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WASH DAY

I normally try to do all of our laundry on Mondays.  I’d rather set aside a day and just get it done than drag it out for the rest of the week.  As I was doing laundry, I started thinking about the next 20 years… of laundry.  Seriously.  Not fun thoughts.  Especially since we’d love to have more babies… and that means more laundry.

Then I started thinking about how Clara LOVES to help around the house.  She wants so badly to be a mamma.  One day as she blew on a wish (what she calls dandelions) I heard her say, “I wish I could be a mamma right now!”  Around the house, she often cheerfully asks me, “Mamma, is there anything I can do to help you?  Do you have a job for me?”  She wants to be a mamma, and she knows that mammas work, so she wants to help!

So, of course, being the sweetly devious mamma that I am, I found a new job for her.  Today, my sweet girls started doing their own laundry.  So, now the next 20 years of laundry aren’t looking so bad.  ;)

 

First, they emptied their laundry basket and carried all of the clothes to the floor of the laundry room, where they dumped them.

Then, they picked up one item at a time and made sure it was turned right-side-out, and checked for stains.  They handed stained items to me and I stain treated them.

After checking and stain treating items, they put each item in the washer.  I started the washer.

When the clothes were clean, the girls transferred all of the clothes to the dryer on their own while I worked on other chores.

Once the clothes were dry, they helped me sort them, and I started teaching them how to hang shirts and dresses on hangers.  Then, I put the clothes away.

At this point, I’m still very involved in the process, but they’re only 2 and 3 years old right now. Who know, maybe in a year they’ll be doing it completely on their own. Can you imagine that???  Heaven!

SHOE ORGANIZER

After my amazing dad built us a window seat, we immediately stuffed the girls’ shoes into one of the drawers.  It’s a huge, deep, wide drawer, and it’s amazing how much it holds!  The problem was that I would line the girls shoes up neatly, and within minutes (or so it seemed to me) the drawer was in utter chaos again.  And I – can’t – stand – chaos.  It makes me want to rip my hair out.  So, after a year of dealing with this shoe drawer…

 

 

and struggling every time we went out the door to find two pairs of matching shoes, I finally came up with a solution that was simple enough to actually carry out… with some help.  (Thanks again, Dad!)  While we were visiting my parents, my Dad cranked these out while I “helped”.

 

 

As soon as we got home, we assembled the dividers and organized the girls’ shoes… and my OCD self felt so much better!  I liked the solution so much that I put my shoes in a drawer too…

 

 

 

Ahhhh… order!  Sweet, sweet, organization!  How my heart thrills when everything has a place and everything is in it’s place!  (I know, I’ve got problems… but I also have a clean house!)

GARDEN MAXI

You’ll never believe it, but I bought this floral fabric when I worked at Jo Ann Fabrics in high school… 12 years ago.  I recently decided to start sewing my way through my fabric stash, so I finally found a use for it.  I LOVE using what I’ve already got to make something new!

 

I found this wonderful tutorial on making maxi dresses and decided it looked easy enough.  It was.  It was a very quick project!



 



I didn’t sew a sash (as seen in the tutorial) because I have a wide belt that works well with the dress.

I have several more pieces of fabric picked out for some other dresses, and I can’t wait to get started!

DISHWASHING DETERGENT

I’ve been slowly replacing my store-bought cleaners with homemade ones.  I like the idea of knowing what is really in the products that I use, and organic products can get pretty pricey, so I love the savings I get from making them myself.  I’ve been using this dishwasher detergent for about 2 months now.  I’ll be honest, it’s not quite as awesome as the jet packs I was buying before, but it definitely does the job.

 

I found the glass container at Goodwill for $1, and it’s PERFECT because it has that little handle where I’ve put the measuring spoon, so it’s easy to scoop out exactly what I need.  Here’s the recipe for the detergent:

 

Mix together the following ingredients:

1 cup of borax

1 cup of washing soda

1/2 cup of citric acid (if you can’t find it, you can use lemon kool-aid)

1/2 cup of kosher salt

Fill the rinse compartment with white vinegar.

 

There is still an unknown factor here, because, to be honest, I really don’t know what’s in borax or washing soda.  And, I don’t know if they are really healthy or not.  But, I’ve decided that at least it’s a step in the right direction.  If anyone has another recipe that you love, or that you think is safer, please pass it on!

 

This time around, I didn’t make the effort to locate citric acid, so I substituted lemon kool-aid. Next time, I’d really like to use the citric acid and see if it performs better.  I’ll let ya know!

FRUIT BEARING BRANCHES

I’ve ventured out of my comfort zone of fabrics and paper and into wood.  See my little tree?

