Tuesday, December 2, 2008

In Which I Am A Little More Organized...

So, I DID get all of that stuff done yesterday, minus the laundry. With a crippled dryer, it just takes SO long. I washed our sheets, though, and worked through a few more loads.

Can I just say that I feel SO much better about life right now? A straight house just does that for me. I am fine with toys and books strewn about, but a complete disaster area drives me NUTS!

So, now I'm frosting cupcakes and finding white elephant gifts for the homeschool party tonight. It's going to be a lot of fun if we don't get snowed in!

Goals for this week:

Menu planning for next 2 weeks
Shopping/errands done
Date with Mark (Yay!)
Finish KONOS planning for next semester (lofty goal, but I can do it!)
Start organizing house
Do SOMETHING towards painting projects (in our bathroom and schoolroom)

Monday, December 1, 2008

In Which I Am Terribly Unorganized

I'm usually an organized person, but lately I've been having that uncomfortable too-much-junk-in-the-closet feeling that I need to reorganize my house. Maybe my life...
Then came the Christmas season and pushed everything over the edge. Now on top of the clutter is glitter and craft supplies, loose ornaments and pine needles (from our tree), snowy boots, loose mittens, wet coats, piled up laundry (semi-broken dryer), backed up projects (caulking, painting)...
And my husband just decided to go back to school. So add college applications and essays to proofread.
And we just decided to homeschool. Add scheduling unit studies and setting up school room and supplies.
And we have my family visiting in a 2 weeks. Add extra menu planning.
And it's the holidays. Add sending out cards, gifts, etc.

I'm not complaining. On the contrary, I think I have an awesome life right now! I just think my life needs a file cabinet and color-coded cubbies. I don't know where to start--pick up the wet boots or measure the wall for our KONOS timeline?
So I'm starting by blogging. Yes, it's partially a way to procrastinate for just a few more minutes, but also a way to make a plan and DO the plan without having to--heaven help me!--keep up with one more list. So I apologize in advance if there's anyone out there who actually READS this blog--you are now reading Phebe's to-do list! If you are interested in reading the annuals of the launch of our homeschool and how I survived the holiday crunch--welcome! Please leave any suggestions! If not...oh well! :)

So, without further ado:

  1. Wash and replace sheets
  2. Wipe down and mop kitchen
  3. Quick-clean bathrooms
  4. Try to finish laundry
  5. Dusting and vacuuming
  6. Get Christmas stuff up and fall stuff put away for heaven's sake!!
  7. Dinner: BBQ chicken, rice (of course!!), salad.
As you can see, today is "save my sanity" day. Gotta get the house decent and the laundry caught up. I already spent some time skimming over KONOS unit studies and making notes. I'll post those thoughts and plans another day.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Making Your Home a Haven Mondy: The Two-Hour Clean-up That Wasn't

So, to update from yesterday, I did NOT get all of those things done. Sure, I did clean the kitchen and mop the floors, clean up the clutter and do several loads of laundry and even clean the downstairs bathroom...BUT, I think I made my home a haven by tossing out the to-do list around 11 a.m. or so and enjoying the park with my family. We had a great time as you can see! We spent the evening having dinner with out-of-town friends and had a great time catching up. Atogether, it was a wonderful family day! Now, back to that laundry pile...
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Monday, July 7, 2008

Making Your Home a Haven Monday: The Two-Hour Quick Clean Up

Make sure to get over to Biblical Womanhood for the details of this weekly inspiration to make our homes a haven!

We also had a busy weekend, and today my hubby (The Man) is still on vacation from work. We have plans to take the kids to a special park not far away and to have dinner with some out-of-town friends. This may be more like a ONE-hour cleanup!

Here's the plan:

1. Clean up kitchen and mop floors.
2. Quick clean-up of bathrooms--wipe down with Clorox wipe and swish toilets.
3. LAUNDRY!! Try to make it through the pile from camping over the weekend.
4. Quick pick-up of downstairs (living room, family room), and put away garage sale pile (currently clogging the coat closet) in crawlspace.
5. Quick pick-up, dust and vacuum of upstairs.

That's quite a list, including the other things going on today! Maybe a bit too ambitious! I'd better get off the ol' PC and get going!! I'll update later...

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Works For Me Wednesday--Five Ingredient Edition

This is my first time joining Works For Me Wednesday. Be sure to check out all the fun at Shannon's place.

I was hoping to wow you guys with some oriental creation, but unfortunately those take a lot more than five ingredients--so we'll save them for another time.

Crockpot Oriental Chicken (it's crockpot TOO--do I get extra credit for that?!)

