Monday, March 22, 2010

What Would Dad Do?

Children often look to their parents for a reaction or to find out how to act about certain situations. They take cues from us and usually follow suit. Everyone knows the well-used saying, 'If Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy'. It's true. I remember watching my parents as I was growing up and taking note of their reactions to certain things and I found great security in the fact that they were very consistent. Anytime something happened that I thought couldn't be good, they had peace. There was no uproar or hopeless wailing going on, their first reaction was going to God in prayer. There is only one time that I can even remember feeling insecure because of a reaction - but I won't mention it here because my mother would not appreciate it. She will laugh, though, when she reads this and will know EXACTLY what I'm talking about. And then, Dad will promptly try to hold back his laughter, too. Well, he may just laugh out loud because it is that funny. But you had to be there. Sorry. Anyway, I found great security and stability in my parents because they trusted the Lord to handle everything. I know that they had to learn to trust Him at some point in their lives (no one is born doing that - it is an action that comes through trials and dependence upon God that allows one to truly see Him as trustworthy), but I benefited greatly from that. When things would happen that I just didn't quite understand, I would ask Dad what he thought about it and he would explain to me what was going on and the conversation always led to how the Lord is in control. He had peace when others seemed hopeless and worried. My mom is the same way. So, today as I was thinking about this whole socialized medicine thing and wondering what to make of it all (as everyone else was talking and writing about it), I found myself thinking of Dad and how he is most assuredly not losing any sleep over it or worrying about what is to come with all of that. I can guarantee that he got up this morning, read his Bible, had his coffee, drove down to the mailbox to get the paper, and continued on with his daily Monday routine with Mom and they lived their lives just like they do every Monday not threatened by or worried about the future because the same God who has provided for them, answered prayers and shown Himself faithful to them their whole lives, is still doing the same today. It doesn't matter what Congress does. They can't vote Him off of His throne. They will never be able to strip Him of His many titles. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. I find great security in that. I have no reason to worry about my future or my children's future or my grandchildren's future. God will still be God. I will do my part to vote the Dems out of office, but I won't despair. I want to teach my kids through my own response to 'bad things' that they can trust God in EVERY situation.
"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths." Proverbs 3:5-6

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Painted Urn

Last Fall, I hosted (with much help) a first-hopefully-annual Swap Meet with my Sunday School Class ladies and it was so much fun. The idea came from this site and it was a lot of fun. I cannot wait to have another one! But anyway, I swapped my junk for someone else's junk and one of the items I took home with me was an urn. There are endless purposes for an urn and I was excited to get it! I brought it home and put a Fall plant in it and sat it on my mantle until the Christmas decorations came out. Then, it went on top of my fridge where it sat empty until yesterday. Thanks to the inspiration I posted about yesterday, I found great potential in that cute little urn. It was begging for a topiary. So, I ran to The Walmarts (nevermind that it was my second trip there of the day) and bought some glossy white spray paint for .96 cents. Got home and started spraying stuff left and right. There might be one squirt left in the can, but I'm not sure. Anyway, I wish I had a before pic, but I was so excited to spray paint, I didn't take time to snap a photo. Here is my new, used urn....
And this is what it looks like now with its freshly made, yet still-needing-a-haircut topiary. I put it in my kitchen because the kitchen is begging for some brighter accents. This makes me happy.
And here are my little Easter topiaries sitting on my mantle.

Ok, so I need to smooth that first one down a bit, but you get the idea.

