Motivated by God or Sin?

2 09 2008

These last few weeks, God has been working at my heart.  What is my motivation?  Why do I do the things I do?  Is it for the glory of God or is it for sin?

Here are somethings that have been on my heart.

Why do I discipline my children?  It should be so that God is glorified.  Sometimes I discipline to look like a “good mommy”.  I want others to see my children and think…”Look at that good mommy, her kids are so well behaved”.  Ouch!  That is the worst thing I could EVER do is bring my children into my sinful world.  I have been praying that when people see my family they think….”wow, something is different about that family!”  and I pray they come and find out that it is because of my relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and nothing else.

Why do I say  no?  Hummmm, think about that one.  How often do you say no to your children only because you are in the sin of being lazy?  I often say no to finger painting, riding bikes, going swimming etc. ONLY because it is too much work for me and I am lazy!  Now, don’t get me wrong, there are many times we need to say “No” to our children, but it should be to glorify God.  There are times when I need to say “No, we can’t play with play-do right now because mommy is making sure you have a healthy dinner to eat tonight and I can’t do both right now.”  But in general what are my reasons for saying no.

Are my meals healthy and thought out?  Do I take the time to prepare foods that glorify God?  On many nights I want quickly put together something and not plan out a meal.  I want to spend my children’s nap time on the computer or reading instead of in the kitchen preparing a meal that will grow their bodies for God’s glory. 

This is what has been on my heart lately and I just wanted to share it with you.  The list could go on forever, but for now I am taking it one step at a time….I am going to go and take the kids to the Library because they have been asking for a week!  (I really am trying to work on making “Yes” be my natural reaction instead of “No”.  Have a blessed day!

3 weeks down…what have I learned?

31 08 2008

With three full weeks under our belts I wanted to write what I have learned.  This is not about what I have been teaching my children, but from a mama’s point of view on what I have learned to make my day go smoothly.

1. Make sure the dishwasher is empty before morning.  This way the dishes from breakfast and lunch have somewhere to go with out disturbing your morning teaching the little ones.

2. Don’t answer the phone during school time, we have an answering machine, so if it is important I can pick up while they are leaving a message, if it isn’t I will call them back….my children are the focus during this time.

3. Switch laundry in between subjects…this way it is done after school is done and during nap time I fold and put it away then.

4. Wake the baby up in the morning if they are over sleeping, this way they are ready to go down at the scheduled nap time and don’t disrupt school time.

5. Be flexible!  If you are rushing though just to get your “check list” done, then you are missing out on the best part of homeschooling.  (Watching your children learn!)  If the kids really want to talk about their story or do math longer than the time I planned for I just do it!  This time is too special.  (That doesn’t mean we jump to the next days lessons if they want to continue, I just let them continue doing the same thing over and over….more on that if you want to know why)

6. Have lunch planned out for the week.  This way I already know what they are going to have before my day begins and we aren’t running around crazy.  I have a calendar that I made (I would post it if someone tells me how to attach a word document) and I fill it in on Sundays for the entire week!  It works great for us.

7. Be prepared!   I look over everything the night before for about 5 mins. I feel more prepared in the morning.

That is all for right now, I hope that gives you some help as you start your homeschooling year.

Trans fat, Health and Little Ones

15 05 2008

I have been trying to be a good steward of my kiddo’s and my husband’s health by making our home Trans fat free and  White Flour free.  This has become a harder task then I thought it would be.  The whole trans fat thing is so hard to understand….Does 0 g. of trans fat the same as trans fat free?  I stilll can not find a report that lists this!  Also, I buy only whole wheat breads, but I make a lot of breads as well and I haven’t found any recipies that don’t use any white flour in them.

TIP: Did you know that in all baking recipes you can use 1/2 whole wheat flour and 1/2 white flour (make it equal the total amount of flour the recipe calls for) and not have to change the recipes at all?  That is how I make all pancakes, muffins, cookies, cakes etc.  Ask Dave’s friend and Brian and he will tell you the chocolate chips cookies taste even better that way.

So, I am on a mission that seems endless!  I know that it is, but I feel very overwhelmed by it all.  Not just the food we eat but the impression I am making on my kids.  I don’t want them to fear food or fear fat.  Neither of these things are bad.  I want them to have a healthy understanding of the foods we eat and what they do for our bodies.  I want them to love the foods that God gave us to enjoy, but I also want them to understand why some foods in big quantities are not good for them.  I also want them to respect their bodies which one day I pray will be a temple of the Holy Spirit.

Now here is the hard part… do I show and teach them without helping a long an eating disorder?  Here are some things we are doing:

1. Allow them to have the fun foods (fries, chicken nuggets etc.) but we choose the location.  Chick Fil A was ranked #1 fast food chain by Men’s Health because it have no trans fat and not one of their combo meals has over 500 calories!  Wow!

