Tag Archive | Homemaking

How Many Unread Books Are On Your Bookshelf?

So I looked through my book shelf as well as my Kindle “shelf” to calculate how many books I have collected and not read over the last 15 or so years. I am now more than ever determined to try to just read them instead of purchasing any more books! I have 60 books on my shelf! 60! And 68 Kindle books! That’s 128 books I have thought “hmmm, this will be good to read” and purchased and just left on my shelf. To my defense there are a few given to me for free and some that are too good of a deal at the thrift store to pass up and most of the Kindle ones were free downloads but still… 128 books. Okay and that’s actually not all of them… that’s just the Christian non-fiction books. I am not even going to bother calculating how many fiction books I have on my shelf and Kindle. So let’s just say I can average 1 book per month (which is a challenge for me in this stage of my life) it would take me 10 1/2 years to read all of these books! 10 1/2 years… so should I rename this page Reading List 2018-2028 ?!?! Amelia will be a Senior in high school and this baby who will be born next week will be 10 years old. So anyways, I’m not sure how I’m going to battle this plan and/or if I really am but I have something to evaluate and that is my hoarding of books and not reading them and I will see where this journey takes me. The list below are books I am already in the middle of reading and I am going to add to the list as the year progresses instead of trying to pick out books for the year in advance. I also know that I will have to be okay with not finishing a book if it’s leading me in a direction that is not where God wants me to go. There are not a lot like that but I will be praying for sensitivity to the Spirit in leading me to which book to read.




Christian Growth:

  • The Other Side of Infamy – James Downing (Kindle check-out through library. I met this incredible man who is one of the original founders of the Navigators as well as the last living Pearl Harbor survivor… he is 104 years old. I couldn’t not read his book after meeting him!)
  • Growing Deep – Chuck Swindoll (I found I was only halfway done with this and remember it being a good book so I will finish this one first.)
  • The Possibilities of Prayer – E.M.Bounds (Another one I was only halfway done with; I have this on paperback as well as Kindle which is always good for reading while feeding a newborn late at night… one handed and lit up.)

Bible Study:

  • Immersed – Katie Orr (This is a friend of a friend who wrote this study. Another I only finished half of but really liked it. Once the baby is a little older and I will have my hands free to write bible study notes I will finish this one. They do not make any more copies of this particular study but her other Focused15 studies are worth looking into.)

It is also worth noting that I found 7 Bible studies on my shelf I have not completed. Beth Moore, Henry Blackaby, Precepts. All are great studies and I remember with each of them I found them at a thrift store and/or church garage sale for free or a small price and those are diamonds in the rough for me. But as with the books, now I need to get down to doing them!


And if everything above is not too much already what about podcasts? Podcasts are great to listen to when doing housework and driving on roadtrips or back/forth to work or up to Denver as well as exercising at the gym. I have about 5 I subscribe to and will load up my iPod before a road trip and recently loaded up also in anticipation of late night baby feedings when I need something to stimulate my mind but maybe want my eyes closed at the same time :  ) Here’s my list:

  • James MacDonald
    • Prayer Series (15 podcasts)
    • Holy Spirit Series (14 podcasts)
  • Chip Ingram
    • The Real God Series (16 podcasts)
    • Jesus Unfiltered Series (41 podcasts)

The Bible:

I am adding this at the end although it really should be at the beginning. I also know that the meat of my learning does not necessarily come from the latest book I read but rather from the Word of God itself. I do not want to overlook this as I have in the past and notice a significant difference when I’m just reading books but not the Bible. I love working through different plans from Blue Letter Bible. I read through the bible chronologically (in 3 years instead of 1 year!) and really enjoyed that chronological aspect. Now I’m reading the OT and NT together which I also like going back and forth.

Now I’ve also got Dr. Vernon McGee’s Thru the Bible commentary books and also subscribe to his podcasts and have referenced them on occasion but have always wanted to commit to being on “The Bible Bus” at some point in my life which is a 5 year commitment.



Preparing for Baby and Multiple Siblings

Image result for crazy mom with lots of kids

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Nesting… I remember nesting with some of my first kiddos. It was fun to set up nursery areas, bassinets, setting out blankets, diapers, etc. and picturing the baby occupying all these places. Well, now we’re down to logistics. How in the world are we going to add a sixth baby to the family?!?! How are the other 5 going to be taken care of during the initial post-partum period? I’ve got some things nailed down now with it being the sixth but at the same time it doesn’t matter if it’s #2 or #6 it’s still a change to the family and an addition and all the other kiddos are at different stages and need different things. My primary focus in this last month of pregnancy as I “nest” and prepare for baby to come is how to help the other 5 kids become as independent as possible once baby comes : ) Meal planning, homeschool help, chore charts, etc. I must say these are some challenges I do enjoy battling as I learn from others and research ideas (thank you Pinterest!) on how to manage these areas. This post-partum period will also be different as my mom is not able to come for a couple of weeks to help out. This is a bummer as she usually cooks and cleans on top of entertaining the kiddos and she’s done it now enough they’ve all got a good feel for what it’s like when she comes. We will have my mother-in-law come stay with the kiddos while I stay in the hospital then it’ll be dada duty for 1 week, then sister-in-law duty for 5 days, then our favorite babysitter who moved away : ( duty for another 5 days then we’re on our own!!! So I’ve been planning and organizing to make it easier for them to manage the household while I’m resting and for my sanity when everyone leaves.