These were fun to make. And cheap!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Copy Cat

I like to read blogs. It's no secret. I really enjoy seeing what other people do with their homes and how they decorate. I was really into a few blogs (that will remain nameless for now) there for awhile, but I just got tired of reading about things that I wasn't interested in doing at my house. Not to mention, they just weren't in my budget or energy-level. And then my sister got into the blogging. She found her niche in this blog world and is quickly becoming the blog to read. She posts almost everyday (by the way, I was disappointed not to see a new post yesterday, but two today make up for it, I guess.) and it's always interesting. Of course, half the time, I already know about what I'm going to read on her blog, but I still want to read it. She has a way with words....and topiaries. Which brings me to why I'm writing this post in the first place. The other day she wrote about a bunny topiary. Oh.My.Goodness. It was so cute! I decided I needed to make one. So, I did.
Poor little bunny looks like its tail got chopped off, but my girls were able to tell that it was a bunny so that's all that matters.
It's not quite as cute as hers, but I still love it. And then the next day, she wrote about topiaries again and it just so happened that I had an empty urn sitting around so I am in the process of making myself a year-round topiary and I just can't wait to finish it. I'm a follower. I am compelled to copy everything that she's doing. This has been a life-long issue for me, though, so it's nothing new. I have no originality and I'm fine with that. Her ideas are good enough for the both of us. I'm lucky to have someone so creative to copy. Now, if I can just find the deals she is finding and work up 1/3 of the energy she has I could do great things to this house. I was inspired by something she spray painted glossy white and so today I made a special trip back to The Walmarts with all three of the girls (so you know it had to be important!) just to get white glossy spray paint to paint my aforementioned urn and I've already nearly used the whole can. I love spray paint. I'll post about that obsession/outlet/stress reliever another time.
Way more important than silly home decor projects, would you please pray for my cousin, Krista? She has cancer and is just beginning her battle. Please pray for her, her husband, Joe and her two cute kids. We all know people with cancer, but when it hits family it becomes very sobering and ultimately changes the way we view our lives. Pray for them. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Monday, March 15, 2010

$2.88 Worth of Motivation...

I've been pondering Spring Cleaning now for a few weeks and was almost ready to start it when the sickness hit. So, since then all I could do besides sanitize every imaginable surface and wash load after load of laundry was think about easy ways to spring clean. Then, I remembered my favorite, most informational and not-to-overwhelming website Real Simple. I became very familiar with this website last year and made this wonderfully organized notebook for myself that I actually used for several months (until it got lost in my unorganized mess of a cabinet). I bought a pink notebook because pink is such a happy color. Then, I used some dividers that I already had in another notebook (not quite as cute) from when I had attempted to be organized before - but that was pre-Real Simple, mind you. So, then, I printed off many organizational sheets from Real Simple for cleaning, laundering, filing paperwork, meal planning, etc. and I just love it. It works for me. So, I was super happy to find my notebook and start again my journey to re-organize my house and life now that the sun is shining.

The front/back of my notebook has The Elements of Clean cleaning schedule that shows what to clean weekly/monthly/3-6 months/6-12 months/once a year. Lovely.

And I just like looking at my notebook. Don't get me wrong. I love a clean house. But I loathe cleaning toilets and getting down to the knitty gritty. However, I realize the necessity, especially after all this sickness. It just seemed that I needed an extra ounce of motivation and today in Walmart (aka The Walmarts) I found it. Well, Middle Girl found it.
I'm up to my elbows in dirt and muck now and I am enjoying it. Bubble gum pink with flowers makes cleaning so much more fun.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Spring Forward?

