Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Works for Me: Road Trip Packing With Kids

We've traveled quite a bit lately, and I've come up with a system that works to make sure everyone has enough clothes, and the right clothes, for each day. I used to just pack "enough" clothes, and inevitably the kids would run out, or we'd end up with nothing that matched on the last day, or we lost socks and underwear, or we forgot hair accessories, or something else.

So here's what helped.

First, I lay out complete outfits for each day, plus pajamas. I mean complete outfits, from the skin all the way to frou-frou accessories. This is a picture of packing for the girls. The top row is Elizabeth's and the bottom row is Sarah's.

Then I put everything they'd need for that outfit in a baggie--socks, underwear, hair stuff, etc. I then labeled it according to day, and pinned it to the outfit. The outfit was all rolled together.

This helped because I could plan for each day. If we were meeting friends for supper, the clothes was appropriate. If we were going to the park or to wherever--same thing. No worries about having enough of the right clothes left over.

Don't forget, you want everything you'll need for that outfit!

Then stack neatly in the suitcase. I try to put clothes we'll need first on top, and clothes we'll need last on the bottom. Don' t forget to include a bag for dirty clothes.

What a relief to not have to worry about lost rubber bands or having to dress a child in socks that don't match the outfit. I think this is especially helpful with little girls, although it was great with my boy too. This took so much stress out of our trips!

Works for Me Wednesdays hosted by Shannon.

No Tuesday Treasure

I thought I had taken some pics of something to use for today's Tuesday Treasure, but now I can't find them. No time to take more pictures today, so I'll just skip it. I did discover the origin of Tuesday Treasure. Faith started it. I've read her blog a few times, but appears to be dead now??! And actually it was called Treasure Tuesday, not Tuesday Treasure. Anyway. I guess no one else is doing it now. Here's a pretty old picture for your viewing enjoyment. I have more posts in my head, but no time to write today. Moving means so much to do...

Monday, February 26, 2007

Word Cloud

Created this word cloud from my blog here. I see Elizabeth's name, but I'm wondering where my other two kids are???!! Apparently I need to work on giving them equal time! Fun mini-break...Now I'm back to work. So much to do.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Simple Craft: Little Girl Aprons

This is a great gift for little girls, and so easy. Cut a rectangle of fabric that looks the right size. Hem it all the way around. Gather one of the long ends. Center a strip of 1" grossgrain ribbon on top, pin, and stitch (top and bottom of ribbon). I zigzagged the ends of the ribbon to keep them from fraying. Voila! Easy and cute!

I made matching ones for the girls for Christmas. Sarah refuses to wear hers; she prefers a bib apron. I think the half apron slides down and annoys her. But here is Elizabeth's.

We're Moving

I've known for quite awhile, but I couldn't say anything here until we had announced it publicly. Billy has accepted a position as Discipleship Pastor, an associate position at a church...Well, we'll say even deeper south than we are currently, which is saying a lot! A subtropical climate and an associate position will be different for us, but we have seen God's hand leading us clearly, so we look forward to what He has in store. It will be an adventure!

Sarah and Silas don't understand very well (at 22 months and 3), but Elizabeth (6) does. She has mixed feelings. On one hand she is looking forward to making new friends and living someplace where she can grow oranges and strawberries in winter, but on the other hand she's sad to move away from the only home she remembers and her good friends here.

We've found a very cool house to rent until we can find a place to buy. There is a severe housing shortage in our new area, so we were extremely fortunate to secure this one on our last trip down. It's a large 100-year-old home in a historic downtown area. Maybe one day I'll be able to post some pictures of this amazing old home. The yard is postage-stamp sized, but it will just be temporary, so that's OK.

Back when this house was built, people dressed like this.

I'm glad we don't wear hats like this anymore. She looks like it might give her a headache.

What a cute baby!

These kids look pretty mischievous.

I wonder if my house was ever staffed by ladies who looked like this. I didn't see a maid when we were looking at the house. Wonder where she could have gone?

After we looked at the house, Elizabeth told me, "Mama there is one thing I'm really worried about in that house." It turns out that it really troubles her that the mail falls from the letter slot onto the floor. She said, "We would have to put a basket underneath." This bothered her a lot and she talked about it constantly. Yesterday while we talked about moving and she became more and more upset about the idea of selling the house we live in now. She ran off and drew a picture of our new house. Then she wrote, "I hat the mel box." (I hate the mail box.) She left it on Billy's desk. He said he guesses he's getting hate mail! That will be one to keep. I know she will adjust well, but right now it's just very overwhelming for her.

