Tag Archives: family

no tv summer

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TV-Babysitter

NO TV SUMMER-

HOW IT LOOKED FOR US

This Summer we decided to remove tv and video games from our daily life.  I thought it was an awesome idea and my kids thought a nuclear bomb was going off on their social life!  The plan was to completely remove the Wii, which happened and has not re-appeared…yet.  The next step was to remove the television….well, I had nowhere to store the tv so I decided to use self-control instead.  Here’s my what/why/when of how this came about…

WHO:  MY KIDS AND ME.  I realized my kids were watching too much television and the responsibility fell square on my shoulders!  For me it was becoming an easy fix for not needing to think, plan, or interact with my kids (SO sad but true!).  So this summer plan was just as much for my heart as it was for my kids.

WHAT: NO TV, NO VIDEO GAMES….with the exception that on very few occasions I would let them watch one show in the morning (initiated by me and not them) or we would have a movie night about once a week.  It has become more like the cherry on top instead of the whole cake and frosting to our week.

notv

WHEN:  THE WHOLE SUMMER…and honestly this plan may be slightly adjusted and adopted into our lives permanently!  The results don’t lie.  We are only half-way through the summer and based on how it’s gone so far I don’t want to ever go back to the way it was.  In the fall I will probably allow a little more tv, but school, play and art will take up more of their time.

WHY:  There were things happening in my kids and I that I realized were detrimental to our interactions with one another and more so affecting the spiritual tone and love in our home.  There was a lot of fighting, toys were collecting dust, and I was leaning heavily on the tv-crutch.  My creativity switch was turned off (except when it was turned on for very rare occasions) and my interactions with my children didn’t venture much outside the realm of discipline, outings, bedtime stories and meal times.  And my kids were not playing “pretend” except for when friends were over.

There are 4 things that have happened since the beginning of summer.

1. My kids have been enjoying themselves immensely!  Right now, as I am typing, they are playing “Rockets to space” with a box and a pile of random toys that are slowly taking over the living room. (which is a good thing!)

2.  It’s harder on me than it is on them.  Parenting your kids in a way that is consistent and engaging is harder than plopping your kids down in front of an electronic babysitter.  I’ve found myself more tempted to turn the tv on than my kids!  But, it has gotten easier over time and I’ve also learned that the goal is not perfection…but a desire to keep trying.  And I remind myself that hard work is a good thing…just working hard at keeping my house clean isn’t good enough- more importantly my work should include quality time with my kids!

3.  Creativity and summer activities have abounded much!  I am enjoying my kids more and thinking outside the box.  Here are a few things we’ve done because our brains weren’t turned off:

a. went to the park, splash pad, and zoo many times

b. went for slushies and walks

c. I joined my kids playing in a massive puddle

d. we’ve had family craft time and played Yahtzee all together

e. reading lots of books and enjoying the reading program at the library

f. playing squirt guns on the patio and digging for worms

g. writing encouragement notes and making little gifts for our friends

4. We’ve had more time for the Lord!  The kids and I are memorizing the ABC’s of the bible.  (bible verses-one each that starts with each of the letters of the alphabet)  We’ve been singing more together and talking more about God in the milieu of life.  I find myself more in tune to discipline opportunities too, which means more time for talking about the gospel.

Because we don’t want to be push-overs and seen as just our kid’s best friend OR we don’t want to be the parent who disciplines inconsistently OR the mom who doesn’t get her stuff done; we throw the baby out with the bathwater (figuratively)!

There should be time for slushies that run all over our faces, laying on the floor and building the gigantuist tower ever, jumping through a massive puddle that’s going to soak our clothes…building smiling faces out of our lunches, reading books that have “too many words”, doing activities that are a lot of work for us- but so enjoyable for the kids…

I don’t want to be my kids’ best friend. I don’t want to be the cool mom who lets them get away with whatever they want.  BUT- I want to be the engaged mom who pays attention, interacts, listens, plays, helps, and encourages creativity and learning.  I want to show mercy, grace and treat them the way I want to be treated (within the bounds of biblical parent/child relations).  I want to give my kids a home where they will grow, flourish and see Jesus Christ…and for us right now that means less tv and more togetherness.