I don't about you, but I have never been a fan of 'Springing Forward'. I am a 'Fall Back' kind of person. Always have been. Just ask my family. It's no secret. I love sleep. Sleep is precious to me. Always has been. This was always chalked up to laziness in my younger years, but recently I found out that there is a medical reason that makes me need sleep more than the average person. I'm not lazy afterall. It is totally legit. Unfortunately, as a mom of the three cutest girls I ever laid eyes on, sleep isn't at the top of their priority list. The Baby (who isn't really a baby anymore, but I will continue to call her the baby because it's my prerogative) is a great sleeper. I love that. She asks to go to bed often. She's my kind of gal. Middle Girl is a pretty good sleeper, but is an early riser...very early riser. Lately, she's been rising before 6am. I'm not sure I knew what 'before 6am' looked like until I had my firstborn. I'm not a fan of 'before 6am'. She's been trained, though, to stay in her room until the sun comes up. First Born is now a good sleeper and also an early riser, but she never understood the concept of sleep until after her 2nd birthday. That was tough. Very tough. I lost a lot of sleep those two years. In fact, I think I am still trying to regain those hours I lost. But anyway, this whole 'Spring Forward' idea is the pits. I understand why it has to happen, but it doesn't make it any easier. I do wish that it was on a Friday night instead of a Saturday night, though. It is hard enough to get up early on a Sunday morning and be at church on time without robbing me of an hour the night before. That hour is crucial on a church night. But, I guess whoever made this rule didn't go to church on Sunday mornings...with children....and all their stuff that has to be taken with them. Oh well. I will get through it. And I'll be saying 'It's really only (insert previous hour) right now' for the next 6 months. But one positive thing about this is that the clock in my van will be accurate in the morning! I don't know how to change the clock so since last Fall Back, my clock has been one hour off. It will be nice to look at the clock and know it is finally the right time again...at least for 6 months. And now, I must get to bed. I've stayed up too late already and I am already regretting this. Happy Spring Forward everyone.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Homemade Laundry Detergent

So, awhile back I learned about making your own laundry detergent from my friend, Dayna. She had posted on her facebook status about making detergent and people came out of the woodwork saying they'd been making theirs for awhile, too! First, I wondered why someone would do that - economical, eco-friendly, etc? - and then I googled it and realized how incredibly cheap it is. I have to admit I love the smell of certain detergents and I used to by a certain brand when it was on sale just because of the great smell. And then, I just became amazed at how expensive detergent is and started to get outraged. So, I decided to give the homemade kind a try. It is very cheap. And I have to say that it really works. There are a few variations of the recipe online, but the main ingredients are Borax, Arm & Hammer Washing Soda and Fels Naptha bar soap. I made enough to fill up a 2 gallon bucket, but some recipes show a 5 gallon bucket. This is the one I followed...
1/3 bar Fels Naptha soap, grated
1/2 cup washing soda
1/2 cup Borax
Mix Fels Naptha soap in sauce pan with 3 pints of water, heat on low til dissolved. Stir in washing soda and Borax. Stir until thickened and remove from heat. Add 1 Quart HOT water to 2 gallon bucket. Add soap mixture and mix well. Fill bucket with hot water and mix well. Set aside for 24 hours or until it gels. Use a 1/2 cup of the mixture per load of wash.
This literally cost me around $7.00 for all of the ingredients and three batches will do 192 loads of wash. So, about .03 cents per load. And you'll still have tons of washing soda and borax left over.
I made this at the beginning of our two weeks of sickness and it was perfect timing because in about a week's time, I used a whole bottle of detergent (32 loads) because of having to wash sheets and towels and clothing over and over and over.
I love that I don't have to spend mega bucks on laundry detergent anymore!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

