When Life Doesn’t Go As Planned

I have to admit–earlier this week, I was seriously thinking about quitting the blog thing.  I’m just not happy with my numbers–no non-spam comments, small number of views, etc.  The problem with that is that I’m not in the habit of quitting things easily.  I never have been.  Well some things.  Some things I quit pretty easily–like dieting.  Exercising.  Okay scratch that, maybe I quit about half of the things in my life, but that’s not the point.

Getting something started is even more difficult than keeping it going, though.  There are always those excuses running through my head: “I can’t, because I don’t have time.  I don’t have the money.  I don’t have the energy.  I’m not smart enough, beautiful enough…”  The list could go on forever.  You get the gist.

I can’t tell you how many times I thought I should just give up Thirty-One, because I don’t have the sales I want.  Heck sometimes I want to quit parenting.  (Who doesn’t?)

At the end of the day, the best laid plans don’t always work out.  For instance, I lay out my schedule all nice and neat at the beginning of the week, but here I am on Thursday evening, and I haven’t put much work into my blog, I haven’t booked nearly enough parties or talked enough about recruiting.  I haven’t done enough work for the church, and I haven’t done my filing.  Or the ironing.  Or finishing the laundry in general.

But that’s because I have two kids with ear infections.  And one got bitten by the dog yesterday when she shut him in our teeny tiny bathroom (who wouldn’t be claustrophobic in there with the door closed???)…so one thing leads to another, and I’ve lost countless hours of time that I could have been doing “more important things”.

Instead, I was a parent.  I sat with my little girl in the Emergency Room, stroked her hair, cleaned her wounds, gave her medicine, researched earache remedies (again), took temperatures, and got up in the middle of the night to snuggle.

So I suppose at the end of the day, it’s okay that I missed out on my business opportunities, my clean house, etc.  Because I got to spend some much-needed time with my kids.  There are so many more children out there who need that.

And the Bride Wore White: Review and Giveaway

And the Bride Wore White book cover

Today, over at MODSquad (Mothers of Daughters–that’s me!), Tracie has posted a review of Dannah Gresh’s And the Bride Wore White, a book that discusses the why of sexual purity–a topic that girls today desperately need to understand.  And something I wish I had known when I was a teenager.

Check out the review and enter to win a free copy of the book!  Follow this link: And the Bride Wore White Review and Giveaway

Too Early to Think About Summer? I Don’t Think So…

Child Lying in a Tent

A few weeks ago, I received an email from our church conference about upcoming summer church camps.  I was so excited, and I couldn’t wait to plan!  More recently, we have been receiving snippets from the school and hearing about other camps in the area.

Believe it or not, it’s time to plan for summer camps.  Camps book quickly, so in order to ensure

you’re spot, you need to sign up early.  Not to mention early-bird discounts.

Rapunzel and I are planning on attending Mommy & Me camp again this year; Cinderella and Wendy have a certain camp in mind that they would like to attend as well.  Tinkerbell is still too young.  That’s great and all, but Mommy & Me camp is only a weekend-getaway.  That means I still have three months to plan out.  Thankfully I am partially at home now, so I don’t have to worry about childcare.  But it creates the problem that I need to find things for these kids to do.  I just can’t stand the thought of them Facebooking and watching TV and playing on the computer for three months.  Talk about frying your brain.

One thing I know we are definitely going to do this summer is participate in our local library’s reading and outdoor program.  Last year, Tinkerbell won a camping set for completing the outdoor program, and two of our other daughters won items as well for their reading.  Plus it kept them busy and active for most of the summer and provided some quality time for us.

I do have some printables set out in a binder for the times that I’m in the office with all four kids.  Here are some of the resources I use for my printables:

I also keep up with Money Saving Mom, who is always posting links to free or discounted printables and activities.

