Thursday, August 30, 2012

What We Have Been Up To...

Schooling...



Shucking, blanching and freezing more corn...


Madelyn, checking her friend's blog...


Playing with dinosaurs...


More organizing (yes, I switched some things around a bit since I posted on all this organizing before)...




We found a great old lidded box to store our games and puzzles...


While I mowed one evening...


Chris and the children stacked wood...




Pearl and Penny ran around and enjoyed eating grass in the yard...


**Pearl has been really liking extra attention from me since her sister passed. Her warmth towards me has been endearing. It has been quite a blessing to me, truly!


And finally, my Ruthie (her typical hard-working self) has been doing what she does best...following me and watching every move I make! ;)


So, we have been busy this week. We school most of the morning and the afternoon is filled with cleaning, mowing, playing, errands, reading  and the occasional much-needed nap. My postings may become a little more sporadic...it's hard to tell. It just depends on the day! :) I appreciate you stopping by today though! I hope you have an enjoyable rest of the week!

Warmly,
Katy

Monday, August 27, 2012

This is what happens...

...when Staples has a Back-to-School Sale...


My desk drawers become (neatly) full to overflowing with school supplies. You truly can't beat boxes of erasers for a penny a piece (there was a limit of four boxes...so I had to stop at that!). Many other items were offering rebates (which I sent for already) and were priced well. It's a good thing there was a limit to how many of the sale-priced items we could get, otherwise, I may have bought them out!


I know it's silly...but I just love seeing all the erasers, clips, paper and pens. ;)


For my birthday, Chris had gotten me *just* what I had asked for (truly!)...a shredder!


I have 12 years worth of documents to shred (I often save a lot...just in case I would need something). I have so, so, so much more to shred...I work on it bit by bit! This shredded paper will make wonderful mulch around my plants in my gardens next year!


I had previously ordered new labels for my containers around the kitchen. I have always loved the chalkboard labels I have seen...so I got some (along with a chalkboard marker). I just love how it looks!



After our schooling was completed today, I cleaned out my refrigerator (yes, we have dozens of eggs. Our chickens are keeping us well-stocked!). I have to do this about once a week. One problem we have had is that we would keep leftovers in containers and often forget about them or else forget how long it had been in there (and if it was still safe to eat!). I do not like to waste food...


...so, to solve my problem, I got these...


Now, technically, you can do something like my sister does...she simply puts a piece of masking tape on a lid and writes the information on it so she knows how long food is in the fridge. I know my intentions would be good...but I would forget easily (and often, we are out of masking tape!). So these erasable food labels are *just* the thing for me! It uses a permanent marker...but can still be erased!

For supper tonight, I made rolls (pictured a couple photos down) along with my homemade meatballs and some sauce. This was what my family ate (I, of course, had chicken). We had some things leftover...so they got labeled and now, will be able to be properly used up before they go bad!



Today was also our first day of schooling for the year. It didn't go quite as beautifully as I would have liked. Jaxson (who is doing first grade work) was cheerful and enjoyed every minute of his schoolwork...


Madelyn did pretty well too...Xavier was my pickle today. Getting that brain concentrated on words, facts and figures all at once overwhelmed him. He desires things to come easily to him (as they often do for Madelyn) and when he has to really think something out, he gets frustrated. It's not that he can't do it...he just wants to choose *not* to. When I tell him that is not an option, he gets upset. It was quite a trying day for us...but tomorrow we start afresh.

Although I can feel weary from it all...I do feel that these difficult days teach us so much. Chris and I are working hard to teach X (and our other children) that we discipline them to *teach* them. We do this out of love (and in obedience to God). We want the *very* best for them and included in that is their behavior. It's also teaching me patience, love, and discipline (for myself...). 



 Jaxson set the supper table for me tonight, without being asked. That was such a blessing...


And finally...after this long, full-to-the-brim post...I just want to share my latest book. I haven't started it yet....but hope to dive into it tonight after crawling under my quilt. It's called "Almost Amish" by Nancy Sleeth. It sounds like it will be right up my alley! Have any of you read it?


It's getting late (8:30 here...creeping past my bedtime!). I am definitely an early to bed, early to rise type of gal! So glad you had time to come by for a visit! Until next time, Lord willing...

