Finding Joy in Him

Through Every Season

Month: September 2010 (page 1 of 2)

Calendars and Refrigerators

I think I finally made a Birthday/Anniversary calendar that will work for me.
The calendars in the computer and drawer just weren’t.
Out of sight; out of mind.
I made this one with photo shop to make it easy to go in and add a birthday when I need to.
I put “Lindsey Girl” on May 10.  😀  I am so excited about sending Judi to help.
I’ll be just as happy to have a nephew.. but I am praying for a niece.
See it on my fridge?
I printed them on card stock hoping they will last a long time.
I included family birthdays, anniversaries and a few of some close friends.
Now I can see their names and remember to pray for them all month..
and maybe even remember to send them a card.  🙂
Leslie gave me this magnetic, dry-erase calendar.
I started using it, so the kids can see what’s coming up.
They keep asking me how long it is until the family reunion.
I posted our “Departure Times” on the top portion.  It’s a life saver.
I was having the hardest time remembering when what was.
Not a problem when you live in one place forever, but when you move it can be confusing.
At first, just knowing how long it took us to get places was confusing.
Now it’s all figured in and I don’t have to remember… just look up.
I wrote Josh’s school hours in purple, so I can know from semester 
to semester when I can cook for him.
I especially like that with this calendar each week is separate.
When one week is over, I erase it and move it to the bottom.. 
It’s nicer than erasing and starting over with a whole month.  
The front of my fridge is mostly for my shopping list.  
I taped magnets around my pen, so it’s always handy.
I put this “left over” chart on the left side of the fridge.  
Inside is a table that tells you how long you can keep each kind of food in a fridge. 
I put the general rule of thumb in large print on the outside to help the kids
remember that they need to eat up stuff fast.
Below it is a magnetic 4×6 picture holder.  
I started going though all my recipes and re-writing them 
so they were easier to read, and print on to a 4×6 card.
The bulk of my recipes are now in a zip lock bag in my drawer.
I threw out tons of them.. and only kept the ones I make on a regular basis.
On shopping day I flip through them, and put aside the ones I am interested in making.
Then I make my grocery list from the recipes, 
and put the recipes for that week in the sleeve on the fridge.
Each kid gets a star for each recipe.  
If the recipe makes less than 3 stars 
(meaning more than one kid didn’t like it), I am throwing it out.
One great thing is that I can easily make notes on the recipe for future reference. 
Once I get them tweaked, I hope to pretty them up a bit and 
print them for future daughter-in-loves. 
When I am actually cooking, I stick the recipes on the microwave above my stove.  
It’s next to the sink, frying pan, measuring cups etc.  
I love that it’s at eye level, yet not in the way and not getting dirty.
I organized the INSIDE of my fridge last week and LABLED every shelf.
It made me so HAPPY.  I used a plastic container to hold all our shredded cheese.
I have one shelf for left overs now.. instead of left overs hiding on every shelf.
I made a shelf for ketchup and BBQ sauce and a different one for salad dressing and mayo.
The kids are doing a pretty good job of putting things back and 
I think more left overs are getting eaten.  YAY! 
J

Broken Bed Becomes..

Last move, I built beds for Joel and Josh that quickly broke 
when they and a friend decided to wrestle on them.  
Not intended for over 500 lbs.  
I rebuilt their beds with thicker, more boy resistant boards.
I used the broken boards to make these extra large scrabble letters this summer.  
Our family motto is “Blessed to Be a Blessing” from Genesis chapter 12.
I also made this un-paper towel holder from their broken bed.
I moved the roll of paper towels to the cabinet below for really yucky messes.  
I had the cotton, towel fabric in my closet from Mamalene.  
I used her surger to make napkin sized towels and stuffed them in the top.  
No folding necessary.  I like them better than paper towels.
They are softer and stronger and I like thinking that I am saving trees and money.
I used mod podge and scrap scrapbooking paper to make it look a little cuter. 
J

Judi’s Room Make Over

When we moved to Montgomery, we bought Judi a bed in a bag set of the internet. 
Had I seen it in person, we would have never gotten it.  It started falling a part almost immediately.
This time we tried something different.  
I didn’t want to re-paint her brand new room and I didn’t want to spend a bunch of money so..
We were inspired by my sister, Wendy, to shop the clearance isles for a black and white bedroom set.
It’s much easier to mix and match when everything is black and white.
Much easier than matching shades of red for example.
We were able to find everything we needed in 3 different stores for about $40 total on clearance.
The demask “curtains” pulled everything together and made it work with the paint color.
We used some black fabric from my closet to make accent pillows and a valance.
 The ribbon cost more than anything else, but we put it to good use.
We “made” the curtains out of a duvet cover; we just hung it up with ring clips.
Judi and I are both happy with how it turned out.. a feat in itself.
🙂

Organizing School and Chores

After 18 years of homeschooling, and 22 years of parenting, 
you would think that I would have the chores and school thing down.
Parts of it I do.. but each house has different needs
and allows you to work in only certain ways,
and as the kids are nearing graduation from homeschooling
and starting college and work outside the home
I have to keep re-organizing schedules so they will work well.
When my kids were really young, before most people had
computers and internet, before Fly Lady existed,
I borrowed a book they wrote called 
“Sidetracked Home Executives: From Pigpen to Paradise” from the library.
  
