Thursday, February 24, 2011

All In A Day....Laundry

I've been enjoying reading the "All In A Day" posts by some of my favorite bloggin' Mamas, but have yet to jump on the proverbial wagon with 'em. Basically because it's getting harder and harder for me to squeeze blogging in with everything else that's demanded of me, er, all in a day :).

But then I was inspired by Natural Mama's (also my SIL), blog about laundry. Laundry, inspiring? There's an ironic statement. But let's face it, it stares me in the face every day, from just about every room in the house, daring me to keep its morphing masses under submission. Which for the most part, I have found a balance which I am contented to live with. I can definitely write about laundry with ease and confidence.

Here's what works for me and keeps my laundry manageable:

::Gather all laundry every evening after bath and every morning after PJ changes.
This is the children's responsibility--taking their dirty clothes to the laundry room after their bedtime baths and in the mornings after changing into playclothes. The Heart Chart motivates them and it's fun to see how creative they can get with the process {think doll strollers and grocery buggies}. I gather my and DH's laundry in the evening before I go to bed.

::Keep it sorted.
I {heart} laundry baskets. IMO, you can't have too many. I've found a couple of good ones dumpster diving and a 3-compartment sorter at a garage sale for $4 {I took pics but alas cannot upload them to the PC. Bummer.}. It has been a life-saver. The children know which compartment their clothes go into and this makes it easier to keep the laundry room neat{er} than just throwing them all into the floor or cramming them in one basket. It's kind of like pre-sorting. Some laundry baskets I covet:

I've seen some with good prices at TJ Maxx. It's worth the investment when you use them not only for laundry for also for cleaning, like I do.

I try to immediately sort out items of clothing that are stained, to be stain-treated. I do miss some sometimes :(. It helps to have a basket/compartment just for stained clothes.

::Do two loads each day.
This is what keeps my head above water, so to speak. I tried the do-a-different-person's-laundry-each-day method (ya know, Mom's on Monday, Dad's on Tuesday, towels on Wednesday, etc.). Did not work for me. My nerves do not like to see piles of laundry. They revolt. It is not practical to have all laundry done at all times, but I do like to keep it a safe mound instead of an out-of-control mountain. I can breathe this way. Two loads of laundry per day does it for me. It's not really that bad if you have it sorted already. I tackle the largest load first, and move on from there. I switch out a load first thing in the morning, and I like to fold it up immediately as it comes out of the drier and use my deep freezer as a folding table. Just because I "like" to do it this way, doesn't mean it always happens. Because life happens, a couple of loads can wind up sitting on the couch or chase lounge waiting to be folded.

I use Purex, in the blue bottle, and only use about a 1/3 of what is recommended per load. It works fine for us and I feel better about the toxic reduction factor. I've been saying for years I'm going to start going the homemade detergent route, but I can't seem to find any Borax at Wal-Mart or the time to run into another grocery store for just one item. One day.

A great big shout-out loud for my clothes line. Love it. Love hanging clothes, love seeing the clothes billowing in the breeze, love the smell, love the change in the electric bill. If you don't have one, I urge you to nag, I mean, beg your husband until he makes you one.

::Train Children to Put Away Their Own Laundry

Honestly, I hated to put away laundry when I was at home {Hi, Mom :)} and still do. So I love the thought of passing that chore onto my girls {insert wicked laugh}. Seriously, it takes times to invest in teaching children to do a task on their own, and constant reminders and direction, but it can be done. I'm all for teaching our children to have a servant's heart at a young age--you are doing them a favor, trust me. My children all put away their own laundry (even 2 yo), except for hang-up items.

That's it for my laundry post. Hope you enjoyed your visit! Come back soon, and if you're not a follower, there no greater time than now to become one :).

Check out the other All in a Day Bloggers...

Carrie @ Our Full House

Christi @ Where the Creek Meets the Lake

Elizabeth @ Yes They’re All Ours

Kathy @ Kathy Mom of Many

Kristy @ Homemaker's Cottage

Lori @ Happy Busy Mama

Monica @ Natural Mama

Renee @ Bakers Dozen

Please leave me a comment w/ your blog url if you want to join in :).