To our friends: We covet your prayers during this big transition. We're excited, but also pretty overwhelmed at all there is to do in the next few weeks. I'm sure anyone who has moved knows this. When we moved last time I remember that I hoped it wouldn't happen again for a long time. It's been 4 1/2 years, so we've been here a good while. That's been very nice. I hope soon we'll be settled in a permanent place, or at least another home where we can stay for years.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

On Dying and Living (Spiritually, That Is)

I absolutely love Debra's post, "The Mornings After You Die". She's such an inspiration as someone who is letting Jesus change her to look more and more like Him. Here's a snippet to whet your appetite.

Silly me... I think I forgot to tell you that I'm dying...

...to Self, that is. A slow, lingering death, actually.

Yep, I've been dying since 1994, the year I finally began allowing God to kill whole trash piles inside me. You know, those ugly, lopsided stacks of believing I know best... and speaking without thinking first... and being the grandest procrastinator upon Earth... and laziness, fearfulness, shyness... rebellion, discontentment and unforgiveness. You know, all that stuff which holds you down and back and makes God look bad if you're going around telling everyone you represent Him.

Go read it! So encouraging!

Vintage Communication

Sometime back my sister got me a 1947 edition of Edgar A. Guest's collected verse. Inside the book was a little newspaper clipping. Here's what it said.

Keeping in touch by phone may be the next best thing to being there but it's also the next most expensive. And it's costing you even more now than it used to.

Next time you feel the urge to communicate with Mom or the kids or friends, leave the phone on the hook and write a letter. It may be quite a shock at first but your fingers will get the hang of writing instead of dialing so you'll say more for less.

Besides, your mother can't re-read a phone call.

Please send your old-fashioned thrift ideas to Katie Hess, Register and Tribune Syndicate, 715 Locust St., Des Moines, Ia. 50304

Monday, February 19, 2007

Tuesday Treasure: Vintage Aprons!

Yes, I've succumbed to the vintage apron bug. Did you know that Julia Roberts has a whole closet full? Actually Elizabeth is the owner of the most vintage aprons in our house. Her Mimi gave her a couple treasured family heirlooms at Christmas. Here she is modeling them.

This one is pretty, crisp blue and white stripes with big contrasting pockets.

This one is gray with sparkly metallic trim.

And here she is modeling my great garage sale find...50 cents...Elizabeth really likes this one and keeps trying to swipe it from me. But it's mine! Mine!

This is the front.

And it's reversible! The other side is pale pink organza. You can't tell, but the pocket is heart-shaped.

Organza ties. I'm a terrible bow-tier.

Kids and Healthful Food

My kids are varying degrees of picky—from one who likes basically anything to one who turns up her nose at a lot of foods. We do sometimes make and issue out of food, but I don’t force them to eat if they are not hungry and accept that there are certain foods that they just don’t like. There are a few things that I don’t like and don’t eat, and I think it’s fine to allow my kids that (within reason) as well.

That said, all my kids like healthy food. They love junk food too, some more than others—but they all eat healthy food for the most part, and like it. Here are a few reasons I think this is so.

1. I breastfeed. I’ve heard that children’s palates begin to develop with the foods the mother eats during pregnancy and breastfeeding. I eat fairly healthfully, so they develop a taste for healthy foods early on.

2. I introduce solids at some point after 6 months, but I don’t use baby food. They start out eating what we eat. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve bought baby food. There’s no great mystery to this. I just puree or mash up whatever fruit or veggie we are having. I feed them oatmeal or bear mush (whole wheat cream of wheat). My favorite is a creamy rice cereal from Southern Brown Rice, but I have a hard time finding it. So yummy! They get used to the taste of real food right away.

3. We don’t eat junk at home. Not much, anyway. Junk food—anything made with white flour or sugar, chips, etc.-- is a special treat. When we go out and they get donuts in Sunday school or birthday cake at a party it’s OK, because that’s not their normal diet. Once in awhile is not going to hurt anything.

4. We all drink water. Rarely juice and never corn syrup sweetened drinks at home.

5. We don’t do “kid food”. If we have grilled chicken, the kids do too. I won’t serve them chicken fingers when we have real chicken, nachos when we have beans and rice, hot dogs when we have pork chops, or pizza when we eat spaghetti. They eat what we eat, so they don’t expect anything different.