**Sorry, no pictures. You can tell I'm a new blogger because I haven't yet figured out that you're supposed to take pictures of things like dinner in the crockpot.**


10-12 chicken legs
1 1/2 c barbecue sauce
1/2 c honey
2 tsp prepared mustard
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper and broil in the oven until slightly brown and crisp on the edges--do this to both sides of chicken. Do not omit this step! I have tried and it turns out nasty! In the meantime, mix together the other ingredients. You may add some hot pepper sauce to it if you like. Put chicken in the crockpot. Pour barbeque mixture over the top. Cover and cook on low for 5 hours or until heated through. THAT'S IT!!

We serve this with rice (what else?!), and a salad. This dish goes really fast at our house. It's one of my family's favorites--and easy to cook, too! Enjoy!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Conversations With a Two-Year-Old

Setting: Driving kids home from their Mama's (Grandmother's) house. Mark and I had just finished switching their bedrooms around.

Me: "Belle, when we get home, you'll have a new room and a new bed."

Belle: "I go have a new bed in my room, Mom?"

Me: "No, you'll have a new room too. You and Anne (the one year-old) are going to sleep together now."

Belle: "Anne go sleep in MY bed?! No Mom! She no fit!"

Me: "No, Belle. Anne will sleep in her crib. You'll sleep in your new big girl bed because you're almost three years old now. You're a big girl!"

Belle: "THREE sleep in my bed, Mom?!! No, Mom! (Nearly in tears now) I want MY bed!! Belle sleep in my bed! No Joy, no Anne--BELLE!!" (Everything has an exclamation point after it when Belle talks)

Me: "Oh, Belle, it's okay. You'll like it, honey, don't worry. Just wait till we get home.... (sigh)..."

Later, at home:

Belle: "Mom, I LOVE it!! I LOVE it!! I have my BIG BED!!"

And she did love it. She fell right to sleep--no problem--in her new room and new bed. And all by herself--no Joy and no Anne--just Belle...

Monday, June 16, 2008

Real love

Last Thursday was our anniversary. We had planned a romantic getaway but, as is often the case, life happened and we counted ourselves lucky to be able to steal a couple of hours off by ourselves. We went to our favorite restaurant--a hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese place--and ordered our favorites by number since we can't pronounce the names of things on the menu.

After dinner we hurried to the dollar store to buy as many oh-please-dear-God-let-this-work toys to reward the two-year-old's potty training "efforts". We then hurried home and worked with said two-year-old for awhile, then one of us put kids to bed while the other did laundry. Then we settled down for a chat, a surprise bouquet of flowers (my husband knows what makes me happy), and a little kissing... ;)

And it made me think... This IS really what it's all about, isn't it? Not the romantic getaways (though those ARE nice every once in awhile), not the perfect evenings of strawberries and chocolate, not the cruises. What really bonds us to one another, what really makes us one is this--real life. It's the messy everyday stuff--the poop in the bathtub (been there, moms?), the never-ending remodel project, the tight finances, the kids, the laughs along the way--that fuse us together.

Our anniversary was perfect, actually. It was a perfect slice of the nine years of marriage that we are celebrating...nine years of life and real love...

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Vacation Fun!

Here's a few pictures from our recent trip to Oklahoma and Arkansas to see family:

Here we all are paddling around the pond at my parents' place. This picture is entitled "How Many People Can We Fit Into One Small Row Boat?"

Anne playing in the dirt at the park in Siloam Springs--rather, Anne EATING the dirt. At almost 13 mos, I am amazed at how she STILL loves to eat sand, dirt, playdoh--and acts as if it's delicious, too!
Belle chasing the banty hens at my parents' house.
Me (holding Anne) sliding down "Pine-Needle Hill" with Joy.

Hope you all are having a great summer!
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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Rice Chronicles: One Grain at a Time

"Girls! Get down here this minute!" my dad screamed. That was so uncharacteristic of him that my sister Anna and I stopped dressing and stared at each other for a minute. My oldest sister Carrie jumped out of bed.

"It's finally happened!" she said breathlessly with eyes wide. We all gasped and went tearing downstairs in our shirts and underwear.

"What Daddy, what?! Where are we moving to?" we all shouted as we rounded the bottom step and roared into the kitchen.

"Moving? What are you talking about? I'm just tired of calling fifty times for someone to get a loaf of bread from the cellar! I have seven kids; surely one of you can do THAT!"

A LOAF OF BREAD??!! Carrie headed down the cellar stairs while Anna and I trooped dejectedly back upstairs to finish getting ready for school--visions of riding airplanes, living in grass huts, and converting natives leaking away...

