Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Are they 7 or 17?

Wow! It has been awhile since I have written! I have been trying to spend more time in my role as busy wife and mother and staying on top of all of my duties, so blogging was one of the first things that had to be thrown to the wayside!

But recently, I have found myself disturbed about various topics and so, back to writing I go...mostly to get out my crazy emotions!!! ;)

One of my new favorite toys is my Nook Tablet. My dad and his wife gave it to me for my birthday a few weeks ago and I just LOVE it. I take it everywhere and I am reading more than I ever have surfing the web and playing Words with Friends and Angry Birds, of course!

I got a subscription to a popular parenting magazine on my Nook. The magazine is geared towards parents of children who are school age, basically ages 5 to 9 or so. But after reading this last issue, I am canceling my subscription. There were several things in the magazine that disturbed me, but I will just share one with you today.
I was reading along and come to a spread in the magazine about cute summer clothes for your school-age child. (I would love to just share the picture with you, but those silly copyright laws forbid me from doing so....)

The little girl on the page caught my eye. She had her hair in pigtails and was missing her two top teeth...just precious. I would guess she was about 6 or 7 years old. She was standing on the beach with big heart-shaped sunglasses on. 

And then I looked closer. Is that a skin tight halter top? Is that a very short skirt that also happens to be mostly see-through? Really?!

The outfit this 7 year old was sporting could easily be worn by a nineteen year old!

Teaching our daughters about modesty is becoming increasingly difficult when the world around us is telling our little girls that what is in that magazine is what they are supposed to be wearing.

These pictures are of my mother. A far simpler time! My grandmother made most everything my mother wore herself. Can you imagine? I can barely sew a pillowcase!

But look closely. Dresses go to the knees, and the necklines are high.

Advertisers and clothing designers today are counting on the fact that our little girls will be convinced that they will have no friends if they do not buy these revealing clothes. And our little girls, in turn, will beg and plead to wear these clothes to fit in.

But this is a battle I am willing to have with Emma in the coming years.

I know, easy to say now...she's only three. But it starts NOW. There is no reason for my three year old to wear a two piece bathing suit or an outfit that would be suitable for a teenager.

I think she looks just as precious with that belly covered up!
I want women to be modest in their appearance, They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or wear gold or pearls or expensive clothes. For women who claim to be devoted to God should make themselves attractive by the good things they do. - 1 Timothy 2:9-10


Saturday, March 10, 2012

A Dirty Word

It is a dirty word. No one wants to talk about it. You don't want to "jinx" yourself if you and your family are healthy. 

Cancer makes me angry. First I lost my Grandmother. Then my mother lost her fight at only 45 years of age. And then my dad had to fight it (and WON! Go Daddy!) I have taught two students in just 4 and a half years of teaching that have had to fight this disease in their young lives. That's just not fair!

Cancer rates have soared in recent times. From 1950, cancer rates have increased 60%. Prostate cancer rates, which is the type my dad fought, have increased 200% since 1950. And you can't tell me this is just because people are living longer. Most cancer patients are diagnosed in their 60s and we all know very young people that are affected by this horrible disease as well. 

Everyone seems focused on finding a cure, but what about the cause? Most people, myself included, have shrugged our shoulders and just said, "It seems like EVERYTHING causes cancer." 

In 2008, some researchers finally started pointing the finger at chemicals in our environment. 

Most of America buys their fruits and vegetables at the grocery store. Where did that food come from? How many chemicals or pesticides have those foods come into contact with? Even if you wash your produce, can you really wash everything away? And speaking of the water coming out of your chemical free is that water? 

And what about all of this pre-packaged, preservative-stuffed foods that we are eating nowadays? Back in the 1950s and before, people made their food from scratch. But have we gotten too busy? As a working mom, how am I to find the time to cook from scratch for every meal? 

When you really start to consider all of these things, it can be overwhelming and almost depressing! 

