Friday, May 21, 2010

A Meme or a Stream of Consciousness

  1. I love being productive more than anything else
  2. And I struggle with perfectionism
  3. I've learned to see progress as accomplishment (this is a BIG deal for a to-do list freak)
  4. I work very hard to hide my perfectionism from my kids, for their sakes
  5. I desperately don't want my kids to think I want them to be perfect
  6. I need to be social every week in order to avoid melting down
  7. I get mean when I'm tired or hungry
  8. My kids offer me food and drink when I start getting grumpy
  9. I love them for that
  10. I absolutely love being able to encourage people
  11. I think I have far more friends than I deserve
  12. I tend to space out at least once when playing games
  13. My friends get a big kick out of telling me it's my turn again
  14. I have ADD
  15. Not ADHD; I only get hyper when given too much caffeine or when a thrift store is within sight ;)
  16. I am not subtle
  17. Nobody ever thought I was
  18. I love nursing my babies
  19. I regret not nursing or at least bottle-feeding Daniel w/ breastmilk. He was only 2! :(
  20. I have a lot of mother-guilt
  21. I never feel I've done enough to show my children how much I love them
  22. I agree with almost everything Charlotte Mason said
  23. Homeschooling is my #1 hobby
  24. I enjoy it that much
  25. I love books
  26. I love lists
  27. I really love booklists
  28. I loved and miss college. My college years show up in my dreams more than anything else.
  29. I wish I could be around my friends 24/7 like I was in college
  30. I love Jane Austen books and movies, except Northanger Abbey. That one was just silly.
  31. I would love to visit England one day
  32. Watching a Jane Austen or Austen-ish movie is like a vacation to me
  33. Eating a bowl of cereal (or two :blush:) and reading a magazine is also like a mini-vacation for me
  34. I am entertained easily
  35. Kyle secretly loves that about me
  36. I love to giggle
  37. My kids really enjoy it when I giggle
  38. Because I'm too serious most of the time
  39. Generally speaking, I don't trust salespeople or doctors
  40. I'm a fan of conspiracy theories
  41. I tend to think if everyone believes it, it must be wrong
  42. I have a bad habit of picking at my lips.
  43. I also have a bad habit of spending too much time online
  44. I don't think jokes about it are funny. I'm honestly ashamed of that habit.
  45. I love to sew
  46. Mainly because I feel domestic and feminine when I do
  47. I growl at my sewing machine at least once during every sewing project
  48. I don't shy away from debates or disagreements
  49. I see them as a sure way to get to know someone better or to get wiser
  50. My closest and best friends are the same way. We know we're not just arguing. lol

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Our New Old Favorite Game

Upon a friend's recommendation, I ordered No Stress Chess with my Swagbucks. (If you haven't checked out Swagbucks yet, may I just say that I get $25 in Amazon gift cards every couple months just by using the search engine on this toolbar. Simple.) As the box suggests, we really were playing Chess instantly. I learned Chess as a kid, but had forgotten all the rules as it had been so long. Very quickly relearned it all using this genius board game.

It works like this: you have a deck of cards that each have a Chess piece on them, with instructions and a picture explaining how that piece moves. Flip over a card, move a piece. You quickly learn how all the pieces move and how to strategize. Then you put the cards away and play for real once you're confident. I love it! And my kids are learning logic and strategy, but don't tell them.

So after falling in love with this medieval game of logic, I found "The Kids Book of Chess" on Paperback Swap. It explains why the pieces move the way they do. It tells the story of Chess. For instance, did you know that pawns capture diagonally because the real pawns (foot soldiers) carried shields as big as they were, so they couldn't see in front of them. They had to strike from the side. Very cool! The kids all really enjoyed the battle tale.

Lydia actually beat Elena this time. Embarrassed Elena quite a bit to be beaten by a preschooler!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Book Review: Mind Your Mortgage

I was really excited to get this book as I love all things related to saving money, living frugally, and debt-free living. Mind Your Mortgage did not disappoint. If you ever plan to buy a house or refinance, you need this book. It's like a cheat sheet for getting the best loan and being confident that you aren't taken advantage of in the process. Ignorance is so dangerous when it comes to a mortgage. It's a terrible thing to not know what you're doing when it comes to the single biggest financial commitment in your life!

