Friday, September 16, 2011

The Power of Free

We have been packing like crazy this week in preparation of our move on the 19th.  I have gotten to the point that I am tired of all this stuff and I have started setting it out on the side of our yard with a sign that says "FREE".  You would be surprised at what people need or will just take for free.

For instance, in the last 24 hours this is what has been set out and TAKEN from our yard:

metal cabinet
TV cart
wooden chair
wire shelf
2 floor pillows
play dump truck
play earth mover
play guitar
3 bags clothes
1 box clothes
1 girls winter coat
A/C pad
play gas pump
memo board
picture frame
decorative shelf
old radio
old computer monitor
old printer

I am glad that these items are not going in the landfill.
I am glad I do not have to move these items.
I am glad that someone else can use them.

And who knows - there might be more - we do not pack the truck until Sunday!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Today I am *barely* embracing the chaos!

I seriously thought I would have a better handle on moving/packing/ etc.  But honestly, I am going crazy today!  I have one huge to do list and haven't gotten too far!

There are:
  • phone calls to make
  • emails to send
  • laundry to do
  • boxes to pack
  • rooms to clean
  • curtains to take down
  • papers to go through

On a good note, some of the items we have listed on Craigslist have sold, so there will be fewer things to move!

More regular posts to come after we move next week!  Promise!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Finally - The Perfect House!

We recieved good news today...our contract was accepted on the house we saw Sunday!  I think that we have driven by a hundred houses since we started looking.  I am so happy to be done with the looking and happy to think about making this house our home for a long time!

So here are the details:

  • the house is over 1800 square feet
  • the lot is almost an acre
  • we already know one of the next door neighbors
  • our kids will stay at the same schools they have been in
  • the house has huge rooms including a charming retro kitchen (metal cabinets)
So, we are excited beyond belief!  There will be lots of diy projects at this house and I look forward to sharing them here with you!

Monday, August 1, 2011


Well, the dream house is no longer.  Too many things that need to be done before the house could be insured or even pass an inspection + a seller not willing to do anything = a voided contract.

But the excitement is building - we put a contract on a home yesterday that would keep us in all the same schools, close to all the places we already go and accommodate our big family!

I will keep you updated!

Monday, July 25, 2011


I have decided that we will never sell/move/buy a house again!  This whole process is extremely frustrating to me.  Don't get me wrong, it has its great points - less clutter, a constantly clean, straight house, etc.  But it also has its less than great points - hoping for a buyer, looking for the perfect house, etc.

The funny thing is - we weren't *really* looking when we found the *perfect* house.  I have this habit of searching online with a real estate company - even if we aren't looking to move.  Well, way back in December I was searching and found this awesome house for sale, in our price range and in one of the areas we always talked about moving to.  The dear hubby drove by and was as smitten as I was.  We made an appointment to see the inside and we were hooked (even with the dirty carpets, windows and outdated EVERYTHING).  The only big issue - it was a foreclosure and we would have to sell our house first since really we don't have THAT much extra money sitting around. 

Fast forward to February and we are ready to list our house.  We find out that an investor actually bought the house and it was not in foreclosure as originally thought.  We list our house and write a contingent contract on the dream house, sure that our house would sell instantly!  (Have I ever mentioned that I am an extreme optimist?)  May 28th came with no buyer for our house and the end of the contingent contract on our dream.  The seller was no longer interested in a contingent contract and decided to take the house off the market and do some work on the house.  Fine - be that way - we decided.  And we began to look for dream house #2.

No such luck.  Everything was either too small for our family of seven or out of our budget.  But really, that was okay - no one had made us an offer on our house.  Then out of the blue, we have showings left and right and boom an offer for our house, which we accepted after a little back and forth.  Hmm - now we have a contract on our home, but NO house to move to.  Unless...dream house was still available for purchase. 

After a hunt down by our agent, dream house could be available, but only at the price we previously offered.  Well of course we did it - this is dream house!  Or is it?