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Since we’ve moved

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leaves

 

I can’t believe it’s been 8 months since we moved for my husband to attend Seminary.  Since we’ve moved so many things have happened…

-we’ve joined an amazing church full of some of the most loving, caring, hugging, smiling, inspiring, genuine Christian people

-my husband is able to attend seminary, work and intern for Sovereign Grace AND be a great husband and father at the same time (and has now officially signed up to be a full-time student for August!)

-I am learning and growing through the teaching at the Seminary Wives Institute

-Hannah was diagnosed with tethered spinal cord and just had surgery 2 weeks ago.  God provided peace, finances, physical help and meals.

-we have a lovely little home that is meeting our needs as well as providing us a place for hospitality

-many opportunities have allowed us to go home to visit almost every month

-we have had many visitors from home including my mom who was a great help with our move and transition

-I learned how to get to the grocery store, church, and the seminary without using my GPS!

-the seminary has a free place (like a thrift store) where we’ve been able to go and get clothes, shoes and other items for free which has been a great help.

-relationships with our friends from church are starting to blossom and grow- including movie nights, packer games, crafting, meals, sitting up late to chat, discipleship and MUCH laughter~

-my husband was able to attend a song-writing retreat and has co-written a song that will be on the next Sov Grace CD

-we’ve been able to plan and attend many wonderful events: Christmas and New Years parties, birthday bashes, weekly Packer game parties, park dates, library story times, bridal shower, ladies gatherings, easter egg hunt and more!

-we’ve enjoyed much great weather which has included weekly trips to the zoo

I share all these not as a brag list, but as a testimony of God’s kindness, love and grace!  Even our trials have shown a testimony of God’s perfect timing and as Romans 8:28 says- that all things have worked together for our good and God’s glory!  I pray that as you read this your heart would be drawn to God.

I also have  a few prayer requests.  If you can, please pray for these specific things…

-our parenting (amongst a lot of school work and changing schedules) that we would stay consistent and our desire would stay on proclaiming the gospel to our children through what we say, teach and how we act towards them- especially at home.

-for opportunities to disciple, serve in our local church and share the gospel where God has planted us.

-for humility in heart and mind to see where God wants us to grow and change and to see areas in our hearts and lives that need correction and pray for godly men and women to come along side us to show us those areas.

-for school for Jon.  We do not qualify for any loans which I am sure is a true blessing because we will incur no debt while in school.  Pray that we can be good stewards of the financial support God has and will provide for us to continue through and finish school.  Pray for endurance and perseverance for Jon with his studies.

-our housing.  Right now we are living somewhere that does not fit our budget well (although it was good for the time we had it and we’re thankful it was available when we wanted to move) and we are praying for God to lead us to somewhere that can help us invest more into Jon’s schooling.  Apartments here require 2 people per bedroom and most 3 bedrooms where we are range from $750-$1,200/month. (and the $750 ones are hard to come by) BUT we know that God has it all taken care of, we just need to trust in Him with all our hearts and lean not on our own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5-8)

GOD IS GOD. HE IS FAITHFUL. HE HAS MADE A WAY FOR SINNERS TO BE RECONCILED UNTO HIMSELF.  HE LOVES US. HE IS A PERSONAL GOD.  HE HAS GIVEN US GRACE WHEN WE DESERVED ETERNAL PUNISHMENT. GOD IS GOOD.  GOD WILL PROVIDE FOR HIS PEOPLE.

31 days to organize your home

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DAY 1

OK LADIES- IT’S DAY 1 of 31 Days to Organize Your Home

Join me in doing these three things today:

1. choose 1-2 things on your counter that COULD be stored in cupboard to clear counter space. Now, move em!

2. pick one cupboard to clean out- today it’s the glasses/cups. Get rid of some mugs, glasses or old well-worn kid’s cups. How many of these do we actually need? Not 20 mugs! Not a kid’s cup with a hole in the plastic! Not those wine glasses with dust on them!