My first area to battle: MEAL PLANNING

I have been learning all about this new concept of meal prep and non-sandwich lunchbox ideas. I saw the idea awhile back with my favorite large family homeschool mom’s blog adopting the lunchbox idea and stating how much of a lifesaver it is to prepare lunches in advance so there is not as big of an interruption in their homeschool day. I had not adopted the idea but am planning to implement it now : ) So the gist is I purchased these “bento boxes” from Amazon and researched on Pinterest all of the pins about kids lunch box ideas and created my own list from their ideas as well as what we already like to eat. My list is broken up by: main dish, dairy, fruit, veggie, filler. Instead of matching them all up I just listed them out and then I will print it out and put it on my fridge for reference. I plan to start this next week with spending one night and setting up the boxes in the fridge so the next day or two we can just pull out the lunch box for lunch and it’s all set up and prepared. I will pick from the categories based on what I have on hand. If they’re a hot main dish then we can just scoop them out to reheat or reheat in the container if there’s not anything else in the small sections that need to stay cold. We’ve already started this week and so far it’s been going great!

IMG_5402Breakfast has been a slightly new thing and all I’m doing to prepare is moving cereal containers and bowls to a lower shelf and making sure my freezer is stocked with our normal stock of banana bread, zucchini muffins and baked oatmeal muffins among a few other breakfast recipes. I have added breakfast items to the lunch list I will print out and post on the fridge for our helpers to know what we have available for the kids to eat.

IMG_5403The other portion of meal planning has been breakfast and dinners. The dinners I’ve got down pat with a list of freezer meals I’ve used in the past as well as easy to cook dinners. I did want to mention in my research I learned not to take frozen chicken, unthaw it, cook it and refreeze it for your meals. If you’re going to use chicken to make in your freezer meals it should be fresh chicken.

  • Easy to cook dinners:
    • Spaghetti
    • Fish Stick Tacos
    • Shredded Chicken Quesadillas
  • Baked Chicken Taquitos
  • Broiled Chicken (I cut some up to add to my salads for a meal and kept some as breasts to eat on their own or add to something later on)
  • Crockpot Dump Recipes (I’ve never done these before but keep seeing them on my Pinterest feed and thought they looked perfect to try for welcoming this new baby):
  • Prepared Casseroles (this is my normal method for freezer cooking – when I make a loved casserole dish I double it and throw one in the freezer for a couple months down the road):
    • Tuscan Chicken Pasta (I used this website for help planning)
    • Macaroni and Cheese (my hubby likes the Noodles & Co. dish with BBQ sauce and shredded chicken so I plan on him just adding that to his portion of this casserole)
    • Baked Ziti
    • Baked Spaghetti
    • Mexican Cornbread Casserole
    • Enchiladas

My to-do list for freezer cooking. This includes some breakfast, lunch and dinner items.

My second area to battle: CHORE CHARTS

We have used the same chore charts for awhile now but I do tend to get a little lazy with the monitoring required and we end up backing off for awhile and then after I get a little overwhelmed with some things around the house I want to pick it up again. I also had started reading Managers of Their Chores and haven’t finished it yet but was wanting to implement some of their ideas. I found at this point I’m just going to stick with what we’ve got since it does work well when we’re on top of it and hope for the best. I don’t want to ask for too much change right before the baby comes. Our chore charts are a simple Word graph that has the day of the week on the left side and the chore on the top. We print it out each week and tape it to the fridge and the kiddos add stickers to each chore they complete for that day. I also use it as a reminder for some things that don’t get done if we don’t have school that day (i.e. practice Awana verses, read for 20 mins., etc.). At the end of the week we add up all the stickers and the kiddos get a penny per sticker for chore chart money. I have also added some 25 cent chores, some are required and some are extra help if they’re trying to save up for something. Some of these examples are empty dishwasher, empty shoe box, sweep, etc. I assigned the older kiddos a day to set the table and clean up from breakfast or lunch. I am hoping this will help when other people are here for the baby and I can just quickly remind the kids or they can remind them to do their morning chores or it’s their day to clean up from meals, etc. Our biggest challenge is going back to the charts and putting the stickers on so they can get their money at the end of the week. I started telling them when they’ve completed a chore to immediately go put their sticker on and by the end of the night they should finish their bedtime routine with going downstairs and putting their remaining stickers on and if this does not get done they won’t get the credit for that day. We’ll see how it goes!


