Thursday, August 30, 2007

Laundry Tip

A few weeks ago, I posted about my new washer & dryer. These fabulous new machines have definitely eased the laundry burden at this house. But as I said in the post, they don't fold! :-) So I still had clothes for seven people gathering in folded piles on my coffee table, sofa, or wherever I folded a particular basket. No sooner would I have all the kiddos pick up their pile and put it away, than another load would come out of the dryer! We always had folded laundry lying around no matter what we did!

Here's the solution I came up with: I purchased the cart in the picture at Ikea for about $20. It lives in my laundry room and will eventually be part of a cute storage/desk combo and my new "sewing corner." (More on that when we actually get it finished!) Each of the "big kids" gets one drawer and the 2 toddlers share. As I fold the laundry, I put it into their drawers (which hold way more than you would think!) Once a day, at bedtime, they carry their drawer up to their room and put their folded laundry away. Throughout the rest of the day, I merely add to their drawer in the cart, and it stays neatly out of sight. (Laundry for my Sweetie and me, plus towels, gets an actual laundry basket that I take up once a day and empty. The basket sits either on top of the cart or neatly in a corner of the laundry room.)

The washer and dryer are awesome, but in many ways, it is this little cart that has truly revolutionized my attitude toward the laundry! (I even enjoy folding now, sitting on the stool and listening to my iPod!) As a bonus, we bought the little hook attachment that neatly holds the diaper bags and my purse, giving them an actual "home" rather than whatever surface I drop them on when I come in the door.
(On a related note: I recently found a fun new blog, full of tips from other moms. Check it out! Multi-tasking Moms)

Friday, August 24, 2007

Paying Forward

Ok, I'm so new to blogging! Forgive me for any breeches of blog etiquette! It occurred to me tonight that part of the honor of the Blogger Reflection Award is to pass it on. Here are the instructions:
"Give to those who have been an encouragement, a source of love, impacted you in some way, and have been a Godly example to you. Five Bloggers who when you reflect on them you get a sense of pride and joy… of knowing them and being blessed by them. This award is for the best-of-the-best so consider who you pick, carefully. This award should not be given to just anyone. If you’re going to do the award don’t just write a few words and slap it on your Blog. Write real thoughts about these Bloggers and what they’ve meant to you. If the Bloggers you pick have already been given the award, don’t be afraid to give it to them again. They deserve it as many times as it’s given."

So here are my nominees:

  • Kate at The Tate School introduced me to blogging and is a true friend. I can always count on her to post something upbeat and her photo blog is excellent.
  • Lane at Mostly I'm Tired reports on the ups and downs of family life with a brilliant sense of humor. Start with this post for a good laugh!
  • Alycia at For Where Your Treasure Is amazes me with her ability to overflow with joy and encouragement. She is a military wife living far from home, often without her hubby around. Her site always blesses and challenges me.
  • Charlotte at 50 Toes was one of the first bloggers I read. I return often for her witty posts and insights. Her Music Mondays are always fun.
  • Last, but certainly not least, Jennifer at Jennsblog. An old friend with whom I've become reacquainted through blogging, of all things. She is a skilled and thoughtful writer. I always like to see what she's reading, too. (She's very smart - I might learn something!)

Thanks, again, to Mary for nominating me. I hope these recipients feel as blessed as I do.

Thank You

Imagine my surprise to sign on to my blog the other day and discover someone nominated me for an award! (I don't think I've won an award since being voted "Most Likely to Make Your Kids Eat Broccoli" in high school!) Mary over at Not Before 7 nominated me for the Blogger Reflection Award. I am humbled, to say the least, and feel very blessed. Thanks, Mary!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Rocket Boys

Well, tonight I finished reading Rocket Boys, by Homer H. Hickam, Jr. That means (lucky you) that it is time for another amateur book review! I picked this one up at Borders back in May while browsing a section labeled "Local Summer Reading Selections." I remembered enjoying the movie October Sky, which was based on the book - so I decided it would be my summer reading pick!

The first chapter was engaging. Sonny (he calls himself by his boyhood nickname) begins by crediting his grade school teachers for inspiring him to read (gotta love that!) and become interested in the very new "space race." I admit that the next several chapters moved a little more slowly and I struggled with my commitment to finish the book.