Warmly,
Katy

Sunday, August 26, 2012

What you do in your house....

....is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow.
~ Martin Luther

Wheresoever we be, whatsoever we are doing, in all our work, in our busy daily life, in all schemes and undertakings, in public trusts, and in private retreats, He is with us, and all we do is spread before Him. Do it, then, as to the Lord. Let the thought of His eye unseen be the motive of your acts and words. Do nothing you would not have Him see. Say nothing which you would not have said before His visible presence. This is to do all in His name.
~ Henry Edward Manning


I find such joy in a well-kept, organized home. As I have shared in past posts, I have been scurrying around the past few weeks getting my home organized. In the past, I would get different areas organized...but never try to accomplish getting *everything* organized and ordered. Now, I am doing just that! It truly feels wonderful. When I need an important document for something, I don't need to rush around searching through papers and panicking that I won't find it. This helps me stay less frazzled with my family and helps me to be a better wife and mother. My husband and children can have complete confidence that I am working diligently to care for them in the *best* way I can.

When I look at God's creation, I truly believe He is a God of order. The only parts of this material world that are disorderly and chaotic are the result of sin...beginning with that first sin in the garden of Eden. Think with me, if you will, of all the scientific facts and laws (and absolute perfection) of how things work in this universe. I find that keeping our lives orderly brings peace. I'm not talking about rigid perfection...but rather working to do the best we can in our homes (taking joy in our roles as wives, mothers and home-makers!)...all to the glory of God.

My mom gave me an old china cupboard of hers. I really love it...but at this moment, I don't have room to have a cupboard that doesn't have a much-needed purpose in my home. So this cupboard was given a job...it's my new pantry! It works wonderfully! The next photo has a reflection of my laundry basket dresser in the window...so there is another photo below it that is a bit better!




It has a drawer that I utilize as well...


Some food organization....


We don't have closets in our house....at all. Oh dear, it's terribly difficult to store anything! Chris and I have a large bedroom (which does not have an official floor down...yet) so it has become a bit of a storage room. I have been working at purging things and organizing the rest...


If you are finding your role as homemaker to be tiresome and mundane, make it your goal to turn it around. Find ways to improve organization in different areas. Things that will make life for everyone in your family a bit easier. (Think if your husband invites strangers/guests into your home at the last minute....how much more at ease would you be if things were kept tidy! You could focus on welcoming people and sharing your love for Jesus and your family!).

If your home happens to already be as organized as it could possibly be, bake or cook special things for your family. Deliver meals to others. Get creative with your children and make some window stars! Sit down and write notes to people who need encouragement. Play a game or read some books with your children. Start a craft (like knitting, crochet, or cross stitch!).

There is *much* a keeper at home can stay busy with! I encourage you to *daily* strive to do things that will bring more joy to your home. Let God use you to bless and serve your family. One way *I* am doing this is getting things organized (and teaching my children to aid in keeping them that way! What wonderful lessons they are learning from all this, as well!).

This evening, I am listening to a sermon by Paul Washer and getting things prepared for our first day of homeschooling (tomorrow) for this new school year. I am excited for it...and also anxious about it (which is probably silly of me to feel considering we have been homeschooling for years now!).
Thanks so much for coming by! I pray you are encouraged here today!

Warmly,
Katy

Saturday, August 25, 2012

31 by my 31st!


I had an absolutely lovely birthday yesterday. My sister and Eloise came for a visit and then we spent time at my dad's garage with family (where my dad and Chris were working). We visited, laughed, had cake (in place of this, I had a low calorie icecream treat that my sister got me...isn't she thoughtful?), and opened some gifts.

Later in the evening, after Chris got home and showered from work, we went to friends' house for a few hours (to celebrate their son's birthday). We had a nice time visiting with all of our good friends! At the end of the day...the children were tucked into bed and I was putting in my food intake on the computer (www.myfitnesspal.com)...when Chris came over to me, leaned down and whispered "Happy birthday, my love" and gave me the sweetest kiss. The perfect ending to a most-enjoyed day!


