Tip #10 Start planning for Christmas now!
First, I will start off by saying...In our home, we celebrate the birth of our Savior at Christmas time, but we also promote giving to each other. Small tokens of our thoughts and a gift to reflect that we care about each other is a part of our Christmas celebrations. (Along with a tree and lots of Christmas music!)
I have been married for 34 years, I have 6 children and 10 grand kids. I learned when I had two children to plan ahead for Christmas. My greatest example of being prepared for gift giving came from my Grandma Sue Nelson.
I was the oldest grand daughter of all the grand kids (My brother was the eldest), and there were 31 grand kids. Grandma made a gift for everyone in her family....seven children, their spouses, and 31 grand kids.
Do you think she started in December to prepare? Oh no! She worked on her gifts all year! There was an armoire in her room. You could watch the pile grow throughout the year. It wasn't until I was about 16 years old that I figured out her system. I figured out why my gift was always a little bit dusty. You see, my birthday was in January! Yes, she made our Christmas gift when she made our birthday gift...and yes, we all got a birthday present from her too! Did I mention that all her gifts were homemade at the time?
So, January was my birthday...and that was when she made my Christmas gift. A lot of the times, my gift matched whatever she had made me for my birthday, but other times she had items she made for everyone. For example, pillowcases with embroidered pictures AND our name on it!
I received many nice gifts. Homemade was awesome coming from Grandma! I received many pillow cases, I received a quilt, an afghan, a beautiful, silky night gown, a doll she made out of a special clay with a ruffly dress.
Grandma always kept busy. She got up early and had her house cleaned early so she could craft all day. She went through different phases...her machine embroidery days...and I mean with her regular sewing machine, later she did have a newer embroidery machine. She went through her knitting stage..with her hands and later, a machine, also. She went through her oil painting days, and her water color painting days in her older years. I have treasured paintings by my wonderful grandmother.
In the earlier years, she made other hand crafts also. I have a pin made from an animal cookie, painted and shellacked. I have a necklace, slippers, socks, shirts with embroidered designs on it.
Nowadays, it seems the homemade touch isn't as appreciated as it once was, but that is based on how much we work on that talent to perfect it, and what we teach our children to appreciate. Homemade has a hard time competing with hand held computer games. Who wants to sew when they can go shopping at the mall? It is a dying tradition.
But back to 'the plan ahead' topic.....I still plan ahead, even if all of my gifts are not homemade like grandma's. I don't always start in January...but I have a time or two! However, I do start by August by making a list of what I want to give.
Also, in our family, we don't buy things all year long. Christmas is that magical time when things we have needed or wanted might appear because someone in the family has been watching and listening.
I have my own stash. I pick things up on clearance, or buy them full price. I wrap them and have them ready, usually before December 1st.
I love planning ahead....the biggest reason I love it is...I am not in the stores in December!! December becomes a focus on the Savior and serving others. We have treasured memories of our family's 'Jesus Dinner' and our funny adventures with our 'Secret Santa' drop and run moments.
Enjoy the holidays by not having to rush around shopping and blowing the budget on last minute, quick spending. Planning ahead allows you to stick to a financial budget....I hated facing January with over due bills...never again! Plan ahead! Think, prepare, and enjoy the true meaning of Christmas with your family...in December.
****( I created a 'Christmas Planner' to help me stay organized when I start planning Christmas early. In my earlier days, I would find Christmas presents in June, because I didn't write it down or make note of where I put them! This book also has menus, recipes, Fun Christmas service ideas, charts to help you organize your gift giving.... and much more!)
Christmas Planner (Click on link to go to amazon) Colored print inside
Tip #9 September Holiday pre-cleaning.
Fall is coming...that means Holidays! So jump start your holiday cleaning. So many people do the big over haul right before Thanksgiving when all the relatives are coming. So start now instead!
Here are some of the fall clean up that usually gets done:
Of course, school has just started and maybe you are still frazzled about the new year. Well, take a deep breath...and a week off! Summer is over, kids are in school...and you deserve a few days of R and R! Read a book, have lunch with a friend and THEN....begin the holiday cleaning. Pick one item a week. The first one I think of is my Carpet.
I have Oatmeal colored carpet...yes, that means off white! I love it. It has been the best carpet ever! It hides the dirt So much better then the darker carpets. I also keep a can of Woolite Carpet Cleaner on hand. I spot clean it all year, but by the fall, the carpet needs a good cleaning.
Their are different types of carpet cleaning methods...I prefer steam cleaning for my carpet. The others just seem to wear out the carpet by swirling Chemicals into the fibers and then the dirt is drawn to those chemicals like a magnet! So good old fashioned hot water and a little detergent is my choice of cleaning. ( At the moment I own a Kirby Vacuum. It takes water and detergent and my carpet comes out very nice. I am very happy with the result.) But for professional cleaning...I choose steaming cleaning.
Other fall cleaning on my list:
- Clean under beds, ( Find those lost socks!)
- Turn mattresses, (Turning a mattress helps with the wear on your mattress, gets rid of the sag where your body lays.
- Dust all the ceiling fans,
- Clean the base boards, (perks up any room!)
- Clean the kitchen and bathroom floors on my hands and knees. (Use a bowl of dish detergent and water and a stiff brush and get the corners and deep grime off the floors. Feels like new flooring when I am done!)
Tip #8 ...Canning tips!
This time of year is Harvest time...Here are a few tips for those who like to preserve foods.
A)...This is more of a tip for after you have canned...after your have eaten your wonderful home preserved foods. Wash your bottles well as you empty them....Then fill them with water and add a drop of bleach...and Wa la! You have water storage containers! It also eliminates all those pesky bugs that fall into your empty jars and die or build webs as they are trying to figure out how to get out of the trap they have fallen into. You can start the next canning season with clean jars.
B)...Want to start canning but can't afford the equipment it takes? Start watching the thrift shops.
*You will need jars....depending on what you wish to can, will determine what size of jar you buy.
Jelly and jams are best in quarter pints, half pints and pints.
* You have tools that you will need for handling the hot foods and bottles:
- Ladle, lid lifter ( it has a magnet at the end for picking up the lids from the hot water.)
-The jar tongs...very nice to have so you don't have to stick your fingers in the hot water.
-Funnel, clean clothes, and lids. ( Make sure the lids not rusty or bent--they will not seal properly if they are damaged.)
-You will need to buy new lids each time. The rubber seal should only be used once.
- You will need a water bath canner with the rack inside.
C)..There is also a pressure canner that can be purchased. If you get this used, you will need to have the rubber seal checked out at the extension office in your county. They should have the ability to check your lid for the proper seal and pressure.
D)..Find a good canning book. 'Ball' or 'Kerr' has great books. They make canning jars.
Also learn about what can be water bathed and what should be pressure canned. An older person in your neighborhood might be a source of information....if they were raised canning. The internet has a ton of information these days. Friends are a great source, along with your mom or grandma too!
Canning is very rewarding...a lot of work and maybe not less expensive, but it is a great way to preserve food that may waste other wise.
E)...Items that can be water bathed:
Peaches, pears, cherries, apples, pie filling, jams and jellies, applesauce, pear sauce, tomatoes, salsa, jalapenos and other peppers, pickled items: cucumber, asparagas, green beans, chili peppers, mix hot peppers and carrots and onions, Relish, some chutneys,....etc.....(Read about it!!)
*** Blanching and freezing foods is an option also!!
Tip #7 Cob webs are back! Summer bugs...take care of them!
I hate bugs. And summer time brings out the spiders, earwigs, ants and more.
Those tiny ants that get in the house are so annoying. We haven't had them for years, but for some reason we do this year.
First, in the early spring and first week of June, we spray the out side of the house...window edges, doorways, and base of house near the ground. We use "Home Defense". It works great. We also spray again in July...just to keep the house protected.
Tips for ants:
What to do if the pest get in anyway? Some don't want to use sprays. My grandmother swore by Cinnamon. Looks messy, but works. Putting it in the path of those pesky ants covers the trail of the ants. Or you may use a solution of half white vinegar and half water. Spray their path to block the scent of others following.
If you don't mind the chemical sprays...keep the back spray way from foods. We have used Home Defense in the house, but I have found that Clorox Clean Up spray works great too. It kills the ants on impact and covers the the scent as well.
Tips for wasp:
Hang clusters of rosemary and peppermint. (They build there nests in the corners of our porch and in the kids outside play toys! They are painful!
Wasp spray with a long distance spray nozzle is the standard for us! We have way too many. And we want to keep them away from the grandkids.
