Fall is upon us

How did it get to be September 1st already?? August seemed to go by so quickly, but then, the summer always does! The leaves are well on their way to changing up in our neck of the woods and it is getting colder.  Not that it ever really warmed up much for us this year, but still. There is that wonderful nip of Fall in the air.

I always have mixed feelings about Fall. While I love the smells, and the crisp air, it means that Winter is on its way. And since we live in Zone 2, winters are long and cold for us! But I am trying not to dwell on this fact. I am simply going to enjoy the changing leaves, wonderful smells, pumpkins, apples, and everything else Fall brings as much as I possibly can.

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Fall is also back to school time! Well, at least for some of us! We have been plugging away for three weeks now, already. There has been a lot of learning going on, at least I hope so anyways. Our oldest has definitely taken a more self-motivated turn this year. She is in the fifth grade and is getting through most of her schoolwork by herself. She does need some help with Math (those negative numbers are pesky things!) and English. But for History, Science, Bible, and other electives, she is mostly on her own. I have been so impressed with her this year. We changed curriculum last year and she fought it. I understand change is hard, but overall, the change has been very positive. I really enjoy the curriculum we are using now and everyone else seems to be enjoying it this year as well.

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The younger kids and I have already learned a lot about Christopher Columbus, classification of animals, vertebrates, and complementary colors. It has been a busy time, but I know I have been having fun so far. Here’s to hoping it continues to be fun! We will be having a little break coming up at the end of month and I am looking forward to it, lol. I am really excited to have these breaks in our year and I think it will be a great time for us to recharge our batteries.

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I have to admit that the only thing I’m not so excited about right now is school supplies. Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE school supplies. Absolutely love them! But, since I have already purchased what we need for this year, I have to keep walking by these…

And these…

But for all of you who haven’t purchased your supplies yet, I am a bit envious, lol! So whether your school year is well underway, or you are just starting out, here is to a happy and safe year!!

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Do Not Fear

rockWhy do we find it so hard to let go of control? When we are young, we plan out what our lives are going to be like when we get older. Sometimes these plans come true, sometimes they don’t. When I was little, I wanted to be a ballerina dancer, artist, chef, and preschool teacher. Funnily enough, I am all of these things…I just don’t get paid for them in cash! 🙂

I do find it hard to let go of control, though. (Just ask my husband!) I am trying, and I am praying, and I hope, against hope, that I am learning. There is just something about not being in control that fills so many of us with fear. What if it doesn’t work out? What if I let go and something bad happens? Well, what if I don’t let go and something bad happens anyways?

If we don’t relinquish control of where and what we think should be happening in our lives, we miss out on so much. We miss out on opportunities God is trying to lead us towards. If we never let go, He can never take over. And if He never takes over, is it a life fully lived?

Isaiah 41:13

 For I am the Lord your God  

who takes hold of your right hand

and says to you, Do not fear;

I will help you.

If God says “Do not fear; I will help you,” then what are we so afraid of? Look towards God’s promises and remember that He will never leave us, nor forsake us. (Deuteronomy 31:6) If God is with us, who then can stand against us? (Romans 8:31)

When life leaves us feeling so overwhelmed with all the negativity coming our way, hold tight to the Word of God. Even though we may falter, He will always be there, as our loving Father, to pick us back up, put us on our feet, and walk beside us all the way. So don’t be afraid to let go. Don’t be afraid to let God take the wheel because that is exactly what we need to set us back on the path that ultimately brings us right to Him.

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Make the most of what you have

 

clockTime Management. This is something that so many people, myself included, struggle with. There are different reasons we all struggle. Whether it be procrastination, which is a form of perfectionism, trying to juggle too many things in our day to day lives, or just being plain overwhelmed, we all must find a way through.

I have found, as time has gone on, that I need to be better about time management. This has never been my strong suit. I am a procrastinator, plain and simple. But I have learned, as I hope more people have begun to, that procrastination is simply a form of perfectionism. If I can’t do a job right, or if I fear that I won’t have enough time to finish a job all the way, then many times I just won’t even start. I am slowly, vvveeerrryyy slowly, learning to overcome this and work through it anyways. I am trying to take the things I am telling our own children (it doesn’t have to be perfect it just has to be done the best you can) and applying them to my own responsibilities

I have made strides in some areas, but there are many in which I still struggle. I often find myself wishing for a couple more hours in a day. But since God gave us all the same amount of hours, I guess I will just have to continue to use what we have to the best of my abilities.

