Friday, October 28, 2016

Five Things On Friday

I have my lovely assistant Areyna here and she is going to indulge us with 5 activities that are way better than school.

1 - I would rather paint my nails than sit here all day doing school.

2 - I would rather practice for FX (family worship night) tonight than sit here all day doing school.

3 - I would rather read in my bed than sit here all day doing school.

4 - I would rather draw at my desk than sit here all day doing school.

5 - I would SO MUCH rather hang out in my room listening to music than sit here all day doing school.

There you have it folks.
Straight from the tweens mouth.
It's a good thing school is now done for the week and she can get busy on all of these other awesome things that are so much better than sitting here all day doing school;)

Happy Friday ya'll!
See you at FX tonight at 7PM!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Triple Bunk Bed DIY (Link With Plans)

Josh and I had 3 days without kids to accomplish the task of making a triple bunk bed for the boys.

We also happened to have Journey rehearsal, open mic date night, rehearsal dinner, wedding and a gig to play together during those 3 days so we needed to do it right because first of all, we were actually purchasing lumber (when we usually just pull things together from scraps in the shed to create something) and secondly, we wanted to be done with the beds before the kids came home.

So we came home and worked on finding the perfect plans, which turned out to be way more difficult that we had anticipated.  I had an idea of what I wanted and some pictures I found to match it, but because we didn't want to have to run to Lowe's every hour and a half to get pieces and hardware we forgot, or didn't know we needed, we wanted to find plans.  I also knew I wanted the triple bunk bed to be stacked and not angled in different directions (because the purpose of making the beds was to give the 3 boys more room to play in their room), and those were the ONLY plans I was coming across

Until we found THESE PLANS and decided that we could make them work.  We were originally trying to find FREE plans but quickly realized that $9.95 wasn't too shabby for someone else's step-by-step idea on how to put them together.  I did't like all the busyness of the layout so we adapted it to make it look a little more simple.

Josh put together all of the measurements and a list of things we needed while I scoured the internet for coupons and deals.

Then we took our date over to Lowe's and shopped for lumber and hardware, because that's a super sexy thing to do on a hot date. (Really, I LOVE this kind of stuff!)

The next morning I played a gig with Josh but you better believe I got sanding as soon as I unpacked my gear.  I sanded for 5 hours straight until I had to pack back up and head to Journey for rehearsal.  I finished sanding as soon as rehearsal was over.

The next morning I began painting, which took the entire morning, afternoon, and all the way up until we had to get ready for a rehearsal dinner we were playing for.

Saturday was pretty much a blur of sawdust, drying boards and piecing together this massive bed.

We got a pretty good system down.  Josh would measure out where the holes needed to go, I would drill holes and then he would have them ready to fit together.  The kids would be home later that night and we still had some finishing touches to complete (like painting the boards that hold their mattresses) but in between showers and getting ready for the wedding we raced around cleaning up the house, finishing up last minute touches and making sure the beds were made.

You can see the two boards in the middle level we had to add for support.
We will eventually add 1 more on either end of each level.

So, I would say these plans were GREAT! And we love the finished product, but there was one oversight...the boards needed some extra support so Josh toenailed in a couple of boards for each layer and it works great.  I also think we would have given the bottom and middle levels an extra 1" but we were already second-guessing a triple bunk with our 8' ceilings.  Josh and I can fit on every level AND I'm pretty sure it can withstand any natural disaster that comes our way, ha!

We spent right at $200 out of pocket for the entire bed (plans included).

A secret window for Cai to climb in

We are going to use Jude's toddler bed mattress as long as we can, but he doesn't mind because
he gets an extra playing area on his level:)

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

There's A New Chef In The Kitchen least one night a week!

Areyna has always loved being in the kitchen.  She began baking with her Daddy when she was tiny and can now concoct her own goodies all on her own.  But lately she has been begging me to make dinner.  Not just HELP with dinner, but actually do the whole process.

So now, once a week, she has the task of planning, creating the grocery list (and making sure I have it before we go out and do our weekly shopping trip), and cooking dinner for the Colony.  And with seven different taste palates, this is no small task.

She prefers cookbooks over online menus and recipes, which I completely understand.  After finding the perfect main dish and side we go through the list of ingredients together to make sure that we get/have everything.

While making my weekly menu I make sure we have a night that isn't too rushed and where we will all be together for dinner.

Last night she chose Crockpot Roast (her Daddy's favorite!) and we had a side of rice (because the other "secret" side that she chose takes 5-7 days to we'll save that one for next week).