An example of one of our chore charts in the works…

My third area to battle: HOMESCHOOL

Now I can find an excuse every month it seems as to why we’re falling behind in homeschool. Which, what is falling behind really? Are the kids learning and growing in their knowledge appropriate to their age stages? Is it my to-do list I’ve created which usually is too lengthy for all the kids anyways that is not getting completed daily and that’s the dictator of falling behind? Either way since we just are coming off of a break for Christmas I am not wanting them to sit out for the next 3-6 weeks or however long it may be and not do school entirely. BUT, it would be challenging to ask my husband, MIL, SIL and nanny for the first 3 weeks to pick up where we left off and continue on our curriculum. So… I am trying to create a basic list much like some of the summer homeschool lists I’ve seen out there for the kids to work through each day with some assistance from whoever is around. Amelia, Josh and Lydia can easily have someone help them accomplish 1-2 pages from their math workbooks each day. In fact we have some Comprehensive Curriculum books laying around from last summer that never got completed and I have been working on tearing out the incompleted pages and moving them to a 3 prong notebook and flagging the different sections for each kiddo to do 1-2 pages of each day. That covers math, phonics, critical thinking and handwriting. Then someone (even myself for that matter) can sit and read with Amelia and Josh each day for 20 mins. to get some reading practice in. I always try to complicate things but have been praying for God to show me how to simplify and still get things accomplished.

That about sums it up! Those 3 areas have been my main focus of nesting as we prepare these next 3 weeks for the baby to come. I am so excited to meet this little one and I have high hopes that instead of just taking some weeks off and letting the kids run around the house wild with no direction that with this planning and preparation we can maintain a fairly new normal life and all be happy! We’ll see how it goes!

My Best Tip for Housework

Over the last few months I have been trying out various schedules and plans on how to keep up with homemaking now that we are homeschooling on a daily basis for the majority of our morning hours and now that we have added our fourth child leading to minimal time for basic homemaking (laundry, cooking, cleaning and tidying up). While I still haven’t settled on one plan/routine in particular that I really like I have found one thing that is changing my life! This was an idea straight from God’s mind that He knew would bless me and maybe you!

Two years ago I asked for an iPod Nano for my birthday and also bought an armband in the hopes I could use it for running. Well my days of running are pretty slim to none and my expensive iPod began to collect dust. I began wondering how I could make use of it again for a different purpose. I was enjoying listening to some podcasts in the kitchen on either my iHome or my bluetooth speaker connected to our tv but I found that during my homemaking times I would be all over the house moving around and had to keep pausing what I was listening to. One day it dawned on me to strap on my iPod and plug in some headphones and listen as I moved about. Thank you God!!! It sounds so simple and maybe obvious to some of you but it was a revelation to me. Now on most days I actually look forward to my time for homemaking so I can listen to my podcasts and audiobooks. I have so many books I want to read and just don’t have time to and this is a great way to get it in.

So here’s what it looks like for me. I usually reserve the folding of laundry, cleaning dishes and dinner prep, cleaning the house (sweep/mop, bathrooms, etc.) and any kind of decluttering chores for our afternoon rest time. So I put the kids to their allotted places and strap my iPod on and get started!


Someone else there to keep me company on laundry day!

I love listening to:

Charles Stanley‘s podcast
Chuck Swindoll‘s Insight for Living podcast
James Macdonald‘s Walk in the Word podcast
Dr. Vernon McGee‘s Through the Bible podcast

Loyal Books has free audiobooks for download. They are a lot of classical novels which is a good way to catch up on your Jane Austen books!

Overdrive is connected to your local library account where you can check out audiobooks and download them onto your device. They have a pretty big selection of current books so you can catch up on your Hunger Games series! I am not able to put these on my iPod because it is an app and my Nano does not have app capabilities but I can put it on my iPhone and plug in my headphones there and listen.

Here is the armband I have for my iPod and I love it.

Listen and enjoy and let the homemaking begin!! And don’t forget to turn the baby monitor volume on high in case your littlest one wakes up for a feeding! I learned this the hard way!!!