 

 

It’s actually not that little.  It’s 2 feet tall, so it’s a decent size.  I used some sort of plywood that my dad had in his basement.  He was also kind enough to let me use his ban saw and scroll saw, which is pretty trusting of him, seeing that I had no previous experience with either machine!  This was my first solo-wood-creation and I really enjoyed the process… the long process.

 

I have big plans for our little tree.  Right now, I have Bible verses hanging on it.  They’re right in front of our faces every time we sit down to eat.  It helps us to remember to teach the girls new verses and to rehearse verses we’ve already memorized together.

 

 

As you can see, I make sure to pick verses that we can apply… constantly!  Right now, the girls are both asserting their independence and are clashing a bit, so we’ve been talking a lot about being peacemakers and speaking gently.  We haven’t memorized these two verses yet, but I’m pretty sure that they’re next up!

 

I also plan on using our tree for holidays.  My initial plan was actually to make it as a Jesse tree for Christmas, but once I finished, I had put so much work into it, that I decided I wanted to keep it out year round!  The Jesse tree is a way of telling God’s Story of redemption in advent form. Each day in December, we read a devotional and hang an ornament on our Jesse tree.  The ornaments take us from the creation of the world, to the birth of the Savior, which lands right on Christmas day.  For the remaining days of December, we continue to hang ornaments that take us on a journey through Jesus’ life, death, burial, resurrection, ascent to Heaven, and Pentecost. It’s a wonderful way of helping little minds connect the entire redemption story together.

 

I also hope to put together my own advents that we can use with this tree for other holidays.  An advent for Easter, studying Jesus’ life in more depth, and of course His sacrifice.  A study of Biblical love for February, to celebrate Valentine’s Day.  A study of the Biblical history of our great nation for July and Independence Day.  A series on thankfulness and praise for November and Thanksgiving… just some thoughts that have been running through my mind.


I’m sure you’ll be seeing our tree again around the holidays!

MENU PLANNER

I’m visual, and since having kids, my memory is shot, so when it comes to meal planning, I need it right in my face.  If it’s left to my memory, you’ll probably find us at Moes (or Welcome to Moes! as my girls call it).

 

This project was simple!  The art is a free download from Olli Bird.  I sent mine to be printed on cardstock at Office Max and then framed it.  That’s it.  Seriously… project done!

 

I usually plan our weekly menu on Saturday or Sunday and then I just write it directly on the glass with a dry erase marker.

 

You can find some other great free printables (weekly planners, menu planners, cleaning checklists, and blog planners) at Design Finch.

 

The menu pictured is from last week.  Below is our menu for this week.  (We all eat dinner leftovers the following day for lunch on weekdays, except on Friday.  On Friday, Allen works a half day and he’s home in time for lunch.  I also try to plan something very simple for Sundays, because, let’s face it, who wants to cook and clean on Sunday?  And, I always try to over-plan.  There’s a chance that we’ll have too much food, in which case, one of these meals will be moved over to the following week.)

 

Monday :: Spinach Tortellini Soup (recipe below)

Tuesday :: Baked Chicken Parmesan with Roasted Broccoli

Wednesday :: Tilapia with Caper-Parsley Sauce and Roasted Carrots

Thursday :: Rice & Beans with Homemade Cornbread (I freshly mill my own corn to make it more nutritious.)

Friday :: Nachos with Homemade Salsa for lunch.  Baked Lemon Pasta and Zucchini Cakes with Dip for dinner.

Saturday :: Hot dogs and s’mores on the bonfire for lunch.  (I always try to either make my own hot dog buns from freshly milled wheat or buy them at Bread Beckers.)  Grilled Salmon marinated in lemon, soy sauce and sugar with Grilled Pineapple for dinner.

Sunday :: Healthy Living Mac and Cheese

 

Spinach Tortellini Soup from the So Easy Cookbook  (I have made some slight modifications to the original recipe.)

1 t olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped (about 2 cups)

2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

1 large carrot, peeled and sliced (about 1.5 cups)

2 ribs of celery, chopped (about 1 cup)

1 t dried oregano

1 t dried thyme

1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes

14 oz diced tomatoes with juices

6 cups chicken broth (I make this myself and keep it in the freezer.)

3 oz baby spinach, sliced into ribbons (about 3 cups)

9 oz spinach and cheese tortellini

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese for topping

Heat the oil in a 4 or 6 quart saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until the onions are translucent and the garlic is softened, another 3 minutes.  Add the carrots, celery, oregano, thyme, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5-6 minutes.

Add the tomatoes with their juices and the broth.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.  Add the spinach and tortellini and cook until the tortellini are cooked through, about 6 minutes.