They suggested that you put together recipe box full of 3×5 cards
with a chore on each card.  Each time you finished a chore
you went back to your box and moved to the next card.  
It worked great.. for 3 months.  I guess life happened after that.
I tried variations of the box idea several times; gave each of the  kids a box 
with chores and school work for them to do.  I saw this one idea where you 
have your kids wear their chore cards so they can’t loose them.
I think Fly Lady did something similar called “Hipster.” (fanny pack?)
That might have worked better for me than a box. 
I hated having to go back to the box in the kitchen before doing my next chore.
Later we chose to use binders over boxes.  None of it ever worked very well.  
I think partly because the binders and/or boxes were not accessible enough for me 
and I am sure I am lacking in skills in motivating, enforcing and policing 
especially when moving and life keep happening.
A few years back I found this subject chart based on Charlotte Mason’s 
program of study.  Hanging it up on the kitchen wall worked well for us.
It was all I needed to keep us focused.
I always had all the kids up by 6:45-7 AM for family devotions, 
then shortly after we started a list of subjects in a certain order 
with chores in between and a lunch break in the middle.
All the books we needed for each subject were kept on a shelf
and/or a tote near where we did school and we just got the 
next book down when we put away the one we’d finished.
We did/do as many subjects together as a family as we can; 
such as art, science, history, Spanish, and music appreciation.
Then we do the rest individually.
If one of the kids needed help with a subject and
I was busy helping someone else, they were to work on their chore list.
I called chores breaks from school work.  They resented it,
but physical work is a nice break from mental work.
That list evolved into this one.. It’s a little more detailed and gave us a little more structure.  
Some subjects worked better in the morning and others after lunch.  
We’ve always thrived on a routine vs. a strict do math from 8 AM – 8:30 AM 
schedule, so having a “Flow List” was great.
The subjects in bold were the most important ones to get done,
so if we had a field trip that day or some other interruption we focused on those.
Everything always worked out by the end of the year.
This poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins on giving glory to God
 inspired me to use a Kingfisher to adorn our list.
As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies dráw fláme; 
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells 
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell’s 
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name; 
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same: 
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells; 
Selves–goes itself; myself it speaks and spells, 
Crying Whát I do is me: for that I came. 
Í say móre: the just man justices; 
Kéeps gráce: thát keeps all his goings graces; 
Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is–
Chríst–for Christ plays in ten thousand places, 
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his 
To the Father through the features of men’s faces. 
Since moving to our new house I’ve been having the hardest time keeping 
up with who’s supposed to be doing what chore.. and keep finding jobs undone.
Some of them traded chores and I think living in the apartment spoiled them.
I don’t have as much wall space in this kitchen as I have before, 
so I decided to try an idea I saw of using a picture frame as a chore/dry-erase
 board and put all our chores and school work in one frame.  
It’s centrally located and there will be no more arguments on who
was supposed to do what and I can highlight things that are needing special attention.

I hung up this plate to use as place to write inspirational quotes.
It works like a dry-erase board, too.
Love,
Jenny

Humming Bird Visit

Joel came in from walking Sally the other day and said that 
our neighbors had 5 humming birds at their feeder. 

I had been meaning to put our feeder out for months, but I couldn’t
find the directions for how much of the powdered food to put in the feeder.
Within 5 min. of being jellous of our neighbors I had some mixed up,
and it was hanging on the window.  Hope I am not giving them a sugar rush or anything.
I walked over to take a picture for you a couple of minutes ago.. 
and a humming bird met me there so I could take his picture.
Wasn’t that nice? 
And here he is hanging out in our tree.. 
just a little to the left of the suction cup holding up the feeder.
You can find one there often.
BTW I don’t think our tree is dead.
There are several trees in the neighborhood turning.
I think it really is fall.
I am not used to it coming so early.. or for that matter at all (FL, SA).

Finding the Moving Puzzle Pieces

I love the feeling of being organized.  
When house is cluttered, 
my head.. and even my heart feels cluttered.
A couple of months ago I started getting frustrated, 
because although I am completely unpacked,
 I keep needing things I don’t know where to find in my new house.
Mike was really sweet and said, “Don’t feel bad we’ve only lived here 9 months.”
I know where they were in my house in Montgomery.  
I know where they would be in our house in Florida.
But you wouldn’t believe how much time I’ve spent searching for things here.
My puzzle pieces are still a mess.
During the move to Montgomery, I got rid of a ton of stuff.
10 van loads to Good Will, and 10 to the dump, then boxes and boxes of books.
Our house in Montgomery was smaller than our houses in Florida and San Antonio.
Stuff had to go, and the kids were getting older and have out grown a lot of stuff.
So when we were in Montgomery, I’d have to try to remember if or not the thing 
I wanted was something I had given away or kept, but the stuff I had kept was pretty easy to find.
I still have a little trouble with remembering if or not kept the thing, 
but most of the time I know it’s here somewhere.
I am thinking if I had less stuff that it wouldn’t take so long to find the one thing.
I am planing to go through my book collection again at the end of this year.
By then, I should have only one left in homeschool.  🙂
One of my most cluttered spots is in my computer files.  
Years and years of homeschooling on a budget.. lots of free stuff on the internet.
I’ve been working for a couple of weeks now on cleaning them up.
Hitting that trash button is painful, 
but I know my cluttered brain will be grateful one day.
It’s not quite as satisfying as decluttering the house,
because there’s no one to admire all my work.