Book Review: Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit

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I picked up this little book and found it packed with such good advice and information. I would say this book extends far beyond just homeschooling to motherhood in general and even just life in general. Teri Maxwell who is the founder of  a blog ministry called Titus2 with her husband Steve has many many many years of homeschooling and motherhood wisdom. She shares in this book her journey from when she first started out homeschooling and found herself annoyed and impatient and frustrated with the little bumps in her children’s academic progress and efforts. She talks about being thrilled to start homeschooling and filled with all sorts of peaceful dreams with her kiddos and they were all smashed on the first day. I’ve already experienced this myself : ) All it took for her was a lot of prayer and perspective changes and now she has lots of wisdom to share on how to maintain a meek and quiet spirit as a homeschooling mother (and wife) throughout each and every day no matter what the challenges are. Here are some tidbits of wisdom from the book:

She starts with the definition of “meek” = mild of temper, soft, gentle, not easily provoked or irritated p.17 and “quiet” = peaceable, not turbulent, not giving offense, mild, meek, and contented p.18

She talks about “meek and quiet spirit robbers” which are “fear, disorganization and anger” p.24

“If I make the choice to take my thoughts captive, busyness becomes a vehicle to greater resting in the Lord.” p.45

“We will be much better off if we pray through these days, rather than allow our emotions to rule our behavior.” p.55

In regards to disciplining our children consistently: “Anger creeps into these situations when I am more concerned about my inconveniences and difficulties than I am about my child’s long-term character growth.” p.72 This really hit home for me because I find lately now that I have 2 children of disciplining age that my exhaustion with discipline on certain days is pretty high and sometimes I just want to finish my task at hand instead of stopping for the third time to address the discipline issue and I do quickly find myself struggling with anger and annoyance/impatience towards my children. Often I then will snap at them if without my discipline they aren’t stopping the issue on their own and I end up having to stop my task. I have thought about this a lot lately and have found when I do stop my task and keep an eternal perspective there is a lot of joy and growth that occurs between me and the children instead of the anger and impatience that would’ve occurred.

She talks a lot about how “anger is a choice” and refers to examples of how we would never snap at our families when we are in public (i.e. at church) the same way we would at home

“When we have the realistic expectation that our days will be very busy and that there will be much hard work, then we will be more likely to maintain a meek and quiet spirit. If we think we’ll have our evenings and weekends free, then we will be frustrated and angry when we can’t fit our homeschooling, plus our other homemaking tasks, into just the weekdays.” p.92 I tend to sit here for a long time. I am always towards the end of the day looking so forward to my evenings to myself or with Adam and if Amelia is dilly dallying too long and keeps coming out of her room or Joshie is having a hard time getting to sleep or something came up that evening and now the house is still a mess when it should be “my” rest time amongst a clean house then I get so incredibly irritable. I have been so convicted by this and just Teri’s thoughts on living our lives as mothers sacrificially for the eternal perspective of our families:

“Are we willing to give of ourselves, in selfless investment, in the eternal futures of our children?” p.89

“It is imperative that we keep the truth of God’s Word in our minds and hearts so we don’t become resentful toward our workload.” p.90

I think it is important to have our personal rest time especially as homeschooling mothers since it is a 24/7 responsibility. We never have a “lunch break” or a “15 min. break” and our tasks don’t stay somewhere else at 5 PM to be accomplished the next morning. We need time to ourselves to rejuvenate and that first time should be time with the Lord even before our “me time”. I try very hard to schedule and teach Amelia to honor my time with the Lord by staying in her room quietly until 7 in the morning because I know of it’s importance… BUT not every day is perfect. Some days she’s more obedient than others and some days our schedule/routine is off and this is where God has been teaching me to depend on Him throughout the day and in the moment when things don’t go as I planned/hoped for. He is always faithful and will always provide… as long as I ask Him.

Overall this is a very short but very thought provoking and encouraging and convicting little book. I definitely think every mother whether homeschooling or not should read this to help keep our perspectives in proper alignment!

Creating & Maintaining a Weekly Schedule

Ask anyone who knew me decently well in college (and even high school and maybe even my close friends today) and any of them will tell you that I become giddy thinking about creating and planning a schedule! I have always loved planners but have always struggled with some limitations. In college my freshman year our Campus Crusade leaders challenged everyone to make an Excel schedule for the week. This was to include our class schedule and any other requirements such as those to Crusade or any club or group we belonged to. The point was to compartmentalize your time and see on paper how much time is spent doing various activities. Then we could see where to cut out or where was appropriate to add in our quiet time and other important ways of spending our time pursuing the Lord. I have been using these Excel files ever since! I loved signing up for classes for each semester because it meant I could plan my Excel file finally!!! Of course my life nowadays is quite different. I abandoned Excel my entire nursing career (any nurses will know why)… my work schedule every week it seemed was different and of course now the challenge arises from having little kiddos. BUT… I have come back to Excel and it works perfectly for my Type A brain and keeps me on track.