Through this book, I learned the difference between a mortgage lender and a mortgage broker (a difference that can save you thousands!), how to shop for the best loan (it's very simple to compare prices if you just know what to ask and are willing to take the time), and when it's a good deal to refinance (tip: you should never refinance just for a better payment). Reading about the very common mistakes borrowers make will both embarrass and educate you. With Mind Your Mortgage in hand, you can confidently buy a home, refinance your home, or pay off your home. I love this book!

I received this book to review from Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I Don't Not Hate Double Negatives

As part of Liberian-speak, Maya occasionally uses double negatives. When she said: "I don't have no white shoes", I logically replied: "So, you do have white shoes then."
Confused her something serious. I kept trying to explain double negatives and her expression got more and more confused.
I said: Isaac, come stand next to Maya.
"Isaac has no shoes," I explained, "But you don't have no shoes. You have shoes."
Maya: Huh???
Isaac: Ohhhhhhhh, I get it.

One less Clark using double negatives makes this Grammar Nut happy.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Why I Quit Facebook

These pictures have nothing at all to do with the topic fyi

Facebook's Gone Rogue

Facebook has gone rogue, drunk on founder Mark Zuckerberg’s dreams of world domination. It’s time the rest of the web ecosystem recognizes this and works to replace it with something open and distributed.

Read More

This is actually only one reason (the other being that it sucked too much of my time), but it's a good reason.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Friday, May 7, 2010

Book Review: An Army of Ordinary People

I received a complimentary copy of An Army of Ordinary People to review from Tyndale House Publishers. This book has two parts: stories of real-life men and women being the church (as the subtitle suggests), and attempts to explain biblically that small house gatherings are what Jesus was referring to when the word “church” is used in the Bible. I really enjoyed the stories and just as the author hopes in her introduction, they did make me think “I can do that!” The theology, however, is really weak. She repeatedly uses the words probably, obviously, and clearly to explain scripture using her own common sense. For instance, she says that when Jesus says to take the sin of your brother before the church (Matt 18:17), it simply has to be referring to a small group because as she reasons, it would be inappropriate in a large church because the person would leave the church. We’re talking about a unrepentant sinner, right? I found her feeble attempts at biblical interpretation pretty off-putting. 2000 years later, in a very different culture, we can’t just rely on what makes sense to us to understand scripture. While this book does a great job of encouraging evangelism by making it unintimidating, it does a poor job of trying to explain “church” biblically.

How to Do Less Laundry

Laundry seems to be a hot topic when it comes to big families, but we don't do a ton of laundry and I don't spend a bunch of money or time on it. Here's why:
  1. We don't separate loads into white, dark, colors. We wash all our clothes in cold water. Nothing bleeds.
  2. Everybody has their own color-coded towel that we use for a week before washing them all together in one load. We wash towels in hot water.
  3. Once a week, we strip all the beds and wash the sheets in hot water. Linens are the only thing we wash in hot water. (The kids don't have flat sheets, just fitted sheets and a blanket. Blankets are washed on an as-needed basis.)
  4. We only wash clothes that are dirty or sweaty.
  5. We have a laundry schedule:
I wash hubby's and my laundry on Mondays. 2 loads - our clothes & our sheets.
Girls wash their clothes on Tuesdays. 1-2 loads. (5 girls)
Boys wash their clothes on Wednesdays. 1 load. (2 boys)
Kids wash their sheets & towels on Thursdays. 1-2 loads.
I wash baby clothes & sheets on Fridays. (1 load)

I absolutely refuse to do laundry on the weekends. Weekends are for fun!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Book Review: The Heart Mender