Labor Day Weekend

My poor sad tree thinks it’s fall.  What should I do?
Saturday evening we got to go visit our missionary friends from Spain.

They recently bought a house here so they’d have one when they’re old.
Hal and their friend Jesso fly back to Spain today.  
So they had a going away party for them.

Judi just loves Cloe.
Jesso doesn’t speak very much English.. He spent a couple of days with Joel and Josh to see how Americans live.  They took him bowling and hiking and played video games with him.

Here are the guys hanging out.

The girls had their own table.
Jane made us this wonderful Spanish dish in a paella.. witch is a super large pan.
In Spain the usually include squid in their paella.. but Jane was nice and just used
chicken and bacon.  She even went to the store for some sea salt .. 
so it’d be corn free and I could eat it, too.

On to the Choo Choo

From the Aquarium we caught the free, electric, city bus to the Chattanooga Choo Choo.
Waiting for the bus.

The actual Chattanooga Choo Choo.

They’ve turned the train station into a hotel with a restaurant and gift shops.

It’s very beautiful.
It was built in 1909.
Look at the chandler.

Judi and I decided to check out the bathroom.  Wow!

When you stay the night, you actually stay in a train car that looks like this:

Judi’s still not feeling photogenic.

I always think her hair looks nice.

Doesn’t Mike look comfortable.

They have a couple different restaurants.

This one looked especially expensive.

Don’t you want to visit Chattanooga now?  I hear they have a zoo, too.

Traveling through Chattanooga Part 1: The Aquarium

We went home through Chattanooga so that we could 
eat at Smokey Bones and see the TN Aquarium again.  
We have season passes and wanted to see it again while we could.
Down stairs is my favorite part.. the sea horses.
I took that picture.. can you believe it??

After going down to see the sea horses you ride 4 flights up an escalator and work your way back down.
Good think my mom never dropped me down an escalator and I am not afraid of them.
I used the sports feature on my camera and actually got a photo of this little guy.
He was fast.  I got lots of pictures of the water before I actually caught him.

The divers were in the tanks feeding the sting rays.
Loved the jealous, giant sea turtle.

Doesn’t James look like he’s having a nice time?

Joel, too.  Right?

Judi’s wearing my hoodie.
Not because it’s cold.

Or so cute.

but.. 

I am guessing because.. 

She’s having a bad hair day?? 
I tried to sneak a picture.. but my camera has this auto focus that
shines a red light on you.. and she saw it EVERY time.

If only she could be as fast as these butterflies.. then they’d be blurry, too.

On the last floor of the second aquarium building are several kinds of jelly fish.
These are upside down jelly fish.  They stand on their heads at the bottom of the ocean.
They also have a whole section of jelly fish art.  You can actually buy one similar to these.
I loved them but couldn’t think where to put one in my house.
James took this picture for us.

Got a picture of a river boat from the top floor.

Outside the aquarium a country band played under the bridge.

I couldn’t pass up getting a picture of the dalmatian that rides the carriage.  
Most of the carriage drivers that we saw that day were women.

Chattanooga is really a pretty town.
More to come.. 

Helen, Georgia

I wanted to go to Helen was because I heard that it was a really
 cute “Alpine” town, and I especially like tubing.
It lived up to it’s reputation.. flowers.. ton’s of shops.. and great tubing.
The Chattahoochee River runs right though the town.

Guess I should be glad they stood still for the photo below. 

Smiling is just too much to ask.
I got half a smile.
Exploring the shops was fun.

See the mural painted on the wall?

Great flowers.

Some people tubing and playing in the river.

Lots of German wares.
I hear that it looks it’s best at Christmas.
I wasn’t brave enough to take my camera tubing.
We all had a good time.  The river and the weather was perfect.  
There were plenty of boulders to keep us busy navigating the river.
Joel had to pick up his tube and walk over to the wider part of the river once.
He used his flip flops to paddle.  Judi successfully dumped James out of his tube once.
I tethered my tube to Mike’s and we kept getting hung up on opposite sides of the boulders..
Great fun.  Can’t wait till we can do it again.
Afterwards we decided to drive across the mountains to Hiawassee, GA.

Driving over the mountains was pretty scary, but we were glad we did.  
The town was beautiful.  Lake Chatuge sat in the middle of it.  
It was so beautiful.  We were only a few miles from North Carolina but didn’t realize it at the time.
Judi is collecting states that she’s driven in.  7 so far.
They had a really nice family fun center there.
It had putt putt, laser tag, batting cages, go carts and all kinds of video games.  
You paid by the hour.  We had a great time.
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