I have a few tips I have learned about creating a schedule over the years:

  • set ATTAINABLE goals – I used to have myself studying all sorts of hours in the afternoon and late into the night and then getting up early for my quiet time and get going… NOT REALISTIC. I knew it at the time but it was what I wanted my schedule to look like. It was a goal but not an attainable one. When using a schedule to keep track of your goals you need to be realistic or you will constantly feel like a failure and quit quickly. If you’re wanting to start working out then your goal and schedule should not be 5-7 days/week… that’s hard for anyone to maintain let alone someone just starting out… start with 3 days/week. This is a goal but it is an attainable one. Once you attain it then increase the days.
  • factor in down time and travel time – If something starts at 9 AM, don’t start your block at 9 AM… start it at 8:30 AM. That will allow for travel time and packing for kiddos or anything else that may come up. It is important and falls align with setting attainable goals that you schedule in down time. If you need a nap a couple days a week then schedule that in. Schedule 3 days a week with a nap included and the other 4 days schedule whatever you need to get done during that time. This way you know on Mondays I get my nap!!! And it will be okay because Tuesdays and Wednesdays are set aside to accomplish my other tasks. This way too if you’re not very tired on Monday you can accomplish your Tuesday tasks and then on Tuesday fit in a nap because your tasks are already accomplished!
  • don’t forget to schedule meal times and showering! – Ever since having kiddos (wait… I’ll confess… ever since college!) I have struggled to shower every day. Depending on the age of my kiddos I stick to an every other day plan or 5 days/week. Am I really admitting to this? Of course if I sweat or stink or am covered in baby spit-up that might change. But let’s face it… it can be a challenge to shower when the kids are safely entertained and take the time to get ready on a daily basis! So for me it is important to look at my week and pick days I can skip a shower : ) For example, Wednesdays is zoo day for us which is a long day and takes a lot of preparation. I plan to skip my shower on Wednesday which means it’s vital for me to take one on Tuesday. Tuesday is my women’s bible study in the morning which means I have to plan this shower time in early in the morning to be ready and prepared. It is also important to plan in meal preparation, meal eating and meal clean-up time. Is 15 mins. realistic? Or is it 1 hr? Only you know and every meal, every day and every family is different. On average we spend about 1 hr in the mornings with breakfast prep, eating and clean-up… maybe the same or closer to 1 1/2 hrs in the evening. I need to plan this time in so our mornings aren’t a hectic rush to move on and so at dinner time we’re not sitting down super late for dinner.

So here it is! This is what one week looks like. The top line are the days of the week and the left column are the hours and half hours in the day. I color code based on activity. This I did in college and color coded what was for school, what was for work, etc. For example, the yellow spaces are meal times; the dark blue spaces are church/quiet time/bible study, the red spaces are Amelia’s learning time, etc. Notice all the white spaces : ) those are free times for me! What do I do every afternoon when the kiddos wake up from their naps? Whatever we want/need to do. If we had to run unexpected errands or had dr. appts in the morning and couldn’t do learning time then we can fit it in here. If I’m wanting to create a culinary masterpiece then I have the time to do so here. If we want a special movie night then we can do so here! It is so important to have white spaces so you don’t feel like every single second has to be planned… there’s leniancy.


Here’s a close-up of my Mondays. I have picked Monday to be laundry day and Friday to be cleaning day. Picking one day a week helps me because if on Thursday I see something needing cleaning attention but my Thursday is already so busy I don’t have to stress wondering how to fit it in… I know that Friday is cleaning day and I will take care of it then.


Now, while this does look all nice and neat it is just a guideline to run by. Most of these things (except schedule events like church and bible study) happen around this time frame but the days still flow smoother having the guidlines. I want to emphasize something… schedules are great in the moment but require great flexibility. My schedule is only through April because at the end of April we will be welcoming another infant : ) : ) and we will be moving (again!) and we have no idea where or to what type of job so I have no clue what a schedule might look like in May. BUT I wanteId to make the most of every opportunity and instead of just waiting until things seem settled and normal in my life before I make a schedule I wanted to make one for the here and now… no matter how short it may be. This helps all of us stay on track and stay accomplished and focused and productive. I know when I don’t have an idea of how my week and days look then it’s so hard for me to exercise or wake up for my quiet time or whatever it may be. I’ll think that the time will just magically appear at some point and I’ll know what to do in it… but that’s how 5:00 rolls around and I’m still in my PJ’s and we’ve accomplished nothing and I haven’t a clue what to make for dinner and I find myself all of sudden battling a depressed and frustrated attitude.

I have also tried a weekly schedule that is a little less structured such as this one. It actually worked great at the time and I’m sure at some point I will go back to this just depending on what is going on in my life. I fit in our meal schedule for the week and also what we were going to do for learning time that week. I liked having the kiddos nap time schedule in with which days I wanted to accomplish what. This prevented the same feeling of I should research this or that and instead of wondering when it would get done and where to fit it in I had a research period set aside during one nap time day each week so I knew come that day I could sit down and research stuff. I wouldn’t feel guilty like I had something else to do and I didn’t feel overwhelmed at all I wanted to accomplish.

For the Week of:

Weekly Schedule









                                                                                       *laundry*          *cleaning*

Amelia Learning Time (8A – 10A):              
During Joshua Morning Nap (10A – 12P):            
During Kiddos Afternoon Nap (2P – 5P): Blog Spanish Finances Piano Read Research Spanish Planning Piano

 And I have also just tried a list format like this one mentioned on this post here. This is still the general flow of my schedule but since living in the city with being at a church that holds a bible study and going to the zoo etc. I needed a little more planning for the entire day.