This house has been vacant/on the market for an entire year or more (depending on which neighbor you ask).  We had an inspection this past weekend and now I am not so sure it is a dream - maybe more like a nightmare.  We knew that the house is pretty original to its 25 year life (roof, windows, kitchen, fixtures, tile), what we did not know is that there seems to be a pretty major water issue in the basement, and the roof leaks and there are some stupid electrical and plumbing issues.  Oh did I mention that the house was sold as is?

So now that we have had an inspection, we are getting a bid on the repair of the water problem, etc.  We have less than 10 days now to decide if we are going to walk out on this house or stick with it and see what the seller will do about the price.

The most frustrating thing right now is this - school starts in less than 4 weeks.  Where will my kids be going to school?  I need to have physicals, buy school supplies, etc. 

I have to keep reminding myself that God knows what is best for our family.  I keep turning back to Proverbs 3:5-6  "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding:  in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight". 

I will keep you posted on our journey - and if you wouldn't mind, say a little prayer for us!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Happy Day

Happy Anniversary to my beloved hubby, Rick. We have been married 14 years and what an adventure it has been:  5 kids, 7 jobs, some tears, many hugs, much laughter and tons of love.

So in honor of this Happy Day, here is a Puritan marriage prayer that I came across and have been "praying" for our marriage.

“Oh, God of love, you have established marriage for the welfare and happiness of mankind. Yours was the plan and only with You can we work it out with joy. You have said that “It is not good for man to be alone, I will make a helpmate for him.” Now our joys are doubled since the happiness of one is the happiness of the other. Our burdens are now halved, when we share them, we divide the load.

Dear Father, we would ask that you would bless Rick. Bless him as a provider of nourishment and raiment and sustain him in all the expectations and pressures of his daily battles. May Rick’s strength be Stephanie’s protection, his character her boast and her pride, and may Rick so live that Stephanie will find in him the haven for which the heart of a woman truly longs.

And dear heavenly Father, we would ask you to bless Stephanie. Give her tenderness that will make her great, a deep sense of understanding and great faith in You. Give her inner beauty of soul that never fades, that eternal youth that is found in holding fast the things that never age.

Teach Rick and Stephanie that marriage is not living merely for each other, it is two uniting and joining hands to serve You. Give them a great spiritual purpose in life. May they seek the kingdom of God and Your righteousness and the other things shall certainly be added unto them. Loving You best, they shall love each other the more, and faithful unto You, faithful unto each other they will be. May they not expect that perfection of each other that belongs alone to You. May they minimize each other’s weaknesses, be swift to praise and magnify each other’s points of comeliness and strength and see each other through a lover’s kind and patient eyes. Now make such assignments to Rick and Stephanie on the scroll of Your will as will bless them and develop their characters as they walk together.

Give them a little something to forgive every day that they may grow in the grace of longsuffering. Give them enough tears to keep them tender, enough hurts to keep them human, enough failures to keep their hands clenched tightly in Yours and enough success to make them sure they walk with You. May they never take each other’s love for granted but always experience that breathless wonder that exclaims, “out of all this world, you have chosen me.”

When life is done and the sun is setting, may they be found then as now, hand in hand still thanking God for each other. May they serve You happily, faithfully together until at last one shall lay the other into the arms of Jesus. This we ask through Jesus Christ, the great Lover of our souls.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Summer Plans

The big question around our house this week is "What are we going to DO this summer?"  Hmm...good question.  I have been meaning to sit down and really plan some fun this year.  Fun that doesn't necessarily involve lots of money or 2 parents to wrangle kids (summer is Ricks extremely busy time at work).  My ideas seem a little self centered to me (read, sew more, exercise every day), so I gave everyone a sheet of paper and asked them to write down anything and EVERYTHING they want to do this summer, no matter how big or small.