Tips for after bitten: Ice and vinegar!. Of course, calamine works wonders. We also give our kids an antihistamine like Dimeatapp or Benadryl. Allergic reactions can cause a lot of problems. So we are extra careful around our house.
Tips for houseflies:
Keep trash cans cleaned! Disinfect when you clean and then sprinkle borax in the bottom. Wards off flies. You don't want the larvae hatching in the bottom of your trash cans!...inside or out!!
Tips for Fruit flies:
We love all the fresh fruit of the summer, but we don't always catch the rotting piece that becomes home for those nasty little flies. One way to get rid of them is to put an inch of fruit juice or sugar water in the bottom of a jar and they will be drawn to it and drown...No humane way to be rid of those little bugs!!
Tips for silverfish:
Fix any leaky faucets. Caulk around the plumbing under the sink--block any openings near the plumbing. The little pests are attracted to moisture.
I'm not a fan of earwigs, but i have learned that they are the bugs that clean up after the other bugs, plus they eat up the debris left from gardening and the remains of other bugs. They also the predator of insects larvae...such as aphids and snails.
Tips to be rid of them: Keep your counters and floor cleaned. Get rid of rotting fruits or left over debris from gardening. Don't keep it in the house to begin with! Clean vegetables and fruits outdoors before bringing into the kitchen counter.
Clear away cob webs weekly during the summer....keep away from door and windows on the outside and the inside. Destroy their shelter and food source and they will move on!
Summer time is has many types of dangerous spiders. Learn to identify them. Knowledge is a great power and a safety tool!
Tip #6 Clean those cobwebs and dust bunnies!
One of the things always left to "When I have time" is those clusters of cob webs.
So every 3 months is the best way to handle those..if you tend to forget like me..other wise..once a month is great! (Smiling!)
Here are other forgotten cleaning spots.
*Tops of door ways
*Tops of book shelves-- take all the books out and dust the books.
* Those decorative shelves in the kitchen
* Under beds
* Curtains.--run them through the heat free cycle in the dryer and blow out all that dust.
* Don't forget the corners and those walls.--Wrap a dish towel around a broom and dust those walls and corners.
*Don't forget the kitchen junk drawer.
*My medicine cabinet needs organized by now too.
A bigger project: Clean the carpets, vinyl and tile! Why wait for a holiday when life is rushed. Do it now at the beginning of summer and feel confident inviting friends over for BarBques and game nights!
Tip #5.....Rearranging furniture or refurbishing.
Part of spring cleaning is rearranging furniture. My grandmother used to amaze me. Each time we went to her house, it was re-arranged! She loved to do it. When I asked her once why she did it. She said its a good way to deep clean. She also was into refurbishing furniture, so not only did she move it around, it would be covered in a whole new fabric on the sofa or chairs. I loved it! In my early married years I followed her example.
I enjoy rearranging. I found that grandma's idea of a thorough cleaning involved moving furniture- so while you are moving it--rearrange it! It is fun to check out each room and decide where to move it all.
I used to haunt thrift shops, before they became "Antique shops". I found great deals. You can still find good deals at yard sales and some thrift shops. You can face lift an older item with paint, or a good cleaning. If the item has wood, "Old English" makes things look like new! Toss in a little creative thinking and your home can look completely different by the end of the month!
Tip #4.... April! Spring Cleaning!!
This is the time of year that I need to clean out the clutter. For several years, I lived by one strict rule. If I hadn't used it in 2 years...it went out! I used to be big into yard sales. I gave them and I went to them.....I don't get out like I used too. But I do love a good yard sale!
#1- Back to the topic. 2 years...if you haven't used it--its out! EXCEPT for a limited box or tub that keeps my mementos...The item has to be very special to belong in that bucket. Besides...out with the old and then you can find one or two items new things to redecorate with. A new item here or there is just what I need during spring cleaning.
#2- Clean each room wall to wall. Take it all out...then put back only the things you want. or wait for that perfect chair or desk you have been wanting. Don't rush out to buy one...wait...you will find just the one. While the room is empty...clean walls, or even paint, if its time for it. Then dust every shelf, bed stand or piece of furniture that comes back into the room with Pledge. If you have real wood use Old English wood varnish. It makes things look brand new and it feeds the wood, gives it that drink of freshness to give it new life. It comes in darks or lights according to the tone color your wood.
#3-Wash curtains and clean windows. It feels so good to have a clean house!
#4 EXTRA FUN-- while you are cleaning out your room consider a new bedspread..make one or purchase one. Spring has good sales on bedding. Don't forget those new sheets also!
#5 MORE FUN--buy a new shower curtain, bath mat, and buy new towels. A new fluffy towel feels great and brightens a bathroom.
Tip #3 Personal Cleaning Charts
If you are finding it hard to keep up with the house and everything you have on your plate...then write it down. Make a chart!
Children Cleaning Charts:
Use a chart, especially for the children. They can see what they need to do each day after school. If you use it consistently, I promise it will help organize your home.--plus teach your kids responsibility, and that is very important!
Homemade Chart ideas:
A> Draw a cone with scoops of ice cream,one scoop per day of the week. Color in the scoops when a job is done. In the end everyone goes for ice cream!
B> Draw a circle and make a pepperoni pizza. When they have all circles colored in for the assigned chores and when it is filled...go eat pizza together.
C>Or just make a regular squared chart. write assignments in them boxes. Use stickers or colored markers to check mark the job done.The trick is to be Consistent!
Household cleaning charts:
Plan what you will clean each day instead of roaming your house aimlessly. Do you find yourself starting a cleaning job, but then get sidetrack and leave the job to start another and by the end of the day, only half jobs are done-- and the house seems disorganized more then ever?
** Make beds every day.
Monday: Clean the kitchen-wash dishes, wipe counters and table, wipe down fronts of appliances, sweep and mop the floor. Do 2 loads of laundry--wash and fold. Pick up living room, vacumn, dust.
Tuesday: Clean all bathrooms. Wash bath mats and towels. Do dishes and wipe counter and table. Quick pick up of shoes and bags in all rooms. Take out trash.
Wednesday: Clean bedrooms, dust and vacuum. Wash sheets. Do dishes, Clean out fridge. Quick pick up of living room.
Thursday: Clean all floors,clear away a junk pile. Clean kitchen, sweep and mop. Wash whites, and do two more loads of laundry. Quick pick up of living room and quick dust job.
Friday: Friday morning off until 1:00. Then do a quick pick up of all rooms.
Make a menu:
Making a menu helps organize shopping lists, and helps in organizing your daily meals. Planned meals are healthier and your time is used more wisely.
Each year I create a new "Planner" for myself. I put them out there for sale just for fun, but the books are created to fit my life. I have calendars, places for planning menus, cleaning charts, and birthday charts, etc. I stay organized when I write things done. Hope some of my suggestions help you!
Find my planners on Amazon. (Click here)
Tip #2 Organizing the house.
Let's start with the bedrooms.
I am so glad I learned to make my bed. It was my haven-- From school...from the world around me...It was my place to relax at the end of the day-- and now as an adult, it has been my haven from kids. (Tip for moms with young children. If you don't shut the door, they will never look for you there at the beginning of the "Hunt for Mom" moment, so you ended up with a few minutes of alone time.)
I have always started my cleaning in the bedroom. Clean it first and when you come back to it later, you can lie down and take a break. I also started first with the bedroom because I knew I wouldn't stop until the living room was clean.
1. Start with your bedroom. --You can't expect your kids to clean their room if they see yours is a wreck. House rules should apply to everyone!
2. Help your kids clean their room if it is a total tornado. A wall to wall mess for young children is overwhelming. Help them get it put together and organized. (One warning: Little kids do not like to see toys thrown away, so you might even clean it without them to start off new.) Then explain to them they will be keeping it clean every day. The biggest thing is to now strive to keep it clean.
3. Now to keep it clean: Set the rules together. Suggestions: 1) pick up the room every day in the evening--All toys, All clothes off the floor and the hamper. (It worked best for me to give each child their own laundry basket in each room.) and last, but not least....make the beds. Making the bed every morning should be part of getting dressed for the day.
A bedroom should be a place of peace and rest. It should be a place they want to go. So consider not using it for "discipline time"....use a time-out wall, or chair...or even the toilet with the lid down, of course.)
Now the big question here is "How do I get my kids to clean?" I used incentive charts. I sang songs. I offered treats for when they were done. There was no video games or TV going at the time of cleaning. Also, I worked with them. (Especially when they are young.)