Good luck with your scheduling!




Reading List 2013

I have been so excited to get this list out. I actually made it in November and have been anxious to get started but have had to wait due to holiday travel and moving. I feel so blessed to have each one of these books (except the fiction) in hand. God really provided over the past year with thrift store and used book store and cheap amazon sales. I had been developing this list as I read book recommendations from my favorite blogs or books that were recommended at the end of some of the books I read last year and I would literally walk into a thrift store and browse the shelf and one of them would be sitting there for a buck or two! I really spent pennies on this collection and while there were a few books I wanted to add or replace with one on the list here I feel confident that God gave me these books to add to my library over this past year to be the ones for me to read currently. I don’t need to spend a penny this next year on books. Praise God for His provisions! Here goes!


  • The Sword by Bryan Litfin
  • The Gift by Bryan Litfin
  • The Kingdom by Bryan Litfin – These 3 books are called the Chiveis Trilogy. Adam and I happened upon them by fluke as I quickly ran into the library before our last drive from AZ back to CO and back to AZ the next week. We wanted something to listen to during the boring NM stretches. This was on the new release shelf for audio cd’s and I read the back and was so interested. I didn’t even realize it was the third book of a trilogy and that it was a Christian author and publisher! We listened to a little less than half during the drive (kiddos didn’t sleep much!) so now I want to start from the beginning and read them. They are very interesting! Similar to a LOTR type sci-fi book with a wonderful Christian undertone.



Christian Discipleship:


Pinterest Projects!

I just recently discovered the black hole that people call pinterest : ) If you know of it then you know why I call it the black hole… if you don’t know of it… it’s debatable on if you should join or not. The black hole will suck away hours of your time without you even blinking an eye : ) but it will leave you with incredible ideas and projects! Here is a compilation of my first round of pinterest projects. I have high hopes for some other projects when we live in a more long term place but these projects are for someone who has a very limited budget and has very limited space!

This is Amelia’s coloring binder for roadtrips. We take a lot of roadtrips and they are always with the kids so this one I mixed a few different pinterest ideas together and came up with this one for her. It was amazing and it worked great when we went to restaurants or doctor’s office visits because she could just carry the notebook in with her. I purchased 3 pencil holders from the dollar tree (1 for crayons, 1 for markers, 1 for colored pencils) and took various coloring books and scrap paper and hole punched them and put in the binder. Once she colored on all of them I swapped out for fresh papers. The only thing is I had to get a 3″ binder (from our thrift store for $1) so it is a pretty bulky item. Total cost: $4 plus coloring books and markers and crayons if you don’t already have any on hand which I did.

I have fallen in love with all the ideas for hanging shoe racks and was amazed to find the dollar tree carries these little shoe racks! I use 1 in the car to keep Amelia’s small games (a travel connect four game, a magnetic fishing game, her magnetic letters for her cookie sheet, a flash light when we drive at night, a coffee mate bottle of goldfish and one of cheerios). It comes in handy in the car especially when I’m driving by myself I have it linked over the headrest in the passenger seat so I can see and grab quickly while driving.

I wondered what else could I use this for. If we had different closets in our apt. I would use them to hang little toys and other craft supplies in Amelia’s room so I thought our bathroom is the only closet in the apt. with a suitable door so I put one on with sticky hooks and put my daily toilettries (face lotion, deodorant, mascara, toothpaste, floss, body spray, lotion, etc.). I love having these things so easy to grab (we also don’t have any drawers under our sink where I have kept these items before) and they don’t get lost among the bigger items in our closet. Total cost: $1

I found this big shoe rack organizer at our thrift store for just a couple bucks and wondered what I should do with this. Well, I have been trying to organize my medicine cabinet and nothing seemed to satisfy me. My bins were too small for our stuff but too big to divy up into grouped medicines plus the aloe bottles kept throwing the sizes off so I thought this just might be the perfect solution!

So here is our medicine “cabinet” behind our closet door. I have put the stuff I really don’t want the kiddos into near the top and things like band-aids, thermometers, emergency flashlights, cough drops towards the bottom but my kids have never tried to open this closet anyways and our apt. is so small I can see this from almost everywhere I am! This is perfect for us and my husband loves it because he hates searching for medicine late at night or when I’m gone and he can go right here and see everything we have. Total cost: $2

On my trip to our dollar tree I went a little bin crazy… most of these shown here I actually already had so there’s only 2 new bins here but I thought the organization may help someone else living in a small apt with limited closet space. This is Amelia’s closet/craft/toy/activity space. The bottom 3 bins are her clothes, the 3 bins on top are some of her crafts which I labelled with the all mighty and cheap label maker (address labels and a pen)! The smaller bins on top of the larger ones holds her puzzles and the very small 3 bins on top have crayons, colored pencils, and markers… this is great to just pull out and put paper in front of her and she can clean up after very easily. The hanging shelves are a miracle (this I purchased a couple years back and have reused it for many different things). It currently holds diapers/wipes and pj’s.

