Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Just Enough

God has so graciously given me the encouragement that I've needed recently.

It's weird, because this particular thing that's happened lately rarely occurs, like ever. But it's happened a LOT lately.

I've had "just enough."

I made bread and needed six cups of flour. Guess how much flour I had left? Exactly six cups.
I needed 1/4 cup of oil. Guess how much oil I had left? 1/4 cup. I needed 2 tablespoons of yeast. How much was left in my jar? Exactly 2 tablespoons.

I made pancakes and needed 2 teaspoons of baking powder. Guess how much baking powder I had left? Exactly 2 teaspoons.

I needed 1/3 cup of honey for a different recipe. Guess how much I had left? 1/3 cup. No more, no less.

One recipe needed sugar. I had exactly the right amount of sugar.

If this had happened just once or twice, people might say it was just a "coincidence." But this many times in about a week's span has GOT to be God Almighty.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Funny from My Boys

My older 4 year old son loves to ask things like:
"Do you remember when I was a baby and I slept in a crib?"
"Do you remember when I was a baby and I wore diapers?"
"Do you remember when I was a baby and I took my baths in the kitchen sink?"
"Do you remember when I was a baby and I cried?"
"Do you remember when I was a baby and I couldn't walk?"

This morning he asked:
"Do you remember when ... when ..."

Our youngest 2 year old boy answered, "... when you were a baby?"

Our older boy got really irritated and replied, "no, when I was in South America!!"

(We've never been to South America, that was completely out of the blue!)

Monday, February 18, 2013

Unexpected Blessings from Strangers

We got a surprise, unexpected medical bill on Saturday for my youngest son's ureteral reflux scan last August. I tried not to worry about it over the weekend, but I put the bill on my refrigerator to remember to call about it. That meant every time I opened up the fridge, I saw that ugly bill. Paying that bill was going to hurt. A lot.

Today, I called about it. I explained to the rep that I wasn't disputing the bill, but I was curious about why it took from August to February to process the bill. There were also some itemized notes about how my insurance was disputing the payment, so they were passing the balance onto me. I was curious about just what all had happened.

The medical rep I spoke to asked if I could be put on hold while she researched the situation. She put me on hold for about 5 minutes. She came back on the line and said, "I've corrected the matter and you now have a zero balance. I'll be sending you confirmation in the mail soon."

Y'all, I broke down and cried. That was such a blessing to us!

Please pray for us. The enemy is trying very hard lately to get my family discouraged. But God Almighty is bigger than the enemy, and we are trusting in Him. God is always good, please pray for us to remember that.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Trying to Get My Act Together (aka Home Management Binder)

Things don't slow down here.
 Ever.

Honey started a little part-time job at the university's Veterans Affair office. It's an easy job, really, so it's not anything like the hard labor at his previous U-Haul job. At the VA office he just answers questions for anyone who needs help. And since most of the people who use the VA office are veterans who already know their educational benefits, hardly anyone needs help--they just come in to use the computer and study.

So Honey is getting a tiny paycheck (19 hours a week), but it's tax free, and very quiet. He can study while he's on the clock, and he actually gets a lot of his own homework done there. Honey is in charge of a few different study groups for his classes, and it seems they are always trying to track down a good place to meet. The facilities at the VA office are big enough and centrally located that all his groups can meet there now.

The point of that paragraph was to say that I had JUST gotten into a good routine with Honey's new school schedule and the boys, and our daughter's TWO jobs, but then Honey's schedule changed again for his new job. I feel like I can't get into a solid routine anymore!

So I am trying something I have seen before, but actually thought (until now) was kinda hokey...a home management binder.

Mine's still a work in progress, and it's not pretty enough to take a picture of.

So far, I divided up my binder into tabs: housework, homeschool calendar, homeschool lesson plans, school attendance, meal planning, and gardening.

The housework tab has a basic housework schedule for daily, weekly, and monthly chores. This sounds kinda lame if housework comes easily to you, but if you haven't had little ones in your home lately, you might have forgotten how quickly kids can wreck a house and a housework routine. And if I have chores listed on paper, I don't have to think about doing them. I just do them. And the house stays semi presentable throughout the week. This was a good thing, as our exterminator came yesterday morning for his quarterly treatment, and I didn't feel stressed at all about getting the house ready for him.

The homeschool calendar tab is broad-range goals for the boys. I do my curriculum according to a monthly theme. February is transportation theme, so I try to touch on air, land, and sea transportation. I have goals for each of my boys, holiday ideas, Bible stories, etc. It's just a rough form.

I transfer the rough goals from the homeschool calendar tab to a more day-to-day plan in my homeschool lesson plan tab. I have lessons and projects for each of the boys. Remember my boys are still 4 and 2, so it's not very involved. But I do try to have something educational for them to do on a daily basis. My older boy is learning about gravity, inertia, and motion this month, so we have been flying paper airplanes, throwing balls outside, and rolling cars to watch them go. Nothing collegiate, but fun things that teach lessons! This week we'll also be making Valentines.

School attendance is a tab that is not necessary right now, but will be in the future. My state requires homeschool students to turn in monthly attendance records. I am trying to get myself into the habit of marking off which days we actually do "school" so it won't be a big chore when the boys start real school.

Meal planning is a biggie for me. I have lunches and dinners planned on a weekly basis. I use this to make my grocery lists. It also alleviates the 3:00 PM "What am I going to cook for dinner?" panic. I also have a master "meal idea" plan I can refer to when I am out of ideas. I have had to revamp a lot of my meals to accommodate our vegan diet, so I have been making a new "master meal idea" list lately. Some of the recipes I've tried have been really good, like Easy Masoor Daal. Others, like last night's pasta e fagioli, was a total flop. (We won't be making that particular recipe again, yuck!)

The gardening tab has a graph of next year's garden plot, as well as a calendar for what I need to plant on what day. I've already got broccoli and cabbage sprouting, and my winter spinach is coming along quite happily. I still want to put in a fertilization schedule. As I said before, if I don't have to think about doing it, and already have it planned, I don't have to remember the last time I did something, and I already have it written down when I need to do something again.

I'm continuing my running plan three days a week. This week I broke the halfway point--I'm running more than I'm walking!

My youngest is STILL potty training. He had a yucky cold last week, so that was a setback. But we're back at it this week.

If you have a home management binder, how do you use it? What sections do you have? Any suggestions for me?