I was six years old when that happened. I cannot remember when we all started talking about being missionaries and living overseas. My little brothers and I used to look up exotic pictures of far away landscapes in an encyclopedia. Then, perching on a step of the dark basement stairs and focusing a flashlight on the book below us, we would pretend we were riding in an airplane and watching the country roll away beneath us.

One day when I was eight years old, it finally DID "happen". We were all sitting on the back porch, eating a watermelon and squirting seeds at each other. My mother was inside, chatting with a friend (which is why I suppose she sent all seven of us outside with a watermelon), when the phone rang. A few minutes later my mom appeared at the back door, beaming with tears in her eyes.

"Kids, we're moving to Korea! Daddy got a job working for the Army", she said. We immediately started cheering and hugging and tossing rinds in the air.

"When? Will we ride on an airplane? How long will we live there? Will we have to live in a hut?"

The next few weeks were a whirl of checking out books on Korea, packing, and holding a garage sale. I don't remember having any anxiety about leaving my country and friends. It was all one huge adventure!

With one exception.

My parents took us to a "Travelogue" on Korea. It was basically a talk given by someone who had traveled around in Korea, accompanied by a slide show (or filmstrip?). It was held in a dusty old theater on a curtained stage, and my brothers and I giggled while we tried to keep the theater seats from folding us up. I don't think I paid much attention until the man started talking about Korean food. He showed a picture of chopsticks and rice.

"Do you know how to use chopsticks?" he asked.

Yes, I definitely didn't want to miss this!

"Well," he said dramatically, "You have to eat rice one grain at a time."

Laughter rippled through the theater, but I sat there wondering how I would possibly stay alive in a country where you have to eat rice one grain at a time. Should I carry my own spoon? How DID Korean people keep from wasting away?

And so began the adventure that turned my world upside down and one day brought me to where I am today...a white girl with an Asian heart. Cornbread in the oven and rice scattered over the floor. A foot in both worlds...

To be continued...

Watch and Pray

From this morning's Bible reading:

"Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak." Matthew 26:41

Temptation. It usually makes me think of great, "horrible" sins: murder, infidelity, stealing... But that is not where Satan usually tempts us...especially us Christians. Oh, we're on the lookout for him there! No, he likes to wear us down with the everyday grind of life--temptations to lose our patience and scream at the kids, temptations to have a lousy attitude when hubby comes home, temptations to follow our own plans and not be grateful in God's plan for us.

So, what is the remedy for this temptation? Watch and pray. "Watch" to me means "be alert". Not necessarily watching for temptation, but watching the Lord's face. Not getting so muddled down in my own plans and my own day that I fail to seek Him for everything. This goes hand in hand with "pray without ceasing". Watch and pray...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Serving Jesus

"The blind and the lame came to Him at the temple, and He healed them." Matthew 21:14

I read that verse this morning, picturing Jesus sitting on the temple steps overlooking Jerusalem, healing all who came to Him. Off to the side were the teachers of the law, grumbling in jealousy and anger. That very morning Jesus had driven the money changers from the temple courts, full of righteous zeal for God's house. But Jesus wasn't focused on them. He was touching the crippled man in front of Him, making him whole...

...Then I looked around me. I was sitting in my living room on a rumpled blue couch cover, yawning and drinking coffee--Joy's backpack lying on the floor ("Oh yeah, I need to sign that permission slip"), Belle's puzzle spread out on the coffee table, Anne's baby shoes sitting on a chair, water boiling for oatmeal...the scene seemed so far removed from the one above. I sighed and turned back to the verses in front of me. Then this caught my eye:

"...And He left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where He spent the night..." (vs. 17)

Then I could picture Jesus--so very tired--walking the road to Bethany in the cool of the evening. He must have been glad it wasn't far. He was going to Mary, Martha, and Lazarus' house. When He arrived, I'm sure Mary opened the door for Him, washed His feet, fed Him a good dinner. I wonder if He even had His own room and bed at their house. Probably. It was a place where He was at home--where He was fed, loved, cared for.

Now that scene wasn't so far removed from my own! Feeding, washing, caring, loving--isn't that what I do every day?

"But Lord, it must have been so different for Mary and Martha. It must have been "ministry"--holier somehow--when they were serving You."

But it wasn't. Mary and Martha were homemakers just like me. They had to plan dinner and mop floors and wash dishes. There was nothing "holy" about warming water to wash Jesus' feet, or reheating His cold dinner.

Or maybe there was. Maybe there is something holy about these seemingly small tasks that I do everyday too--the scratched knees I kiss, the diapers I change, the dinners I cook.

"...whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave--just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many." Matthew 20:26-28

God in the small things. A holy God incarnate. God with us. Immanuel.