If you grow you own produce, you know where it comes from. If you cook from scratch, your food is free from preservatives and additives. The issue is time. But maybe I should make the time to make healthy choices for my family. 

I am lucky to have a husband with a green thumb, because growing plants is not a skill I possess (just ask my school's secretary, who has to remind me regularly to water my ivy in my classroom.) But Seth has plowed up a large plot beside our house for a bigger garden this year. 

We are looking into getting chickens to have our own fresh eggs. Seth also recently purchased a great deal of meat from a local meat-packing company. 

I recently made homemade laundry soap and homemade dish washing detergent. (Have you ever read the ingredient list of the your laundry and dish about chemicals!!!) Here are links to the recipes I used to make these items:

I know this is all very heavy stuff for a Saturday morning, but as I go into this week of freedom for me (I'm on Spring Break....YAY!) maybe I should take this extra time to figure out some ways to get the chemicals out of our home. It may not guarantee that cancer will not strike us, but it really can't hurt us to rid our home and bodies of unnecessary chemicals!



Friday, February 24, 2012

Better than Flowers

Did you get flowers for Valentine's Day?

Seth let me know a long time ago that if I was the kind of girl who required flowers, I would need to find a different guy to supply them! This was not a deal breaker for me, since I have never been a big romantic.

Our children celebrated a wonderful Valentine's Day dinner supplied by my stepmom and dad (aka "Grandmommy Trish" and "Papa John") while Seth and I enjoyed a night off. Grandmommy Trish went ALL OUT for Valentine's by cooking a meal of all heart shaped foods and completely decorating the house for the special little guests as well.

Is this beautiful? They even worked on Valentine's and did a science project by turning flowers different colors. They had a wonderful time.

But this week, a week AFTER Valentine's Day, I received the best present I had gotten in awhile from my husband. Out of the blue, I received an email...yes, a email...very romantic, but anyway, in the email Seth thanked me for being such a great wife and mom. 

Wow, you wouldn't think it would be such a big deal, but it was! I was telling my friend Kelli about my special email, and she said, "That will last so much longer than flowers." How true!


Sunday, February 19, 2012

My Messy Home

Keeping up with my home is a constant struggle for me. Even though I clean once a week, with my crew I would have to vacuum, sweep and mop everyday to keep things looking clean. I found this on Pinterest and it totally describes my home:

I had been feeling really guilty about the state of my home, until I read a blog recently about this very subject.

Ruth Schwenk said,

"I truly want to show love to my family and others more than I want to care about what people think of my housekeeping skills–or lack thereof.

Truth is, I admire others’ beautiful, perfect homes, but have felt the most love in homes that were a lot less than perfect since I knew that those people loved us enough to show their real selves.

And my heart breaks to hear older women say that they wish they had spent less time cleaning and more time just loving their family and friends."

WOW! I have to be honest...I often don't invite people I don't know well to my home because I am embarrassed. There is junk stacked up behind the house by the barn waiting for my husband to haul off (It's been there for months....that's a whole 'nother story!) The carpet has stains that I promise I have shampooed and scrubbed, but they aren't budging. The ceiling has water stains from when it used to leak before we got the new roof. We have a sunroom that is still unfinished from our remodeling job. The under hang portion of the roof needs replacing and we still haven't put siding up on the room we added on the house 2 years ago....I could go on and on.

My house may never be on a dream home tour, but you cannot deny that it is full of love. Little handprints cover the windows and walls, colorful "creations" cover the refrigerator, toys cover the floors. Each carpet stain tells a the one Emma made the other night with the red marker because she wanted to make "a pretty heart picture for Mommy."

Of course, I will still try to keep my house clean, but I need to remember that there are more important things in life than a perfect home! :)


Friday, February 17, 2012

Sugar Scrub

I have been using something on my skin that I just have to share with you. I was given Burt's Bees Sugar Body Scrub for Christmas and loved it...until I saw the price to replace it. Don't get me wrong, I totally support Burt's Bees. They strive to make their excellent natural products in the USA.