That brings me to the reason for the title of this post...many of you have been following along with me in my journey of healthy eating (and exercising). Before spin class, early yesterday morning, I went to weigh myself. Since I had by-passed my original goal of losing 25 pounds by my 31st birthday a while ago...I had a new goal made to lose 31 pounds by my 31st birthday. I am so excited to be able to say that I met that goal!!! I think I hopped off the scale like a giddy little girl and bounded down the steps to my spin class...where my friends/fellow-spinners were full of love and encouragement and congratulations for me (such sweet women they all are!). We had a 55 minute spin class then, where we burned lots and lots of calories! :)

I praise God for His help in this journey. In and of myself, I truly don't have the strength to keep going with this. He has been my complete strength in everything...for *all* good in me comes from Him. I still have 42 pounds before I hit my main goal...but I am definitely on my way!

Thanks, so much, for all your warm birthday wishes for me in my previous post and also your kind words about our loss of Polly (the goat). Enjoy your weekend ahead!

Warmly,
Katy

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Bedroom Organization, Laundry Tips and More!


The sun is shining and I am enjoying a nice, peaceful time of rest. It has been a busy day and what I really desire is a nice long nap. We have bible study tonight, though, so there's no time to sleep...so I will just spend some time relaxing and writing a little post about the day's events.

We had to have Polly put down last night by the mobile vet. I cried and cried...but it was definitely for the best (thank you all, so much, for your kind and comforting comments and emails...I truly appreciate them!). This experience has taught me a lot. It has shown me signs to be watchful for with Penny and Pearl.

Because it took me a while to fall asleep last night (and I knew that today would be an off day from spinning), I slept in past my normal 4 am and got up around 5. I started some laundry and checked email...and just began the day slowly. After Chris and the children woke and the day *officially* started, the busyness began.

I hung laundry out on the line, balanced the checkbook and did some other chores while the children did theirs. Once finished...we began to get ready to go into town for a bit. Just as we were getting ready to leave, Pa (Chris's dad) called to ask if Madelyn could come help them at the Meat Market for a bit (which is just down the road, a bit, from us). She happily agreed and we all piled into the van. After stopping to drop Madelyn off, she planted a kiss on my cheek and in she went, disappearing into the shop. The boys and I headed into town, ran some errands and did some grocery shopping.

After returning home and getting the grocery items put away neatly, we had some lunch (which made each of our stomachs quite happy, as they were all grumbling by then!). Then it was time to tackle the boys' rooms. We went through things....setting aside some toys for Eloise and also for a donation pile. We threw things away and organized all that was left over. The boys seemed to take joy in the clean-up...especially Jaxson. He liked everything having it's own place. The labels really help too. The photo at the top of this post (as well as the next two) are from our afternoon spent organizing...


A bin for extra shoes slid perfectly under the bed!


I made laundry soap, earlier this morning, as we were starting to run out (and can you imagine the conundrum I would be in if I get back from spinning tomorrow morning and have no laundry soap to wash all my workout clothes in!? Ick!). I have a whole post on how to make your own laundry soap HERE.

Here is my "recipe" for homemade laundry soap (that I keep in my Homemaking Binder)...




It is really cheap and easy to make! It's such a money-saver! I completely recommend it to anyone who is trying to save money and have clean clothes! ;)

A fun little laundry tip I have (maybe this is something you already do...but this is the first time I tried it!) is to wash your plastic shower liner with a load of towels when it starts getting icky! I used to spray it with cleaners and try to scrub it down. I just had a terrible time with it (and not even get it as clean as I wanted to). Most often, I would get frustrated and just throw it away and buy another one. That is not environmentally or economically smart. So...I was washing the shower curtain today and decided to throw the liner in with it and some other towels. It came out sparkling clean! I am quite overjoyed at the idea of *no more scrubbing*! I still have to scrub our big claw foot tub though....too bad that can't go into the washing machine too! ;)


Just a few last photos of home to share. :)




I hope your week is going well. Tomorrow is my 31st birthday. Goodness, it feels like I just celebrated the big 3-0 not long ago (but here it's been a whole *year* already!). My sister and Eloise are coming to town, so I look forward to spending the day with them and my family. In the evening, we are going to friends' house as they are celebrating their son's birthday tomorrow. Even though it isn't a party for me, it will be fun to spend time with some wonderful Christian friends! :) So, until next time (Lord willing), thanks for visiting!

