Hi dear ladies, congrats on making it to January. We can all take a deep breath and also take a minute to realize what we’ve accomplished. We’ve navigated another holiday season. Although it was done imperfectly, the fact remains that we served our families to the best of our abilities, did all the shopping, choosing, planning, decorating, cooking, wrapping, sizing, baking… and all the other things. God is gracious to give us such a reason to celebrate and the strength to make it special for our dear ones.
You can read our family Christmas Update 2021, here.
Just two things have been on my heart for the year ahead.
So much to share! I’m popping in with some various links, ideas, and news!
Rise and Worship Album
We’ve listened to this album countless times since Joshua brought it to our attention early this year. Refreshing, convicting, artfully done, worshipful, Christ-honoring. I want to fill our home with this kind of soul food.
An idea for children’s artwork
Children go through (sometimes lengthy) stages of wanting to create various types of art. What to do with all the masterpieces? You hate to throw them away, but can’t line all your walls with coloring pages held up by painter’s tape, either. (Side note: Painter’s tape does work well for temporarily hanging art work.)
I have ended up stashing the artwork papers in a “file” (using that term very loosely) and then going back to the collection on various occasions. Does someone need a letter sent to them in the mail? Or a birthday card? Do big brothers need a care package? We pull out the stash and look through. Such cries of delight as my young ones find treasures they had forgotten about. They select the perfect one, we write some words on it, and voila! Ready to go! Now to gather up the artwork spread out all over the floor…
History Recommendation In my February Patchwork Post, I recommended a history book. Unfortunately, I will have to retract that recommendation, since the denominational and doctrinal ideas ended up being just too distracting from the history we were setting out to learn.
Now THAT’S a fish! Sammy has been fishing as much as he possibly can, lately. Here’s a 4 pound bass he caught while out with his Uncle Tim. (Uncle Tims are just the best. Everybody needs one– and we are blessed with one on each side of the family!)
Q: I am taking a look and considering our schedules at home in light of promoting the gospel to our children. I was wondering what a typical day/schedule/routine looks like for you in summer and school year. 🙂 I know it sounds like a strange request, but I was curious seeing what you do…also especially curious on how you approach devotions with the kids.
A: Promoting the gospel to our children takes so many forms as it interweaves itself into our family life. All of Christ for all of life… a phrase that says so much (not original with me). But specifically for this post– family devotions! (I will try to answer the daily schedule question in another post… my answer to the devotions part is long enough for one post!)
Not just four products to share this time, but six!
From Jennifer: I love these microfiber cleaning cloths from Walmart. They are only 98 cents for two. These microfiber cloths are great for cleaning pretty much anything. The BEST thing about them is they can be used to clean windows. This was a revelation to me recently. No more wasting paper towels on windows. Window cleaner is also optional. A damp/wet microfiber cloth followed by a dry microfiber will clean the glass just fine! 😱 How did I not know this sooner?
I recently discovered these bags. They are perfect for storing a loaf of homemade bread (which don’t really fit well in a ziplock bag). Also much cheaper than ziplocks. I got them to make up some goodie bags for an event and they worked well for that too. I always feel bad about throwing away ziplocks and so I try to wash them and keep them. These are more of a use and throw away type of item. Also good for keeping leftovers, etc.
Before this month completely gets away from us, here we are with the second edition of our product share feature!
We use this rice cooker all the time. We eat quite a bit of rice and it used to be that the rice would so easily burn when being cooked on the stove. Now it never burns, which is the best part of using a rice cooker. It also has some convenient settings such as a delay start option. I have made different types of rice in it, and all has turned out well. Read the instructions carefully, because the measurement for the rice is a little different than you might expect. The only thing I don’t like is that, when cooking the rice, it doesn’t tell you how much time is left until it gets down to 10 minutes, and then it gives you a countdown. It usually takes about 40 minutes to make a batch. It will keep the rice warm and ready to eat for hours, if you need to cook the rice ahead of time.
I absolutely love the milk frother whisk I got recently. I use it to blend anything in a cup, like hot chocolate or my daily greens powder. What’s amazing about this little tool is that it works wonders for mixing things that tend to be lumpy. I made homemade hot chocolate earlier, and getting the cocoa to incorporate is usually quite a challenge. I took this quick video to show you.
Once a month on our chat group, these ladies and I (see picture below) share a product with each other— we each choose something we enjoy using and can recommend. These sweet girls have graciously agreed to allow me to share these products with you here. Each of us will share one item each month, highlighting four products for you, from our various ages and stages of life. From apps to appliances and everything in between!
But first… introductions! Left to right, below: me, my daughter Katie (17), my sister Beka (just had her first baby, an adorable boy, in November), and my sister Rachel (mother of three lovely girls ages 7 and down).
Here we are in that odd week between Christmas and New Year’s, when we find ourselves tired/happy/reflective, out of our normal routine, but also trying to do something useful if at all possible. Here are two useful things that I’ve learned to do in the week after Christmas. They don’t take much effort, but as the years go by I am more and more thankful that I’ve gotten into the habit of doing these simple things. So, I thought I’d share!
1.) File away the family Christmas card or letter into an album. Mine is a simple binder that now contains our Christmas letters and/or cards, going back every year, all the way to 2006. I use plastic page protectors in the binder to hold the extra cards and letters, labeled for each year. It’s an easy way to gradually collect memories and thereby create a treasured family heirloom.
We’ve probably all been there. Excited kids on every hand, freshly fallen snow outside, and suddenly you find yourself lost in a bin full of mittens, gloves, scarves, hats– all sizes, shapes and colors, and no matches in sight. Arghh! Just get these kids outside to play already!
I decided this would finally be the winter to conquer the winter gear problem, once and for all (if such a thing were possible). (Spoiler– looks like it might be possible!)
I wanted to create a “collage” post of ideas and thoughts about this quarantine period. So, a few weeks ago I asked– What has God been teaching you? What activities have you been doing with your family that are a little bit different from your normal routine? What recipes have you tried? Has something funny happened that you’d like to share? Has your family found a unique way to encourage others? Please send me anything you’d like to share, and I will put it all together into one post.
I have been so blessed and encouraged by the various contributions that were sent in. Keep it up ladies, building your homes during this time! It’s what we do best! God has uniquely gifted you to provide a haven and a place of comfort for your dear ones.
Thanks to everyone who took time to contribute to this post.
♥From Connie (my sister in law, mother of four boys, ages 11 and under):
The number one sanity saver I have discovered, over my years of trial and error in attempting to raise my crew, is 15 Minutes in the Kitchen.
Raising lots of hungry kids and feeding them three meals a day (and snacks in between), along with all the necessary meal preparations, adds up to one incessantly dirty kitchen. Well, maybe not incessantly dirty, because there are those brief interludes in between the kitchen being cleaned up and somebody being in need of more food. Mama’s kitchen isn’t supposed to be a full-time restaurant, but it does feel that way at times. I’ve tried various tactics over the years in trying to keep up with the endless kitchen duties. Continue reading “Sanity Saver: 15 Minutes in the Kitchen”→