BUT...I am not terribly wealthy, so I found this recipe for a brown sugar scrub to make at simple!

1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup of brown sugar

That's it! Even I can't mess that up! I also use it on my face, and I have found it moisturizes better than anything else I have used, but doesn't break me out!

I know, it may be something small, but saving money and helping my lacking beauty routine at the same time makes me happy! :)


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Growing up too fast...

This school year is FLYING by! I cannot believe that next year I will have a 1st grader and a Kindergartener! And Emma Jo is turning 3 in April and is Little Miss Independent! "I do it!" is her most used sentence.

Daniel lost his first tooth last week. He was so proud!

He also worked very hard on his race car Valentine's box. I will say, Mommy worked pretty hard on this project too. I had to practice alot of patience and resist the temptation to jump in and just do it for him. I kept hearing his teacher, Mrs. Cooper saying, "STOP HELPING!" (in her 'nice' voice...or so she claims because she said it in an instant message!) I also heard her saying, "Is it process or product?" But oh was a PROCESS! Daniel struggles with his motor skills and has problems saying focused. This makes for a looooooooong process, but an excellent life lesson in patience for me!

Daniel recruited his little brother to help with his hand-made Valentines for his class. He had 20 to do, so with Mann's help, he was able to get them done MUCH faster. It was so sweet to watch them work together.

And to sum it up, I have some new classroom materials coming to my students from some generous donors. My students and I are so excited. In a low income school district, we are thankful for any tools that help to educate our students!


Sunday, January 22, 2012


One thing that I have figured out about trying to be a good wife is that it doesn't leave much time for blogging! My computer didn't even get turned on during the weekdays this past week.

I have also found that I CANNOT do it all. This woman in Proverbs 31 has got to be fictional, because how can you possibly be every thing to everyone and how are there enough hours in the day? Plus, I just have to note that she "plans the day's work for her servant girls." Ummm....where the heck are my servant girls?

I might have enough hours if I didn't have a full-time job, but there is just no way that I can keep up with all of the laundry and house cleaning and ironing and childcare while working 40 plus hours a week teaching.

The old me cooked alot of frozen pizza and spent all weekend trying to catch up on cleaning and laundry. I have been trying to keep up with the cleaning and the laundry on more of a daily basis when I get home from work, but that doesn't give me much time with the kids...oh, and what about dinner?!

I watched the movie The Help last week. I read the book awhile back and have been wanting desperately to find time to watch the movie.

The movie brought back all kinds of feelings I got while reading the book. I was in tears when I realized that I was far too much like the character of Elizabeth Leefolt. She is a follower and she is not the best mother...not a horrible mom, but she just has her priorities mixed up.

Now, I love all three of my children more than anything, and I do consider myself a decent mom, but I can do better. I can be more patient...I can be more attentive...I can be more loving.

So, while the housework, the cooking and the laundry are all things that I need to be keeping up with and I will be striving to do so, my children need me to be there for them.


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Dirty Dishes

I feel like God often talks to me through music. Not my own musicial talents, of course, because I have none. But I find myself moved by songs. These lyrics are from Scotty McCreery's new song, Dirty Dishes.

Mama hollers "Supper time,
And don't make me tell you twice
Wash your hands and wipe your face.
The table's no place for your toys,
And try to use your inside voice,
Don't dig in 'til we say Grace."

So we put down our forks and bowed our heads
And then she prayed the strangest prayer ever said:

"I wanna thank You Lord,
For noisy children and slamming doors,
And clothes scattered all over the floor,
My husband workin' all the time,
Draggin' in dead tired at night,
My never ending messy kitchen,
And dirty dishes."

We all got real still and quiet,
And daddy asked "Honey, you alright?"