We had a rule that they could not dump every toy they owned. They could get one or two out and had to pick that up before getting out more. Sounds hard? No. Kids like to be organized, but it takes an adult to set the rules and follow through with the rules.
It takes training for little kids, but it can be done. You, as a parent, must be consistent. Firm, but not mean. No yelling. Just be organized. Smile and compliment efforts. Of course, there are days they don't want to clean. Well, at our house, if it became an ugly ordeal to pick up their things, the 'black trash bag' came out, toys went in, and they got them back when they were ready to follow the rules.
....and "It is never too late to teach a dog new tricks." If you do not have good cleaning habits, then start now. Kids learn from example. And believe me when I say "The home can be a refuge from the world." A clean home is a happy home. Its a place the kids will want to come home too. Happy cleaning!
Tip #1 Organize yourself.
As a mother and homemaker, a household cannot run smoothly unless the person in charge has her act together! No pressure with that statement! But it is so true. As a mom, if I was sleeping in, facing the day in my pajamas still at 9:00 or 10:00, my day was already in a mess! Years ago, I read a lesson from a Relief Society Manual from my church that was directed to Mothers. That lesson became my homemaker's bible from that point one...and each year I reread it to keep myself motivated. One important concept taught was to be up and dressed before your children.
#1 Be up showered and ready to face the day before you wake your children.
* Have early morning quiet time and rejuvenate your spirit as well as your body.
>Read my scriptures and say my prayers.
>Shower and dress (Do hair and make-up)
To achieve this goal, I had to get up an hour before the family. I would get up, put on my exercise clothes, read my scriptures for 15 minutes, Pray--It was wonderful to pray without little children interrupting. Just to have that quiet time was so uplifting to me!
Then I would go walking for 30 minutes...just me...all alone. Later, after the children were off to school or in our case ready for school (we switched to Homeschooling 12 years into our marriage.) At 9:00 the kids and I would exercise together. Even the 3 year old! A very important concept to teach your children while they are young!
I was up at 6am...sometimes 5:30 am. I would do my "Thing", then I would get the family up at 7pm. We had a moment of family time...read scriptures together and prayed together as a family --took us about 15 minutes then the kids and their dad would get dressed while I started breakfast. 15 minutes later we all sat around the table eating together.
**note--there was a time when I got up at 5am because teenagers had to leave the house by 7:00 am.
I promise you, if you can master this --your day will go 100% better! Your energy level will change, You're attitude will change for the better. Mind you...you may need a power nap about 2pm....take it!! Or if the baby goes down at 1:00...you can too. A brief nap can also give you a second boost of energy. I actually found myself tired at 9:00 pm. and the whole family went to bed on time. It was great.
Good luck with your New Year's Resolutions! It's a New Year...with a new beginning! Come back next month for more "Organizing Ideas and Tips!"
December brings out the homemaking part of me for sure...new decorations to make and old ones to dust off, baking of holiday cookies and candies, quilts, gift making...so much to do-- so little time!! Hopefully by now, I have my Christmas Shopping done! I hate nothing worse then going to the stores in December!
It started when I had two of my six children. I realized there really wasn't a lot of money in the December pay-checks. I had tried for three years to buy in December and it was stressful and tearful for me as a mother. SO, I started in November the next year..and moved it up until I started in August! Christmas isn't about how expensive the gift is for me, but it does take good financial planning. We do a big "Santa" gift on Christmas morning and small things the kids have asked for the rest of it..and of course the stocking stuffers.
I plan ahead by listening for things the kids are interested in. We weren't in the habit of buying something every time the kids whined in the store. They learned early that we can go to a store without buying a toy every time we walked in.
So the pile of gifts begin early in the fall. I used a five gift rule...too much? Not for us, as I said, we didn't buy things all year long. Birthdays and if the kids had earned their own allowances...then Christmas was the time of receiving major gifts.
Okay...five gifts. One or two things on their 'wan't list....Something to wear, something to read, and a game to share with the family or something to help add to their sports of choice ( ex: new Tennis Racket)... and their stocking gifts.
Educational/ mental, exercise, family/sharing, and a personal want. And sometimes something Mom thinks would be a good idea for them to have! (Wink)
This is the time of the year that I begin to preparing for my "Holiday Craft Boutique" that I host in my home for the past 9 years. I clear out my living room and create a shop. The dining room table is covered in baked goods. This year I am holding it that last week of October! Wed-thru-Sat. November will be saved to spend the last two weeks with my son before he leaves on his mission.
The greatest thing to teach a child is how to work!
The time to teach is past....when they are leaving home.
This is the time when a mom says, "Did I teach him everything he needs to know? Is my son prepared for what he will face?"
Well, I guess we can't prepare them for everything, but we can give them a basic foundation. A good foundation starts by teaching your child how to work and doing a good job at what he/she has been asked to do. It will allow them to think for themselves, and teach them to make good decisions. I will pray for my son each day...just as I still pray for his other siblings that have left home before him. He is an awesome young man. I have faith in him. He lives a life of integrity and I know whatever he faces will help him become a better person for it. I know he will work hard...because he did at home.
It is never to late to teach a child!
Begin now...when they are young it is easiest to establish good habits. So start now! A five-year-old can wiggle his hand back and forth...he is able to dust, take out bathroom trash and fold wash cloths.
What if they are older? Well, you are responsible for teaching your children...if you haven't yet, then get to it! New habits can be formed by repeating something every day for 21 days. Rotate a chore chart for a month, even two weeks or a week! And progress can be achieved IF you are consistent. But don't forget! They have to be taught first to do it...don't assume they understand how a chore is to be done.
Many principles taught in learning to do a chore.
What can you teach your children to help prepare them to leave home? My main advice is....Teach them to work. Teach them to be accountable for whatever they have been asked to do. There is so much more you can teach a child....teach your children to cook, to understand finances by giving them a small allowance. You can talk to them about honesty and making sound moral decisions. So much to think about...but if you teach them to work....there are many concepts taught with that principle. For instance, honesty- they can learn honesty by reporting that they did the job and did it correctly. Integrity-being able to leave your child working at a job and have them work well when no one is watching over them.
How can you do this? By giving them regular house hold chores, checking on their work, providing opportunity to do the job well, and then have them account (or report) in the end what they have accomplished what they have been asked to do.
It may be a tough job for a mom in the beginning to teach a child to work. But if you are consistent, work with them to teach them in the beginning, and then allow them to make a mistake (without blowing up at them)...kids will learn. Kids will do well if encouraged and praised on a job well done.
Be firm and consistent, teach them by example, and use love and kindness when you follow up on what they have accomplished.
Canning season is in full swing!!!
We have been blessed with loaded peach trees this year. I have plenty of canned peaches and jam from last years harvest, so I had to branch out a bit. I found some awesome recipes to try.
I made Peach Honey...yum! Mixed with orange and lemon, cooked to a beautiful honey colored syrup. Delicious!
Next, I canned Peach Salsa...much to the dismay of my Arizona hot salsa eating crowd. I got a lot of turned up noses! So it may just be... more for me! It tastes great! Then on to my first time ever attempt at Peach Jalapeno Jelly! Totally amazed at it. It is soooo good!
I love when I try new things and it turns out well...and tasting good! haha!
This is the best part of being a homemaker! The creative side of life! Making something to feed your family, to bring joy as we sit around the kitchen table tasting mom's newest concoctions! It is just one of the greatest times of life! SO branch out...try something new and involve your family...you never know! A new family tradition might come out of it!
Change is coming...it is in the air! Summer changes to fall....summer clothes is replaced with new clothes for school. A little bit of late spring cleaning sometimes kicks in. All the summer schedules are shifted to get ready for early bedtimes. The last big summer activity is planned...and we are all ready for something different! I know I am!
Along with that comes the fall harvest! Gardens are starting to give lots of produce to the point the kitchen is overflowing. Fruit trees are bearing fruit and soon it will be time for canning peaches and pears.
Here is a fun canning recipe for Jelly if you are in the mood to can now!
Fruit punch jelly!
Follow the instructions on the Sure- Jell box for grape jelly. You will need:
jelly jars, with new lids and rings. Your choice of favorite juice and granulated sugar. Other items include a large pot and a canning kettle. (Borrow from a friend if you don't have one.)
Over high heat.
Measure the liquid. Add the Sure Jell. and 1 tsp butter to control the foam. Bring to boil-- stirring constantly, After it comes to boil, add the sugar amount for the grape jelly recipe. Bring to boil again. Boil for 2 minutes. Skim off the foamy part and then put hot jelly into warm jars with warm seals. Put on rings and seal. Water bath for 5 minutes and let set for 24 hours.