I’m also considering signing the young ones up for a one-week theatre camp if we can afford a scholarship and finding a cheap swimming class in the area for Rapunzel.  She is six, and I’d really feel much more comfortable if she learned how to swim.  I was around her age when I had swimming lessons.

Outside of that, I’m a little stuck.  I came up with a few activities, but I doubt they’ll keep us entertained all summer.  Here’s what I have:

  • Learn about the family history
  • Do a craft, crochet, knit (this isn’t much trouble for Cinderella)
  • Make a collage
  • Color
  • Play with Play Dough
  • Play with Chalk
  • Put together puzzles
  • Word and number puzzles (Sudoku, word finds, crosswords)
  • Play a board game
  • Play cards
  • Do a scavenger hunt
  • Volunteer at a local agency/home
  • Work for extra money
  • Come up with a charity idea or an event, plan it, and carry it out

What do you do with your kids for the summer?  What is the best activity you’ve ever done?

Goals for the Week of February 17

I skipped my goals for last week, so we’re going to try again this week.  Here are my goals for this week.  Wish me luck!

Spiritual

  • Devotions each day
  • Devotions with Prince Charming each day
  • Help kids memorize their verse for Wednesday
  • Daily prayers

Family

  • Call Grandpa
  • Call Grammie
  • Spend time with the kids
  • Schoolwork with Rapunzel each day
  • Remember Spring pictures on Thursday for Rapunzel

Business

  • Send invites for 3/24 party
  • Follow-up with invitees for recruiting party
  • Training video
  • Complete at least one additional hour of training
  • Book two more parties for March
  • Close party
  • Follow up with previous customers
  • Process return
  • Move inventory
  • Meeting on Thursday

Personal

  • Budget
  • Balance checkbook
  • Filing
  • Taxes (YUCK)
  • Scan pictures

Physical

  • Exercise 3 times
  • Drink 8 glasses of water per day

Cleaning

  • Kitchen
  • Floors
  • Downstairs bathroom
  • Upstairs bathroom
  • Ironing (my favorite)

How a Penny Taught My Daughter About Diversity

Diversity
All this month, because it is black history month, I have been thinking about how might be the best way to talk to my children about race.  My half-brother is bi-racial, and it’s important to me that my children be aware that God made all of us the same inside no matter how we look on the outside.  I’ve constantly been at work with this whenever we see somebody who is in a wheelchair or who has a visible deformity.

For instance, last week at the post office, we saw a man who had a severe limp.

“Why does that man walk funny?”  Rapunzel asked me, a little too loud for comfort.

I’m not sure if the man heard her, but if he did, I hope he heard my response as well.  I decided to tell her that sometimes people are born that way.  Sometimes, something happens to people–either they get sick or they are in an accident–that changes the way they look, move, or talk.  And that whatever the case, God made us all special and He loves us all the same.

The opportunity came to me on Monday to speak of race, when Rapunzel came home from

school having learned about the penny.  The worksheet she had asked who the president was on the front of the penny.

“Do you know who President Lincoln is?”  I asked (knowing she didn’t know, of course).

“No.”

From there, I gave a brief synopsis of slavery and the Emancipation Proclamation, emphasizing

the fact that our ancestors enslaved other people just because they looked different.

“Do you think God loves us any different because our skin is a different color?”  I asked.

“No,” Rapunzel replied.

“Did you know that Mommy’s brother has different colored skin?”

Rapunzel gasped.  “Really?”

“Yes,” I replied, “And actually, today is his birthday!  He is twenty-three.”

I proceeded to show her a picture.  “Isn’t he handsome?”  I asked.

“Yes, he is very handsome,” she replied, “Can I make him a birthday card?”

So I spent much time and effort looking for fun, cute printables on black history month just so I could teach my daughter about diversity, when really…all I needed was a penny.

Why We Celebrate Lent

To put it simply, Lent, according to History.com, is the forty-day period leading up to Easter (it’s actually more than forty days, but it doesn’t include Sundays).  Lent is supposed to be, for Christians, a time period where we reflect on the past year and confess our sins.