3. Find at least three things in your pantry you don’t use and throw them out or put them in a bag and hang them on your back door to give away.

THERE! That was easy! Join me tomorrow for day two! Off to my kitchen I go….

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
(Colossians 3:23-24 ESV)

Day 2

Today we are going to piggy-back on yesterday a little and give ourselves some liberty to tackle those areas that are unique to our kitchen.  And honestly, don’t be AFRAID to get rid of something because you think you’ll need it back.  Make sure your organizational pendulum isn’t swinging too far to the KEEP SIDE and also not too far to the GET RID OF EVERYTHING SIDE.  If you need to, now is a good time to get some accountability from a close friend! Oh kay- here we go:

1. Hows the counter top looking? Still dissatisfied?  Maybe by clearing out another cupboard you can store a few more of those “eye-sore-counter-top-clutter-bugs”.  If you haven’t pulled everything off your counter and given it a good clean in a while, today is the day! Crumb buddies like to collect behind toasters and coffee pots for regular meetings- they can have their next one in the garbage!!

2.  Tackle the un-reachable cupboards today.  Where’s the dust? Is keeping these unreachable things a must? Let that stuff go! Grab your Good-will box and turn on your good will!  Don’t just get rid of junk, get excited to get rid of really nice things that you just don’t need!!!!

3.  Where else are you storing pantry items, snack foods around your kitchen- try to organize in a way that condenses everything to the same area.  Too many cans, bags and boxes?  You are either shopping too much or not taking a stock of what you have before going to the store…hmmmm…just a little food for thought 🙂

Day 3

you can join me in doing these three things today:

1. choose 2-3 drawers or cupboards that over filled and re-arrange and use some tough love and get rid of a few things to open up some space! We don’t need overflowing containers of forks, spoons, knives, kid utensils…Which cool gadgets are sitting in your drawer that are never used… avocado peeler….etc.

2. Head to the pantry and tackle another shelf or two. Make sure to take the ripped bags and either throw them out or move the contents to container.  There’s no excuse for chaos! A trip to the dollar store for containers can be just what’s needed!

3. Take 5 minutes to shift some stuff around in your fridge, throw out the stuff from the back of the fridge and do a quick wipe down.  If it needs more than that plan a time to pull everything out and do a deep clean either today or tomorrow.  It’ll feel OOOHHH so good!

THERE! That was easy! Join me tomorrow for day 4! Off to my kitchen I go…

Day 4

Let’s head together to the dining room!
Here’s 3 things for us to do:

1. If you have a buffet table, storage bins, or shelves in the dining room: clean off the top of them and organize the inside including throwing out as much as you can! It can be painful but every crevice of our houses do not need to be stuffed or overflowing. Pick out a few things you can put in the Good-will box.  This box should be overflowing by the end of the week!

2. Head to the closet/drawer where your table cloths, napkins, and place-mats are stored. Let’s get rid of what we don’t use or don’t want!  Just because it’s nice or not broken doesn’t mean it should be kept!

3. Look around at the walls, lighting etc. Grab the Good-will bin and see if there’s anything else you can get rid of. Take a damp cloth and wipe spots and dust off the light.

DONE!

Day 5

Let’s take a stroll today into the living room.  Here is where most of your day culminates!  Therefore, here is where stuff collects!  A clean living room is not only one that looks clean, but one an x-ray machine would reveal is also organized!

1. Send the toys where they belong- in the kid’s bedroom! If you don’t have any toys in your living room than survey your knick knacks and see if you can send some to your Good-will box.

2. Pull out the cushions and clean out the toys, change, garbage that has collected there. Now, vacuum or sweep under your couches.

3. (my favorite thing to do) Re-arrange your furniture to better fit what the room is most used for. Maybe you need to take out a table or chair to make it roomier!

DONE!

