Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

As little children we would dream of Christmas morn
Of all the gifts and toys we knew we’d find
But we never realized a baby born one blessed night
Gave us the greatest gift of our lives

We were the reason that He gave His life
We were the reason that He suffered and died
To a world that was lost He gave all He could give
To show us the reason to live

As the years went by we learned more about gifts
The giving of ourselves and what that means
On a dark and cloudy day a man hung crying in the rain
All because of love
All because of love

We were the reason that He gave His life
We were the reason that He suffered and died
To a world that was lost He gave all He could give
To show us the reason to live

I finally found the reason for living
It’s in giving every part of my heart to Him
And all that I do every word that I say
I’ll be giving my all just for Him, for Him

We are the reason that He gave His life
We are the reason that He suffered and died
To a world that was lost He gave all He could give
To show us the reason to live

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


"Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, 'Who is the Lord?'
Or may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God."
Proverbs 30:8-9

"I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed of hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength."
Philippians 4:11-13

I don't think there are very many people out there right now who aren't tightening their financial belts or cutting back. Washington sure seems to be wringing its collective hands, afraid that Americans will stop spending or (*shudder*) stop charging. Well maybe they should worry because I think we have all woken up from our spending stupor and realized that we're only hurting ourselves with more debt and spending.

This post wasn't meant to be a political statement. I just wanted to share that if you are cutting back, waaaay back, you are not alone. If you have always been frugal and lived on little, now you have a lot more company!!

We pray and we trust God to provide. God DOES provide for His people. Once He does provide, it is important that we live within that provision. This is a lesson that I am still learning!! Too often I have tried to live "over and above" that provision. I might not spend it on myself, but usually on my children. So I have to realize that when I do that I am saying to my children through my actions that what God provides is not enough.

I would love if you all would share things that you might be doing to save money and live within your means! And with your permission, I'll bring them up from the comments to the blog.

Here are just a couple of things I am doing now.

It's too cold for a clothes line so between my drying rack and hangers/curtain rods I can dry one load a day around the house. So, if I keep up with the laundry and don't get behind I can save some money on the electric bill.

Other ways I save electricity are:
~The kids have electric blankets (their rooms have electric heat) so we can keep their heat in their rooms relatively low.
~I am the electric police constantly shutting off things that don't need to be on, unplugging things not in use, and reminding the kids to do the same.
~Trying to group my cooking/baking together so I am not constantly cooling and heating up the oven.
~Using crock pot and microwave whenever possible.

Another way I save is on our grocery bill. After losing lots of money through food spoilage during the recent ice storm I am not stocking up on items that are perishable. Rather, on the days where Robin works in the office, he picks up what we need for a few days at a time at the grocery store on his way home (which he passes to get home). Knowing we can shop every couple of days actually helps me to buy less because I know if it doesn't work out he is going again in a couple of days. I work from menus and plans so that I am not buying stuff no one will eat.

My grocery list starts with: What do I have already? Can I get creative and last a couple more days? Then: What is on sale? The stores in my area have their sale flyers online. Does yours? Do a web search and you might be surprised!!

Oh and speaking of groceries, have you checked to see if there is an "Angel Food Ministries" distribution center in your area? Again do a web search on it. One of my goals is to call the one in my area. Their packages looked good and the prices are great! You do not need to be in a certain financial brackett. It is meant to simply help you save money!

What other ways do you save money on groceries?

This morning we had granola made up and biscuits to have with jelly. This is because when I did my cupboard search I came up with those ingredients. Yesterday I made omelets with whatever I could come up with to put in them. I came up with turkey bacon, salsa and mozarella. They were really quite good!

The Granola above was just:

2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup coconut (we didn't use this because we didn't have any, so we reduced the syrup/honey to 1/6 cup of each)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup cooking oil
Bake at 300* F for 30-35 minutes. The trick to awesome granola is to stir or flip every 10 min. Don't make so much that it is not flat on the pan (if you like it nice and crunchy.
Also you need the oats and the oil. For the honey/syrup you can use all honey or all syrup or even brown sugar. Whatever you have is great! For the nuts you just use what you have or like. Granola is forgiving. Throw in whatever you have!

For the biscuits I use a totally easy drop biscuit recipe. I bet you can find one online. If you want my recipe, feel free to ask.

In what ways are you saving money??

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Tree Fun!

Last week we finally got to put up our Christmas tree! I think this is the latest we have ever put it up. Christian's birthday is Dec. 3rd and we normally put it up right after his party but this year the ice storm got in our way. So, the joy was doubled from the waiting!

When Robin brought home the tree and put it up we all laughed til we cried. Poor Robin! We weren't trying to insult his tree but it looked so round, like a ball and it just cracked us up!! That's the thing with real trees. They are not all uniform and straight. Each year the tree is a new adventure!

The kids take turns putting our "Bear Angel" on the tree. This year it was Christian's turn. This requires getting on daddy's shoulders to reach. That's the fun part!

We make sure to take a picture so that we can remember whose turn it is the next year! It took several tries this year because there was just one weak branch sticking up in the middle of our *tree ball*. Poor Robin, his back was ready to break it took so long to get that angel on right!!

Okay, the rule the ornament...then...


smile for mom's camera...

It came out blurry, but here they are in front of our finished product...

Awww, they DO love each other, what a blessing!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

So Thankful for Electricity!

I am so thankful for electricity and it will be my favorite Christmas present of 2008! Due to an ice storm that coated everything with an inch of ice, we went 5 days without it! Despite the hardship of keeping the house warm, we managed to live life and have some fun along the way. We played games, reconnected with each other, and Rachel learned to play a song on the guitar (thanks to Tyler). We also got to spend some fun time with others who gathered at church for a warm meal.

Here is how we heated water for hot cocoa on day 1!

Nothing stops the hardcore homeschoolers from doing their schoolwork. I kept hearing, "Mom didn't we read about a guy who went blind from reading by candlelight?" LOL!

You see the dog was the smart one and knew to reserve the spot in front of the space heater!

The kids had a campout in the livingroom. It was way too cold upstairs for sleeping!

Finally, the dog lost his beloved spot to the kids. :)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I've been kinda quiet...

I have been kind of quiet here on my blog. Sometimes I just feel that way. Lately I have been reading "Lies Women Believe" by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. God has used this book to bring out many areas in my life that need to change. There are habits that need to stop, other habits that need to start. I need to live more contentedly, more leaning minute by minute on the Savior.

All this makes me a bit pensive and not so "wordy." :)

On the *everyday side* of life I am looking so forward to our Christmas break. Robin has next week off and we will do lots of school work and I will love having two teachers! He'll teach High School with Tyler. I'll teach 5th and 6th grade only. YAY!

Then over Christmas break I'll spend some time planning out January, grading what we have done and tucking subject samples into portfolio notebooks. We'll be start some new things. Tyler will be doing a new curriculum by IEW on Literary Analysis. Christian and Rachel we do some IEW for writing skills. We'll also move from our study of the Middle Ages and move into the Renaissance. I plan to get Tyler two other new books: "Do Hard Things" and "Created for Work".

Somewhere in there we will have great fun celebrating Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Happy 12th Birthday, Christian!!

Happy Birthday to you!

Happy Birthday to you!

Happy Birthday...

dear Christian!

Happy Birthday...

to you!