Monday, February 28, 2011

The Crazy Hour

I think every mother of little ones knows what I am talking about.  That time late in the afternoon when the kids just go nuts.  School is over for the day, the littlest ones wake up from their naps with a new burst of energy.  Everyone is cranky...and then the whining starts.

"When's dinner?"  "I'm starving!"  "When's Daddy getting home?"  "I'm bored!"

The baby is fussy, the kids are fighting and I am just trying to get dinner on the table.
So how do we calm the crazy hour?

I put them to work.  Nobody stays bored in this house! :)

I try to turn the crazy hour into a time of preparing for Daddy to come home.  After working all day he wants to come home to a haven, not a landmine field of toys.  So, we do a quick pick up.

If I were to yell at the kids, "Clean up this mess!".  They would take one look, feel overwhelmed and protest.  But If I enthusiastically say, "Ok, let's do a quick clean up, everyone pick up 10 things."  They jump right to it, usually turning it into a race.

Then we start on dinner...I try to plan out dinner at least that morning so I am not scrambling at the last minute to make something.  I love having the kids help me cook, but we have a lot of little hands that are eager to help and sometimes it is overwhelming.  I try to use this time as my special time with one of the kids.  They take turns who will get to help Mommy in the kitchen, and the rest will help set the table.

They clean off the day's schoolwork, wipe it clean, fold the napkins and set out the silverware.  They love to pick out a candle for the centerpiece.  They are so excited to show Daddy when he gets home and my assistant chef is just bursting with pride over our delicious meal.

Why is it important to prepare our homes for our husbands?  Because he deserves it

"But he doesn't know what I've been through all day!"   No, he doesn't, but neither do you.  He has had a boss to answer to all day.  He has had a long day away from his family just to provide for us.  He hasn't had a sweet baby to cuddle or little ones giving hugs. He has missed many first smiles and first steps.

Yes, I know how hard it can be to be home all day with a full house and no break.  I am sitting here now with 3 hours of sleep and no shower...but I would never want to trade this life for what my husband goes through all day. 

Every man wants to feel like the king of his castle.  And when he comes home feeling like a king, he will be more willing to treat you like a queen.

Friday, February 25, 2011


This morning my husband called me "Madame Blueberry".  I was so mad! 

If you aren't familiar with the VeggieTale, Madame Blueberry is a very sad berry because nothing that she has is good enough.  She then goes to Stuffmart, where she buys everything thinking it will make her happy.  She of course learns along the way that things don't make you truly happy.

As he left for work I was still fuming.  I looked over at our 8 year old toaster, that only toasts half the bread and makes a loud squealing sound to tell you your half-toasted bread is ready.  "I'm the most un-materialistic person I know!".

This all started because I mentioned that I really want to paint the house.  We were in a hurry to move in and had agreed to wait to paint until we had more time and our budget allowed.  We've lived here 2 months and already my hallway is lined with little fingerprints.  There are crayon marks on my dining room wall, and no matter how much I scrub, I can't get the stains off of this ugly, flat white paint.

I don't think I am being discontent.  The walls are dirty and it's embarrassing. 

Hmmm...embarrassing why?  Because someone might come over and think I'm a bad homemaker?  Because my stuff defines me?  Ouch.

"But I never buy anything for me!"; I reasoned with my conscience.

The truth is I would feel guilty spending money on a new toaster when my kids need new shoes.  Or on paint for the house when our daughter needs a new bed and is sleeping on a mattress on the floor.

Contentment is not being a martyr.  Contentment is not being cheap.  Contentment is having a thankful heart.

Is painting your house or buying small kitchen appliances a sin?  Of course not.  But having a coveting and discontent spirit is.  (Exodus 20:17)

My husband said he was only joking, but I think there was a lot of truth to what he said.  He sees my heart more than anyone.  His comment forced me to do a lot of soul searching and I didn't like what I saw.

I am overwhelmed with God's blessings every time we drive past our first home.  That sweet, little cottage that could literally fit in the kitchen I have now.  And in that tiny cottage with it's one foot of counter space sat this same ugly toaster.

Thank you Jesus for these walls that keep us warm
And for all these messy little children who make it feel like home.
Thank you Jesus for the bread we have to eat
And for this ugly toaster that sometimes toasts but always squeaks.

"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do everything through Him who gives me strength."  Philippians 4:12-13

Monday, February 21, 2011

My Sanctuary

This is the first house we have lived in that had a dishwasher.  My husband would joke that our dishwasher only worked on Mother's Day.  Washing dishes by hand seemed like one of those never-ending chores.  The sink would be empty just in time to start the next meal.

As moms of little ones know, meal clean up is an event.  You have sticky children and spills to clean up under and all over the table.  Baby food smeared on the highchair and crumbs to sweep up off the floor.  The dishes usually came last.

There were days where it seemed overwhelming.  Just as I would start to wash them, the baby would cry or some other disaster would erupt.  It was frustrating because dirty dishes would take over my kitchen.  I hate feeling cluttered.

I was so excited to finally have a dishwasher.  It has saved so much time in my day and I can hide my dirty dishes in there until I have a full load.  I've even taught the kids how to load and run it.