Rainy's Roast was BY FAR one of the tastiest roasts I have ever eaten, and I'm not just saying that!  It was definitely better than any I have ever made.  This meal was a great boost for her self-esteem and motivator to keep going with her passion in the kitchen.

She even recruits help to get dinner cleared off the table and cleaned up because it's my night off!

And of course a dessert is required when Rainy is chef for the night so she made Snickerdoodles and we roasted Marshmallows to go inside...YUM!

Since we rarely ever eat out this one night a week off in the kitchen for me is a welcomed bonus to our homeschooling.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Simplifying Life and Letting Go Of Perfection, One Load Of Laundry At A Time

This is just part of my project for today.
We have a lot of bodies to cover in this house.

Which means we have a lot of laundry that goes through our washing machine.

But if there is anything I have learned about being a mom, it is that I canNOT do everything.  I can't. And I'm learning to be just fine with that.  Really.  Truly.  Honestly.

One of the things that I have let go of is the laundry process.

I actually do pretty well keeping up with laundry (we try to keep  minimal amounts of clothing for each child so this helps cut down on the amount of laundry.  This tip is FREE.  You're welcome!)

I should also mention that I don't presort my laundry before washing...but don't tell my mom that part.  I know, I know, I'm breaking the #1 rule of laundering clothes.  But I just can't keep laundry going for so many people if I'm constantly trying to make full loads of different kinds or colors.

The part that always gets me is the folding and putting away.  We will have a growing mound of clean laundry piled up in our bedroom for days sometimes, before I get around to finishing the laundry process.

But I wanted to share a secret that has helped tremendously!

I stopped folding the laundry and putting it away.

Yup.  It's true.

Well, at least my kids clothes.

Now, instead of meticulously folding and putting clothes away (that are inevitably going to get all messed up in the next search for the favorite pants that were intentionally placed in the back of the drawer...ahem) I simply go through these next age-appropriate steps.

  1. While Sorting the laundry - If I come across something that is Josh's or mine I immediately fold it.  BAM!  Done.  Then I have a girls pile, a boys pile and a Jude pile.  Towels and dish cloths are also folded right away.
  2. The girls are old enough to turn their clothes right side out on their own.  So after their clothes are piled up together I go drop them off in their room and they put them away as they see fit, into their own drawers and closets.  I do still match their socks (because I'm a nice mommy;).
  3. The older boys just transitioned over to this stage.  Previously I was turning their clothes right side out for them before placing them into their pile.  Then I go drop their pile off in their room for them to place in their drawers and closets as they see fit. I definitely match their socks as well (because poor boys have a hard enough time even getting said socks into the laundry in the first place).  I also put their undies and socks in their bins (since I'm an extra nice mommy to them, ha!)
  4. Jude has just transitioned up a stage as well.  I used to turn his clothes right side out and then fold them.  I would make a stack of shirts, a stack of jammies and a stack of pants.  Then he could put them in his own bins.  NOW, though, I just turn his clothes right side out and pile them up for him to place in the appropriate bins as he sees fit.  He shares undies and socks with Cai so he doesn't have to worry about putting those away (because like I said, I am an extra nice mommy and I love my boys more, lol.  Just kidding, Rainy is reading this over my shoulder so I just needed to see her smile:).
  5. Then all that's left is to put Josh's clothes away, my clothes away and the towels and dish cloths away. (and sometimes I'm not feeling like a nice mommy any more and ask a kid or two to do that step as well, hehe)
And because we all like a nice word diagram to help solidify a new process here you go:

Sort (into piles) --- Drop (in their rooms) --- Let Go (of your laundry control)

You might be surprised at the ones who actually decide to "fold" vs. "stuff".  Plus it frees up extra time in your day/life for other things (like playing Settlers of Catan or Dutch Blitz...because those are very important things to make time for).

We, as mama's, can get so uptight about things around the house.  Find some little steps you can do, like this, that can aid in letting go of some of those perfectionist tendencies.  It'll bring such freedom.  I promise!