About midway through, however, things picked up. The storyline enveloped me and I found myself transported to late 1950s West Virginia. Hickam's very readable style made me feel like one of the gang and even made me want to brush up on my math and physics! (The same way Grisham made me love baseball in A Painted House and Bryson made me want to walk the AT in A Walk in the Woods.) The story is a blend of science, adventure, relationships (in particlular Sonny's strained relationship with his coal-mining father,) and the sometimes hard realities of life. It is an inspirational tale of triumph through passion and hard work. A good read!

I will give one caution: Even though Rocket Boys is on many HS reading lists, there are several episodes depicting typical 1950s teen-aged worldliness. I suggest reading it yourself to decide if it's appropriate for your child to read. That said, however, these few scenes do not detract from the inspiring story of one young man working hard to obtain a dream.


Friday, August 17, 2007

These Are They

Jesus said, “You search the Scriptures
For in these, you say, your life will never end,
Don’t be misled; the life you’re looking for Is found in Me, for I am found in them.

"These are they, these are they,
These are they which speak of Me.”

copyright Jamie Soles 2001
Music that blesses us! Check out for more info. We have several Jamie Soles cds and they are family favorites!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Disorder and Grace

My children have recently developed a deep interest in creation science. One day we were listening to our Jonathan Park CD and the narrator mentioned the Second Law of Thermodynamics: things left to themselves tend toward disorder. It struck me that this is not only true in science, but also in parenting and home-keeping. No matter how clean we get the kitchen floor, tomorrow it will be dirty again. We get all the laundry washed only to find the hampers full the next day. We overcome one tough discipline issue only to be confronted by three more. And on it goes.
Today I'm trying to get our school supplies and books organized for our first day. I see entropy everywhere! While I'm shelving books in one room, the toddler is pulling things off the shelf in the other! I've spent a ridiculous amount of time staring at one particular cabinet, simply because it looks so tidy! (in contrast to the rest of the school room) Will it ever end!?
The answer is - yes! One day Jesus will return and make a New Heaven and New Earth where eternal, heavenly laws will reign and entropy will be forever forgotten! "But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness." (2 Peter 3:13)
In the meantime, God has given us grace as we are pilgrims here in the "home" of unrighteousness. The call of motherhood is a blessing! The Lord will equip us for every good work He calls us to while we are training up our children. Every dirty diaper we change, every time we clean the floor - each task we perform for the hundred thousdandth time - is an opportunity to bring glory to our Lord and joy to our families. Galatians 6:9 "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Building Towers

As I look forward to a new school year, I have come up with three verses to put before me as a lamp for my homeschool feet. The first is Luke 14:28 - "For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?"

The educating and training of our children is like building towers. We have 18 or so years to disciple, teach, and influence each of our children. What do we want them to know in the end? What kind of people do we want them to be? With a 7th grader in the house this year, our thoughts have certainly turned toward these things many times. Prepare for college? Sure. Learn to work hard and be a good provider for his future family? Yep. But most of all, we desire our children to love God with all their hearts (and minds-you can love God by learning algebra!) to love His people, to learn to serve, to have a burden for the nations, and to love learning. Our prayer this year is that we will be always counting the cost and making sure that whatever we add to our family life is ultimately working towards these goals.

The second verse I'm meditating on this year is I Corinthians 3:7: "So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase." My Sweetie and I are very mindful of the fact that our labors to raise our children would be worth nothing if the Lord did not bless them. May we humbly remember that our children are ours to raise and love, but they belong to God.

The third verse I chose for this year is one I often come back to when I need to refocus: I Thessalonians 4:11 - "Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands." In the last couple of years, I have felt pressure, even in the homeschool community, that whatever we are doing is not enough. More lessons. More sports. More outside classes. More, more, more! We have five children. If each one of them did just one activity outside the home, then potentially every weekday afternoon would be full! Which do our children benefit more from: exposing them to a dozen "once in a lifetime opportunities" or a healthy family life where we enjoy activities together and rich fellowship?

Don't get me wrong, we are not hermits and I am not condoning isolationism in any way. We are very involved in our church family, we love and participate in Master's Academy of Fine Arts, and we usually have one or two kids involved in something extra-curricular at a time. It is simply my goal this year to remember what my friend Lori Lane said, "What is good for the whole family is good for the individuals in the family." With three students and two toddlers, what is "good for the whole family" this year is to keep a tight reign on our schedule and "lead a quiet life."

Now, may we keep these things in my mind as we begin building the next levels of our towers!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Just for Fun

Here's a riddle: Can you name a song that hit the Billboard Top 20 with only whistling? (Hint: you'll have to go back a few decades.)

For the answer, go visit my Dad's blog and enjoy!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007