket


The code for the badge is in the right side bar - feel free to grab it if you like!

The pictures don't have to be from this year and they don't have to be of babies. If your child dresses up and you want to share, please come back on November 1st to link up your photos in Mr. Linky.

I don't remember anyone hosting this last year, so hopefully I'm not stepping on any toes by hosting this (if I am, please let me know and I'll retract...).


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Fruit - Unplugged Project

This week's unplugged project is Fruit. After a quick search on google, I found this idea at almost every click, so I figured we give it a try!

The two types of fruit we used were a grapefruit and some raisins:



Remove the insides of the grapefruit (but be sure to save it for some taste-testing!)


We used pipe cleaners to turn it into a "hanging basket".


Add some bird seed and raisins:



Find a good place to hang it:




And don't forget the taste-testing! Witt loved it (with some added sugar!)


When Nathan woke up from his extra-long nap, we gave him one to fill and hang, too. Unfortunately , he decided to swing it instead! :)


We haven't seen any birds feasting from our feeders, but it was still a fun and easy project to do with the boys.

Join us at Unplug Your Kids for next week's project: White.

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Simple and Slow Fridays - Enchantment

*Please note that I give away some of Santa's secrets in this post, so don't let young eyes peer over your shoulder... ;)


This is actually a post I am struggling with and I'm not sure why.

As a young child I had curiosities of mystical, magical beings. I believed in Santa Clause until the 1st grade when a friend told me the truth. I suppose I eventually put it all together about the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny shortly after that, but I don't really remember when it happened. I collected unicorns and had hopes that there really was one out there somewhere. I wished on stars and wondered about fairies and fantasy.

Even as I grew older and knew these "beings" to be pretend, there was still the hope for the possibility of them being real. Is this wonder and hope something children just naturally have?

Looking back I don't think my parents "pushed" the idea of enchantment; I would say it was encouraged, though. We left cookies and carrots for Santa and his reindeer and searched for baskets hidden by the Easter bunny until we were well into our teens and knew the truth. We believed it was the Tooth Fairy that took our baby teeth from the tiny shot-glass filled with water that we left on the window sill (yes, seriously...not under the pillow at my house). We'd wake up to a shot-glass full of water and coins. It was grand. We definitely had our fun traditions and enchanting moments. I wonder if I'm making those moments for my boys?

Will (age 6) has asked several times if Santa is "really real". Somehow I just work my way out of the conversation. I'm not ready for him to lose that wonder, but his little brain is catching on quickly:

"Mom, who really leaves money behind for a baby tooth? Fairies aren't real, so there isn't a Tooth Fairy. Who really leaves the money?" {He hasn't even lost a tooth yet!}

"If magic isn't real then how is Santa real?"

We've had some times where he's been scared by something "magical" on cartoons and had to explain that magic is just pretend. He's in that stage of trying to grasp the concepts of real and not real. Enchantment is a hard thing to balance in between those two ideas.

I had a friend whose little girl (then about 6 years old) asked:

" How is it that Santa is not real, but we can go to the mall to see him and Jesus is real, but we can't see him?"

Talk about confusing.

I'm not really sure how I want to handle the whole enchanting/mystical/magical realm with my boys. I go back and forth because I have fond memories of believing from my childhood, but Will is a very literal child and I don't want to confuse him. (I know I'm writing a lot about Will and not the other two boys, but that's because he's at the age of trying to make sense of it all.)

I'm still riding the line on enchantment - not knowing which side to follow.

What do you do? How do you handle enchantment and the idea of magic at your house? Leave me some insight in the comments... please! :)

If you participate this week by writing a post on Enchantment, please enter the permalink to your post (not your blog) in Mr. Linky below. Be sure to link back here in your post, too. The code for the badge is in my right sidebar if you'd like to use it as well.

I hope you'll join us again next Friday for the topic of

Grace



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Thursday, September 25, 2008

5 Minutes at My House

I've added a video to my left sidebar from a random night at our house. It's 5 minutes long and never a dull moment. Come, laugh with me... before I go insane!


