Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Thoughts on the New Year

So much to think about, so much I want to do differently. Here is a short list of what I can remember right now.

  1. Take vitamins regularly, especially iron.
  2. Start my ab toning workouts, tone my arms
  3. Read more literature, starting with F. Scott Fitzgerald
  4. Get all the kids to the dentist
  5. Get all the kids caught up on vaccinations
  6. Meal planning, improve all facets
  7. Write more, establish goals

These are just personal goals. I have so many more thoughts on what God would have me improve spiritually. Last summer I learned a lot about humility, something I thought I knew a lot about already. I know that everything is levels with God, how deep am I willing to go? Right now, I still feel like I am under the microscope, especially with my friendships. I feel like I am learning how to be a better friend to all the friends I have. I have seen people recently that I haven't seen for a long time. I want to reach out more to the people I don't already know, like at the library or recreation classes.

I enjoy the challenges of the new year. Maybe I should journal more, record my goals and my efforts to reach them. Establish my priorities and number everything around that. Right now, my priority is to finish this, and go play Barbies with my little Princess.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Finally Getting Crafty

Here are the candy bottles I passed out to friends and family this year. My goal at Christmas is to make fun crafty items, in an effort to show appreciation without spending a lot of money. For the past 10+ years I have had at least one ministry obligation that consumed a lot of holiday energy. This year, I had no such obligations, outside of my first ministry which is my family, therefore, my crafty idea blossomed. I also have to credit my newly-learned scrapbooking skills and tools for making the tags and labels. Oh yes, and my love for Frappucino! All these bottles are Frappucino bottles I have saved for the past year. I had about 20 of them. Usually I give the bottles out as vases for roses I cut from my garden for friends and neighbors. That requires much less effort on my part!

In order to remove all the sticky glue left from the label, I used baking soda with a scrubber sponge. (That also managed to remove the top layer of skin from my hands since I didn't wear gloves.) I sent all the bottles through a wash cycle in my dishwasher, then made all the labels and tags. I traced a Christmas tree cookie cutter for the tree, and my lovely redhead princess helped me decorate them with glitter glue. The only tough spot was the lids. I couldn't get the label or paint off due to the glossy coating. Thankfully, I remembered the rolls and rolls of floral tape left over from my flower pen crafts, and that worked perfectly! I covered each lid with white floral tape and topped them with gold mailing seal stickers. Total cost for the whole project was less than $10.

The main expense was the candy, of course. I used peppermints or Jolly Ranchers since the Hershey's Kisses only filled one bottle per bag. And, as is typical of my luck when doing any major project, I thought I had a big bag of cotton balls, but I didn't. So I had to buy that, too. Overall, it took about a week to get everything made, and only a few hours to get all the bottles finished. I was really pleased with the way they turned out.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

His and Hers Vacation Days

So, Cam is on a mini-vacation this week. The plant where he works has decided to close an extra two days this week and next week. Did I mention it's a non-paid holiday? Yeah. So it's a big fat bummer. But, we're trying to make the best of it and do some fun family stuff. Yesterday was a perfect day for me. Today was a perfect day for Cam. Which one is yours?

My Day
After driving our Christmas guest home, we returned in the ealry afternoon to our cozy house. We all put our pajamas back on and settled in to different activities. Professor X was playing his Nintendogs game. Princess O was playing her Kitty Luv game, like Nintendogs but for the PC. Mr. M was absorbed in many different things from his new wood train set to the Leapster. The television was kept off.

I got cozy on the couch with my new Grisham novel, The Street Lawyer. I had my special blanket and a mug full of hot coffee. Cam was across from me, reading The first Lord of the Rings novel that I gave him for Christmas. I LOVE to see him read. And reading a big fattie like Lord of the Rings?? Hubba hubba!Oh, yes. A nice quiet afternoon of mental stimulation and hot coffee.

This continued for a few hours, then the kids wanted to watch one of their new DVDs, Stuart Little, while munching on snacks. Cam and I had been watching The Two Towers the night before, so we decided to finish it. More hot coffee was prepared. Then I was stretched out, laying on my hubby's lap, watching a great movie. Good times.

When the kids went to bed, finally, we headed into our room. Did we got to sleep? No! The Two Towers was over, it was time for the Return of the King. We watched all of disc one and then finally closed our eyes. My dreams were full of running horses.

His Day (which happened to be the next day, which also happened to be today)

We had a free ticket to see "Bolt", which got rave reviews from my sister and her kids, plus we had two movie passes Cam won from a raffle at work. Mr. M is not three, yet, so he was free. Basically we could all get into a matinee for $10. Not bad. The catch was that most theaters are now showing a 3D version of the movie, and do not allow the use of free passes. Cam had the challenge of tracking down a theater at which we could use all our free tickets. Of course, he was victorious.