She said, "Dear, ain't nothing wrong,
Noisy kids are happy kids,
And slamming doors just means we live,
In a warm and loving home,
Your long hours and those dishes in the sink,
Means a job and enough to eat.
I wanna thank You Lord,
For my little busy bees
Beggin' mama, mama can you please?
Always wantin' me to call their name
Loads of laundry pilin' up
Crayons crushed into the floor
And those little sticky kisses
And dirty dishes.

I have so much to be thankful for. I think of the mommies in our community who have had to deal with the loss of a child or a husband, and here I am complaining about keeping up with housework and attempting to cook for my family.

"Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts." - Colossians 3:16


Friday, January 6, 2012

It's Too Mushy

When I embarked on the challenge of making a good dinner for my family every day, I decided that crockpot cooking was one of the best solutions for me as a working mom. One of my dear friends, Holly (who also happens to totally be a Proverbs 31 wife...she even is out there everyday in the pasture working the cows with her husband!) let me borrow her crockpot cookbook.

 I wrote the other day about the creamy spaghetti I made. I thought it was good, but after my second crockpot dinner, which was chicken and rice, Seth turned up his nose. "It's too mushy! I know you are trying to save time, but this crockpot stuff just isn't very good."

I gritted my teeth to keep from snapping back with a sarcastic comment. "Ok, I will try something different," I said instead. But literally, my heart was broken. I was trying so hard and it still wasn't good enough for him.

Like I have said before, I am not a chef. But I can follow directions...truly, it is not that I mess up what I make (well, most of the time) but that I don't know what to make in the first place!

One of my major problems is that in order not to have to cook two dinners, I have to make something that my kids will eat, too. So, last night I sat down and made a list of kid-friendly, Seth-friendly meals and then I made a grocery list of the items we needed.

This morning, I told Seth that I had made a grocery list.
Seth: "That's nice, but we can't buy groceries until the 14th." (Today is the 7th.)
Me: "What are we going to eat this week?" (as calmly as possible)
Seth: "There's lots of stuff in there. I just spent $200 last week."

I found myself gritting my teeth again to keep my mouth shut. I want to say, "Sure, we can live on powdered donuts, poptarts and hot dogs for a week." Seth does our grocery shopping, so in addition to the list of weekly groceries he gets from me, he buys "snacks" (aka junk) for the kids.

About 30 minutes later, Seth showed me the new chainsaw he bought. the end of this experiment, I may not have any teeth left for all of this gritting I am doing....


One "Thank You!" Would Go a Mile!

I felt tears coming to my eyes as I drove to school this morning. I was ready to throw this whole "Proverbs 31 Wife" resolution right out the window. I started talking to God as I drove down the road.

What is the point of this? By trying to be such a good wife, all I am doing is exhausting myself...for WHAT?! The laundry is all clean and stowed, the house is clean, I am attempting to make a good dinner every night....but I don't feel any better, and Seth hasn't even noticed how hard I am working. He doesn't even CARE!

As if to answer my angry prayer, Born Again by Newsboys began playing on the radio. It is one of my favorite songs...and literally told me, "Found myself looking into the mirror, Knew I wasn't who I wanted to be, I was living like the way that I wanted, But my eyes reminded me I'm not free..."

I made a resolution to be the best wife and mother I could be and just a week into it, I am ready to throw in the towel. How pathetic! I rolled my eyes at myself.

Just suck it up and do this. It will get easier. 

I am really proud of my time management. I have found that because I am staying on top of the housework, I am less stressed at the end of the day.

I have hardly had a chance to look at Facebook and Pinterest all week, and to be honest, I haven't missed them that much. (Ok, I miss Pinterest a little!) I have made time to work out everyday and my body thanks me for that.

Overall, I have to admit, the home atmosphere has changed for the better....but I am soooo tired! And I get plenty of sleep! I have started showering at night to allow me more time in the morning and I go to sleep by 10pm every night. I guess I just need time to adjust....and probably alot more time in prayer!