6. I make most of our treats. Yes, it’s a pain in the neck and sometimes very inconvenient. But I’d rather that than have my kids grow up on food that will make them sick. They got so excited last night when they found out I was making whole wheat sweet potato-pecan muffins (pictured above, and rendered unhealthful by the addition of too much buttter--ahem!). I was surprised myself, but they have been eating them like cupcakes. They think this kind of food is normal. Ha!

Again, some of my kids are pickier than others and they all like unhealthful food. But I’m really pleased that they eat good food willingly, and I think the above tips are some of the reason why. That and maybe they just like to eat!

Saturday, February 17, 2007


Well, the sun has finally come out after many cloudy weeks, and we are all feeling better! Not entirely well yet, but better. I've been too sick to even miss blogging--and trust me, that is sick indeed.

But enough about that. I just discovered the Flickr group for vintage children's books. Since vintage books are my one true love, I've so enjoyed perusing this group. Each year for my birthday we attend the local mammoth used book sale. Billy knows I'd far rather shop for old books than anything new. Such fun.

I've added some other cool links to my sidebar as well. Check them out!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Struck By the Plague

The flu has invaded our house. I've been down since Friday, and now all the littles have it. Billy's not feeling so well himself. Billy's been taking good care of us, but fortunately I'm feeling a little better now, enough to cook up a pot of chicken soup. Gatorade, quiet movies, peppermint tea with honey and lemon...That looks like our day. I think our job will be a little harder than this little girls', don't you?

Friday, February 09, 2007

Friday Simple Craft: Fabric Flowers

I didn't get any pics taken this week, so instead I'm linking to this great fabric flower tutorial and pattern. These are different from the felt flowers I showed a few weeks ago. I'd like to try one of these to embellish a dress or fabric bag. Pretty! I love the free stuff available from generous people on the web!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Frugal Friday: Christmas Cards Super Cheap

If you didn't hit after-Christmas sales, check your local Lifeway Christian store right now! As of Monday, they had Christmas cards 90% off, and not the yucky leftovers either. I got over 100 beautiful cards for less than $10. That's less than I'd spend on most of the individual boxes at full price.

Frugal Fridays hosted by Crystal

Link Love

Anna has a new blog, Neat and Dainty as a Flower, devoted to all things Grace Livingston Hill.

Debra at As I See it Now tells the sweet story of a very good day.

I absolutely adore this picture at Posy. Inspiring! Doesn't it look like the perfect place to hang out on a cold winter day?

Tenniel tells us about her "dark side" in this post at School@Home. I love it...So often bloggers only post the good stuff, and it's refreshing to see a moment of honesty. It made me laugh too.

Modestly Yours
applauds Miss Utah for winning modestly. This would happen only in Utah...But still, a great story.

Billy Stevens shares John Ortberg's "Story of Non-Transformation". Worth the read!

Christian/homeschool mom/fashion blogger Rebecca (that combination still amazes me) asks if you'd wear this outfit. I guess I'm with the majority of commenters...The shirt and jacket yes, the skirt no.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

It's a Great Time to be Alive!

Somewhere in my blog wanderings lately I stumbled across a post where someone was talking about all the connections, friends, and inspiration she’s experienced through blogging. She said something like, “Isn’t it a great time to be alive?”

Eureka! I’ve spent much of my life mourning the loss of the “good old days” and wishing things were different, more conservative, less modern, whatever. More recently I’ve gotten better, at least accepting that I was put on earth for such a time as this, but I have difficulty really rejoicing in the era into which I was born. I’ve enjoyed technology but didn’t fully embrace it. I’ve appreciated the luxuries and benefits that are mine as a middle-class Westerner, all the while feeling guilty because people around the world have so little (even when I did my best to help those in need). I’ve felt strangely out of place in my culture, with the keen understanding that this minute slice of history is so radically different from all the past ages. So I needed to hear the voice of someone who is just thrilled to be alive here and now.

It’s totally changed my perspective. I’m really enjoying my days, and I’m finally thankful for technology, rather than mostly seeing the bad in it. Yeah, I know, I have weird hang-ups. But I’m so happy that, while the days are uncertain, who on earth has had the opportunities we have right now? Yippee! It is a great time to be alive!!!