Here is what I found out: 
  1. They would really like to travel.  Florida, Tennessee and Branson, MO all made the lists.
  2. They are okay with free or cheap things too.  Picnics, parks and hikes all were listed. And
  3. They really had fun being in on our summer plans.
So this week we will sort through all the ideas and come up with a plan.  Although I don't see travel within the next 2 months, I see alot of other things getting checked off the lists!

What are your plans for the summer?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

In the Process...

It seems like lately that I am "in the process of (fill in the blank)".  I am in the process of losing weight, making a summer fun schedule, looking for a new house, making a quilt for my son's bed, teaching my daughter how to sew and most of all, writing regularly on this blog.

Somedays I seem to have it all together and accomplish much.  Then there are those more common days of floating around "wishing" I would have done more.

Maybe it is the heat.  For the last week and a half the temps have been in the 90's.  Ugh.  That kind of heat makes me want to stay in the house and read or play a game with the kids. Maybe it is just a case of "beginning of summer vacation blues"- the constant barrage of "I'm bored" or "Can I have a snack?" or "He's touching me!" 

Whatever it is, it is here.

Then I remember what Psalm 46:10a says "Be still, and know that I am God." He knows that I am "in the process" and He is here - with me - waiting for me - to be still.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Teacher Appreciation Ideas

This is one of my favorite weeks of the school year!  We have been blessed with so many wonderful teachers since Ross started preschool and I love letting them know how special they are.  Here are a few quick, easy and inexpensive ideas to try.

Poems or notes that let the teacher know how much you appreciate them.

Flowers from your garden.

Funny notes/gifts - for example we have done Extra gum, dum dum suckers, mints, packets of seeds, bottle of tea, lifesavers, votive candles, etc.  Here is what we have written to go with them:
  • Thanks for being an EXTRA cool (great) teacher!
  • Thanks for keeping me from being a DUM DUM - you're a great teacher!
  • Your dedication MINT a lot to me this year.
  • You plant the SEEDS of learning in all you teach (have also done this with a pot, a ziploc of potting soil, gloves and seeds.
  • You put the TEA in teacher!
  • You have been a LIFESAVER for me this year!  Thanks for the extra help in math, etc.
  • You light the FLAME of learning for me.
You can see the opportunity for this one is great.  We usually do one thing a day for the entire week of Teacher Appreciation.  My kids love trying to come up with new things each year!

S'more bags - box of graham crackers, package of marshmallows and a few milk chocolate bars.

Potted plant - cheaper to DIY if you have a lot to do:  buy clay pots, potting soil for containers, bedding plants.  To dress up the clay pots you can simply tie colorful wire edge ribbon around them.

Home baked cookies, cakes, brownies, etc.

As a classroom we have put together a scrapbook, bought a gift card to the teachers favorite restaurant and even had an after school get together at a park.

The main thing - let your children's teachers know you appreciate all they do.  Most of them spend a lot of extra time outside of the classroom preparing for our children.  Most of them also spend a lot of their own money on the classroom.  Writing a note or sending an email is the least we can do!

What are some of the ways you show your appreciation?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Cool As A Cuke Lemonade

This is a recipe from the June 2009 issue of Better Homes and Gardens.  I made it a couple of times and had forgotten about the recipe until my sister in law Kate decided to serve it at Easter lunch.  It is sooooo good!  Even my picky 12 year old likes it!

Cool As A Cuke Lemonade

1 English Cucumber, coarsely chopped
2 12 oz cans frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
10 cups water

In blender, combine cucumber and 1 can lemonade concentrate;  blend until almost smooth.  Transfer to serving container.  Stir in remaining lemonade concentrate and water.  Cover; chill up to 24 hours.

Stir before serving.  Serve over ice.  Makes 12 servings.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Sweetest Thing

Lily said the sweetest thing to her Daddy and I the other day.  Rick and I were sharing an embrace in the kitchen when Lily pushes between us and says "I wanna be loved too!"  I love that kid!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Where Have I Been?

Sorry I haven't posted in so long.  I have been feeling overwhelmed and the blog has suffered.