But...dare I say it...I kind of miss washing them by hand

Those moments at my kitchen sink were my sanctuary.  I would look out my kitchen window, watch the wind carry the birds and daydream.  I would use those moments to pray, reflect and remember. 

My windowsill held mementos from our honeymoon, Bible verses I was memorizing, photos of my brother who I miss more than anything...and usually a few dandelions that my children had picked for me.

As my hands were scrubbing, I was venting to God about the things that had hurt my heart that day.  I complained (probably about having to wash the dishes again!) and He would quiet my soul.

I may not get a weekend away or even an hour, but I can have my moments at my kitchen sink.

How do you find your quiet moments in the midst of a busy day?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Homemade Chai Latte

I had my first taste of chai tea when I worked at a coffee shop many years ago.  One sip and I was hooked.  It's a creamy, sweet and spicy cup of comfort.  All the recipes I had found to make it at home called for exotic spices that I didn't have and I was not willing to pay $$$ to invest in them.

Then I found this recipe in my Betty Crocker cookbook.  It may not be completely authentic, but it is delicious and made from spices that everyone should already have in their cabinet.

I halve this recipe to make a jumbo mug just for me. :)

2 cups water
4 bags black tea
2 cups milk
2 Tbsp honey
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Heat water to boiling in a medium saucepan.  Add tea bags, reduce heat and simmer  uncovered 2 minutes.  Remove tea bags.

Stir in remaining ingredients; heat to boiling.  Stir with a wire whisk to foam milk.  Enjoy!

Friday, February 11, 2011

I love the library...

Walls of knowledge to grow and stories to tell.  Walking the aisles and browsing the shelves I am in the most peaceful place. 

Unless I have my 5 children with me...then I am completely stressed out!

My kids share my love for books and no matter how many times I give them the "No Touching!" pep talk before we enter, they just cannot contain themselves.  Little hands are grabbing at every book they desire and before I know it there is a pile on the floor...and the librarian is giving me a dirty look.

Then I discovered the most wonderful thing.  I can go on our library's website and request the books I need online.  If they aren't at that branch, they will find them for me and email me when my books are ready.  Then I just go and pick them up.  I'm in and out and able to check out so much more than if I had tried to find them myself.  Simple.

I don't know if every library does this, but go check it could just start enjoying the library again.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Hidden in my heart

When I was a little girl, I was very blessed to have grown up going to church, Christian school and AWANA.  Memorizing Bible verses was just a natural part of life.  When I was a teenager I committed my life to Christ.  The verses that I had memorized as a child now had a new meaning to me.  Through the darkest moments in my life God's sweet words brought comfort, hope and promise.

When I became a mother I knew that I wanted my children to have the same start.  I have been amazed at how much they have memorized and understood already.

One thing that has really made it fun for the kids is to make up hand motions for some of the words in their verses.  Sometimes we will use actual sign language, other times they will create their own.  Giving them something to do with their hands really helps them focus.

Another thing that has made memorization come naturally is to use music.  Have you ever had a song stuck in your head?  Or heard a song that you hadn't heard in years and you still knew all the words?  It's amazing how powerful music can be.  We have made up a lot of our own Scripture songs, but here are a few CD's that we love:

These are so fun and definitely a favorite!

ABC Bible Verse Songs
This is one of the first ones I had ever used.  It is very simple and sweet.  Great for little ones because there is a Bible verse for each letter of the alphabet.

Word of God Speak
I can just have it playing in the background of my busy day and before I know it, I've memorized lots of new Bible verses.

Something else that has really helped me is to write down the verses that I want to learn and place them somewhere where I will see it often.  for me, this is on my kitchen windowsill.  As I am washing dishes or cooking I can glance at it and meditate on my verses.

I would encourage you to try to memorize Scripture.  Start small and work together as a family.  Make it fun and don't stress.  Just take it one verse at a time.

"Pay attention and listen to the sayings of the wise, apply your heart to what I teach, for it is pleasing when you keep them in your heart.  And have all of them ready on your lips.  So that your trust may be in the Lord..."  ~Proverbs 22:17-19

Monday, February 7, 2011

We Moved!

After 7 years of prayers and waiting, we are finally...home.

We moved in on New Year's Eve which I think is also very symbolic of this time in our lives.  It's a fresh start.  A big, empty house just waiting to be made into a home.  Within a week, our littlest boy colored on the freshly painted walls and mushed toothpaste into the brand new carpet.  Yes, we are home.

Moving is an interesting process.  You disrupt your whole life, dig through years of memories, find all those treasures you had forgotten about, throw them all in a box and start over.

I've been getting rid of everything.  If I don't need it, use it, or love's gone.

Something beautiful is happening.  There is...less.  Less to clutter up my house.  Less to clean and collect dust.  Less to dig through while trying to find what I really need.

Stuff is just stuff.  When I was 17, our family home was destroyed by a fire.  Everything was gone.  At the time it was hard to let go, but now there really isn't anything from my childhood that I really wish I still had.

I would challenge you today to really look at your home.  Does your stuff add visual chaos or feel peaceful?  Does everything have a place and a purpose?

Our homes should be full of love and warmth, not empty things that just get in the way.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Featured on

Hello to all my new readers!  I was so blessed to have to opportunity to share my story on!  Thank you for all your sweet words of encouragement.  I hope you will find encouragement and inspiration here.
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