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Taking Control of the Situation--Using Herbal Remedies

OK, so switching gears a little after all that "romantical" stuff :).

You may recall, if you're a regular reader, that one of my goals for 2011 was to learn more and implement more usage of herbs and herbal remedies in my family. Herbs and their healing powers have been a subject of interest for me for a few years now. But until this year's Winter of Perpetual Sickness, I didn't really get serious about it. Passive no more! I am a Mom on the war-path for effective, natural ways to treat our family's ailments.

We took a little trip to the health food store last weekend, armed with a list of things to look for and price. We all know this stuff is not cheap, but when you think about it, neither is paying a co-pay for 3 children each time they go to the doctor. And believe me, we have been to the doctor a lot in the past four months. Too much. My husband and I decided to create a new category in our monthly budget for medical expense which will cover vitamins, probiotics, and other helpful homeopathic treatments {such as colloidal silver, garlic drops for earaches, and wild cherry bark cough syrup}.

Here's what I came home with:

2. Olive leaf extract--to treat my Rosacea

These probiotics replace the good bacteria in our intestines that are killed off by antibiotics.

I also have my children on Vitamin C gummies and am on the lookout for a good multivitamin (and I don't mean Flinstones).

Why not just take some antibiotics and down some Tussin to get through it? Read this article about antibiotics. They are doing us more harm than good, and after seeing my little girl go through 3 or 4 rounds this year and turning around and getting sick again one week after each round, I need no more proof.

Here are some good sources of information that have really helped me to give me direction:

::: Bulk Herb Store
This girl knows her herbs! You can order teas and smoothie mixes and tincture mixes delivered fresh and right to your front door. My friends joke to me about my "grass" teas but they are awesome ;). They are affordable, too! Go to youtube and check out some of her clips about herbal treatments. Look up "Shoshanna's Kitchen". You'll love the energetic, fun way she presents the information. And if you click on the Bulk Herb Store button on my sidebar and order something, this blog will receive a little commission from that purchase, as I am an official Bulk Herb Store affiliate.

::: Homemaker's Cottage
Krissy is a stay-at-home, home-schooling mom of four who has done her homework and regularly shares what she has learned about herbs and homeopathy. I've learned so much and been encouraged to dig deeper into the world of herbal treatments from her blog.

::: Zsuzanna's blog, Are They All Yours?
A wealth of information from a Mom who has tried and proven home remedies. Some of her opinions and beliefs are offensive to some people, and I do not necessarily agree with everything she believes in or blogs about, but as for this one area I have really got some good information from her.

Unless you've been living with your head in the sand, you realize that though we are living in rough times, even harder times are yet to come. The healthcare industry has failed us, and our terrible diets have failed us. Psalm 104:14 says, "He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man." He has provided ways for us to treat ourselves in a safe, effective way. Isn't it amazing how our God thought of everything we would need and provided for it in nature? It's up to us to educate ourselves and use that information to the best of our abilities.

I hope I have encouraged someone out there to start thinking of their family's health and treatments in a new way. If so, good luck on making that transition. It's not easy changing our ways, especially when it's different from the way it's always been done, but you'll be so proud of yourself when you choose to make the better choice, and your family will thank you for it.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Our Love Story {Part 2}

Where did I leave off? Oh yes...the first meeting. John & I agreed that we would meet in the Food Court of a local mall at the picture booth by the front entrance (this was way before every Tom, Dick, & Harry owned a cell phone). I managed to convince my ever so giddy and curious entourage to wait outside the door, so the poor guy would not feel overwhelmed, ya know? So in I went one was there! Hmm...maybe he is late, I wondered. So I stood and waited a few minutes, scanning the food court for any sign. Then I spotted this really cute guy with sparkling, mischievous eyes and a huge grin on his face sitting at a table on the far side of the food court, watching me with amusement. The stinker made me walk all the way over there and say, "John?" He had been watching me the whole time, just in case I turned out to be a not-so-fair maiden and he could make a run for it!