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Reminder!

Simple & Slow Fridays starts back up tomorrow with posts on Enchantment!!


I look forward to reading your thoughts on it!

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

You Make a Spectacular Middle Child

Nathan is 2... almost 3. Those terrible 2s are NOTHING compared to the 3s! Then again, you've always been a handful! :)


Your favorite expression right now is, "Nay maaa!" for "Nathan's mad!" You drop your head just enough to glare from the top of your eyes. Even more so than the picture in this post. You are also testing your boundaries with hitting, too. You hit when your mad. Not good.

You are talking a lot more, but bless your heart, I have no idea what you're saying sometimes. I asked about your first day of school and you responded with a paragraph full of stuff! Can't share it though... I have no idea what you said, but I was so excited just the same. I did understand, "Nay droe caa." (Nathan drove a car.) I think they have a "car" on the playground. You also said you rode in a plane ("Nay roe pae" while signing plane.) They must have a "plane" out there, too. There was also something about a "big tee", but it wasn't a "big tree" so I don't know. :) You seem to be enjoying school, but the teacher says you just can't seem to stay in your seat. nooooo... really? LOL!

You love stuffed animals (you sleep with about 6 every night), tractors (BRrrmmmmm!), and books. "Ree, mama, ree" (Read, mama, read!) Although you love everything to do with tractors, you'll take a book on anything.

You and Papaw have always been big buddies, too.


I think it might just be that he's the one that owns and drives the tractor, though... LOL!


You're in that toddler stage of not eating too much. Up until now, you've been our "garbage disposal", so it's been weird to see you not eating quite so much, but you're growing fine and have PLENTY of energy, so I'm not worried.


You're also in the middle stages of potty training. Last week was the first time you told us you had to go. It's hard to find a motivation because you don't care if you're in diapers, pullups, or big boy underwear. No big deal to you. You really just go with the flow. (no pun intended! ha!)


You still nap once a day... for about 2 - 2 1/2 hours in the afternoon. Woo Hoo! You are a good sleeper at night, too. We rock through a few verses of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star or As the Deer or a made-up song from your choice of subject. You'll say, "Barn Song" or "Bird Song" or "Grass Song". Then Daddy or I will make something up. When we're done singing, you hop into bed, get covered up, and then off to sleep you go. It's a wonderful routine and you know it well. In saying that though, you are starting to postpone bedtime by telling me you wants something to eat. (Little stinker!)

You've figured out how to make yourself burp (I'm so proud) and then you'll add, "Scooz me," with giggles. Another great trick is blowing spit bubbles. You are a child of many talents, Nathan.

You are VERY stubborn. I say "yes", you say "no". I say "this side," you say, "No, this sye!" (with a grin that tells me you know you are being a pain). I have no idea where you get your stubbornness from though, you're daddy is not a stubborn man at all. {wink wink... there's no way it's from little ol' me!}

You have such a fun personality, though. You love to giggle and snuggle. There is just something about you that draws people in.


Maybe it's your sincere smile...

Love you, you little stinker!

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Facebook

Ok, I just signed up for Facebook... I know I'm so behind in the times. Go figure.

Anyway, I need to know... real quick like... is there a group for Facebook addicts? Because I can see how this might be a problem... just like blogging is. LOL!

I am amazed at how many people I have found in such a short amount of time. This is fantastic!

Why hasn't anyone told me about this before? {haha}


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Unplugged Project - Hard

I will say that deciding on a Hard Unplugged Project was not easy. I had so many thoughts in mind from easy to hard. Jeff suggested something with concrete, and I thought that was a great idea, but Nathan was at Grandmother's house and if we were going to do imprints of hands or feet I wanted him here for that. Then I thought about hard-back books and just having a good ol' fashioned reading session.

I finally decided to do something easy with something hard: Dominoes.