2. One third of our grocery money is on fruits and veggies.  This makes it so we have 2 veggies at each meal, one meat and a complex carb.

3. Only buying whole wheat foods.

4. Not telling them EVERY reason why I don’t want them to eat certain foods.  They are told that we are to fill our bodies with healthy foods and treat our bodies to “junk” foods.  This way they don’t say something to someone else that is eating something and they don’t fear the foods.  As they grow we will teach them about different fats etc.

5. When I go out to the gym they will tell you “mommy is making her heart strong”.  We never say we are trying to lose weight or that mommy or daddy needs to lose weight or we need to ‘get in shape’.  We make sure this is NOT talked about in front of them.  We want to make sure they have a very healthy attitude about body image especially at this young age.

Now, this is not enough, if you have any ideas please post them, I would love to hear them!

Chicago Cubs Baseball Batting Helmet and Build a Bear

14 05 2008

Isaac and Grace have started to have chores in our home.  Isaac goes around the house and collects all the trash, then takes and puts in the trashcan outside.  Grace goes into Owen’s room and sorts and puts away his toys at the end of the night.  We stated this a few months ago and it is going great.  They each earn one quarter for each day they do their chores.  We then have them give some pennies to Jesus (which they take with them to Sunday School on Sundays) and then the rest is for them.

With the announcement that we were going to Chicago we encouraged them to save their money for a special prize.  Most days they did just that, other days they choose an ice cream from the ice cream truck.  When we got to Chicago the kids had almost 10 dollars each.  They were super excited!

Isaac picked out a Chicago Cubs batting helmet and Grace a Build a Bear bear carrier to wear on her back.  They proudly carried their things around with them the entire weekend.  We didn’t have to worry about them losing them or not taking care of them because they had earned them.  They had to do lots of work to get them and they knew how long it took them to save for their prizes.

This went over so well that we already have them saving for our Disney trip next year.  We are encouraging them to save at least 4 of their quarters a week for this trip.  Another perk is that we don’t have to save for souvenirs, the kids do that themselves!!!  How nice is that?

So Dave and Isaac just went to Home Depot and Isaac is proudly wearing his helmet and Grace is napping with her carrier. 

Update: on the new job

5 05 2008

Many of you know that I took on a part-time job in the evenings and on Sat. to help get rid of our debt.  It has been a month and you know what?  It is working!!!!  We just switched all our credit card balances over to one account and it is interest free for 15 months….then after that only 7.99 percent.  With that we are able to put the 90 some dollars a month we were paying in interest toward the balance.  Then with the 300 extra dollars I am making at Applebee’s it comes out to almost 400 extra dollars toward debt every month!!!  With what we were already paying we hope to have it all paid off by the end of the year! 

The debt came at some tough times for us….Gracelyn’s surgery, Owen’s surgery, maternity leave that isn’t paid for, Dave not able to get “extra hours” etc.  Now that we have more money coming in than our expenses we are kicking butt to get it all paid off!

We will have been married for six years next week and during that time we have only had a full-time job for about 9 months!!!!!  THat is right, we have been living on a part-time income with 3 children for our entire marriage almost.  God is so good that he is now giving us an opportunity to pay off the debt that we occured.  We hope to be able to give him glory with our freedom from debt.  YEAH!

We still have a house payment and probally will for most of our adult lives, but we don’t have any car payments (haven’t for over a year now!) and hopefully won’t have any credit card payment next year.

Now this may sound really silly to some of my readers that don’t mind having debt.  For us we want to be able to give God glory by being able to give our money etc. to missionaries, chruch members or people in need instead of interest to the creditors.

This seems like a LONG journey, but it is one we deserve by our choices.

Stewardship: With the Cost of Having a Baby

24 02 2008

Okay, I know this post is late, we have had a few things come up with our family and kids that had to get taken care of.  So here is the final post on the topic of Stewardship.  This is an interesting one and one that I have had to work very had on.  With 3 small children all in a few years and my husband only working part-time I had to come up with ideas and put them into action fast.  Here is what I do to be a good steward with our money when it comes to rasing a small child(ren).

1. I use cloth diapers. Now before you skip over this one and move on to #2 hear me out.  This has been the #1 way for me to save money in our home.  Please see my post on Cloth Diapering for more info here, I have lots on this topic!

2. I make my own baby food when I can.  When my baby starts to eat solids I smash a banana in a bowl and feed it to them, I buy sweet potatos and cook them and blend them til smooth, I buy the big jar of unsweetened applesauce and use that instead of the gerber etc. (it is the same thing). 

3. I try to find cheep antibotics when they get sick….now I don’t mean cheaper quality, I mean cheaper price.  At Meijer our local food store they do FREE antibotics on the 6 most popular for kids!  Then Walmart and Kroger do $5.oo on most.  It is an easy way to cut back on costs for medical expenses.