Ephesians 5:15-16

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,

making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

I am focusing on trying to develop some basic routines. Just some little things that help me to get more done in a day. Since there are only so many hours in a day, I have started trying to write down two or three things every day that I need to get done. I am calling them my focus items. So that way, when baby Z takes a nap, I remember what I need to turn my attention to. Otherwise, I get distracted and work on something else during that time and then I get frustrated when I remember what I was actually supposed to be working on.

I am trying my best, with God’s help, to use my time wisely. I have mismanaged it in the past. But I want to make every hour count. I want our house to be as presentable as possible. I want some more time to work on creative projects. I want some more time to be able to help our kids develop their creative sides. I want to do the best I can to help our family life run more smoothly. As my husband always says, we never know how much time we have here on Earth, why shouldn’t we use what we have to make the world a better place for ourselves and our families?

 

What is your biggest struggle with time management?

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Random Recipe Thursday

Chickenadrice

Don’t expect me to be sharing too many of these. 🙂 I’m not a person who creates recipes. That is more my husband’s forte. If he had more time to cook, I am sure I would be sharing some of his yummy creations (ie French toast pancakes!). As it is, the man is more than busy enough!

However, I did modify this recipe last night and can I just say it came out really well. Most of the kids even ate the rice. And any recipe that can get our kids to eat rice is a winner in this house! (Sorry guys, we can’t always have Chinese take-out) As it was, everyone went from complaining about the fact that they had to eat rice to complete silence. They must have been hungry. 🙂

The crockpot has become a very dear friend to me. When our oven died, I found all sorts of recipes you could make in the crockpot. Since we don’t have a microwave (intentionally) or any other way to cook food, that was all we had to make hot meals. Ever since then, I have gone from hardly using it, to using it whenever I can. It is a complete time and energy-saver. This is another recipe that will definitely go into our crockpot recipe rotation!

Creamy Crockpot Chicken

  • Chicken breast (or thighs)
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1 cup water
  • Spinach (suit to your preferences)
  • Garlic salt (be generous)

Cook on low about 6-8 hours/high about 3-4 hours

Serve with rice, or on sub rolls, or noodles, or with whatever you prefer! Enjoy!

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Create Something

I remember reading somewhere that we are created to be creative. This saying has stuck with me ever since. I mean, think about it, our Creator created us from nothing. He created everything from nothing. What an imagination!

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Therefore, if we are created in His image, it just follows that we would be creative people. Of course, this creativity manifests itself differently in different people. Variety is, after all, the spice of life! But sometimes this concept just blows my mind. I mean, if God created us, each and every single one of us in His image, then that just speaks to the magnitude of Himself. All the left-brain, right brain, type A, disorganized, scientific-minded, arts-minded, etc. come from Him. Every single personality type originated from God Himself. Is that not a reason for celebration of people in and of itself?

Genesis 1:27

27 So God created mankind in his own image,

in the image of God he created them;

male and female he created them.

If only we could stop there….but, for better or for worse (and personally, I go with better!) we have free will. We then get to choose what we do with our creativity and how we display it. Some of us use it for good and to further God’s love, others use it for evil and destruction. Again, free will. But with that free will comes all of the manifestations of creativity. Some of them are wonderfully amazing, some just make me go…huh…?

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All this to say, celebrate your creativity. Go for it! Do something with it. Draw a picture, make a graph, sew a dress, write a blog post, build a model, finally get around to crocheting that blanket, paint your front door like you have been meaning to, solve that math problem that has been bugging you, piece together a puzzle; whatever it is that brings you that internal joy, just do it. Do a little every day and celebrate the joy it brings you because in creating that joy, you are following in the footsteps of our very own Creator. And that, my friends, is definitely something to be joyful about!

Want some free coloring pages I created?  Click on over and help yourself!  (After clicking the link, click on Meet the Fairies!)

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Some of my favorite coloring tools….

And some that I want so badly! 🙂

Happy Creating!!

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Plant something and watch it grow

Every year I plant something. Maybe it’s just flowers, maybe it’s lettuce, sometimes I get ambitious and plant potatoes, lettuce, turnips, etc. I just like the feeling of digging in the dirt and making something grow. I even weed on occasion!