In fact it took me so long to decide what to do that we ended up doing this project this morning before school. However, the tv was never mentioned this morning and that's the whole point of the unplugged projects!

So here's the fun we had this morning:

The set-up...



And the fall (original (very) short-story by Will):

video


Up again...


And down again (notice the Will make the engine huff & puff before he knocks them all down)...



We did this a few more times with some variations and then Will then decided to build a house out of dominoes:


And then we had to leave for school. I might have taken the easy way out with Hard, but we enjoyed our few minutes together.

The End. :)

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Just Sorting Through Some Lists

Books I've Started and want to finish (in no order and there are several I don't care to finish that I did not list)

1. Scream Free Parenting
2. Getting Things Done
3. All New Square Foot Gardening
4. Mitten Strings for God (3rd read through)
5. The Bible, of course! :)
6. Heloise from A to Z
7. A Penny Saved


I love paperbackswap, can you tell?




Books I've Finished this year

1. Tightwad Gazette

2. The Digital Photography Book
3. Total Money Makeover
4. A SLEW of children's books


Wish List Books (no order):

1. The Hidden Art of Homemaking
2. More-With-Less Cookbook
3. My Sweet Vegan
4. Nourishing Traditions
5. Putting Food By
6. The Encyclopedia of Country Living


Someday/Maybe Random List of things to do


1. Learn how to sew (anything)
2. Stop using paper towels, plates, and napkins completely (hey, maybe I could start by sew some napkins!)
3. Travel to Spain on a guided tour. (I might as well throw in the big stuff, huh?!)


Things I want to do "soon"


1. Learn how to use Adobe Photoshop.
2. Decide if I want to give a winter garden a try
3. Check out this Through the Lens workshop
4. Plant something in the front of the house
5. Read through Pioneer Woman's Photography blog
6. Get my grocery bill under $100 a week. (including diapers)
7. Complete potty-training with Nathan (although this is more up to him than me...)
8. Bring the scrapbooks up to date so I can get rid of my scrapbooking stuff now that blogging has taken it's place.
9. Lose 30 pounds. Ok, 35.
10. Start using an allowance with Will.
11. Finish reading this series on Raising Godly Offspring. I'm on week 3.
12. Declutter and have a yard sale (planned for Nov 1)
13. Update my monthly meal plan.


I think it's time to stop making these lists and go finish book #2 on my "started list"...


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Friday, September 19, 2008

How to be a Good Housewife


HOW TO BE A GOOD WIFE
Home Economics High School Text Book, 1954



Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal, on time. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal are part of the warm welcome needed.


Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so that you'll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your makeup, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people. Be a little gay and a little more interesting. His boring day may need a lift.


Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the home just before your husband arrives, gather up schoolbooks, toys, paper, etc. Then run a dust cloth over the tables. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift, too.


Prepare the children. Take a few minutes to wash the children's hands and faces (if they are small), comb their hair, and if necessary change their clothes. They are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part.


Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer, dishwasher, or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet. Be happy to see him. Greet him with a warm smile and be glad he is home.



Some don'ts: Don't greet him with problems or complaints. Don't complain if he is late for dinner. Count this as minor compared with what he might have gone through that day.

Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or suggest he lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him. Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soft, soothing and pleasant voice. Allow him to relax and unwind.


Listen to him. You may have a dozen things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first.

Make the evening his. Never complain if he does not take you out to dinner or to other places of entertainment. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure, his need to be home and relax.


The Goal: Try to make your home a place of peace and order where your husband can renew himself in body and spirit.

Is this true still true today, over 50 years later?

Even if you're not a housewife, what are your thoughts?

I can't wait to read them! :)


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Simple and Slow Fridays Returns!

I hope you'll join me as I bring Simple and Slow Fridays out of retirement! :)

Next Friday I'll have my post up on Enchantment and a Mr. Linky for you to share your thoughts on it, too.