** You can make jelly out of Cranberry juice, fruit punch, grape, or any other fun juice that you enjoy.
July is a fun family time around our home.
The best part of being a Happy Homemaker is the time spent with family!
4th of July is one of our favorites. The day begins with family and ends with family! This year we have a special treat! My sister, Barbara, and four of her 8 children are here...and all girls! We are so glad they are here!
Our 4th of July started with breakfast and then off to visit My oldest daughter, Jessica. Our son, Martin and his wife and new baby, Emery, joined us. We had a "Picnic in the Park" with Jessica's church family. Fried chicken and potluck dishes, watermelon, and snow cones! Then after playing in the park and just enjoying each other's company, we headed home--Jessica's family too!. We played "Ticket to Ride-European", had a hamburger and hot dog bar-b-que and then drove ten minutes to Wilder for the fireworks!! It was great.......it was about family!
We miss all of our family who couldn't be with us for the holidays!
Summer time is here! "OH! What do you do in the Summer time?" What to do with the kids while they are out of school? How many of you are planning the trips to the pool, the baseball games, swim teams, and any other summer activities that involves the family going in opposite directions. I say.....think again.
Why drive yourself crazy with a schedule busier then the one you just left behind from the school year. Why not make it a true family summer time??
Here are things to do that don't involve uniforms and someone else's schedule. Gather your family around you and plan together things to do as a family. You may be surprised at the ideas your kids may have!
Trips to the park.--play frisbee, croquet, badminton, etc.
Have a family water fight (so much fun!)
Trip to the zoo
movie at a drive-in
Lay under the stars at night
Read books together ( and separate-can't pass up reading opportunities!)
Learn a new craft together
teach your kids a craft that you know--cooking, sewing, crochet, embroidery, woodworking,etc...
swimming in a creek in the mountains!
swimming in a lake
visit your relatives--do service for them while you are there.
check out places of history in your area
..................what ever it is...do it as a family!
Easy cookie recipe: Cake box cookies!
1 cake mix (dry mix)
Pre-heat oven 350.
Mix ingredients. Drop 1" mounds onto ungreased cookie sheet. (You may smash them with a floured bottom of a glass.)
Cook 7 to 9 minutes. Cool and eat!
**You can have fun with a cake mix cookies. Frost them and add sprinkles.
** Start with a yellow cake mix and add to it!...
1/2 cup of oatmeal
1 tsp almond extract
**Use different flavor cakes for different flavored cookies. Personal favorite--cherry chip!! Mmmm!!
Chocolate, lemon, strawberry, party sprinkles, cherry chip!
May is for Mother's....
meet my mother.
Dorothy Nelson Johnston....I would love to share other pictures through the years, but she had an aversion to pictures. (Big Smiley face if she is reading this!)
My mom....She taught me everything I know. I was able to be a happy homemaker because of the great things I learned from my mother. She taught me to cook and to sew. I learned canning and bread making skills from her. She taught me to be a loving mother from her own example. She sang with us, read to us. ( My love of books came from a mother who read all the time!) We camped, we played games. My memory is full of happy times growing up in my family because of my parents...because of my mom. I love you, mama! I miss you every day.... I live too far away to visit the way I would like to. Thank you for helping me be the person I am today. Happy Mother's Day!
April is here! Spring time fun! Easter has come and gone, but the one thing that it brings to my kitchen is EGGS!! I thought I would share a few recipes with you.
Boiled eggs: pot of water, placed 6 to a dozen into the water, making sure they are covered by at least a half inch of water. Bring to boil. From boiling point, set timer for 4 minutes and continue to let the eggs boil. When the timer goes off. Place a lid on the pan and set it off the heat for 10 minutes. Eggs continue to cook in the hot water. At 10 minutes. Drain off hot water and rinse eggs several times with cold water and then fill the pan with cold water for another 5 to 10 minutes. Peel while warm and the peelings will come off easier. If you want to make the deviled eggs later. Refrigerate eggs. When you want to peel them, then run them under hot water again. Then peel.
Recipe for deviled eggs:
Boiled eggs peeled. Cut in half and gently scoop out the cooked yolks (the yellow part) into a small bowl. Save the cooked whites to refill with the filling.
Add the following ingredients to cooked yolks to make the filling:
1/4 cup of mayonnaise
1/2 tsp of mustard
3 tablespoons of sweet relish
salt and pepper to taste.
Spoon filling into the cooked white egg pockets and sprinkle with paprika.
Ideas on how to be creative with the filling.
A. place filling in a ziplock bag. snip a corner with scissors and piped the filling back into the egg white.
B. Use a cake decorating tip and decorating bag--the large star shapes makes a decorative look.
I make my potato soft and almost like mashed potatoes, but not so mushy. There are a few chunks, but not hard pieces.
I skin my potatoes and cut them into quarters. Put them in a large pot with plenty of water to cover the potatoes. Let boil until you can stick a fork into them and they fall apart.
Drain the potatoes and place them in a large bowl with plenty of room for stirring. I run a knife through them to cut them up into smaller pieces before adding the other ingredients.
*6 to 8 boiled eggs, diced.
*1 to 2 cups of Mayo (According to how creamy you want it to be.)
* A bundle of diced green onions (5 to 6)
*1 cup of sweet relish
* 1 T of mustard (More if you want more color and like mustard potato salad.)
*salt and pepper to taste.
** to add color: add one jar of pimentos, or three chopped celery, or grate a carrot into the salad. --or all three! And of course the traditional color: sprinkle with paprika.
It's time for a picnic!!
A friend of mine suggested that I post more cooking tips for those still learning! I would love to! I love to cook! Believe me, I wasn't very good when I first got married. I honestly couldn't do much more then grilled cheese sandwiches and scrambled eggs.
In college, I took cooking classes and the teacher told me that I was a "Boring cook" and felt sorry for my husband! That really hurt my feelings! BUT I did learn and now I am very confident in my cooking...and I enjoy it! So for the next few post I am going to post cooking ideas and tips.
** I added my "Green" Menu below and a recipe to the "Happy Leprechaun Month" section.
Quick Peach cobbler
Preheat oven at 350.
Melt 1/2 cube of butter in a 8x8 pan while you are mixing:
1 cup of ***Bisquick
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of milk
(Optional) 1 tsp of cinnamon into the batter ingredients.
Mix and then pour mixture over melted butter.
Next, open a can of peaches-save juice. Place peaches throughout batter. Pour half of the peach juice over the top of the peaches and then generously sprinkle with cinnamon.
Cook for 25 minutes. The cobbler should be moist when you serve it up--hot and tasty!
Recipe can be doubled and put into a 9x13 pan. This is what I do all the time!
***I never buy Bisquick. So instead use 1 cup of flour, a dash of salt and 1 tsp of baking powder.
( Normally,if you were going to make your own substitute for Bisquick, You would need to add at least 2 tbsp of oil or work in 1/4 cup of shortening. Especially if you were making biscuits. But for the cobbler, I leave out the oil because of the butter.)
March--Happy Leprechaun Month!!
Have I said that we love holidays in our home? We sure do! Waiting for that tricky leprechaun brings the kid out in all of us!
That little green man comes in and tints our milk green and we have fun making a "Green" dinner! Fun stuff! Great memories!!
Traditions are very important! Make your days special by sharing your traditions with your children. You can even create new ones together!
Our green menu:
*Chicken Broccoli Bake Cooking tip: Chicken dishes should be cooked at 400.
Green mashed potatoes You can create your own chicken dish combos.
Green homemade rolls Potato and carrots, broccoli and onion, colored bell
Green jello peppers and onions, zucchini and red pepper.
Green punch Sprinkle it all with olive oil, season w/ salt and garlic.
Green jello cake Cook all dishes for 1 hour at 400 degrees.
add a green salad.
*Chicken Broccoli Bake
Preheat oven 400
Prepare 9x13 pan with 2 Tbsp of oil, and 1/2 cube of butter. Melt in pan. Place
6 Boneless chicken breast( season with season salt and garlic) and cook for 25 minutes. Drain.
Mix 1 can of Cream of mushroom soup plus one can of water, 1 Tbsp of Worcestershire sauce, and 1 tsp of thyme. Take chicken from oven and Add one bag of frozen broccoli (spears or cut). Spread over top of chicken. Pour mixture over the chicken and broccoli. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve with a salad. Delicious!