This year however, we were in charge of planting the ‘big’ garden. You see, my husband’s father passed away last year on this day from leukemia. The garden had always been his passion and this year we did our best to make him proud. It was a group effort and we got it done! My husband was in charge of tilling, which he did, by hand, with a shovel. He hand-turned the entire garden. And can I just say, we will be doing it this way from now on. It is a LOT of work, but it was worth it. The dirt is nice and loose, rich, and well-turned.

The kids, my sister-in-law, and I then went through and planted. We did turnips, lettuce, carrots, peas, zucchini, summer squash, and potatoes. We put A in charge of the potatoes. We made the lines of hills, she made the holes, and the other kids came through and put the potatoes in. The way she took charge made my heart happy and heavy at the same time. You see, this is an activity the kids have done with their Grampa every year since A was old enough to walk. And this was the first year they planted without him.

After the potatoes were planted, I waited with baited breath for them to come up. I knew how much this meant to A. I hoped, and I prayed that they would poke through the dirt. We waited, and waited. And then finally, finally they came up. I was so happy for the kids and for A in particular. She had decided how deep to make the holes. She told the other kids were to put them and how to cover them up. She learned all this from her Grampa over the years. This was her project in honor of him. I hope she feels half the amount of pride in herself that I do in her.

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So whether or not we harvest anything else from our garden this year, we will definitely be harvesting potatoes. And we will be thanking Grandpa for taking the time to teach our children how to provide for themselves through the very simple act of planting potatoes.

Ecclesiates 3:1-2

There is a time for everything,

And a season for every activity under the heavens:

A time to be born and a time to die,

A time to plant and a time to uproot.

Practice what you preach

mountainsSo remember how the other day I posted about that verse in Matthew that I love so much? Yeah, you know that one that tells us that God will provide for our every need? The one that says don’t worry about what you will eat, drink, or wear? Well, isn’t it just so timely when something you say comes back and applies so directly to your own life?

I was reminded of how I am constantly being called to apply this to my own life. You see, our cars have been having some…issues. As a homeschooling mom, I don’t drive every day. I usually only drive a couple of times a week; to the grocery store, to run errands, and to church. That’s pretty much it. So my car doesn’t really get a whole lot of use. My husband drives his car every day of the week to get to work, drive to wherever he needs to go during the day for work, and home.

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A couple of weeks ago, on our way to pay a visit to my brother and his wife, my car started smoking. As in, the oil line just died and needs to be replaced ASAP, type smoking. It wasn’t good. It also wasn’t the end of the world, but long story short, we ended up needing to get it towed. Then we had to have it fixed. Ugh. Then, a couple of days later, my husband’s car had issues. Then it needed to be fixed. Double Ugh. Then last week his car had more issues. Long story short-ish, his car needs to go to the shop, again. There is also possibly (please no) something wrong with my car…again.

 

So today I was driving home, with a car full of groceries and children, and I started worrying. Worrying about whether or not we were going to make it home. Worrying about what the heck was wrong with the car and how much is it going to cost this time? Worrying about how the persnicketies (insert some not so nice words here) we were going to pay for it. And I was reminded of Matthew 6:26-29 and I tried desperately to give it to God. To not worry about how we were going to pay for it, because let’s face it, besides getting our children home in one piece, that was the next biggest thing I was worrying about. And that is the LAST thing I should have been worrying about. Because every, single, time, something like this happens to us and I feel like we are never going to be able to make it work…it does work. God provides. He takes care of us. And I am reminded, again, and again, and again, that I don’t have to worry. God will take care of us and provide for us just like He promises.

You would think I would know this by now. I mean, how many times have things like this happened to us and we have been fine? Well, honestly, too many to count! So you would think I would stop worrying so much, but I have found this is not the case. God uses these incidents to teach us, over and over and however many times over we need it, that He is here. He loves us. He provides for us. He wants us to rely on Him. He calls us to Him constantly. It is our choice to respond to Him or not. That is the only thing in this life that we can control. We can control whether or not we answer God’s call.

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So whether it is in small things, or big things, we must remember to trust God. Trust that He is there, He loves us, and He will always provide for our needs, even when we have absolutely no idea how. So I am going to trust in God. I am choosing to believe that He will provide for whatever we end up needing. (and quietly hoping it won’t cost too much!) 🙂

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart

and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways submit to him,

and he will make your paths straight.

 

What causes you to worry the most? How does God show you He is always there?