Fear Not

I’ve been thinking for the past couple weeks about how much God tells us to “fear not.” I’ve heard (though I haven’t actually counted myself) that the Bible tells us not to be afraid 366 times, one for each day of the year and an extra one for leap year.

I’ve always been given to fear. When I was a child it was a crippling, demonic, oppressive fear, and if you don’t believe in such things, all I can say is that you haven’t experienced it. God helped me to break free from this fear in my mid-teens and it’s only tried to come back a couple of times. A little of what TSK calls “spiritual kung-fu” sent it packing. If that sounds mystical, I don’t know how else to say it. It was worse than regular fear, something that could only be taken away supernaturally.

In addition to this creepy, satanic kind of fear, I had many other fears. I was afraid of invading armies (Russia? China? Muslim nations? I didn’t know, but I was scared of them.), economic collapse, persecution of Christians, death by fire and drowning, illegal aliens, being kidnapped, meeting new people, and doing pretty much anything that involved even the slightest amount of risk. I had many lesser fears about small, silly things. Fear pretty much ate up my whole life. I spent lots of years planning for all the what-ifs because I was so scared of what might happen. I was so afraid of the future that I totally missed the present in many cases.

I had an epiphany right after Billy and I got engaged. Billy asked me to marry him on December 4, 1999, right in the midst of the Y2K frenzy. I was terrified that we’d be separated forever and we’d never get to marry. I even bought us matching flip calendars so that if we couldn’t communicate we’d at least be reading the same thing each day. (Of course, if the end of the world ended as we knew it, both of us would be very concerned with making sure we flipped our little calendar each day. Yeah, that would be the most important thing on our agendas. That’s sarcasm, in case you couldn’t tell.) I know it sounds silly, but it’s a good illustration of how far my irrational fear had gone.

We were sitting on the porch talking about my fears and worries one day, when Billy gently said, “You know, that’s sin.” My word! The nerve of him! I was sure steamed. For a little while anyway. Then I realized he was right. That gentle confrontation helped me start to climb out of the fear pit I’d lived in for so many years. The Bible says that whatever is not of faith is sin. Fear and worry stand in direct contrast to faith and trust.

As it turned out, Y2K didn’t happen anyway, and we were married in March and lived happily ever after.

Except that after we married I was struck with a new kind of fear. Fear for Billy. And then for our babies, as they came along. That something would happen to them. Gory images filled my mind about all the “what-ifs”. I fretted constantly.

My fear became much less as I treated it as the sin that it was, but it still tried to show up in these and other areas.

Then my sweet friend Valerie sent me the little book Mama’s Way. I don’t know if I’ve ever told her how that book changed my life. In the first chapters, the author tells of her mother’s simple, childlike faith, that if she asked God for something, He would grant it. She told how her mother rested in the goodness of God, and how peaceful her life was. She painted a picture of the kind of person I want to grow into.

I still struggle with fear, but I can say that it doesn’t rule my life. When I’m tempted to fall into patterns of fearful thought, I remember that “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.” If we are assaulted with fear, that is not of God. Fear doesn’t come from our Father, it comes from the father of lies, Satan, and it’s simply wrong to give into him. This is an area of growth for me. I hope that one day I’ll be free from it altogether; in the meantime, I look at it as an opportunity to become more and more like Jesus. This is part of my spiritual formation, an area in which God desires continued change. I lived in intense fear for so many years, that complete victory is taking time to achieve. Yet I’m so grateful that fear doesn’t have the stranglehold on me that it once did. Years from now I hope to look back and see how much improved I am compared to the way I am today.

A little P.S. If you struggle with fear or paranoia, do have a physical examination and research physical possibilities. Paranoia and anxiety are one symptom of hypothyroidism (and perhaps other ailments as well.) Sometimes a simple physical correction can help us become whole in emotional areas.

Treasure Tuesday on Wednesday: Blue Felt Purse

My mom made this little purse for Elizabeth awhile back. Isn't it pretty? I love the fuzzy, shimmery handle and edging.

By the way, sorry for the lack of posting this weekend. I was out of pocket and it's taken me longer than expected to get back in the swing of things.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Friday Simple Craft: Sweet Little Bags

I made the girls these little bags for Christmas. This is a lousy picture, but maybe you get the idea.

Here's the detail on Elizabeth's...

And Sarah's.