Monday, November 23, 2009

The Homemakers Haven--Week 2

Have you ever heard of the saying "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."?

I know in my home I tend to set the tone for the whole house. I hate to admit it but that isn't always a good thing. Just last week on Monday, Zachary said to me with all sincerity, "Mom, this has been a really good day! You haven't been stressed out or anything!!" OUCH!!!

I have to admit:
I don't smile as often as I should.
I can sound annoyed when the kids are asking me a question or asking me for help in school.
I say no alot just because I don't want to be inconvenient.
I yell way to often.

How's that for honest. Embarrassing but honest. You are going to laugh, but do you know when this hit me.....A few weeks ago I was watching the Amazing Race and there was a christian couple on it who are dating. That week, the girl did NOT want to do the last challenge, going down a huge water slide though a shark tank (you were glassed off from the sharks). Her too biggest fears-water and heights-both in one challenge. By not doing this challenge she was dropping out of the race and a chance at $1 million dollars.

Her boyfriend was trying to physically push her down the slide. As we watched this unfold on TV my hubby said "Isnt' this suppose to be the christian couple? He isn't acting very christian right now."

That stayed with me. How would I look if someone filmed me 24/7 with my kids. Would they see a mother who loves staying home with her 6 children, homeschooling? Or would they see someone who actions tell another story?

Last week I really made an effort. I noticed a difference. So this week, to make my Home a Haven I will:
*Smile more.
*Say yes more.
*Hold my tongue and count to 10 when I feel I am going to respond out of frustration or anger.
*Praise my children more for the effort they put in.

Head over to A High and Noble Calling for more Homemakers Haven.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Online Coupons

I LOVE to order online-----but I HATE paying shipping. Three times since September I have used this webiste:

Popular coupons powered by

Retailmenot saved me $40 in shipping charges---$19.95 on American Girl, $9.95 for Hanes and another $10 from CBD. That is money in my pocket!!!!

Super easy to use---go onto the website, put in the store or website you are shopping at and *ta-da* codes will appear. Could it be any easier : )

Happy Shopping!!!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Random Family Pictures

Random Family Pictures


Emily and Nicholas

My Dad with Nicholas


CJ giving Jessie Birthday hugs

Works for Me Wednesday---November 18

Each meal at our house consists of 5-7 people eating at once (sometimes more). To cut down on the confusion of who gets what and how much I have come up with this system:

We make everyone's plate in the kitchen. This lets us see how much food is on each plate---making it easier for us to keep kids size portions vs. adult size in check (I have one child who would just eat and eat and eat if you let him) and lets us see that they have eaten (if you don't eat your meal, you don't get snacks).

**ADDED BONUS** Less dishes to wash!!!! I just cut out having to wash serving dishes : )

Well here is the REAL tip----when I make everyone's plate I line them up in order from oldest to youngest (left to right). I also do this when pouring everyone's drink too. This helps me keep track of who's plate is who's. Also, because I have been using this system for so long, when the kids come get their food, they know to count over X amount of spots for their plate depending on where they fall. Example---lunch time: On this day Chris is at work and CJ and I are not eating the same thing as the kids. I make PB&J sandwiches. Alex comes into get get his plate. He will count over 3 plates----Zachary, Jessica, Alex and Emily. Because the kids know the system so well, they can usually tell when I plate is missing---like if Jessica already came and got her plate Alex would see an empty space and then 2 more plates. He would assume Jessie came and took hers.

This system Works For Me!!!!

Head on over to We Are THAT Family for more Works for Me Wednesday.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Homemakers Haven---Week 1

I found a new blog I LOVE! Can you guess? A High and Noble Calling. I love Stephanie's writing, her insight, her little-bit-of-everything. She is doing a weekly meme called The Homemakers Haven. When I read about it last week, I was instantly drawn in by her first 2 sentences.

Over the last 2 weeks I have had a work going on in my heart. First off---I have to get rid of the picture I have of others in my head (the "perfect homeschool families"---you know the ones) and stop comparing myself to them. My family is not going to be exactly like yours----I wouldn't want to be!!! Don't get me wrong, I definitely do glean from others.

I do know that I have to get myself and my home back in order. That is why I am so glad for this new weekly series. It will help keep me accountable. Also, my personality is a "check off the box" kind of person so to have things written down that I can then cross off is GREAT!!!! Stephanie has given 5 areas to work in.