I think about the pictures of the 1950s housewife I have seen. Her family always looks so appreciative of all her hard work, but in real life, I am sure that was not the case. She was just expected to do it all.

Women are human, and I know I am going to have's all part of the journey!

(But I mean, seriously, who smiles as you are doing all of these chores?!)


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Prayer for Seth

In My So-Called Life as a Proverbs 31 wife, Sara Horn talks about praying for her husband.

Hmmm....let me just be totally honest. I pray for my husband. I pray for him when he is going through difficult or stressful circumstances. But prayer regarding my husband, happens more when am having a hard time...WITH HIM!

"Dear God, why would you have me be married to such an IMPOSSIBLE man?!!"

Surely, Martha 31(Note: Martha 31 is what Sara Horn calls The Proverbs 31 wife in her book:) prayed a prayer like I have. I imagine men were even harder to deal with back in her day. But I am pretty ashamed to admit that I don't spend that much time in prayer for my husband.

It seems strange that I probably spend more time in prayer for people that are not nearly as close to me. I pray for people who have lost loved ones or those going through difficult times, but some of those people I hardly even know.

I pray for our marriage in general, but it occurs to me that I really should make a habit of praying for Seth on a daily basis.

Proverbs 31:11-12 says that "she will greatly enrich his life...she brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life." This surely means that Martha 31 spent time in prayer for her husband.

Martha 31 also didn't talk badly about him to others. And again....I'm guilty.

Have you ever been in a room full of women and the "husband talk"  starts? It may even start with one wife bragging about something her husband gave her or did for her, but before long the husband-bashing starts and I hate to admit that I have not just participated in this type of conversation but I have been the ring leader! I seem to have alot of stories regarding my husband and his ability to drive me up the wall. I love to make people laugh, but it should not be at the expense of my husband.

I have so much work to do on myself, it's almost overwhelming sometimes!


I Need an Apron!

Yesterday, I had to stay home from work with Emma because she had the stomach bug. :(

But on the bright side, I decided that it was a good time to work my "domestic diva skills" since that is a small part of being a Proverbs 31 wife.

After I cleaned the children's rooms and mopped the kitchen, I set to work on a crockpot dinner. Ask my husband, and he will tell you, I am no chef. I try....I really do! But I almost always find some way to screw up every dish I make.

I had gotten a crockpot cookbook from one of my friends, so I set to work and found a recipe for creamy spaghetti. It sounded nice and easy and was something everyone in my family would actually eat.

But....the sauce was made from scratch, and I usually use sauce straight from the jar. (I lazy!)

I started cutting and sauteing the onions, browning the meat and boiling the spaghetti...all at the same time on the stove! I was really quite proud of myself (Note to self: This was during Emma's naptime and my boys were at school, so it was definitely a rare moment where I could actually focus on cooking without any interruptions...I wonder if that is one of the reasons I am such a bad cook!)

As I was multi-tasking on the stove, I noticed that the oil from the onions had splattered onto my shirt, along with a little tomato sauce.

It was a "light bulb" apron!!! Of course!

If I had an apron, I could throw it on everyday when I got home to cook dinner and I would not have to worry about staining my clothes. Usually I throw on an old t-shirt and shorts when I get home and attempt to cook dinner. If I wore an apron, I would still look nice when Seth gets home.

Proverbs 31:22 says, "She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns." Well, you won't find purple gowns or even linen in my closet, but I take this to mean that I should look nice and well-kept. An old pair of shorts and a t-shirt full of holes probably doesn't cut it.

You might think it strange that a 31 year old wife and mother does not own an apron...but then if you have tasted my cooking, you probably aren't surprised...

Gram's Apron Store: Laura's Apron

I found this apron that I LOVE!!! And, of course, it is Made in America. It's a little pricey, so maybe I will ask for it for my birthday! ;)

My creamy spaghetti turned out pretty well and I even cooked a chicken dish overnight. I am on a roll!