I added a couple bins to the top shelf to hold her paints, paintbrushes and painters smock (Adam’s old t-shirt)! And other various toys or items we don’t use often. Total cost: $2 (for the 2 new pink bins since all the other bins I already had).

This is an offshoot of a couple different book shelf organizing ideas on Pinterest. Some people use the spice racks from Ikea to display books on their wall. I don’t have any wall space and I needed an idea for the little books that always fall down (Berenstein Bears, Curious George, etc.) that don’t have any spines. I searched the dollar tree and didn’t find any cute bins but I found these 2 on clearance at Michaels! One of those… I wasn’t looking but it caught my eye and I saw the price and knew God put them there as a special blessing just for me : ) Total cost: $<4

I have accumulated a few random sets of flash cards mainly to use later for Amelia when she’s a bit older and I saw this idea on Pinterest for organizing them. I think hers looks a lot better but I did the best I could with what I found! And again I labelled them with address labels and a pen. Total cost: $9

I needed a little help in my “pantry”. We don’t actually have a pantry and I have to be very particular about what I keep because our space is so limited but I wanted to help out my baking section so I went to Wal-Mart and bought these little containers with the green lids.

This was a simple change for me but it really has helped me grab things easier and not have to try and stack bags of flour and sugar (which don’t actually stack so you see my dilemma!). I labelled them with my favorite address labels and a pen. Total cost: $4.50

I didn’t take pictures of these but I also got some bins from the dollar tree to hold chip bags and bread loafs and snacks in my cupboard again to stop trying to stack everything on top of each other. Then when I’m picking out chips for lunch I just grab that bin out and place it back in its spot.

I love being more organized!

Updated Preschool Schedule

I have done a little bit of tweeking to our schedule now that we are 5 weeks in and have had a little bit of experience with this schedule and also now that we found out we are expecting Baby J #3 !!!! Why would this affect our schedule now? I AM TIRED! Plain and simple. I need more structure or my battle with laziness and tiredness and a horizontal position on the couch will overrule! So I am going to try out our new schedule tomorrow. For the first time I am going to try getting Joshua on a napping schedule. He follows a general rule of thumb but some mornings he will sleep in until 10 AM ! So I spend most of the morning hesitant to start anything in case he wakes up and before I know it 2 hours has gone by and he’s slept and I’ve accomplished nothing. I also try to plan their afternoon naps and am going to be a little more diligent at this so that I can take a little nap myself : ) This past week we did a couple days with Josh awake during our Learning Time and I actually really liked it. I thought it would be difficult to focus on Amelia but Joshua is so content in her room (essentially a playroom) and he just keeps to himself and plays. This frees up the morning nap he takes for me to do some other things  that are more difficult to accomplish with a crawler around instead of saving Learning Time for his morning nap. So here is my new schedule to try out:

6:00-7:00 Quiet Time

7:00-8:00 Breakfast and clean-up

8:00-9:00 Joshua awake

                     Learning time

9:00-11:00 Joshua asleep

                       Me exercise (3 -4 days a week) and shower

                       Amelia watch educational DVD and free play

11:00-2:00 Joshua awake

                        Take Adam lunch

                        Free play or park

                        Housecleaning and dinner prep

2:00-5:00 Both kiddos nap

                     Me nap : )

                     Computer and Household task time (i.e. open mail, finish cleaning, baking, etc.)

I’m excited for this week to start and to try out a little bit of new structure!

Contentment in Homemaking

Here is an article from one of my favorite websites At the Well. This article sounded like something out of the story of our life… only a few more years down the road.

 Contentment in Homemaking

 Written on March 6, 2012 by Carrie Martin-Vegue

We got the keys to our first apartment three weeks before our wedding. I remember the first meal I fixed Tim one day as we moved our belongings into our one-bedroom apartment. I couldn’t wait for the day I’d walk in the front door as his wife and be able to truly make our 626 square foot apartment a home for our family.

 Fast forward two and a half years…our small family had grown. We had two little guys join our family and our one bedroom apartment was very cramped. I couldn’t wait until we had a backyard, a bigger kitchen, a bathroom for guests that wasn’t in our bedroom, and a separate bedroom for the boys. My life seemed to be on hold until God answered all of these requests.

 He answered my prayer, but not in the way I thought He would.

 We ended up moving in with Tim’s parents for just a short amount of time. Our goal was to find and buy our dream home. God’s timetable didn’t line up with ours however and we ended up spending eight months with most of our things in storage, in one bedroom, in a home that wasn’t even ours.