I know I said I wasn't going to do this {grin}, but here's an excerpt from Mitten Strings for God from her chapter on Enchantment (p 119) to get our thoughts going:

Somehow, in our hurry to steer our children toward accomplishment and independence, we seem to have forgotten what childhood is all about. Preoccupied with managing their lives, and our own, it is so easy to lose sight of our children - their tenderness and innocence, their joyousness, their capacity for wonder, their hunger for enchantment. A touch of magic can reawaken the childlike spirit in all of us, allowing us to revisit for time, the secret realm of childhood.
So, what's enchanting at your house? Come back next Friday to share!

Leave a comment today if I can be expecting you next Friday; maybe I can find a brownie to make a batch of hot porridge for us. :)

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

I Don't Want to Just Survive



Do you ever have days where you feel like you have "just survived" parenthood? When at the end of the day what you really want to thank God for most is that you made it through the day?

Nothing specific has happened, but this thought of "just surviving" parenthood has been on my mind a lot lately. I want to do more than just survive it. I want to be a participant, be more active, and just plain more alive. I don't want my days to pass by taking uncaptured moments and unmade memories with them.

I need to refocus my thoughts. Redirect them on making memories. Although some of the most special memories are spur-of-the-moment, being more intentional ensures there are special memories being made! :)

With this thought in mind, I am going to start being more consistent with the Unplugged Projects. I love them. They are so simple and so broad in how we want to approach them. This week's project is themed Hard. So, come this Monday, you'll see something Hard. It might not be spectacular, but it will be something that I did with my boys!

Secondly, I am going to start Simple and Slow Fridays up again. Out of retirement it comes! This isn't always something I do with my boys, but it helps me direct my thoughts.

I love the book Mitten Strings for God and that's where I got the titles for each week. In the past I have given segments from the book for direction, but that became too much work. Now, each Friday I will just give a subject for the following Friday. And if you want to get started thinking about a post for my re-launch of SSF, the topic will be Enchantment. What a fun topic to start on!

If you're not really sure how this works, you might like to check out some of our previous topics (unfortunately in my blog re-design I lost all the Mr. Linky links... I am so sad about this! However, If you have the time, you can check the comment section for those that participated and search their blog by the posted date.)


Simplicity
Play
Secret Places
Wants and Needs
Stories
One-On-One Time
Surrender
Healing
Listening
Nature


Not this Friday, but next Friday, September 26th, I will have my post up about Enchantment and a Mr. Linky for you to link up your post on Enchantment, too. At the end of my post I will include the following week's topic. Let me know what questions you have; I hope to have lots of participants, but even if I don't this is something good for me.

I hope you'll join me on my quest to do more than survive! :)

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Walk to D'feet ALS: Fundraising

My family and I are traveling to Atlanta, GA the first weekend in November for Walk to D'feet ALS. We are raising funds to find a cure for ALS and spreading awareness to educate more people about the horrible disease.

From the ALS website:

Most people who develop ALS are between the ages of 40 and 70, with an average age of 55 at the time of diagnosis. However, cases of the disease do occur in persons in their twenties and thirties. Generally though, ALS occurs in greater percentages as men and women grow older. ALS is 20% more common in men than in women. However with increasing age, the incidence of ALS is more equal between men and women.


One of my best friends from high school, Kimberly Kim, was diagnosed just two years ago, at age 30. In her own words:

The prognosis is absolutely horrifying to me. ALS causes progressive muscle weakness and wasting to the point where many become a virtual quadriplegic. Your mind is not affected, but your body simply refuses to function. Average life expectancy after diagnosis is 2-7 years. There is the rare case where a reversal or halting of symptoms is seen, but this is not common.
October 2007, Kim attended a gala for ALS. Here is her recorded segment.

Many, many thanks to those of you that have already donated to this cause! Words cannot express how grateful I am. However, I am still a little more than $900 shy of my $1500 goal. Please help me reach my goal by donating a few dollars. You can do so on my secure personal page here.

If you would like to raise funds, too, you can find a walk in your area here.

Thanks again for all your support and for taking the time to educate yourself about ALS!

Hugs!

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