Sunday, January 26, 2014

Bible Verse Memorization Song - Isaiah 43:1b

So, I haven't recorded any of these in a while.  Sorry about that.  I got a little side-tracked when we moved into our house and we basically did this verse for three months :P

Friday, January 24, 2014

Macarons and Kopykake

Two new things that I'm trying tonight...not quite sure how either of them are going to turn out.  But I have a regular batch of cookies to do after that, so if all else fails, at least those will work out - hopefully ;P  I have a weird aversion to trying new things when those new things require expensive equipment.  I bought a camera last year and have yet to take it out of the box :/  And the Kopykake sat in its box for months before today.  Good thing nothing was wrong with it, because I wouldn't have been able to return it if not.

I'll keep all 1 of you interested in this posted as to how it all turns out ;P

Update: Having never had a macaron before, I thought they were fine.  But then on a whim, I decided to google what a macaron should look like on the inside.  And let's just say, that I failed miserably...but, they looked fine on the outside, so that's a start - right??  As for the Kopykake, I got it set up but didn't get to use it yet because I wasted so much time with the macarons.  Ugh.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Many Uses of White Vinegar

photo courtesy of Heinz

I mentioned in my post a while back about the many uses of Dawn dish soap that I have just a few main ingredients that I use to clean almost everything in my house.  White vinegar is one of the others.  I absolutely LOVE this stuff.  I go through at least one of the big jugs a month.  Here are some of the things I personally use it on and some more that I've found via Pinterest that I haven't tried, but would love to hear about if you have :D

  • Rinse aid in the dishwasher - You can either pour it into the rinse aid section of your dishwasher or just dump some on the bottom with each wash - I do the latter.
  • Fabric softener - According to my cleaning guru Jillee over at One Good Thing, the acetic acid in vinegar breaks up mineral deposits and dissolves buildup - which makes your clothes nice and soft.  Use it just like you would your normal fabric softener.  I don't actually ever use fabric softener, so this is not something I regularly use, but my MIL swears by it in her front loader.
  • Jillee also suggests using it to clean your top-loading washer.
  • I use it as a berry and grape cleaner.  Those things have so many little nooks and crannies for dirt and nastiness to get into :/  I pour the fruit into a bowl, pour warm water from the faucet onto it, then dump some vinegar in and mix it all up with my hand.  Then I let it sit for about 10 minutes, rinse in cool, clean water and let dry either on a paper towel or in the strainer before putting them in the fridge.  That keeps them from getting all soggy.  
  • Science experiments with the kiddos - I mix some food coloring into some vinegar, then pour it into a cup that has a little baking soda on the bottom.  Makes for some fun little volcanos :D
  • Microwave cleaner - pour some vinegar into a microwave safe dish and microwave for about 3 minutes.  It will start to boil a bit and the steam loosens up all the gunk - I did this today and it worked SUPER well.  Just be careful - something happened with my micro and when I tried to put it back in for a second round, the vinegar basically exploded and blew the door open as well as popped the circuit breaker.  Not quite sure what caused that, but it was fine before and after.  Anyone who knows what happened there, hit me up and let me know ;P
  • Shower cleaner - as I mentioned in the post about Dawn soap, I make this cleaning solution for my shower and LOVE it.  Just don't use too much or you'll be rinsing suds out of your sponge forever ;P
  • And of COURSE for yummy foods, like salad dressings, pickles, ketchup, and poured all over corned beef and cabbage (oh my word, LOVE.  Every St. Patty's Day, this is what we eat.  It's also my son's birthday, so poor guy better learn to love it, too ;P)

Those are just the ones I use in my home.  Here are some that I haven't tried, but now I'm dying to ;)

  • This Old House has a list of 10 things you can use vinegar for and all of them are things I never would have thought of.  From reviving old paint brushes to whitening your grout.  Super interesting!
  • The Thrifty Home suggests using it to remove hard water stains on sinks - I TOTALLY need this in my house.  Our water is crazy hard!
  • Everyday Simple says you can use it to remove water stains from concrete.  
  • Martha Stewart suggests using it to kill weeds and to clear pipes (in conjunction with baking soda) - I'll have to tell the hubs about that.  
  • Apparently, it can be used to ice proof your car windshields.  I could've used that about a month ago during Texas' icemageddon :/
  • Wikihow says you can use it to get gum off of clothes.  Haven't needed that yet, but with 4 kids, I know that day is coming...