While planning our outing, Cam also decided to surprise our boys with a trip to Fatburger. The boys have been hooked on this idea ever since Cam told them about how great the cheeseburgers taste. Another map with directions, and we were ready.

Ultimately, we ended up driving 20 minutes to a Garden Grove Regal theater. The kids loved the movie. Our trip to Fatburger was fun, although I was not that impressed. My cheeseburger heart belongs to In-N-Out. Then we went into a Wal-Mart we saw and Cam let me buy some stickers for my next scrapbook project. Yessss!

So, now, we are all at home, everyone doing their own thing. Cam and X are playing chess on the Mac, Princess O and Mr M are playing in the bathroom sink with Scuba Barbie, and I am here, blogging. A Seinfeld DVD awaits, so I can scrap and he can be on his beloved Mac, some good shoulder time.

I think he had fun being the planner for our day, with the maps and surprises for the kids. He kept saying how he felt strange being in a different area at such a time of day, like he's been at home for a long time. It was great to get away a little, and the sunset was beautiful when we were driving home.

Two really great vacation days. Sigh. God is good.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My Day Today

I have a cold. My kids have passed it around for a week, and it finally landed on me. How can I handle a cold with all the other responsibilities I have right now, especially food preparation? I am always grossed out by the knowledge that a sick person made food that I am eating.

Moms do not get a day off. Even being sick, I still stayed on my feet for most of the day. This is what I accomplished.

Made breakfast (thank God for Eggo waffles)
Headed to Kmart for two last minute gifts I absolutely HAD to have, also wrapping paper
Dropped off our Netflix at the Post Office (so we get our next ones for our cozy movie weekend)
Back home and made lunch (thank God for microwave mac n cheese)
Started laundry
Unloaded and loaded dishwasher
Reading time with the kids (read five books, two of which were David books)
Settled younger kids for naps
Settled myself with Prof X and his DS (Patch time for his amblyopia)
Dozed off and on for an hour or so
Younger kids came in eventually and jostled the bed continually, no more dozing
Hubby came home from work, herded the kids outside
My sister called to announce the package I sent last week arrived (via fire marshal due to snow)
Got up and started laundry going again
Started dinner (thank God for oven baked chimichangas)
Mother-in-Law dropped off our tamales, yay!
Decided to eat some tamales for dinner instead of chimichangas
Watched the Lakers game while laying in hubby's lap (highlight of my day)
Did last load of laundry
Took a HOT shower
Now, everyone is waiting for me so we can play Prof X's new game, Life the Indiana Jones version.

Hopefully I will feel better tomorrow. Of course, now hubby says, "I think I'm getting sick."
Why do they always DO that?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Homeschool Inspiration

Right now I am in desperate need of inspiration for the rest of our homeschool year. I haven't read any homeschool books for a awhile, so I checked out Help for the Harried Homeschooler by Christine M. Field, and found exactly what I needed.

I have only read the first two chapters, and already I feel my focus and vision being refreshed. She talks about balance. I have stepped back from the many ministries I was in at church and have been able to focus on my family and home in a new and wonderful way. I have been in ministry non-stop for the past 14 years. Then she goes into a chapter on organization, talking about meal planning and housework schedules. Good stuff! It's all a refresher, and isn't that what I needed?
I'll have to start blogging what speaks to me so maybe you can be inspired, too.

Hippy Chick

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Heading into the New Year

I love that God established seasons. He wanted to give some variety to nature, but also set a precedence for our lives, too. I can always look at different areas of my life and see that a particular season is occurring or has occurred: motherhood, wife-istry, depression, sickness, rejuvenation. Everything in life has a season, and I always recognize this the most at two points of the calendar year, New Year's and my birthday.

For my birthday, I reflect over the past year and how I have changed. I look at my dreams and aspirations and wonder how I can achieve them. I see how those same dreams and goals have changed or been accomplished. My birthday is a time to look inward and get a sense of who I have become over the past year.

On the other hand, New Year's prompts me to consider my outward changes. Have I lost weight? Or gained it? Am I doing anything to make my home a haven, better or worse? What skills do I want to sharpen or gain? I also look at my family and consider how I can work to make things better for us. What character issues do I see in my children? How can I help my husband more? Then I take all this into a big ball and mold it, in my mind, over the month of mid-December to mid-January, and I come up with some ideas and goals I want to see come to fruition over the next year. My prayer for this post is that you will be inspired to do the same. The following is the current list I am praying over. These are just my own thoughts, lifted to God, for some ideas and motivation.

Physical Self: tone my upper arms, more ab workouts, lose another 20 pounds
Mental Self: read more literary books, get some new cooking skills and recipes
Homeschooling: get more organized!
Kids: need more time with other kids their age/gender
Wife: maintain a neater house, make a cleaning schedule