So here is what I want to work on this week to make my home more of a haven:

1.Beginning Day in God's Word
I sure do notice a difference when I start the day off with God and give it over to Him compared to when I leave it up to myself. This week I am working on getting up with Nicholas' 6 am feeding and staying up. I usually go into the nursery, close the door and feed sitting in the rocking chair listening to K-Love (christian radio network). Now here is where the change comes in. I usually falling asleep holding him after this feeding and waking up when the kids come in one-by-one. Not anymore!!

Goal: Listen to music as usual but after Nicholas is done eating get right into God's word. I am using my Mom's devotional Bible right now. It has a short devotion to read along with scripture verses. After that, spend some time in prayer.

2.Complete Your Morning Routine
It is not uncommon of me to stay in my pajamas ALL day. Over the last 2 months, if I was staying home for the day I would stay in pj's, take a shower (at some point) and put on another pair. About 2 weeks ago I got an email devotion from Alpha Omega Publications. It talked about how if you were at a job how would you look---nice clothes, hair done. Compared to how we (or should I say I) look as a homeschool mama---pjs, hair in a messy bun, slippers. OUCH!! What kind of example am I to my children?

Goal: Before I come downstairs (and I get caught up in whatever is going on) I am to take a shower, get dressed in REAL clothes including shoes, make my bed and dress Emily. I also need to do my light for Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter depression). It makes a world of difference.

3.Have a Plan
Honestly, need to think and work on this one.

4.What's for Dinner
I posted my menu yesterday. I am pretty good about making a menu. It's the taking something out to defrost I am terrible at!!!

Goal: Take whatever meat needs to be defrosted out in the morning.

5.Compete a Project!
Oh boy, do I have projects I need to complete.

Goal: School books are all over!!! Because of taking time off during the pregnancy from being sick we did school though the summer. Before Nicholas was born , I was having the kids work on the books from last year that they didn't finish. Because of this, I have 2 different years worth of books in one area. AAHH!!!!! I have already switched a couple of things and I still have crates sitting in my dinning room with books that were "suppose" to be put away (like 3 months ago). I am determined to get my school area clean and organized.
2. Catch up on laundry.
3. Organize Nicholas' closet. Chris took everything out so we could reorganize it. However, before we can put his stuff back in it I need to do the school books so I can put them at the back of his closet (it is a long closet to the side).

Okay, I think that should do it. Don't want to make my goal so huge this first week that I don't meet them.

Oh, one last goal for the week---Smile More!!!

Monday, November 16, 2009


Have you seen this commercial? While watching the Patriots last night with my hubby my jaw dropped open when I saw this. Why? I have never seen such a PC (Politically Correct) commercial before. They threw everything in their as to not offend anyone. Then at the end it tells you to "86 the rules and just do what feels right."

That is what we have come to as a country. It's ALL okay, no real right or wrong, as long as you don't offend anyone in the process. You must have heard the saying "If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything!" Now that I think of it....kind of like the girl does at the end of the commercial : )-

Menu Monday---November 16th

I tried to plan this weeks menu from the food we already had on hand. I didn't want to spend alot of money on food this week. I was pleasantly surprised to see that most of our meals could be done and we actually only needed a few ingredients for the rest.

I started my menu on Friday's since that is the day I go (or try to go) grocery shopping. I would like to eventually change this to a Tuesday afternoon or a Wednesday. It just hasn't happened yet.

L--Left-over Chicken Chili with rice
D--Chicken Pot Pie (from the freezer)

B--Pancakes (I made a triple batch and froze a huge amount)
L--Cheese and Crackers with Apples
D--Pizza Night (I did order this out. I have tried 3 times now to make homemade and it just doesn't taste the same to me.)

Sunday --- Jessica's Birthday ---- Menu picked out by her
B--French Toast (made extra and put it in the freezer)
L--Fruit and snacks
D--Tacos (hamburg and chicken) with Rice, veggies

B--Banana Bread (made 2 yesterday, 1 went in the freezer)
L--L.O. (left over) Tacos and Rice
D--Portuguese Soup and homemade bread

B--Muffins (I made them over the weekend and put them in the freezer)
L--L.O. Portuguese Soup
D--Lasagna (from the freezer)

L--L.O. Lasagna
D--BBQ chicken, Rice and Corn

L--BLTs and Mac and Cheese
D--Chicken Stir-Fry

The only food I bought this week:
Taco Dinner Mixes x 2
Taco Cheese
1 box mac and cheese
ice cream (to with Jessica's birthday cake I made)
butterscotch tips (planning on making cookies today)
bottled water
Nicholas' formula
1 juice

I think that is it. Not bad for a family of 8!! I still could have went without a few of those things.