What other things do you use vinegar for?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Having a Big Family

I grew up the youngest of 5 kids.  And I LOVED it.  Seriously.  I would have loved it even more if we had been closer in age, but I always knew that there was someone who could take care of me.

Now, I have 4 children of my own, and it shocks me how unfortunate most people's view of large families is in our culture.  As the youngest of 5, I would always get the shocked looks that I came from such a "big" family (not really that big, in my opinion, but that's neither here nor there...), but not the judgment because I was not the one in control of the size of my family.

Apparently, now that I am deemed "in control" of how many kids I have, everyone feels the need to give their 2 cents on the size of my family.  I've heard it all:

"Aren't you pregnant for, like, the 20th time?"
"You are ALWAYS pregnant!"
"You know how that happens, right?"  (Best comeback I ever heard for this one - "Yes, we're quite good at it.  Why, do you need some pointers?"  Ha ha ha!!!!)
"Birth control was created for a reason"
"You've certainly got your hands full!"
"I just couldn't handle all that craziness and noise."
"They're certainly very busy"
"Are they all yours?!"
"You've been busy (wink wink)"

And then there are the things that people don't say in words, but say very clearly with their actions.  The looks of condescension and disgust when they start visually counting my children.

I'll admit - when I was younger, I probably did the same thing - because I couldn't even fathom how I would handle a family this size.  When something is outside of your experience and seems to be overwhelming, you tend to think either you couldn't or wouldn't want to deal with it.

Is having a bunch of kids easy?  Is having even ONE kid easy??  Of course not.  No one ever said it was, nor was it meant to be.

I think our culture views parenthood and children in a very skewed way.

The world says:

  • Children are objects to fulfill you.  
  • Being a parent shouldn't be all that hard.
  • Your life is all about you and your happiness.
  • There is no way you can be happy or content if you have too many children because they take up too much of your time.
  • You can't possibly give each of your children what they need if you have more than 1 or 2.
  • Children are a burden to be avoided.
  • Adoption is only a last resort when you can't have children of your own.
  • If a child is "damaged", then it is not worth having

The Bible says:

  • Children are human beings from conception and are not here for you but for the glory of God, just as all human beings are.
  • Being a parent is difficult but immensely rewarding.
  • Your life is about God's glory and becoming more like Him.
  • Contentment and joy come from the Lord - not from your surroundings.  You can have them regardless of what is going on in your life and surroundings by simply choosing to rest in Him.
  • You have to be intentional as a parent to give each child what they need, but also need to rest in the Lord that He will show you what they need and what you need to do about it.
  • Children are a blessing and a reward - regardless of how they come into your family (through either giving birth or through adoption)
  • Children, regardless of their status (healthy, sick, developmentally delayed, etc.) are all fearfully and wonderfully made. 
I've read the first few verses of Psalm 127 in several versions to compare:

Contemporary English Version: 127:3 "Children are a blessing and a gift from the Lord"
The Message: "Don't you see that children are God's best gift?  The fruit of the womb His generous legacy?"
Common English Bible: "No doubt about it: children are a gift from the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a divine reward."

Then I did a dictionary search on a few words, and these are my favorite definitions for them:

Blessing: To consecrate or render holy, beneficial, or prosperous by means of a religious rite.  To make or pronounce holy.
(Holy: Dedicated or devoted to the service of God.  Dedicate: To offer fully in testimony of affection or respect.)
Reward: Something given or received in return for service, merit, or hardship.
Gift: Something given voluntarily without payment in return, as to show favor toward someone.

Hmmm...let's think about that...

Because God loves me and wants to give me good things, he gave me children to show His favor to me, and to make me offer myself fully to His service out of affection and respect for Him.

..............I'll let that sink in.