Well, I'm glad I met with his approval, because we spent the rest of the evening together and two weeks later he drove all the way to Southwestern Alabama to come see me and the rest is history. That was in July 2001 and we got married on May 25, 2002. God lead us to a wonderful church that challenged us like never before and a year after we were married God called John to preach. Me, a preacher's wife! God does have a sense of humor :).

He is the perfect man for me--we have both grown so much in the Lord and I don't know if I would be where I am if I hadn't met him. No, he's not perfect. And Lord knows I definitely am not. But the meeting of our jagged edges of imperfection have served to create a beautiful, smooth unity.

I wish I could tell you it's all been "happily ever after" without a cloud in the sky since but we both know that's not reality. We've struggled through rough terrains while melding together two drastically different upbringings and domestic cultures. We've climbed steep hills of shattered expectations and bitter disappointments. There were times that the only thing between one of us and the door was a long fall-on-our-face session before God. But with God as our anchor and foundation, we made it, and will continue to make it.

John is a quiet, shy guy with a gorgeous smile and beautiful blue-green eyes that gets him compliments from strangers all the time (women of all ages). From Grandmas in wheelchairs to toddlers in hairbows, females melt when he flashes his smile in their direction. I can't blame them. After 8 1/2 years, I still do ;). He loves his children fiercely, and is the hero of their lives. With 3 babies in 4 1/2 years, I don't know how I would've made it without a man who thinks nothing of changing a poopy diaper or cleaning up spit-up out of my hair.

He bakes the most fant-a-bulous cheesecake I've ever tasted, and loves to take to the woods and bring us home fresh deer meat, that he processes himself. He's a hard worker, and if he faces a task that he's never done before, he reads and researches and asks questions until he knows the issue inside and out. I've never know him to be late for work or even miss a day unless he's flat on his back sick. The needs of his family are his first priority and he puts our needs before his own.

Our love isn't the same giddy, exciting love that it was when we first met and married, but it has taken root and grown into a mature, steady love that is even better. I'm so glad God knew what He was doing all the time, and I thank him for that "broken road" that lead me straight to my husband.

This man of mine...I think I'll keep him!

Happy Valentine's Day, Baby!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

This Man of Mine...{Our Love Story}

When I think about the man God has given me to share this life with, I'm amazed at the miracle of us, where we are, where we've been, and where we're going. And the most amazing part of all--how we came to be!

About 11 years ago, I was sitting in front of a computer (probably wasting time) in a college computer lab, surfing the internet, when I came across a Christian penpal site. The internet was a fairly new thing back then, at least to me, and I was intrigued at the prospect of having a penpal from another country and culture and thus I stumbled upon this site. After playing around a bit, I decided to try the keyword "Pentecostal", (since that's what I am) just to see if anyone I knew would pop up. That's the first time I saw his name, and never in my wildest dreams did I imagine how that one click of the mouse would effect my (or his) life.

We began to e-mail one another frequently, as he was newly saved and glad to have someone who was raised in church to ask questions of. He was dating someone, and I had no intention of meeting my life-mate "online" :). He was so sweet and genuine, and such a good listener. I began to look forward to his e-mails and sharing with him when I aced (or failed) a test or when one of my essays was read aloud by the Professor in English class. We shared frustrations over bad professors and he gave me a few pointers on how to get through Statistics without losing my mind.

After some time (I don't remember how long), the person he was dating broke it off with him, and he wrote me a long e-mail, pouring out his heart and hurt. Not long after, he asked if he could call me, and I gave him my phone number. The first time the crazy guy called, he did it at 5:00 on a Saturday morning on his way to work! My Mom was like "Who in the world is calling you this early in the morning?" I am not a morning person, either, so it's a wonder he ever called me again after that!

My family was a little taken a-back by the situation, and didn't really know what to think about a guy I met on the internet calling me. But soon my Mom was having conversations with him on the phone, and he won her over pretty fast ;).

About a year prior, I had made a commitment to the Lord that I was not going to date again until it was the "one" He had chosen for me to marry. I was weary of the ups and downs of dating, and just didn't have the energy to go through another break-up. So even though John & I were not even dating (nor had we even broached the subject), I began to seek God for direction about our relationship. I told Him that if this was not His will, to let me know and stop things before they progressed any further. Through it all I felt a peace.