Serve topped with parmesan.

FAITH LIKE A CHILD

 

On Thursday, March 1, Clara (3 years old) told me she wanted to ask Jesus into her heart. I was reluctant. After all, she’s only 3 years old, and I wanted to make sure that she really knew what she was doing and that she was sincere in her desire. We talked about it a little bit, and I told her that I would really like for the two of us to be able to sit down with her daddy so that we could all talk together. I hoped to be able to talk that night when Allen got home from work. But, it didn’t happen… that night, or the next, or the next. It slipped to the back of my mind as we got busy with our weekend plans. Clara even asked me two more times, but it was always when Allen wasn’t available…


Finally, on Saturday night, while the girls were deep asleep and I was sewing a project, I became convicted. Since before she was born, I have prayed that God would put a deep desire for Himself and a deep love for Himself in Clara’s heart. I prayed that He would save her at a very young age, and here she was, her heart tender to His call, and I was standing in the way.


What was I thinking?


Allen and I purposefully woke up early Sunday morning so that we would have enough time to talk with Clara. She understood everything. She knew Romans 3:23 “All have sinned…” and Romans 5:8 “While we were sinners Christ died for us.” She knew that she needed Jesus to forgive her of her sins (the specific sins she mentioned were hitting and pushing Macy Jane), and that He is the only way to Heaven. She told us that if she died without Him in her heart, she would go to “fail” – which I thought was a pretty cute and fitting name for hell – but we did teach her the correct word. When we finished our conversation, Allen and I told her that she understood everything she needed to know and then asked if she’d like to ask Jesus into her heart.


She nonchalantly replied, “No thanks” and went on her happy way.


On our way to church that morning, from the back seat, we heard Clara say, “Mama, Daddy… I’m ready to ask Jesus into my heart now.” So, in the van, on the road, we all prayed together.


What a precious, sweet moment for this Mama’s heart.



On Sunday, March 18th, Allen had the privilege of baptizing Clara in our Sunday evening service.




I’m blessed to have the opportunity to disciple my sweet girl and watch as Jesus molds and transforms her more and more into His image.  I’m excited to see what He has in store for her.

WINDOW SEAT

We have this nook in our kitchen that desperately needed a built-in window seat.  Nothing else fit there.  So, when the opportunity arose, I made sure to mention to my dad that what I really wanted for my birthday was a window seat made by him.  ;)  So, he made it.  ;)  And, I love it.  ;) As you can see, I’m all smiles.




It functions perfectly for the space and our family.  It’s located right inside the garage door, so the HUGE drawers hold all of the girls’ shoes, coolers, lunch boxes, sun hats, and winter gear, so that we can grab those items on our way out the door.


The space isn’t finished yet.  It still needs a soft window covering (maybe a roman shade?) and a few pillows… and (did you notice?) we still need to replace the baseboards on the walls on either side of it, but even in it’s unfinished state, I love, love, love it!



I’m so thankful for such a sweet daddy!

ONE SKIRT FIVE WAYS

My sweet girls are definitely girly-girls.  Lately, they’ve wanted to wear skirts every day, and the weather is gorgeous… the only problem is that they have a few favorites that they’ve been wearing and re-wearing.  So, I picked up a pattern (Simplicity SewSimple #1968) and then raided my fabric stash to sew some new skirts for them.

Clara, my older daughter, is wearing the skirt I made according to the pattern.  Plain and simple in green and white seersucker.  Then, to the next five skirts I sewed, I added my own little embellishments.  I added a solid green band to the bottom of Macy Jane’s skirt.

 

I added large pockets to these skirts, using a vintage sheet for the pocket fabric.  It looks like the perfect skirt for hanging out the laundry to dry… so many clothes pins would fit in those pockets.

 

To Clara’s skirt, I added an apron and large, hot-pink rick-rack.  Macy Jane’s skirt got some flounce with triple ruffles.

Here’s to skirt-wearing on happy, sunny days!

 

 

FLOWER GIRLS

When my parents got married, my mom had her best friend’s daughter, Christy, as a flower girl. Christy danced at the front of the sanctuary while my parents said their vows.

Christy just got married and asked my girls (her mom’s best childhood-friend’s grandchildren… too much to follow?) to be her flower girls.  And yes, they did (despite the evil eye I kept trained in their direction) twirl at the front of the sanctuary during the ceremony.  And they played peek-a-boo around her pouffy wedding dress.  And they waved at me.  I was pretty much a nervous wreck, but they really enjoyed the day.

 

 (They were bribed with candy for this picture… and as you can see, they really love candy!)