Yes, it might get crazy, loud, and frustrating in my house.  And if I give in to my human nature, I might just lose my mind.  But when I step back, take a deep breath and allow the Holy Spirit to overcome my flesh, I'll still lose my mind but I'll gain His in the process. 

 I'll have insight into the way the Father sees me in a way I never would have without children.  I see all the ways I fail and the ways He will never fail me or my children.  I see how He can overcome all of my mistakes and even use them for His glory and to point others to Himself.

That's how God chose to bless me.  He might not choose to bless you that way, but if you belong to Him, He will bless you in many other rich ways.  Do not look to having children as the only way to be blessed, but don't look at it as a burden, either.  See it for what it is.  If God does not have this is store for you, He will let you know.  If that's the case, then He has different plans for you - and as hard as that might be to hear right now, His plans are always the best ones.  

Be encouraged, sweet friends, whatever path you are on.  God loves you - you can rest in that :D

Monday, January 6, 2014

December House Update

Good grief, the holidays flew by!  B was off of work for 2 weeks and it was heavenly to have some adult interaction :D  While it still feels like we have a ridiculous amount of things to do around the house (which we totally do), at least we accomplished some big ones:

I finally painted the playroom bathroom.  You know, the poop cave?  Project Depoopification is completed!!

This was the hole where the towel bar was attached.  Inside is  one of those large wing anchor things :/  B patched it up for me.

Yes, I'm aware that the right corner of all my pictures is black - that's my old phone cover/wallet.  Obviously, I need a new one ;P

Original wall color to the left.  Our color on the right.  What the previous owners painted (i.e. poop brown) everywhere else.

Yeah - I wasn't about to mess with wires, so I just painted around the light ;P

The Kitchen:

This by FAR took the most time out of our projects.  I painted all the walls and stained the cabinets with General Finishes gel stain, a la this tutorial.  B added the handles, I need to go back and paint the screws black ;P  I'll get pictures of the cabinets with the doors back on soon - sorry, still trying to catch up after the holidays.

Yeah, while taping, I managed to bang the crap out of my head on the doorknob.  B went to Home Depot soon after for some other things and returned with this.  Punk...


Ahhh, all clean :)  We didn't tape off any of the baseboards because we will be replacing them anyway and it saved a bunch of time not having to do that.

Left - original color.  Right - one coat of java gel stain.  Center - two coats of gel stain

When the tutorial says to use hardcore kitchen gloves, it means it.  This is what happens when you get cheap and try to use just regular old throw away latex gloves.  And then your husband calls you "zombie fingers" for the next three days while it wears off.  Spare yourself and just use the stinkin' kitchen gloves.

When walking on countertops to stain your cabinets, perilously perched high above the ceramic tile floor and desperately grasping for a corner to hold on to, make sure that your stain-covered sock hand doesn't accidentally smack into the ceiling.  Otherwise, your house will also look like the ceiling pooped itself.

We pulled out the oven to stain these cabinets, and were greeted with this mass of burnt up chips...or something.  Mmmm, yummy :/

This is the detritus (or bird's nest - not sure which) that my husband found in the exhaust fan above the stove.  No wonder it didn't work!

The Staircase:

B painted the 18 foot staircase, giving me several heart attacks in the process.  But it's done!  Pictures to come soon.

Now that we've talked about what we accomplished successfully, let's just talk a second about how I screwed up the master bath.  Not only is the color wrong (like the color glows it's so bold), but the cabinets look like I stained them in the dark...while drunk.  Probably gonna have to redo that, too :/  AND, apparently the screws were made of a softer metal than the handles I was putting on, so the heads just screwed off of about 4 of them.  Did I know how to get them out?  No.  Did I want to ask anyone for help?  No.  Because I'm a loser.  So I moved the handles slightly to the side and drilled new holes, praying that the handles would cover the holes I made.  Boo.  So much for DIY awesomeness.  When we actually have any real money, I'm paying someone else to fix this junk.

Anyhoo, enough about that.  Here's some cuteness to end the post with, because who doesn't love cute little chubby-cheeked babies??

I just died of the cuteness.  For reals, yo.

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