Why forty days?

This forty-day period represents the forty days that Jesus spent in the desert before beginning his ministry–a time in which he was tried, tempted, and tested by Satan.  Typically, Lent begins on Ash Wednesday.  The day before, “Fat Tuesday,” is the day when everybody consumes the fat remaining in the house in order to cleanse during the next forty days.  Where I’m from, we eat Fastnachts.  I’m not a big Fastnacht fan, so I eat donuts (because they’re so much better for me–HA!)

Many Christians don’t even celebrate Lent.  For instance, Prince Charming doesn’t celebrate Lent.  He can’t make it forty days.  Some people don’t see the point.  My parents never celebrated Lent.  As far as I know, my extended family doesn’t either.  But my church does, and I find it to be a good time to reflect, as we are supposed to, on the past year, identify the places where I struggle, and work to right these wrongs.

I have celebrated Lent for about eight years now.  One year, I gave up secular music (this was really hard!), one year chocolate (even more difficult!), caffeine (that didn’t really work out so well), soda…this year I’m thinking about either ice cream or soda again.

Why do I celebrate Lent?

Jesus gave up His life for me.  Can I sacrifice forty days out of my life to give up something in His name?  To better myself?  Prince Charming may not celebrate Lent, but I hope to instill in my childrens’ lives the same value–of reflection, self-improvement, and sacrifice: a tiny sacrifice compared to the sacrifice given for me.

You Never Really Know Which Day Will Be Your Last

As I was working for my dad yesterday morning, he broke the news to me that Pope XVI will be resigning at the end of the month.  I was shocked to hear this, not surprised to discover later that there has not been a pope to resign in nearly 600 years.

Now to understand these next statements, you have to understand that my dad is very interested in the rapture, Armageddon, the end times, whatever you want to call it.  He is constantly listening to preachers who speak on Revelations and the end of days.  After announcing to me that the pope is resigning, he went on to talk to me about the Prophesies of Malachy (you can find more information here).

I have to say that I was a little freaked out.  I believe in the apocalypse, Armageddon, whatever you want to call it.  And there have been many times that I wanted just to go “Home,” but I don’t know if I want this to happen during my lifetime (not like I have a choice).  My dad says I should be joyful, but I have fears about what is to come.  But regardless of what will happen now or in 1,000 years, we never really know which day will be our last.

As morbid as it sounds, we all know that we could be hit by the proverbial bus (as my former co-worker would have said), or, like my uncle, be here one day and gone the next.

So it got me thinking…when do I carry out my bucket list?  Do I do it now–just in case?  Or do I wait until I “have the time” or “have the money”, only to risk never being able to do it at all.  In either case, I thought I’d post my bucket list.  Then it’s out there.  Everyone knows about it.  Maybe I’ll be held accountable for carrying it out someday.

Bucket List:

  • Visit Rome, Italy
  • Visit the Great Pyramids in Egypt
  • Visit Capadoccia (I know this sounds really random, but I have this vivid image of a poster in my 9th grade World Cultures class that has made me want to visit the place ever since.  Truth is, I don’t even know where in Capadoccia the picture was taken.)
  • Visit the Grand Canyon
  • Visit Mount Rushmore
  • Watch the Summer Olympics in person
  • Read all of the classic novels (the question here are “What is considered a classic”?)
  • Build my dream home
  • Take my kids to Disney World
  • Write and publish a book
  • Make a difference in one person’s life

Honestly, I thought I had more.on my list, but this is all I could come up with today.

What is on your bucket list? (Please share–I’d really appreciate the comments!)

Friday Family Movie Night Review: ParaNorman

ParaNorman
Every Friday night is movie night at our house.  Pizza and a movie in the living room.  I don’t know when or why exactly we came up with this, but we like it (most of the time) and it works.  Tonight we rented ParaNorman, which I thought might be a doable movie, but I was highly disappointed.