( You may also used bone-in chicken pieces...Breast, thighs, or legs. Just added five minutes to the first cooking time.)
**I tried putting food coloring in the chicken one year, to make it green. It looked disgusting and slimy! I decided to never "Slime" my chicken again! It looked too nasty to eat! haha!!
Children...I love children.....and educating them!
For the past 18 years I have homeschooled my children. I am currently in the process of cleaning out the school shelves. My last one started high school this year. I won't be schooling any one in the early grades now. Yes, I have grandkids..I will save a few books back for them.
I had the greatest experience teaching my kids. But even before I started homeschooling and my older kids were in the first years of public school, there was much that I was responsible for, much that I needed to teach my children, long before they entered a school building.
** They learn how to speak to others at home...polite words such as "Please" and "Thank you".
** They learned how to be friends with their siblings... Hitting was not allowed. We encouraged them to play together and to share their toys.
** They learned when it was important to sit still and when and where it was appropriate to run and play...loud voices and throwing balls were for outside.
** They learned about God and about our Savior Jesus Christ...they were taught of their divine nature.
**They learned about family...and how important their part was as a brother or sister. They learned that everyone worked together.They learned to respect each other as individuals.
**They learned to be organized...they learned to make their bed in the morning and to put their laundry in the hamper at night as they got ready for bed.
**They learned that their mother loved them far more then anything in the world....things were not more important, habits were not more important then my children, my own wants and needs were often put on hold because they were my children.
**My children learned that education was important because I read to them....I helped them see how exciting it would be to read and write, by sharing with them my own love of education.
It is not the schools job to mold your children into who they are or who they will become. It is not the schools job to teach them how important they are in this world. It is your job!
Happy New Year! 2016!! Isn't this so amazing! When I was a kid I could not imagine the year 2000. Haha. Of course, shows like "Back to the Future" had way more foresight then I did. SO here we are... a new year. Its that time again. Time to set those resolutions. I have one. I just want to be a good mom! That has always been my goal since I was...a kid!
I am exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up...a mother. Of course, I'm still trying to figure out if I am doing it right. Some days feels like.. "Yes, I got this!" then others are... "Dang, I am never gonna get this mother thing figured out!"
I had a wonderful mom. Creative, musically talented, patient. We didn't yell and holler in our house. We didn't hit each other. (I don't know how she did that!) We learned to say 'please' and 'thank you'. We learned to think of others above ourselves. ( I hope I am still doing that one!) We spent a lot of time together as a family... they are my best memories! Above all, we prayed, we were taught good morals, ...to want to make choices pleasing to my Heavenly Father. God came first... always.
The biggest question is...did I pass those traits on to my own children? Are they learning to care for each other, to be courteous in their dealings with others. Do they want to live a life pleasing to God?
I will add one more thing I want my children to know. I want them to understand that people make mistakes...and its okay. Life can still go forward. We get up when we are down, we still love one another, help one another, and give service and support to one another. No one is perfect.
My mother taught me about the atonement of our Savior. He forgives...God forgives...we can forgive ourselves and each other....and those around us not in our family unit. It is part of life to make a mistake and still have God's love in our life. His is unconditional Love. A gift to be treasured above all else. We have the gift of Jesus Christ sacrifice so that we may return to live with him...and our families.
Make this New Year's Resolution to be one of Love, Forgiveness, and New Beginnings!
That is my favorite part of New Years...a time to renew...to begin again!
Hope you had an awesome Thanksgiving...and now....Merry Christmas!
This is my favorite time of the year....I think I have said that before! But it is true. This is the time of year that is set aside for thinking of others. The whole year is a time for serving others, but this time of year brings it out even more.
When was the last time you actually stopped and thought of someone else's desire and needs. It isn't always a 'thing' either. Sometimes all is needed is a hug and or just say the words "I love you".
My kids are asking me what I want for Christmas...honestly? I can't think of one 'thing' I need! I would love more hugs, more kind words, more special moments of being thought of beyond the...."Mom! What's for dinner?" I have great kids, and they do help without fussing. We have a good time when we are together. I just don't need anything but a happy day with them!
Laughing, singing around the piano, sitting together watching the 2 year old try to speak. That is the purest joy there is! Family time!! That is all I need for Christmas! My Family.
October is a great month....its the beginning of all the wonderful Family Holidays! Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas!!
And it means one thing to me TRADITION!! I love family traditions. Dressing up for Halloween is tradition...no we don't go in for the gory costumes. We celebrate the fun of spending time together. In the past, we put on a party...food, games, and friends.
Thanksgiving is another day of tradition. We get together to enjoy a turkey dinner to celebrate our gratitude of home, health and family... and this great country that we live in. Along with that, I make everyone's favorite pie!...It's tradition!
Christmas is next. We begin December with our family's "Jesus Dinner". We dress as the nativity, take pictures, and eat a meal such as the one Christ may have eaten...we read from the Christmas story in Luke 2, and speak of the Savior's life with our children. No gift goes under the tree until we focus on the true meaning of Christmas first. We do swap gifts as part of the tradition...we even speak of Santa Claus....We talk about where the tradition came from... of the man who originally snuck into homes to leave gifts in the children's sock's drying on the hearth. We teach that it is better to give then receive and focus on the other person.
What are your family traditions??? It is never too late to start a new one!!
Happy fall....Happy holidays....Happy family time!!
September.... I seem to have missed a month. Life was busy with changes in our family. My 3rd child got married. He has been dating his pretty new wife for almost a year and they announced they were getting married...in 2 weeks. So we called family...several actually made it up from Arizona...that was SO wonderful to have my oldest son and his family here.-- and next we are having a reception to help celebrate their new life together. Our family is changing!
Change is my theme this month....life brings change. I have homeschooled for 18 years now...and my youngest 14 year old choose to go to high school this year...that was a big change for her. She is learning much about change...and that sometimes change isn't always what you hoped it would be. She wanted to have the experience...and she is having a new experience!
Some changes are permanent, some are just moments in life. She may stay in public school, she may not... what matters is that she appreciates the moment she has. Learn from it, use it to make wiser choices for changes that may come later in life.
She has passed her placement tests with flying colors...that is always a good thing to know. She has learned that what she has been doing was good!
Validation that what you have been striving to achieve has come to pass...my child learned from me and has excelled in several areas above her classmates. It is good to know that what you have been striving for has been successful
One lesson learned is... if it is working...don't fix it! Change isn't always necessary...if what you are doing is the right thing...keep doing it!
My home page writing is about how much I love change...now I say, somethings may not need to change if it is positive, uplifting, and helping you to achieve your goals...if it is still working...keep going! Change your clothes, change your furniture...but some things don't have to change...yet! At some point...change is inevitable.
Happy 4th of July...spend time teaching your children patriotic songs. Can they say The Pledge of Allegiance? Do they know who our founding fathers are? Do you know who they are? If you don't teach them...who will? Little is taught in our schools today. It is important that our children understand the greatness of our country. They are the future. They ones who will protect our rights when we are too old and feeble to stand.
Check out my home page. (Click on the link when you are done reading my message.)
"Some days there should only be music."
Enjoy the quiet moment alone with some beautiful music. As mothers, we need to fill our empty bucket at the well often. Then we will be able to meet the needs of others. Make time for yourself....it's important!
Summer time is here. School is out and the kids are home...now what? Time for making some summer time fun. Here are some of the things I have done to help my kids have a great summer of fun and learning.
I encourage learning...especially reading. I organized a cousin summer reading program. The Goal was to read every day. The kids could pick whatever book they wanted and there was different fun goals. One was Pizza! I handed out papers with the shape of the pizza divided up in wedges and small circles representing pepperoni's. For the chapters and pages part of it. For Little kids it was the entire book. At the end we all met and prizes were award to who had read the most in different ages break down. The one that they all remember the most is the Ice cream! For every five books you read you earned a scoop of ice cream, so many chapters ( or every fifth book for the younger kids) earned a topping of you choose. My oldest daughter and my nephew were our top readings that year, they were about 12. They had so many scoops of ice cream we had to use a large mixing bowl and the toppings make the ice cream bright and colorful....and they both ate so much they got sick! They didn't want to do ice cream after that. They all opted to do pizza and the pepperoni's after that.
I also will find workbooks the age level of each child and staple an envelop in the back with a five dollar bill. However! I learned it is better to put a coupon in that envelop then the real thing, because one year there were a few workbooks that weren't finished all the way and several months later we found the money right before I threw the 'used books' away!