4.Buy your kids clothes on sale and clearance for the next year.  Now I know many of you are going to say,”But I don’t know what size they are going to be, it is hard to tell.”  You are right, but after the age of 2 most kids will wear one size long enough to go the year in it.  For example most kids will wear a 3t for 10-12 months then move to 4t or a 4.  So, my son is in a 3t now, I am buying 4’s for next year.  Grace is in a 2t now, so I will put her in a 3t next year etc.  You can get close enough, anyway the look for boys is a little big.  So if you aren’t sure always buy a little big, than a little small.

5.  BE HONEST!!!!  Do you really need the matching shoes, bows and purse for your little toddlers outfit?  Maybe for Easter or Christmas, but not everyday.  We try to buy a pair of dress shoes that will go with all her church clothes for that season, so we don’t have to buy 3-4 pairs of shoes for one season of nice clothes.  When a season is getting ready to start (like spring here in a few weeks) I get out their bin of clothes that I bought last year and I put them in piles.  I see excally how many shirts I have, shoes, t-shirts etc.  I then make a list of everything each child needs for that next season.  I carry that list with my wallet, and when I see something on sale or at a good price, I pull out my list and see if they need it.  If they don’t I don’t get it, this keeps me from over buying.  I like to have an entires week worth of clothes per child per season.  I only do their wash once a week, so I need to make sure I have enough, but not too much.

 I hope this has helped you out!  Please remember to send in those recipes to  I will start posting them this week!!!!

Stewardship: The Great Food Exchange

16 01 2008

This one is for you momlovesbeingathome. Many of you know that we eat on very little $$$. Well, let me tell you one little secret…we are on WIC (Woman, Infants and Children) a food program for lower income mommy and their babies. While Dave is in school we don’t make that much, but to tell you the truth, when we are not on it we still eat for only 250 dollars a month! So here are some tips…..

1. Buy bone in chicken. Yesterday at Meijer I got it for only 89 cents a pound. I stock up on this when it goes under a dollar! There are lots of great recipes on that use bone in chicken.

2. I make most of the extra breads (rolls, muffins, pizza crust, etc.) by hand. I buy whole wheat flour and switch it into my breads. You can do a 1/2 exchange and not have to modify the recipe. For example if chocolate chip cookies call for 2 cups of flour you can put in 1 cup white and 1 cup whole wheat. This makes your foods a lot healthy and they fill you up on less!

3. We eat a lot of leftovers for lunches. Now granted I only have preschoolers and toddlers at home, but as they get bigger I will have to add more lunch foods into our recipes.

4. When you buy a ‘special’ ingredient for a recipe, make sure you find more recipes that use that same ingredient so it doesn’t go to waste (like poppy seeds etc.)

5. Make you breakfasts! This may sound silly, but cereal is EXPENSIVE!!! Make a bunch of homemade pancakes (will cost you about 1.25 for about 30 of them). You can make them a head of time and then freeze them between sheets of wax paper and in a ziplock bag (or off brand like I would do). Now if your child eats 2 pancakes for breakfast, you just made them for only 8 cents a serving!!!! Now you can add a banana and a glass of milk and they have a very filling breakfast. Now they won’t be crawling back into the kitchen after only an hour, saving you on snacks!

6. Buy in season and stock up. I buy Zucchini when it is only cents for a pound when it is in season. I shred it and freeze it for Zucchini bread in the winter (this is another cheap and great breakfast, with a little butter and juice!)

7. We only use butter, so when it goes for $1.50 for a pound, I stock up and put it in the freezer! It will keep for 6 months at least.

8. Find dinners that don’t use a lot of meat. Chicken casseroles are good for this. They make the meat go a long way, so are tacos! If you have a VERY large family and a deep freeze, consider buying a 1/4 or 1/2 of a cow at a local beef farm. I know this sounds crazy, but families with 8 plus people this is very helpful and you can get all kinds of cuts of beef for almost 50-75% cheaper than you would at the store. The only problem is you need to have the money up front, this maybe an option for you. (Maybe one day for us 🙂 )

9. Shop when the shelves are full and you are not hungry. (I know most of you already know that, but it is always good to hear again). We shop on Monday or Tuesday mornings. The shelves are restocked for the weekend and it is not as busy so I don’t rush as much. When you go the store and they are out of something you are more willing to replace it with something you don’t need or you go back for it (and when do we EVER go back for only one thing!).

10. If your store has a clearance area for food, go and look. I will usually go there and pick up something for dinner that night. It is still good food, they just have to sell it within a few days. This is a great way to get most of a meal for only a few bucks! I will sometimes leave an opening on my meal planning sheet just for this! Just make sure that opening is that evening or the next.

Now, I will do an entirely different post on infants and saving money. I am sitting for 2 extra kids for 2 night and 3 days, so I will post it when I get to it. :-).