Preparing your home for hospitality

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Biblical Hospitality

       One of the things I love MOST about being a homemaker is HOSPITALITY…just the thought of it makes me grin from ear to ear.  By God’s grace our home has been a place for much love, laughter, food and getting to know many friends and family over the years! Hospitality, like most things in my life has been a learning process for me.  From the basics of cooking, cleaning and how to host I have learned so much the last 5 years or so.  Realizing the difference between hospitality and entertaining has been important for me too.   Also, learning to invest in others rather than caring so much about what people think of me or my home has been key! (if you care too much about what people think to the extent that you don’t have anyone over- it’s pride!  Set aside your pride and invite people into your life)

Almost a year ago a sweet friend and mentor of mine spoke on the topic of hospitality from a very practical sense.  On top of there being many great and beneficial scriptures on biblical hospitality there is much wisdom that can be learned from women who’ve been there and done that for 20+ years.  I found this friend’s teaching on “how to prepare your home for hospitality” so encouraging and helpful and wanted to share with all of you the insights and ideas she has.  She gave me the liberty to tweak and pull out whatever I wanted SO without too many changes here it is….

 

PREPARING YOUR HOME FOR GUESTS

1. Preparation is key to your enjoyment of the event. There may be some people you can have over for a meal without much planning, such as your family or very close friends, but if you want to begin to open your home to anyone outside of that small comfort circle, you must prepare ahead. In fact, perhaps it is this very idea that you CAN prepare ahead that will give you courage to practice hospitality. You can be ready!   You can be free to enjoy conversation!  You can relax!

2. Check your calendar. Choose a date to have guests when you have time to prepare, preferably a few hours the day before for cleaning and early food preparation and a few hours on the day itself. If you don’t think you have this kind of time or if you find yourself not protecting the time you set aside to prepare, then you and your husband need to consider how to make hospitality a higher priority in your lives.

Can you have guests without giving so much time to preparation? Yes, clean the bathroom sink, clear the kitchen table, order pizza, get out leftovers or make pancakes!  But generally, if you are preparing a meal and you want your house to be reasonably clean and you want the hearts of your family to be ready to receive and minister to your guests, you need to set aside some time to prepare.

3. Decide who to invite.  Among believers: who has God given you? Who ministers to you or to whom you minister? Who has been put in your life because you serve with them or are in small group together or Sunday school?  Who helps you move forward in your walk with Christ or who would you like to help?  Don’t think you need to be best friends with everyone at church!  Among unbelievers: neighbors, co-workers, share common interests like coaching your kids’ soccer or exercise class. Who has God put in front of you? Call them 1-2 weeks before and then confirm the day before. (Sarah side note: Invite the singles in your church!  Especially those who live alone…adopt one and have them over once a week or on a regular basis if your schedule allows)

4. Do whatever cleaning is necessary ahead of the day, except for last minute cleaning such as the bathroom sink and putting away the clutter from the day.

5. Plan and prepare the food and beverages.   You should be in the habit of already making weekly menus for your family.  Then, when you know a family is coming over that week it’ll be easy to add that meal into your menu and you’ll be sure to have enough of what you need.  Writing out all of the things you will need will help you to be prepared at the grocery store and to avoid last minute stress before your guests arrive.

6. Prepare table and seating so there is enough room for everyone. Set up extra tables or get extra chairs if needed. Set up or ask your guests to bring equipment for children. (Sarah side note: I am always put at such ease when I arrive somewhere and they have a chair set up for the baby, kid plates, sippy cups and silverware or ask me to bring them with me) Decide where each person is going to sit so that parents are by children or that conversation is distributed about the table. Avoid all the women at one end of the table and all the men at the other. To avoid being questioned about where you want people to sit you could make simple place cards from folded index cards or let your children make them from colored paper and stickers. Choose a tablecloth or place-mats and add flowers or candles ahead of time if you are going to use them.  These little creative additions aren’t necessary but could make your preparing more fun and your guests enjoyment more warm!