We have treasure boxes that they earned points from doing chores, reading, helping with siblings...then they used their points to purchase items from the treasure box: jump ropes, frisbees, card games, water guns.
We also planned summer parties once a month for the teenagers. Bring the fun home and have a great time planning with your kids! Water volleyball, water balloon fights, slip and slide bowling, ( 2 liter pop bottles at the end of a slip and slide, slide head first!) fire pit cookout in the back yard, movie and pizza nights. Let them create their own homemade pizza in teams. For young girls, decorate flip-flops and let them paint their toenails. So much more fun to plan together!
Find a calendar and make your plans with your family! Let them have fun helping. Set the dates...and don't cancel!
Twelve Steps to a Happier Home
Start the day with a minty fresh smile!
2. Motivate your spirit. Next step, begin your day by reading scriptures--or something spiritual and uplifting.
3. Pray--speak to the one who loves you. The one who knows all things. Communicate and then listen.
4. Make your bed. Start your day with order and then moved forward.
5. Shower--be clean and refreshed! Put on clean clothes and make up. Look great! Feel great!
6. Eat a good breakfast. Skipping breakfast causes energy loss and fatigue...and grumpy people! Share your meal with your family! Make them a great breakfast to help their day go well, also.
7.Exercise. It kicks the happy chemical into gear in your brain! Start with 15 minutes!
(Those last three steps could be interchanged. Exercise, shower, eat)
8. Put each room in order. Clutter causes depression. "Have a place for everything and put everything in its place!" Teach your family to put away their things....or have them help you clean each day!
9. Surround yourself with sentimental things. Your mental health connects with seeing things you love and enjoy! Decorate your home with things that reflect you--color themes, pictures, throw pillows, statues? Happiness should surround you. Not dark dreary, negative items.
10. Serve those that live with you. Do something kind for someone else, without expecting pay or a 'Thank you'!
11. Do something you love! Take time for yourself by doing something you enjoy. Whether its something a few minutes a day. Or several hours one day a week. Take time for YOU!
12. Write in a journal. End your day writing in your journal. Write down at least one thing you are thankful for each and every day. Count your blessings instead of focusing on the negative happenings of the day. Find just one positive point a day and write it down! Write about your whole day even!
We all deserve a happy home!
It is worth a few dirty dishes and un-swept floors. Little ones grow so quickly. Take time to play on the floor with them, walk outside, go to a park, read stories to them.
There are so many others that feel as you do. Remember you are not alone! And don't forget to remember your own mother during the month of May. It is coming up fast!
"Blessed Mother's Day" to you!
A mother teaches her children how to do many things. One is how to clean! Spring cleaning time is here. It can be a great family time. Everyone works in the yard together or have your children help you clean out those clutter corners...after all they probably helped create the clutter. A family that works together...makes happy memories. Especially if after the hard work is over the reward is more time together eating pizza or sharing an ice cream cone!
Work with your children. That is how they learn--the learn from watching you, by being shown how to do something. I remember my mom and dad always working right along the side of us. They didn't sit back spouting orders or pointing fingers. We all worked together. That was one of the greatest examples to me.
I have great memories of the many spring cleaning days. I will always remember feeling the clod of dirt that hit my back with my dad looking at me with a "What? Who me?" He was trying to act so innocent-- as we got the garden plot cleaned up. I also remember the praise he gave at a job well done...or at least the effort I made. He always gave his encouragement to "Keep at it, you're gettin' it!"
Happy Spring family time!
March is almost here. Spring is a motivating season for me. I de-clutter my house and get ready to plant a garden. New plant life is popping up....my tulips and daffodils are getting ready to bloom. Spring time is here!
I just want to remind all woman to take time for themselves in their busy spring schedule. Our time gets filled with yard work, spring sport schedules begin, the spring cleaning gets under way...along with our regular list of things we must accomplish. I am going to Quote myself in my book "The Short List."
"Time for you? Who has that? Well, we all know that a woman must: cook, clean, shop, chauffeur kids, go to work or head to home to do laundry, mop, sweep, swish toilets, dust, vacuum, feed the dog, keep track of a preschooler, re-clean wherever the small child played, more laundry, mow the lawn, pay the bills, shop for groceries, head to soccer, football and tennis, visit the lady who just had surgery, take her a casserole while you are at it, more laundry, wash walls, make beds, etc...and so forth and so forth, Somewhere in there you are suppose to find time for YOU?"
Yes! Take time for you! Take out your calendar and schedule your day off! Mark an X on your day and don't give it away! We need to have our rejuvenation day. You need to refill your bucket at the well, so that you may continue to keeping giving to your family. (Summarized from "The Short List", page19-22)
Take time for you! Find Some ME time!
The gift of reading is greatest gift to give to your children. I went so many places as a kid--in a story. I learned so much. I loved books! There used to be a bookmobile that came to our little community. A library on wheels. I couldn't wait for it to come! I am so grateful for a mother who read to me! She was a great example of a reader, as well. She always found to time to read, among all the other many activities she was involved in. I will be forever grateful for my mother who taught me to love to read.
"The more that you read,
The more that you learn,
the more places you'll go."
Recipe: Pimento and Cheese Sandwiches. January 2015
2 cups of shredded cheese
(any yellow--I prefer medium)
1 cup of mayo
1- 4 oz jar of diced pimentos
dash of garlic powder
dash of onion powder
Spread on bread and cut off the crust! Or--Grill them. Make
them with dark rye bread! (That is a great favorite of mine!)
Or serve it with celery sticks or vegie crackers.
Option: Mix in a small can of green chili to enjoy a different flavor.
Perfect for having friends over for a Happy New Year luncheon! Or save it for a friendly 'Garden Party' in the spring!
This month is a time for reflection. A new year full of new goals and probably changes. But change can be a good thing...most of the time. The hardest change in my life has been watching my children grow up. When they were young they depended on me for everything and I protected them from all the strange and ugly things of the world--the things that went bump in the night.
I loved being a mother. (Still do!!) I loved having little ones. They were so precious. So amazing! I would sit and hold them, talk to them, watch them as they discovered new things... and then they started to change. They became more independent, and they didn't need me as much. But even then that was okay. I enjoyed getting to know them. Their different personalities were entertaining! I loved seeing them discover who they could be.
As a family we sang, explored, and learned together. I love my family!
My oldest child turns 30 this year and my youngest will be 14. All the others will be 27, 24, 22 and 18. They all are at exciting times of their life! All are experiencing growing up challenges. I want them all to know one day they will be where I am today.
They will be the the older person sitting and remembering the day their child was born, the day they first learned to tie their shoe, or ride a bike, or read a book. They will remember their child's first time they had to make choices between good and bad...and they will have to sit back and pray over that child.
And hope...hope that they will remember that they were loved and taught by a mother (Or father) that loved them. They will be the ones wondering if there was something else they could have done to help them be better prepared...and they they will have to realize, like I did, that I did the best I could...and now it is up to that child to appreciate all their parents did--or to place blame when their life doesn't go the way they expected.
Nothing is worse then a child that blames all their poor choices-- their irresponsible choices-- on their parents. All of us have to own up to the fact that the ultimate choice comes from within. It is not your parents, not your brother or sister...but yourself that controls who you are and who you will become. You are the one who will govern your own choices.
And you are the one who has to realize that your parents loved you and wanted the best for you--even with all their short comings and failings. And you will feel the same way about your child. You will realize that you did your best--and it was enough!
Motherhood is a gift, a blessing and a curse--all rolled into one. I wouldn't choose anything different. I know that I was blessed to be a mother. It was who God intended for me to be.
Homemaking New Year's Resolution:
1. Take down Christmas.
2. Redecorate my house for a fresh New Year's look.
a. Wash curtains,
b. Make a new quilt for my bed by end of January.
c. Help the kids gut and clean their room.
d. Paint the living room by March.
3. Read a book once a week.
4. Write in my journal each week.
5. Write a letter to a friend each week.
6. Work on my food storage.
a. Take inventory.
b. Make a plan to restock. (use My Chaos Organizer chart for food storage.)
c. Organize light sources, heat and cooking methods for emergency preparedness.
7. Organize and clean all the cabinets in my kitchen--one a week.
8. Make my kids new pillow cases and buy new sheets.
9. Start making Christmas in January. One a month- for 2015.
Each Moment is a New Beginning! ( Good- bye December 2014 / Hello 2015!!!)