First of all, with this movie having been rated PG, I thought that it’s scariness would be limited to that of, you know, something more like Monsters, Inc. scary.  Boy was I wrong.  Twenty minutes into the movie, we had to turn it off, because Rapunzel and Tinkerbell were too scared.  (Luckily, I convinced them not to watch Care Bears: The Movie instead.)  I mean, we were okay for a little while, but the beginning of the movie shows a crazy homeless man swallowing a bottle of pills.  A little further into the movie (because Wendy and Cinderella did finish later), several sexual innuendos appear, which was also surprising.  And to top it off, the ghost of the grandmother blatantly, straight-out says “Jack-a**”.  That’s when I knew for sure we were done with it for the little ones.

Thankfully Rapunzel is pretty good about asking about a word before she says it.

If I had to pull out something good about this movie, I’d say it teaches us that bullying is not acceptable and that empathy is the best way to handle difficult people.

Overall, I wouldn’t recommend it.  At least not for young children.  Keep it for children probably 10+, who you know won’t end up with nightmares and won’t repeat the language.

Bean and Cheese Quesadillas

Here’s another recipe that we had recently.  I found this one at Parents magazine.

Bean and Cheese QuesadillasIngredients:

  •  tablespoon olive oil
  •  small onion, finely chopped (we used half of a large one, because that’s what we had)
  • 1/2 small green pepper, seeded and chopped (we only had a large one, so I just used half of that)
  • 15 ounce can black beans, drained and lightly mashed
  • 1/2 cup lower sodium salsa
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • package (10-count) fajita-size flour or whole-wheat tortillas (I made two quesadillas with whole wheat tortillas and one with flour tortillas)
  • ounces reduced-fat pepper Jack cheese, shredded (we didn’t have any, so I used 4 ounces of Mexican blend cheese that we had lying around and 4 ounces of cheddar to minimize spiciness)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves (we skipped on this, because I’m not a huge fan of cilantro in large amounts)
  • Extra salsa for serving (optional)

Instructions:

1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and green pepper and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in beans, salsa, and chili powder. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Spray a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Place over medium-high heat. Place one tortilla in the skillet and cook for 1 minute. Spread 1/3 cup of the bean mixture and 1/3 cup of the cheese evenly over the tortilla. Sprinkle some of the cilantro over the top. Place another tortilla on top, and cook for 1 minute. Press gently with a spatula and turn. Cook for 1 minute or until browned.

3. Place quesadilla on a baking sheet and keep warm at 250 degrees in the oven. Repeat with the remaining ingredients to make additional quesadillas. Allow skillet to cool slightly if it becomes too hot.

4. To serve, cut each quesadilla into quarters. Serve 3 quarters to each person.

Servings Per Recipe: 6; Amount Per Serving: cal.(kcal): 312, Fat, total(g): 13, chol.(mg): 23, carb.(g): 34, fiber(g): 5, pro.(g): 16, sodium(mg): 786, Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Tinkerbell and Rapunzel weren’t a big fan of this one, but Prince Charming and I enjoyed it.  Rapunzel insisted it was too spicy; however, I’m pretty sensitive to spicy, and this didn’t bother me at all.  I’d probably make it again, and I think Wendy and Cinderella might like it too.

Children’s Book Review: Sleep, Big Bear, Sleep by Maureen Wright

Sleep Big Bear Sleep by Maureen Wright
This week, Rapunzel brought home a new book from the school library called Sleep, Big Bear Sleep by Maureen Wright.  I have to say this is probably the best book she’s brought home from school.

What’s even better is that, right now,  the kindergarten class is discussing what animals do in the winter.  In this book, the wind tries and tries and tries to tell Big Bear to go to sleep for the winter, but Big bear just doesn’t get it.

This book was not only well written, but it was a fun, imaginative story with fantastic illustrations by Will Hillenbrand.  This is one book that I would purchase to read over and over again.