A Sick Day....or 12

It all started 13 days ago. My baby woke up with 'it' in her bed. She was crying when she woke up which is very unusual. And she woke up at 6:30am, which {thankfully} is also very unusual. So, when I went to get her up, I saw 'it' all down the side of her crib. Thus, began the start of a very long two weeks. We knew the sickness was going around, but thanks to Hubs, we are super careful about making sure we all wash our hands and sanitize immediately after leaving church or getting in the car from the grocery store, etc. But somehow, the bug got her. It was not a welcome sight! My parents were coming that day and I was so excited! They rarely come here - we always go see them, so for them to be coming for the sole purpose of spending time with us at our house, I was thrilled. I called my mom and she said they'd still come since the bug isn't airborne. The baby seemed fine and I thought, 'Whew! We dodged a bullet!'. And then Tuesday came. My middle girl was acting funny Tuesday morning, but it isn't unusual for her to say her tummy hurts. I kept asking if she felt sick and she repeatedly said no. She's an optimist. I think she thought if she didn't admit it, she wouldn't get sick. So, we went out with my parents and decided to have brunch at IHOP. It was going to be good. Long story short, Middle Girl got sick all the way to the bathroom at IHOP. It was bad. Later that day, she 'got sick' again. Both times, my mom was with her when 'it' happened. She was weak the rest of the day and laid around. I thought it was overwith, but was scared someone else might get it. Then, Wednesday came and went - my parents went home and as the day progressed, I wasn't feeling so great. The bug nailed me - full force. And much to my regret, it got my mom, too. It was a LONG night for me. Thursday was spent on the couch while I tried to take care of the Baby and Middle Girl. Firstborn was at school and Hubs went to work mid morning so it was not an easy day. Thinking we were okay since no one threw up Thursday, I was disappointed when I went to get the Baby Friday morning and she had done 'it' in the crib again. Saturday, Middle Girl did 'it' again. Sunday night, Firstborn really had it bad. I slept in her room all night with a mask on my face so I wouldn't breathe in any particals (gag me) while 'it' was going on. Monday, Firstborn rested all day and was very weak. Tuesday morning around 1am, Middle Child was at 'it' again. I could NOT believe it. Wednesday we were all feeling more normal and I was so very thankful. Then, Thursday morning came and the Baby and I were BOTH sick again. Hubs had to stay home from work for a few hours until I could get over the worst. All day the Baby was sick and by evening I was at my wit's end. By the grace of God {and a big pep talk from Hubs} I was able to overcome my drained emotions and lack of stamina and put on my big girl tiara and dealt with it head on. I was reminded that God's grace IS sufficient for me. And I needed it because Friday morning Hubs woke up very nauseated. He was in bed ALL DAY. Today, he is feeling better, but has no appetite. It took me 8 days to regain my appetite so needless to say, tomorrow will be the first day in 2 weeks that I've actually cooked something....that is - if we are all well.
We're pretty doggone sure we had/have the Norovirus. It is highly contagious and stays in the small intestine for approx 2 weeks (which is what we've experienced). I miss church. I miss normalcy. I spent an hour and a half at the Goodwill this afternoon - BY MYSELF - it was awesome. {And YES, I washed my hands with a Wet Ones wipey as soon as I got in the car and you-would-not-believe-how-dirty-it-was-when-I-got-through!!!!} I even broke my own cardinal rule and went to the Walmarts on a Saturday, thankyouverymuch. I was free for about two hours or so! It was lovely. So, hopefully, our turn with the sickness is over. I've quite frankly had enough of it for one lifetime. And I am greatly looking forward to getting back to church. Tomorrow we'll be attending church via internet with my sister and her fam. Their church is online LIVE every service so when I can't be at my church, I like to tune in to her church service where we usually catch a glimpse of her and her fam during the shaking hands part of the service....and my bro-in-law promptly sanitizes his hands after. Can't be too careful!
Some lessons I've learned about the Norovirus - and plan to always do from now on...
  • Sanitizer doesn't kill this virus. Only soap and water will wash it off your hands (won't kill it).
  • Wet Ones wipes WILL kill this virus and numerous other viruses. I vow to ALWAYS carry Wet Ones with me everywhere I go for wiping down surfaces, grocery cart handles, washing my hands in public, etc. etc.
  • Never touch your face. EVER. Merely wiping your eye or nose or mouth can throw you into the pit of this nasty virus. I will never touch my face with my hand again unless my hands have just been wiped. (And by the way - you wouldn't believe how itchy your face will be when you decide not to touch it.)
  • Clorox bleach will kill this virus and it is now a mandatory item under my kitchen counter - not just my laundry room. I've been wiping down every surface with bleach water for days. I know what harm bleach can do, but it's worth it to me not to have this virus again.

I've turned into Bob Wiley from 'What About Bob?' and I don't even care. Maybe I'll start a blog about the life of a germaphobe. Okay, maybe not.