Head on over to I'm an Organizing Junkie for more Monday Menu Plans.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Busy Season

Today officially begins our family's busy season. Between today and the 1st of the year we will celebrate 3 birthdays and 3 major holidays. And we don't get to rest too long in January before our anniversary comes. Here's the breakdown:

November 15---Jessica's birthday
November 26---Thanksgiving
December 16----Emily's birthday
December 24/25---Christmas Eve and Day
December 29---Zachary's Birthday
December 31/January 1---New Year's Eve and Day
January 18---Wedding Anniversary.


It would be easy to get caught up in the materialistic aspect of the season along with the stress. So how do we get through without going crazy?

First and foremost......downsize birthdays. Up until a few years ago we use to go all out, go crazy and broke. I am talking 2 parties per kid (one for adults and one for the kids) on the same day!!! I would invite kids over, along with their parents during the day. We would have games, food and cake. Clean up, and then family would come over....which meant another buffet of food (usually Chinese for family), another cake (btw, these are store bought cakes) and another mess! I was always stressed out leading up to the day. The day of, I was usually unbearable (I can admit it). It sucked all the fun and life out of the day. On top of that, my pocketbook would be about $400+ lighter between food, supplies, cakes, party favors and presents---and this is probably a conservative estimate. Afterwards, I was exhausted, broke and STILL stressed because I had another mess to clean.

A few years ago we smart'n up. Now only "milestone" birthdays have a party that is more than just our family. This would include--1st birthday and 10th, and 18th (I think, CJ isn't there yet). This is not to say that we don't make each birthday special, we just do it in a different way.

An example of a typical birthday in our house:
*Birthday child picks the menu for the day.
*No chores---great chance for siblings to bless the birthday child.
*No school--birthday's are family holidays.
*Present---This is when the child gets their "big" present for the year(instead of Christmas). We decided this would be the time to give the big gift (like an American Girl Doll or Nintendo DS) because it would be almost impossible to afford these kinds of gifts x 6 at once. Also, I think it would take away from Christmas. I would rather spend the extra money on a present than on a party.
*Child picks out what kind of cake they would like, either ice cream cake or a cake made by me.
*A special countdown song leading up to the big day.
*This year we added---each person at dinner says something about the birthday person that makes them special.

We have, on occasions, gone out to dinner as a family and something fun like bowling or mini-golf.

My children are just as happy with the way we do birthday now as we use. And myself? I LOVE it!!! My stress level is way down since I don't have to worry about getting the house ready for company. Instead, I get to enjoy the birthday child.

Today I brought Jessie to Starbucks to get a Frapacinno---just like Mommy, buy nail polish and a pack of gum. When we got home, I painted her nails as Daddy made tacos. After, she played with her new American Girl Doll we splurged on. It was a great day!!! Including her gift, the day cost around $120 ($95 on doll, $7 hairbrush for doll, breakfast and dinner under $10, cake less than $2, ice cream $2, birthday plates and napkins $3. That is a far cry from the $400.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Love This Commercial!!!

Every time...and I do mean EVERY time, I see this commercial I can't help but crack up : )-

New Name!!

I don't know if you noticed but I changed the name of my blog today to "They are ALL my Own". You might be wondering why the name change? Well there are 2 major reasons.

1. When I first started blogging I thought it would be a blog about homeschooling. However, it turned out to be less about homeschooling and more about my life, my kids, and my general thoughts. Therefore, I didn't feel that "My Adventures in Homeschooling" was appropriate anymore.

2. Now as for the new name itself. It is no secret that I have adopted 3 children. I am pretty open about it and I love to talk to people about it. I have found that people have a preconceived notion about what "adopted" children look like and act like. I have heard to many times "Well I couldn't adopt because I would be afraid to. You never know what you are going to get." Well I am hear to tell you.....You NEVER know what you are going to get when you give birth to a child!!! How many times have you seen a family with 3 children and they grow up to be totally different. In my own sibling group I have a brother who has MAJOR mental health issues (bipolar, schizophrenia) while me and my sister do not.

While people know I adopted they sometimes have a hard time figuring out which 3 were. I like the guessing game, and quite honestly, I think it is funny when people pick the wrong ones. Unfortunately though, more times than not (and more than I care for), people will say "Which ones are your own?"

Do you see where I am going with this. You see, They are ALL my Own!!! I am not babysitting here, or raising these kids until their "real" parents come back. I am their real mother, Chris is their real father, they are real brothers and sisters and they are ALL mine.

I love the uniqueness of our family. Each and every one of them was picked out by God. I am proud to say, they are ALL my own : )