We have had sickness - strep, ear infections, fevers, coughs, etc.  Everything but vomit (!) and everyone was affected.

My dad had an accident at work and spent over a week in the hospital.

We put our house on the market and put a contract on one we saw back in December. I have spent more time decluttering, clearing out, throwing away, straightening and cleaning than ever before.  Funny thing is that I am LOVING it.  I have never been a "good" housekeeper, but this has forced me to change.  I have found that without all the unnecessary stuff hanging around, it frees me up to enjoy more things.  Like reading, taking walks, cooking, playing with the kids and crafting - all things that I would put off until I had more time.

I will try to post a little more often.  Thanks for hanging in there!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Happy Dance and a Happy Birthday

Today the kids are back in school!!!  Do you know how impossible it is to get anything done when there are kids everywhere?  This week has been amazingly crazy - the kids were out of school 1/2 a day Monday and then all day Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday - all due to snow and ice. Thank you Lord - I have had enough - can we please get Spring going?

Seven years ago today, our Lily was born.  What a treasure she is!  If you know her, you know that love and joy bubble up out of her.  She loves God, she loves to sing and she loves to hug.  Happy birthday sweetie!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Yet ANOTHER Snow Day...

Here we are - the first day of February and we have almost used all of our snow days!  We are under a "Blizzard Warning" with a forecast of 12+ inches.  So, what's a mom to do today (and probably tomorrow) with a house full of kids?

  • Make Banana Bread
  • Do laundry
  • Pray the kids sleep late :-)
  • Force the kids to do the homework they brought home
  • Get crafty and work on these homemade Valentines from Family Fun and maybe lots of these for me and the girls to wear
What do you love to do on Snow Days?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Beer Bread

In my attempt to ignore the pile of laundry and the gifts that needed to be wrapped the week before Christmas, I came across a great recipe for Beer Bread while searching the web.  I love that you can take one simple recipe and add different herbs, cheeses and liquid for a unique taste each time.  I have made this three times in the last three weeks.  It stirs up quick and the leftovers are super warmed and slathered with butter!  (Not that I would know that from experience!)

The first time I made it was with dill and cheddar as suggested with a good 'ole Bud Light.  The second time I made it with garlic powder, shredded taco cheese and a lime beer (can't remember the brand).  Last night I left out the cheese and added dried onion and parsley with a Bud Light.  My favorite was the garlic powder/taco cheese/lime beer combo.  I would really like to try it with a can of ginger ale or cream soda for a sweet twist.

My hubby loves it, my kids "kinda" like it.  (My 10 year old freaked out when she found out it had beer in it.  It appears that she really listened to her D.A.R.E. officer at school about the dangers of alcohol, although I doubt they talked about any dangers of cooking with it!)

I love the idea of packaging it up for a gift.  I will have to remember it the next time I need something quick to give!  If you try it, let me know how you liked it and what herb/cheese/beer combo you used!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Fresh Start

Happy 2011!

I hope the new year is off to a wonderful start for you.  Our family is recovering from a stomach bug that hit on Thursday.  Ugh!  Thankfully everyone is feeling better today, but we plan on hanging around the house - just in case!

Do you make New Year Resolution's?  I almost always make the same ones:  Read the bible more, lose weight, be a better wife and mother.  This year I decided to expand on those.  Here is my list:

  • Delve more deeply into God's word.  I don't know if that means reading through the Bible this year or an in depth study of a few books of the Bible. 
  • Lose some of this baby weight by eating more real foods and not a lot of processed foods.  This should affect the whole family (shh - don't let the kids know!)
  • Live with less.  I am so tired of the stuff around here!  Less stuff = less picking up!
  • Give more generously to those in need.
  • To truly love my husband, children and those around me.
  • To blog more regularly (ha) than I did in 2010!
I am sure this list will get edited many times, probably forgotten some days, too.  There is accountability though by typing this list here for all to see. 

Looking forward to a wonderful 2011!  One full of changes, surprises, happiness and more!