I love January. It is the symbol of new beginnings to me. Every January I re-evaluate what I achieved in the previous year. I make a list. Not of what I didn't do, but of all that I did accomplish. 2014 is in the past now. Its over and can't be repeated, but it was a stepping stone to the next one. This is a New Year! A time to set new goals, make changes, or it's a time to take that leap and do something I have always wanted to try! Or to finally do that 'Thing' I keep putting off.
I love setting goals. I firmly believe in the writing down what I want to accomplish--otherwise "it is just a wish" as the old saying goes . Here is what works for me. I buy little journals --Love them! I write down the goal and then outline what I think I need to do to reach that goal. I also determine if it is something I can do myself or if I have to seek out someone to help me reach that goal. I put today's date in the left corner and the date I accomplish it in the right hand corner. Each month I read through my goal journal and make notes to myself. Sort of like personal Pep talks. I write myself a short evaluation and decide if I am on track or postponing.
As a wife and mother, I also make a list of goals that include my family. Do I need to spend more time with one child? Do I need to plan time in my day to help a child achieve a goal that they are working on? I am the one that is responsible for teaching my children how to set goals and work towards them. Or they might grow up in front of some computer gadget playing games 10 hours a day or texting in their bedroom all day long--not acceptable in my world!
I love to see my children achieve! I love the look on their face as their self-esteem gains a burst of energy when they have been successful!
I AM A MOTHER. I AM RESPONSIBLE FOR THE PATH MY CHILDREN FIND TO A SUCCESSFUL LIFE....and then hopefully they will be strong enough to stay on that path. One of the hardest lessons I had to learn was that we can point them in the right direction. Hand them the road map, but our children will reach an age were they will get to choose what road they will travel. Then all we can do is constantly keep them in our prayers and love them.
Happy New year to all of you! May your lives be blessed with insight and wisdom, and the happiness that comes from within you!
It's Almost Christmas!!
Just two more weeks until Christmas....Only fourteen more days to make more Christmas memories with your children.
Youth goes by so quickly and then here we are in our adulthood world. There are just a few short years to instill something into our children's hearts that will stay with them. Or at least give them something to trigger a thought that will help guide them when faced with a fork in their road.
I love my kids so very much. They are all so different. I don't expect them to mimic my life, but I do hope they will mimic the honesty, integrity and moral values that my own mother instilled in me. I want them to be happy, to make choices that will not fill them with regret. Oh, we all make mistakes, but there are some choices that will leave a person feeling hollow and unworthy inside. I hope so much that my children will reach out and grasp the goodness in life, embrace it, and then share it with others. But for them to do that, they have to see that goodness in me--then they have to choose to live their life with those same qualities.
My mother was not a preaching mom, she was one that taught by example. She shared her talents, she gave of her time, and she loved God. She didn't do things in a flashy way, but she was one of the first to volunteer when there was a need--or a school party, a 4-H activity, or a music program--anything that involved us kids-- she was there....serving.
"Unless the way we live draws us closer to our Heavenly Father and to our fellow men, there will be an enormous emptiness in our lives." ...Spencer W. Kimball
Here is a message for Grandmother's: Christmas doesn't have to be expensive, just spend time with your grandkids--if you can. If they live too far away to visit often...like mine are. Find a way to give of yourself. Take your picture, record your voice singing or telling a story so they can learn to recognize your voice.
If you sew there are so many projects that you can make that will give them a piece of you! Quilts, scarfs, slippers, warm pajamas,
More simple: Make an imprint of your hand and frame it (with a picture!) and write a few loving words with it.
Gifts bought from a store soon break, the batteries run out, the little pieces are lost and the toys get forgotten. Give something that triggers a lesson learned when they are older from the words of your favorite Christmas story, a warmed hand when they hold a cookie just out of the oven that becomes the taste of a favorite flavor and a memory triggered when they eat one just like it years later. So much to give that will bring a warm thought and might be the beginning of a new tradition for you and your grandchildren!
I admire an older friend's tradition to have a special day with just her grand kids a few days before Christmas. I used to say,"I want to be a grandmother like that." Well, here is my chance!
|"A Christmas Kiss"|
I love Christmas! I love the spirit of giving that surrounds the tradition of presents. I learned a great lesson from my mother when I was very young. She taught me that it wasn't about how expensive the gift was, it was about the fact that you cared enough to think of another person.Our family didn't have a lot of money when I was a child...but I didn't realize that until I was older. Christmas presents were about secretly doing something for someone else. My mom was the engineer of creating gifts. We made things--sewed, painted--sometimes we had a very low budget to spend at the store. But it was centered around giving!
I couldn't wait to see the face of my sister or brother or my dad. (My poor dad--that's another story!) I loved to take care to wrap them extra special. (I loved bows and ribbon!)
Then we would get up at 4:00 a.m.! I KNOW! Crazy, huh!! It was GREAT! Of course, I think I finally figured out that one! Finally--after raising my own family and carrying on that insanely, wonderful tradition. We got up at 4:00 so we could drive to grandma's house and spend time with all the family! Grandma's house was about 4 hours away and we would have that same 4 hours drive back--and we did that in one day. HA HA! That one "tradition" has been carried on to my family! Only we don't have anywhere to drive!
To my husbands grumbling, but willing to please me, we ( well, I) got our little children up at 4:00 a.m. and we still do it today! My children created their own tradition of sleeping in the same room, (I think that was to keep people from peeking--or to peek together--I don't know which!) then getting up at 3:00 to play PayDay (until it fell apart one year!) Then at 4:00--because they were told not to wake us before then--we all got up!There is something about the tree lights on and the darkness seeping into the living room as we opened our presents together. It is our...tradition!
Happy Thanksgiving! The pies are all made and I am worn out! Our tradition is to make everyone's favorite pie, so here is the list of pies I made today--with the wonderful help of Gretchen, my 13 year-old daughter!....2 pumpkin, apple, cherry, blueberry, and new for this year at Gretchen's request--a cranberry pie! Then she helped me make the cream pies--lemon, banana, strawberry (New this year, too!) Chocolate, Oreo chocolate cream pie, and coconut. I am all "pie-d" out! And I finally admit, I am not as young as I used to be! My feet are killing me! (Smiles.)
You are all in my thoughts tonight, my friends. I hope you all enjoy the time with your family tomorrow. The food will be great, it always is, isn't it? But next year the baby will be older, the pre-teen will be wearing make-up and asking for a cell phone. The newly married children will be deciding to have their own Thanksgiving dinner next year or they will have to split up the holidays and your table won't be as full as it usually is. Grandma might not feel up to making the WHOLE dinner--wait! I am the grandma now. (more smiles)
This is what I will be doing the rest of the night.(picture below) Putting my feet up and reading a good book! Time to start my FaVoRiTe Christmas stories I read each year by some of my favorite authors. Christmas starts the day after Thanksgiving here. We decorate the tree and all the fall decorations come down and my Christmas decor goes up!
Have a wonderful Turkey Day with your family!
Easy Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
Use a large stock pot.
Prepare 2 cubes or 2 tsp of chicken boullion in 3 cups of hot water
1 can cream of chicken soup, plus one can of water
1 can of cream of celery, plus one can of water
1 can of mushroom soup, plus one can of water
1 can cooked chicken or cut up cooked chicken.
**(Great Idea: If you want that home cooked chicken taste,
buy a pre-cooked whole chicken at the deli and de-bone it yourself.)
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 cup chopped carrot
Seasonings: 1 tsp garlic powder, pinch of sage, 1 Tbsp of thyme, salt and pepper to taste.
1/2 bag of pre-made egg noodles
Mix all together in pot, except the noodles. Cook for thirty minutes or until carrots are softened. Add noodles and cook for about 10 minutes and serve! Makes a large pot!
Nice on a cold winter day. Warms my insides!
"And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.. (Deut. 6: 6-7, KJV)
We, as mothers ( and father), are responsible for teaching our children so much! We are to teach them about God and our Savior. There are so many blessings that come into our lives by showing our love towards our Heavenly family! Knowing that they come from a Heavenly Father and to know that our elder brother sacrificed so much in order for us to return to our Heavenly home, can bring a sense of belonging to our children. That same belonging should be reflected in our own homes. Mothers create a home that is a sanctuary from the world. A place that your children will want to run home to after school.
Spend time studying the words of our Lord, and Savior, so that you may sit and teach your children. Not only do we teach them from the example of Christ, but we teach by our own example.
"Stay at home my heart and rest, homekeeping hearts are the happiest." ~Longfellow
The happiest people don't have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything. ~unknown
Autumn...the time of family, love, and traditions.
