Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My New Best Friend

I know it sounds gross, and it is, if you drink it straight. The stuff is NASTY! But boy, oh, boy it's wonderful to cook with! I grew up on the stuff as a welfare child since we got it for free, and I only gagged it down to make my mother happy. Needless to say that as an adult I had a strong aversion to it. But one day a question popped into my head, I wonder if it tastes bad if you cook with it? We go through milk fast in our house, my daughter bakes a lot, I make sauces of different kinds for dinners (instead of buying those cute/expensive little seasoning packets!), my husband would love to drink a gallon a day if I let him, and I have five kids.

So, on my next trip to the store I found it in the bulk bin section, it is awesomely cheap! When I got home I mixed up a pitcher of it, cooked with it, and voila! Non-nasty tasting food! Now we keep a pitcher of it in the fridge at all times, and whatever we need milk for (besides drinking plain :p), we use the powdered milk. If you buy it in the bulk bins without instructions for mixing, use 1/3 c. of powder to 8 oz. of water. I add a bit more water when mixing up a pitcher to stretch it a little more, it's just fine.

Oh, it also works, mixed with goat's milk, for feeding rescued kittens found in your wall!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

One Thousand Gifts

"No gift unrecognized as coming from God is at its own best...when in all gifts we find Him, then in Him we shall find all things." -George MacDonald

My thanks to Angela for telling me about this! I am so excited to begin this with the kids.

Ann Voskamp writes, "I am seeing things I have never seen before, atuned and aware of this constant, endless stream of gifts from His hand. I am one waking from slumber....from the stupor of indifference and ignorance. I have sight, fresh and keen---the world is new and full of His gifts."

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sweet, Sweet, Magic Pills

Who woulda thought that IRON was so necessary for a body to function properly? I sure didn't, until I couldn't peel myself out of my computer chair to get another cup of coffee! (After all what are kids good for other than tireless coffee makers and blanket fetchers?)
I'm just SO excited to realize that I'm not nearly the lazy bum that I thought I was! Now I can actually do housework rather than sit and dream of a clean house! Yea!!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Clothing Issues

Ok, since this is supposed to be a blog about making do with what you have, (although I haven't been so faithful to that!), I thought I'd throw this in here.
Having five daughters, I routinely get comments about how I'm going to be sent to the poor house trying to clothe them all when they're teenagers. But I figure that if I can set a few precedents now while they're young, then we'll have fewer issues when they get older. I may be deluding myself on this one, but hey, it's worth a shot! So here's how we do things on one not-so-large-but-perfectly-adequate income:
  1. We home school. Sounds like it doesn't relate to the topic? Well, we don't have anyone to impress on a daily basis do we? Without all that outward pressure to conform we are able to be more content with what God has given us.
  2. We love hand-me-downs. Whether it be from older sisters, or friends of the family, anything new to us is exciting!
  3. We shop at yard sales and thrift stores. This is so fun! The girls love finding treasures amongst what other people have labeled as trash. We're always amazed at what perfectly good things people get rid of, some things still have the original store tags on them! We only buy clothes at Target if we need something specific that we don't already have for a special occasion. But really, we haven't had to do this for a while.
  4. We save outgrown items for the next girl in line even if it's not perfectly "in style" anymore. Oh, and baby dresses make cute blouses for 3-4 year olds!
  5. We mend torn items. This sounds simple enough, but I have a feeling that not many people actually take the time to do this. You can add a couple years of wearable-ness to an item by simply taking a needle and thread to it. Along this same line, you can also sew a cute little patch or embroider a flower over small stains.
  6. We have grandparents who like to take the kids shopping. For some reason they think our kids "deserve" new clothes. Well, if it floats their boat I'm not going to stop them! ;)
  7. We save seasonal clothes. If it doesn't fit one child this winter, it'll probably fit the next child next winter. Time flies by faster the more kids you have, you'll be thankful to be able to pull out that box next winter and be able to find what you need! We go through seasonal clothes twice a year, in the spring and fall. All summer clothes get put away, including flip-flops and bathing suits in the fall. All winter clothes get put away when it's warm enough for shorts (excepting a sweatshirt for chilly evenings). This is cause for great excitement in our house, the kids LOVE doing this so much that they don't mind hauling out ten large totes from the storage shed into the front room!
So there you have it! Take it or leave it as you will, but it works great for our family and trains the kids to be thankful and creative rather than materialistic.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I've Been Tagged!