After a few months of writing letters, e-mailing, and talking on the phone, we finally exchanged pictures. Wow! He was so cute, I wondered if maybe I was being dooped! Could a guy possibly be that great and that good-looking, and could he possibly be interested in ME? I must be crazy!!

One night during one of our phone conversations, he mentioned he had an aunt who lived close to a nearby city that we often visited to shop and go out to eat and that he was going to visit her for the weekend. After I told him how close I lived to the city, he suggested we get together and go out to eat or something. I couldn't believe that we were actually going to meet in person, and was nervous that we wouldn't have the same connection as we did over the airways. Of course my friends and family were a little worried, but also excited for me, and when the day came I was accompanied by my Mom, my sis-in-law, and another friend. Poor John got a little more than he bargained for that day, and I will tell you all about that meeting in the next post....

Stay tuned! :)

So tell me...

What d'ya think about the new blog look? Too busy? Too hard to read? Does it make you want to get out of here?!?

C'mon, I can handle it!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Adventures At Drury Inn

Well, friends, January is gone. It was a blur for me. It brought more sickness (more specifically, the flu) to our home, which put quite a damper on Elijah's 6th birthday. It's hard to have a party when the weather is yucky and people are stumbling around in a haze of general crud-i-ness. Every year I say I am going to have him a party next year no matter what. And every year we wind up taking him to Chucky E. Cheese or Pizza Hut and substituting the cake with cupcakes or something. He's usually pretty happy about it until one of the girls' birthday rolls around and then he's like hey I want a party! Bad. Mom.

This January was also a milestone for me. I turned 30 this year, actually the day after Elijah's birthday. I didn't bring it up, because, well, I'm still not sure how I feel about it :/.

But now we have February, and it's already been filled with exciting things for us. For starters, we spent 4 days at a high-end hotel in Baton Rouge last week. My husband had some training sessions to attend and his job put us up for it. Sweet.

The kiddos were super-excited about the indoor pool, and I was super excited about a few days with no cooking, cleaning, or laundry and time to curl up with a good book. Or two ;). The first night we were there we took them down to the pool (and hot tub). That went great until Emma & Grace tried to drown each other and DH had to get in, jeans and all, and rescue them from drowning by hair-pulling. My hero :).

On the 2nd day of our stay, Grace started to run fever and complain of a sore throat, which turned out to be strep. Again.

A huge source of fun and fascination for the kids was the huge mirror-lined elevator, complete with a female computerized voice that announced which floor we were going to and our arrival to that floor. When we arrived in the lobby one afternoon, the computer informed us, "You have arrived in the lobby." To which Elijah replied, "Thank you, Mabel." It took me a second to figure out what he was talking about--Mabel from Adventures in Odyssey! Maybe he's had a little too much of Whit's End? :)

On the 3rd day, we took a trip down to the guest media room to check our email and such and I allowed Elijah to push the "1" button on the way down. Of course Gracie wanted her turn so I told her as soon as we got back in the elevator to go back to the room she could push "6". She was very much anticipating this honor, so she and Elijah boarded the elevator and before I had a chance to get in, the doors were closing and the elevator was GONE. With my kids. I stood there in shock for a few seconds. I heard it coming back down so I hoped they were in it. The door opened and it was empty! I got in and went to the 6th floor, hoping that Grace has pushed the right button and they had went to our floor. Sure enough, there they were, standing in the hall, Grace looking like she was about to have a breakdown and Elijah looking exasperated. I was so glad to see them! I quickly comforted Grace and Elijah said, "I TOLD her to calm down, Mom!" Isn't that just like a man?

We had to cut our stay a little short because the ice/snow storm that has swept our part of the country closed down the training sessions and also the roads, so we left early in order to make it back home before the storm hit. I did take my camera with me, but can you believe I did not take a single picture?? Bad. Mom.

We enjoyed our little "get away" so much, though, and I don't think that neither the kids nor I will ever forget our adventures and the memories we made!