As mothers we teach our children to work and how to play. The greatest memories come from family togetherness. Create your memories with your children. Plan the work, plan the playtime. Laugh as you work, smile, uplift, praise each child for their efforts. Sing!!
November 9, 2014
Motherhood....that word has a strong pull on my heart. This week I have reflected on my own role as a mother. I have six children...all mine, born of my flesh. Three boys and three girls. My oldest son is 29 and my youngest 13.
Some days I wonder...did I teach them all they should know? Did I teach them to be kind, courteous? Did they learn self-discipline? Did I raise them with enough discipline that they learned to make good choices and to stand firm when faced with difficult choices? Did I raise them to be hard workers? Did I help them realize that there is more to this world then their own selfish desires? Did they learn that they are loved so very much? Some days I wonder.....
When my first born was two years old, I remember having a moment of panic. How was I suppose to go about teaching him to be obedient, kind, honest, etc... I realized it was my job to teach him so much!
I called my mother and asked her what her secret was to helping me and my brother and sisters be loving and kind to each other? How did she teach us to make good choices? Her answer really was no help..."I didn't do anything. You were born that way. I just helped you to find your own potential." Well, at the time that just didn't help me one bit in my young mother's mind! Because I know all my mother had to do was give me that "Look" and I was flying straight! There had to be more!
I then went to one of my six aunts on my mother's side of the family...Mama was the oldest of 7 children, I figured at least one of these wise women would have the answer I needed. I asked my aunt Mikey the same question. "What do you do to teach your children to be kind, loving and obedient?" She told me two things that day that made my own mother's words fall into place and clarified my job as a mother.
"They aren't mine, they belong to God. They are on loan to me and I have the responsibility to teach them who they are and how to return to him." Then she pointed to a list of family rules on the wall that went something like this." Rule #1. Follow the prophet. If the prophet has said it then that is what we do." This referred to the fact that the prophets were (and are) the mouth piece that would tell us the things that God would want us to do. "Rule #2 For all questions about what to do when faced with a choice, go back to rule #1. "
That day I realized that the precious two year old I had was not some piece of property that I possess. He wasn't mine! My little boy was a child of God, just as I was. He was placed in my hands to be taught, to be loved as my Father in Heaven would if he were there to raise him! I was his earthly mother placed in his life to help him learn what he needed to know to return to God. I was the one to help him learn how to follow the light of Christ that would lead him to be the person God would want him to be.
I wasn't going to make him make good choices, I was going help him learn to use the greatness that was already apart of him. I was going to teach by my example and by treating him....all of them...with kindness so they would learn to be kind, I would teach them to be hard workers by working beside them in the house, in the garden--together with them. I would teach them to love, but showing them love. Hugging them, showing affection and caring about them. I would teach them honesty by showing them my honesty towards others.
I sit often and reflect on what kind of a job I did. Well, I am sure there were mistakes along the way, but I did my best. I tried to be the kind of mother that God would want me to be. I also had to learn that when the time came I had to let them leave home and live their lives. A wise man told me, that "we raise our children to let them go."
The hardest thing ever has been to sit back and watch my children in their struggles and their learning moments. I live for the blessing in the scriptures that tell us to "Train up a child in the way he should go and he will not depart from it." Sometimes it is more like..."They will find their way back if you have taught them the path they should look for."
I love being a mother! It is the greatest job in the world! I am so grateful I was blessed to have the six wonderful children that I was granted the responsibility to raise, to teach, and to love.
This is a page dedicated to Homemaking. I love being a stay- at-home mom. Or as my husband calls me--a Domestic Goddess. From the time I was a little girl, I knew I was going to be a mother! I would line my dolls up and cook for them, dress them, and whisper I loved them while cuddling and kissing their cheeks. I knew that was what God wanted for me. To be a mother and wife--and to be home raising, teaching and cherishing my family.
Even as I entered college, I took classes with the intend of educating myself to be a better mom. I took music, literature, home ec., child development and nutrition. (Luckily, I tested out of College Algebra and was done with that.)
I remember the first day of class my college instructor, Mrs. Greene, asked my Nutrition class why were they taking the class? She started on the other side of the room. There were three or four Dieticians, several going into the nursing program and then when it was my turn I simple stated, "I want to be a better mother." The whole class went silent and every eye was on me. The teachers eyes flared open, her mouth dropped and closed twice and then she said, "Well, that's a first. Okay then, next."
I grew up with great examples of Motherhood and Homemaking. My mother and Grandma Sue were two of the greatest people I have ever known. They could do anything they set their minds to! They were creators! They could make beauty out of nothing whether it be in the kitchen--creating wonderful meals, or in other areas of the house. They were gardeners, Music teachers, school teachers, arts and craft instructors and so much more! They canned, they sewed, they reupholstered furniture! Everything I know came from them.
I want to be able to pass that heritage down to my own girls. I have been blessed with three beautiful daughters. Each one is individually unique. Their gifts and talents are similar, but yet so very different. I see so much potential in each one. I am so glad to have the privilege of being their mother. My life has truly been blessed by having them in my life. It brought home to me--it was now my place to teach them.
Jessica, Melanie and Gretchen are scattered in years--6 years between Jessica and Melanie, and 8 years between Melanie and Gretchen. I have loved seeing them grow and develop and form their own personalities. Each of them will be and are wonderful mothers.
When the girls were younger, and we had chores to do, I would tell them they were in my "Mother's Training Program". That all the cleaning and cooking they helped me with was their training for their future motherhood and Homemaking calling.
Jessica is already a mother of 4. I have seen her love of creating a home for her family. She calls me often for advice or to share the excitement of something she has created. Melanie is at the beginning. She has one child and is more independent. Even as as young girl, she wanted to do it on her own! But I still get an occasional call for a recipe or the how-to question. I love that! I love sharing with them their adventure into Homemaking.
Gretchen is still at home, and she is still in the middle of experiencing her own "Mother's training program." But she is triple blessed. She will also have her two older sisters to seek advice from along with me.
Being a Homemaker is becoming a lost art. The world calls to so many women. The lure of money, prestige in the work force. Oh, I believe woman can do it all. And many are called to work and manage a home. But there is a difference between having to work and choosing to work.
Hopefully, in the months to come, I can share some insights or tools to help both types of woman. Because even if a woman works outside of the home, the home is still the foundation of life.
Our responsibility of creating a happy home, a home of safety, a home of learning, a place of building memories to bind us as a family is important to our children. Traditions of home cooked meals, clean clothes, organized schedules and family time is the foundation that will build a better future for our children. They learn from us.
Will our children be slobs? Will they become financially secure or add to the debt ratio of the world? Will they find the peace of mind of being able to fix a leaky faucet, sew a hole in a favorite shirt, or become burdened by a heavier cost of living because they are useless spendthrifts and laze-abouts?
It is our duty, our loving responsibility to teach our children to be self-reliant, hard workers and caring people of society. I love the word "Homemaking"! Lets flip those words around to "Making-home." Stay tuned for future insights of how to help in "Making-Home" a better place!
Watch for recipes--tips--fun ideas--and encouraging words! Happy Homemaking!
November 1, 2014
I love to make lists and charts. I helps me feel more organized! I created this book for myself and I am sharing it with you!
"My Chaos Organizer" is full of calendars and charts. It includes: Goal setting pages, exercise, menu planning, grocery lists, food storage, budgeting, Christmas lists and other gift organizing, school schedules and much more!
Return to the Home page for ordering information and give me a call or order it form Amazon.
P.S. I bought colorful divider tabs to separate the sections for easier access.
Thanksgiving is coming!
I love Thanksgiving...I love the color of fall and the smells of pumpkin pie spices wafting in the air! One of our family traditions for the festive day is pie making! We make everyone's favorite pie for Thanksgiving Day....Pumpkin, apple, cherry, blueberry, chocolate cream, banana cream, Oreo cream, coconut cream, pecan, peach, cheese cake are on the normal menu--- and once we even made a butterscotch pie!
Daniel's Favorite Pie is.............................. Oreo Cream Pie
1 large package of instant Chocolate pudding mix
** you will be following pie instructions on package so you will need milk.
( You can also find Oreo Pudding mix. Layer it with the chocolate for an extra special Oreo pie---and extra thick too!)
1 container of cool whip
1 package of Oreo cookies--crushed in a large ziplock bag with a heavy object, like a rolling pin---kids favorite part!
Mix Pudding following pie instructions on box.Then....
Fold in half of the crushed Oreos. Next fold in cool whip.
Sprinkle crushed Oreos on top. Set in fridge for a 3 hours or over night.
SO chocolaty delicious!!