 Tim’s family welcomed us with open arms. We had lots of fun together and it was rather nice sharing the homemaking responsibilities with my mother-in-law. But once again, I felt like my life was on hold. I wanted a home where all of my things could be unpacked and put away, a bedroom that wasn’t cramped, separate bedrooms for the boys, and a home I could decorate any way I wanted to.

 After the eight months passed, God answered all of my prayers. He gave us a miracle home with a backyard big enough for the boys to run around, a bigger kitchen, a guest bathroom (that wasn’t in our bedroom!), all of my things were in one place, our bedroom wasn’t cramped, the boys had their own bedroom and I could finally decorate our home.

 God had answered my prayers. And yet, I found myself once again growing discontent. Now I want carpet that isn’t stained, a kitchen that has a window overlooking the outside, a guest bedroom that is decorated and furnished, a bigger office and the list goes on.

 Contentment is a choice. No matter what plans God has in store for our family I’m sure I’ll always be able to find something that I could “improve” upon. But contentment is trusting that God doesn’t make mistakes. Contentment is knowing that God is in control of even the things I wish I could change and then choosing to leave those things in His hands.

 “Now godliness with contentment is great gain…And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.” 1 Timothy 6:6, 8

 I have seen God provide for our family through the years. I know that He will provide for our future. So I’m going to choose to be content where He has me now. I don’t want to spend my life constantly wishing for things to change. I don’t want to be a wife who constantly nags her husband to be fixing up the house.

 Instead I want to be known as a woman content with the home God has given me. I want to use my home for His glory, as a place to refresh and encourage my family and friends. I want our home to be a godly haven from the busyness of the world.

 It seems like a tall order doesn’t it? But I know I’m not on my own.

 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

 Contentment is a choice and it’s a choice that I want to characterize my life.

 By: Carrie Martin-Vegue

 Her website is: Wholesome Womanhood

Reading List 2012

Updated: 10/7/12

 I have spent the last few weeks working on my Home Management Binder as I described in my post here. Well, I sort of described… it is such a work in progress that I’m not quite sure when I will post pictures and a full description of what is in the binder (I get giddy even thinking about sharing it!!!). But I have been spending time praying and seeking God’s wisdom in how to live my life more intentionally and making the most of every opportunity (Ephesians 5:17) and it has resulted in making a list of personal goals for the year, encouraging scripture to memorize, practical lists like a meal planner and to-do list, etc., and a book reading list for the year with a goal to read 12 books this year. So… here is my list:

To see any book reviews on these books please go to the Book Review tab at the top of the blog.


 The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins  I just finished this 2 nights ago! My first finished book in 2012!

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins 

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

The Parting by Beverly Lewis


 The Fruit of Her Hands by Nancy Wilson My new favorite book!

The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian

 The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace (I added this book in May after seeing it on a woman’s bookshelf who I someday aspire to be like… she has all the qualities of a Proverbs 31 woman and is an amazing Christian woman following God hard for her life. So I figured if she read it then I should read it!)


 The Shaping of a Christian Family by Elisabeth Elliot 

Instructing a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp I have changed my mind about reading this book this year and I am going to cross it off and save it for another year.

 Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp – This is a re-read as this book was so fundamental to me understanding discipline based on God’s desires and what the Bible says but we read it right after Amelia was born and her temperament now is much different than then!!!

 The Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian

 Standing on the Promises by Douglas Wilson

Dare to Discipline by James Dobson

Christian Discipleship:

 The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

 Biblical Womanhood in the Home by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

The Practice of Godliness by Jerry Bridges – I added this one in August after finding it again at a local thrift store for 50 cents! This morning I felt God telling me that He wanted me to do some more studying on the fruit of the spirits and I was wishing for my Beth Moore study on the fruit of the spirits which is in Arizona in our storage boxes! Well, I checked my bookshelf and looked at the Table of Contents in this book and it was perfect! I am excited to read this as the most important way to improve and grow in my roles as a wife and mother is to improve and grow in my relationship with the Lord and His character and there’s no better way than to grow in the fruit of the spirits!


 Organic Housekeeping by Ellen Sandbeck 

Mother Food by Hilary Jacobson – I decided to add this book in March since Joshua is underweight and our Dr. has encouraged us to find some way to supplement and increase calories to speed up his weight gain. The subtitle for this book is “A Breastfeeding Diet Guide with Lactogenic Foods and Herbs – Build Milk Supply, Boost Immunity, Lift Depression, Detox, Lose Weight, Optimize a Baby’s IQ, and Reduce Colic and Alergies”. My little growing man is in need of my increase in milk supply as I am determined to continue feeding him only from the breast and without adding formula for weight gain.

Natural Childbirth after Cesearean by Karis Crawford – I added this book in September once we found out we were pregnant with our third baby. After my trial visit to a midwives office they had this book for loan and I borrowed it since I am going to have a VBAC with this baby (Joshua was breech requiring a c-section).