Sending warm smiles across the miles...

Katy

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Walk softly, speak tenderly...

...and pray fervently.
~Amish Proverb

The days have been mixed with the pleasant, joyful things of life...but also the not-so-joyful things too. The positive thing about the times of discomfort and sadness is that it is through those times we can truly grow the most in our faith. Just another way the Potter, Who holds His children in His hands, molds us and matures us. 

This past Friday, I had mentioned HERE that Polly was acting quite out of sorts. We wormed her, thinking maybe that may be the issue and after a day or two...although not completely back to herself, she *was* eating and walking around more. This encouraged me greatly...I figured within the week she would be back to her old, playful self...off jumping around with her sister, Pearl. 

Unfortunately, she took a turn for the worse. My mama-heart sunk. The children went out Monday morning to feed the goats and came in with terrible news, Polly was standing, staring off into space, almost falling over. I went out to check on her and she was walking around, drunk-like...falling into things and just completely strange. I immediately called my friend (who we bought the goats from and who is very knowledgeable in the goat-department). Luckily, I caught her before she went to work. She tried to help me guess a few different things it could be and what possible remedies there were. 

To make a long story short...nothing I bought and gave to her worked. She couldn't stand any longer, so I laid her down and propped her up on an old, unused helmet (as it isn't good for goats to lay on their sides because fluid can gather in their lungs). We brought her out into the fresh air and sat with her and using a baby animal bottle, squirted water and electrolytes into her which she swallowed. I didn't want her to dehydrate. 


I called the mobile vet but he had emergencies to go on. He mentioned something about brain damage and I am guessing she has this. She cranks her neck back and can't lift her own head. The one eye (that you can see in the photo) seems to have gone blind and all she does is lay. We try to keep her hydrated...hoping she will recover...but I am coming to terms with the fact that she needs to be put to sleep.


I am told by anyone who has goats (and the vet) that goats can get sick all of a sudden and when it happens, it happens *fast*. It could have been from something in the air or something in grass she ate. It's completely unknown. I am so bummed and wish there was more I could do...but as she lays in her pen, propped up on hay, she just seems miserable. Other than giving her water occasionally, there is nothing else I can really do for her. I think she will be grateful to be put to sleep...I just dread it, completely. I am going to call the vet soon and see if he can come by.


Penny and Pearl are still doing well though...which is a blessing. I just feel so bummed about Polly.


The children kept me company while I sat outside with her...






Ruthie and Jack-Jack were there too...



In other news, so as not to dwell on the depressing inevitable, the chickens are laying quite nicely for us, keeping us well supplied with nourishing eggs, daily...



Although blurry, I wanted to show a photo of the skirt we found for Madelyn when we went to Goodwill over the weekend...


The pleasant times that have been had 'round here are numerous as well. Madelyn and Jaxson (Xavier was spending time with his Grammie for the day) had fun painting...


...and playing a game with Daddy...


Xavier and Madelyn loved watching the popcorn come flying out of the air-popper this morning...


In my organizing journey...here is my new mail center I set up (to deal with all those *paper* piles...you can see how I set up my filing system HERE)...


Here is a closer look to see how I have divided up each file...



It is a wonderful blessing, truly. I love everything in it's place and now, important papers have a place to go...in the file cabinet or the mail center!

The best way to escape from a problem is to solve it. 
~Amish Proverb

And before I go...I must share the kindness of a friend of mine. Joann, from way out west, always remembers my family and me. She sends cards often, and thoughtful gifts for birthdays and such. Today, after arriving home from bible study, there was a box on the back steps. Inside, I found yarn (which Madelyn saw and tried to take!), mechanical pencils (my favorite), a journal and other fun goodies! My birthday is in a couple of days and I was so surprised to receive this wonderful package in the mail! Thank you, Joann. Your thoughtful generosity is very much appreciated!

Thank you, to each of you, for stopping by today. I know I shared a bazillion different things all in one post (short and sweet is probably best...but these are memories that I will make into blog books too...so it is what it is. It isn't always convenient for me to make short posts separately!). :o) I hope your week is going well.

Warmly,
Katy