***2018 UPDATE ~ Each of the kids are now at the stage where I simply sort their clean clothes, socks and all, into a pile (a boys pile and a girls pile) and they are in charge of all the rest! We don't do enough laundry, nor do the kids have enough clothes, to justify making full loads of just one person's clothing. So I do a couple of loads every other day or so and it keeps everybody going just fine.***

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Recipe: Sprouted Grain Bread Dough / Pizza Dough

I added melted butter and granulated garlic on top of my breadsticks last night.
There were so many people interested in our new bread that we made so I thought I'd share the recipe...which isn't MY recipe at all, but like most recipes, I adapted it to make it our own.  The following recipe is my modified Bob's Red Mill Buttermilk Rolls

Sprouted Grain Buttermilk Bread / Pizza Dough
(we leave out the Tbsp of sugar they call for because we try to eliminate sugar when we can)
2 cups warm water
1 Tbsp Sea Salt
3 Tbsp melted Butter

Preheat oven to 200 F
Combine yeast, (sugar), and water and allow to proof for 10-15 min.
Add 2 cups flour and mix.
Then add salt, buttermilk powder and butter.
Add remaining flour 1 cup at a time until dough becomes difficult to stir.
Tip dough out onto a floured surface to knead in the remaining flour.
Turn oven off.
Continue to knead for about 7 min.
Place in an oiled bowl and turn dough to coat.
Cover and place in warm oven for 1-2 hours and allow to rise until doubled in size.

At this point you can divide the dough into two loafs of bread.


Divide onto two pizza pans to create two pizza doughs.
After spreading out the dough on the pans we like to coat with Olive oil and sprinkle with fresh Rosemary, garlic powder and onion powder.


Divide into gently rolled balls  or bread sticks and place in oiled pan for dinner rolls.

Bake at 375 for 18-20 minutes.

***dough can be refrigerated for several days after rising***

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Moving Over To The Slow Lane

The moment I saw Jim Elliot's quote, "Wherever you are be all there", it grabbed me.

I was tired of being distracted by to-do lists, technology, rushing frantically from one thing to the next (and sometimes even for no other reason than to just be in a rush), intrusive thoughts...

I was tired of being present but not really BEING ALL THERE.

I began asking God to reveal the things in my life that I could let go of.  Because I knew that in order to create the space we all need for REAL relationships (OFF screen) and eternal conversations, I would have to make it part of my lifestyle.

All of this reading and soul-searching has led to the Holy Spirit calling me out.
Telling me things like:
Slow down.
Don't be afraid to ask the hard questions (to yourself, to others and even to God).
Dig deeper. Don't be satisfied in what you already know.
To REALLY figure out what living a life on mission looks like for me, because I firmly believe that God created each one of us with beautiful differences that work together to reach the world for Christ, and the way I love on others and share His wonderful story is going to look different than the way you do.  And that's ok.  That's the BEAUTY of it! It's the Body of Christ working TOGETHER for the Kingdom!

At times I have been in tears, looking into the ugly that is my heart.
Then sifting through the ugly to lay it down and let it go.
Those are the most difficult times.
When I can't excuse my behavior away.
Its pride. Its selfishness. Its jealousy. Its fear.
And this kind of ugly keeps me focused on myself instead of seeing others for who THEY are.

Other times God simply gives me gentle reminders to turn my phone over (or even off) so my family can have my complete attention.
Or to take the time to really listen to a person sharing something with me.
Or that life will keep going, even if I don't rush my kids from one thing to the next or say yes to every activity invitation.
Or that taking my tween up on the date she wants to take me on with her Starbucks gift card is the most important thing, even if I had other plans for my morning.
Or to spend an afternoon following through on an idea the LORD gave me in order to share His love with someone else.

Through it all I have noticed a common's not about me, it's about others.  It's about slowing down in order to see the world around me.

Have you ever stopped to realize that in order to help somebody on the side of the road you have to move over and slow down?

So what if I were to live a life actually LOOKING for people to help?  I can't just zoom in and out of traffic and expect to safely be able to slow down in time to help that person without causing a possible pile up behind me.  I might even accidentally hurt the person I initially stopped to help.  And I can't honestly expect people who need help to just appear in my car.   If I am going to view my day with eternal perspective I am going to have to drive my life in the slow (intentional) lane, looking and waiting for those interruptions and constantly fight the natural tendency to get irritated by the zooming traffic around me or even the urge to speed around the slow people in front of me.

And what I have found is a freedom, joy and fulfillment that I have never felt from trying to accomplish days just to be productive, no matter how many things I check off of my to-do-list, or activities I can accomplish by rushing around just to fit one more thing in, or how put-together my life can appear on social media because that is where I spend the majority of my time.  Because I've realized that none of that matters, without the Joy of the LORD guiding me and slowing me down for the next stop in the slow lane.