7. Set the table.  This isn’t always necessary for informal events but if you’d like to and aren’t sure how to set the table  properly, ask a mentor or look it up online.  Put dishes, drinking glasses, and flatware on the table or ready nearby. Get out necessary cups or bowls for children. Think about what is needed to serve the food: large spoons, trivets for hot dishes, baskets for bread, salt and pepper, butter, jam, condiments, ice. Have ready everything that is needed for dessert such as additional forks, dishes or bowls. Be ready to make tea or coffee.  This will cut down on the temptation for stress or anxiety during the visit.

8. Review names of guests and their children. Discuss possible conversation topics and questions you can ask them with your husband and/or family. What would you like to know about your guests? Suggestions: their family background, employment, hobbies and interests, how a couple met, how they came to know Christ, what has helped them to grow in their faith, prayer requests.  Thinking ahead like this can help eliminate unnecessary awkward silence and can bless your conversations with Christ-centered discussions!

9. Think about the needs of your guests. Discuss with your husband what you will do when your guests arrive to make them feel welcome and to help them settle in. Is there room for their coats in the closet? What about shoes? What room will you invite them into? Will you offer beverages? How soon will dinner be served? If children are coming, think about age-appropriate toys and have them ready. (Sarah side note: I can’t explain how special it has been for us to go to someone’s house that didn’t have small children and see age appropriate toys and  room for my kids to play!)

10. Think about your goals for the evening. Discuss with your husband how you want to spend the time after dinner. Do you want to suggest a game or move the conversation to more comfortable chairs? Will you let your guests help with the clean up or save it until after they leave? Will your husband offer to pray before they leave?

Application questions:

1. Browse over these 10 things and think about one or two things you want to take action on.

2. Write out a hospitality goal for the next few months. Suggestions: talk to your husband about how you can make hospitality a higher priority, have one family from church per month over for dinner, invite unbelievers over for a meal or dessert, add a single person to our family dinner every other weekend, try having someone over after church on Sunday, invite couples over for dinner and games, try one company menu on my family and then make it for company, use Sunday evenings for hospitality.

3. Discuss your goal with your husband and agree together on it. Share your goal with an older woman or a friend who will take it seriously and help you to follow through on it.

Weren’t this dear saint’s ideas and applications helpful?  Please share your goal below!

My goal is to have a family or couple over once a week.  When we lived in Green Bay we tried different themes to help us think of who to invite:  Newly married couples…Singles…Church Elders and their families…families with a lot of children (they don’t get invited to people’s houses much if ever!).  Now that we are in a new city and new church I am excited for the possibilities here!

 

Whether your house is big, small, old or new

or your life is busy or slow.

There’s always time for a family or friend

or someone new to know.

It’s not about perfection, wittiness

or a flawless flashy meal.

It’s sharing your home and Christ

and loving kindness that is real.

With a dash of love

and a heart that’s prepared

Hospitality is a gift

we all must share!

Super Mom VS Abiding Mom

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SUPER MOM VS ABIDING MOM

I saw this today on facebook and thanks to Confessions of a Homeschooler we can all have a printable version — just click on the image!

 

Print this off and read it often as a sober reminder of where our hearts as women and mothers should be focused!

Why I am blogging

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Hello Friends and Soon-to-be Friends!

I’ve wanted to start a blog since I was teenager…something about music or photography.  Then I wrote a blog about me. That lasted for a day.  Now that I am a mom and stay home with my kids I want to start a blog as an OUTLET.  Something where I can share my interests and aspirations, ideas and crazy things I make.  I want to share about the blessings God has given me and about all the crazy things my kids say and do.  I am an entrepreneur, planner, re-organizer.  I have a daughter who has her own -isms and a toddler who genuinely thinks he’s spider-man.   My littlest one is our Dolly.  My husband is an aspiring musician so I often joke that I am married to a rock-star 🙂 I hope you enjoy hearing about all of my crazy thrift store finds, ideas for re-purposing around the home, blessings from God, about the little people in my life, my newest “business ideas” and how I run my home.  Sometimes I will even make an attempt at being funny…

Enjoy!