Yay! My sister-in-law Laurie tagged me for a meme! I've haven't been tagged for anything yet, and I can't think of a better one to do.
"Here's how it works: I am supposed to pick up the nearest book with at least 123 pages, turn to the 123rd page, find the 5th sentence, and then post the three sentences immediately after that."
I have a dilemma though. Patrick (my sweet man!) is studying for his Sunday morning service, so he has books piled all over my desk. I have several GREAT choices, but I'll go with the one that I actually had to push away for elbow room.

"Fourth, don't fear to speak the truth, but be courageous and speak clearly and openly because God is giving close and intimate attention to all you do. Matthew 10:30 means at least that much. Jesus says, 'Even the hairs of your head are all numbered.' In other words, the suffering you may undergo in speaking the truth is not because God is disinterested in you or unfamiliar with your plight. He is close enough to separate one hair from another and give each one a number. Fear not; he is close. He is interested; he cares. Be of good courage, and speak the truth whatever the cost."

Ok, that's a little more than three sentences, but I couldn't help myself! Here's who I tag:

I'm All About the Free Stuff!

Here's a cool giveaway I found out about on Ashley's blog from the Old Red Barn Co. Check it out!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

One Life

I found this on Ann Voskamp's blog Holy Experience. I've heard it before, but it just sunk in for me.

Only one life, will soon be past, only what’s done for Jesus will last.”

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Here's a pretty nifty link I've come across. It's advice shared by more experienced moms for those who are just starting their families. They have some great things to say, I love the sock advice! I don't have nearly as many kiddos as some of these ladies do, but I have learned a thing or two with my little flock of chicks! Be warned though, this is a soapbox of mine! ;)

The first thing I thought of was to teach children to do things for themselves. I don't want my kids to think they can whine at me if they are thirsty and I will immediately stop everything that I'm doing, jump up, run to the kitchen, and get out a cup to pour them a drink! It sounds kind of silly to have to mention this at all, but sadly I see it happening all the time. I believe that's just teaching them to be self-centered and demanding. But I know that with multiple children in the family kids learn to fend for themselves quickly, since mommy is usually occupied with the babies. The older ones learn that if they want something bad enough they better darn well figure out how to do it on their own!

This extends though to nearly every other areas of their lives as well. We need to teach them how to do household chores without having to hover to make sure they do it properly. It's either done or it's not. A couple of weeks ago a friend who has two small kids asked me what I thought a 3 year old was capable of doing around the house. My response was "More than you think!" Putting away their folded laundry, clearing off the breakfast table, picking up after themselves, they really can do many things. It's actually more difficult to teach them how to do some things rather that just doing it yourself, but in the long run you're not just teaching them how to do a task, you're also teaching them to be faithful in the little things.

Schoolwork also goes more smoothly if the kids can read the directions on the page and follow them on their own. I shouldn't have to read a math lesson to my 11 year old if she is perfectly able to read it herself. Most often the case is that she understands it much easier than I do anyway and I'm just hindering her from getting it done quickly! I believe that as soon as a child can read words and comprehend their meaning, they can follow written directions, even my 1st grader can do it.

I strongly believe we are doing our children a great disservice in allowing them to be completely dependent on us, by not giving them the tools they need to run a home of their own. I know many girls who move out of their parent's homes, go to college, or get married, and still don't know how to make a casserole, or wash their white clothes! I was one of them! What good is knowing how to diagram a sentence if they don't know how to balance a checkbook for goodness sakes? Our job as mothers is to train them to be able to live on their own without our help. I think we forget sometimes that there will be a day when they are going to move out and have families of their own. Will they be able to survive without us doing everything for them?

*Deep breath* Yes, that was ranting a bit. This is obviously a daily battle in our home. I barely know what I'm doing as a mother and homemaker as it is, so I'm trying to learn for myself and teach my daughters at the same time. Not an easy thing to do! Children really are very intelligent creatures, able to learn things much quicker than we think. Encourage them to use the brains that God gave them. Teach them how to reason out a problem. Make them untie their own knots! They'll have to learn sometime in their lives as it is, the sooner the better for everyone's sakes!