I received this book to review from Thomas Nelson publishers.
There are some books that are so hard to put down, but you force yourself to do so anyway because you don’t want it to end. This was that type of book. The Heart Mender is the story of a journey author Andy Andrews embarks on when he finds a tin can full of Nazi artifacts in his own backyard. His journey takes him back to 1942 and the opposing memories of WWII told from the perspective of both an American woman and a German soldier. Josef is a man widowed by an American attack on Germany. Helen is a woman widowed by a German attack on America. When Helen finds Josef half-dead on the beach near her Gulf Coast home, she wants desperately to help him. But when she discovers that he is a German soldier, she wants desperately to beat him to death. The Heart Mender tells of a part of history that was never told- the story of German U-boats in the Gulf Coast. It also tells a love story you will not soon forget. Ultimately The Heart Mender is a story of the power of forgiveness.

A La Carte

Just discovered another plus to the family closet: less laundry!
It has been a week since we switched from individual kid closets to one big closet, so this was our first laundry folding party. It was the girls' day. (That's significant.) Since they can't hide the evidence when they change clothes multiple times a day, they don't. I read one chapter of The Bronze Bow while they folded. They were done before I was halfway through the chapter!

Despite emails begging you for money, I haven't actually jumped a plane to London or been mugged at gunpoint. I'm safe and sound at home and an email hacker is having a hay day with my old account. FYI.

I would like to thank everyone who commented on my Schooling Older Adoptees post. Apparently it isn't just a Liberian issue. I sat at my computer and whimpered as I read your appreciation. You have truly blessed me.

I'm losing hair by the fistfuls lately. I have done this after every baby, but that doesn't make it any less scary to see the tub drain covered in hair. Anybody else have postpartum hair loss? Any solutions?


Monday, May 3, 2010

Our Family Closet

I have been asking Kyle for a family closet for a long time now. He wasn't easily convinced that it would save me any sanity, but now that I have it- OH MY GOODNESS! It really is awesome! And I am more sane than I was when I used my denial approach to closet management for the kids' rooms.

First thing I noticed when I moved all the kids' clothes to the family closet- Daniel has 30 pair of underwear, Chloe has WAY too many clothes, and Maya has 4 shirts. Who knew? (As for Maya, she never asks for anything so I just assumed she really liked those 4 shirts. Whoops!)
Second thing I noticed - the kids (other than Maya) have no idea how to keep their drawers organized. This is where my denial approach came in. I got so overwhelmed looking in their messy drawers, hangers hung backwards on the rod (boys!), and skirts draped over the rod because someone was too lazy to clip it to a skirt hanger (Chloe!), that I just stayed out of their closets and drawers.

So here's the big closet. I have since bought Maya some new clothes, gave away a ton of size 5 underwear, and gave half of Chloe's clothes away. Less is best. All of their out of season clothes are still in underbed boxes under their beds (duh!), since they don't take up any extra space, but the boys' chest and the girls' dresser are in here now. Their closets are now for toys. Goodbye doll house! I don't have to look at you anymore! Bwahaha!
(By the way, Julia's clothes haven't been moved in here yet because I don't want to get her dressed on the floor.)

The girls each have a drawer for their socks and another for their pj's. Same for the boys.
These baskets on top are for shoes that don't currently fit anyone. They are labeled according to size. I have shoes in every size just waiting for bigger feet. This is the ease of shopping for a big family: If it's good quality, buy it. Doesn't matter what size it is as long as it's at least the size of the smallest child. It'll fit someone someday.

These baskets on the lower shelf are for undies and modesty shorts (biker shorts to be worn under skirts and dresses). With them out in the open like this, I can easily see if someone has too many or too few undies. (Seriously Daniel, did you ever even wear a pair twice? Sheesh!) Additionally, the boys each have a basket for their shorts.

So here's how it works: The kids get their outfit for the day and get dressed in the family closet, in their room, or in the bathroom. Modesty is still priority. I go in here several times a day and can quickly see who didn't put their pj's away or hang their skirt back up (Chloe again).
On laundry days, I sit in a rocking chair in here and read while they fold and put away their clothes. It's glorious.

This system is making my life so much easier and I don't have to live in denial anymore!