These are a few on my favorite things!

1- Game nights with friends!

We’re always looking for fun & simple games we can 1) play with the kids or 2) doesn’t require a whole lot of thinking so we can freely talk and joke and hang with our company. There’s most definitely a time and a place for strategy/thinking games. But oftentimes a light/fun/quick game is just the thing.

Here are a couple of our favorites: Zombie Dice and Pass the Pig.

 

 

 

2. The local ice cream shop opening near us. A sure sign of Spring!

This, my friends, is a Puppy Chow Hurricane. It’s frozen awesomeness in a cup!

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3. My latest Goodwill find. Love those 50% off Saturdays!

I have a slight obsession with pretty dishes, specifically ones with gold on them. We’ve slowly been adding mismatched China plates from Goodwill to our cupboard. It’s just so fun to eat off pretty plates, isn’t it? (As opposed to the “boring” nondescript off-white Corelle we have.) My hubby insists on using the boring plates. I insist on using fun plates. We compromise and have both in our cupboards. LOL 🙂

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4. Also found this at Goodwill today.

I’ve been slacking on my French studies. (Eeeeek.) Seeing this in the book section today rekindled that passion I have for language learning. Bought it. And hello again DuoLingo.

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5. Daily dose of TRUTH.

“Be better today than you were yesterday” has become my mantra. It’s not about comparing yourself to other people. It’s about comparing yourself to who you were yesterday, and striving to be better. It’s not about perfection. It’s about process. There is no end goal or date in mind. It’s a lifestyle.

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Today’s Adventures

  1.  Got to go to a Chamber of Commerce donut & coffee breakfast with my hubby this AM. I’m not much of a sweets fan, but there is this one type of donut at this shop we were at that has truly won my heart. It’s some sort of sugary twisty loaf of awesomeness. It was also fun hanging out with the local business men & women that I’ve been building relationships with through the years. Absolutely great people in our community!

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  2. My 11 year old daughter took the cardboard hand grippy thing off my to-go coffee cup from breakfast and turned it into a Harry Potter magnet for the fridge. So far she’s got Gryffindor & Slytherin one done. It’s actually one magnet– just flip it. But she found a flat, round magnet lying around the house and glue-gunned it between these two cardboard cut-outs of the house letters she drew and voila, a super-cute magnet! I love her and all her creativity! Gonna boldly wear that on our fridge!


3. Yoga with Adriene this afternoon. She’s got a new 30 day series entitled “TRUE” on YouTube and it’s just a lovely practice. Today I completed Day 14- LISTEN. Been enjoying it immensely. I’ve been doing at-home yoga practice for the last couple of years and I find it very fun, challenging, cathartic, and imaginative. It almost makes me feel like a kid again, uninhibited and free. It helps center me, calm me, and get me focused. While I’m on the mat, the rest of the world sorta falls to the wayside… and it’s just me. The practice is guided, but I can (and do) most definitely veer off the trail to “find what feels good”. It’s helped me deal with anxiety and depression. It helps me to find my breath and my thoughts. I truly love yoga.

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4. About two weeks ago, the new church that we’ve started to attend presented this song by For King and Country: “It’s not over yet”. It’s been on my mind and heart every.day.since. I have struggled for the past 4-5 years with depression, anxiety, and panic. Just this past winter, I have been finally overcoming so many hang-ups and fears and hurdles. It’s been a quiet season of growth and maturation and FREEDOM… Such spiritual victories! This song has become my anthem! I hope it’s a blessing to you as well!!! Keep on fighting. It’s not over yet!

“It’s Not Over Yet”

They are inside your head
You got a voice that says
You won’t get past this one
You won’t win your freedom

It’s like a constant war
And you want to settle that score
But you’re bruised and beaten
And you feel defeated

This goes out to the heaviest heart

[Chorus:]
Oh, to everyone who’s hit their limit
It’s not over yet
It’s not over ye-et
And even when you think you’re finished
It’s not over yet
It’s not over ye-et
Keep on fighting
Out of the dark
Into the light
It’s not over
Hope is rising
Never give in
Never give up
It’s not over

Yea-et-et, whoa
Yea-et-et, whoa

Oh, game set match
It’s time to put it in your past, oh
Feel the winter leavin’
It’s redemption season
Long live the young at heart (Here we are)
Cheers to a brand new start (Here we are)
We’re revived and breathing
To live a life of freedom

[Chorus:]
Oh, to everyone who’s hit their limit
It’s not over yet
It’s not over ye-et
And even when you think you’re finished
It’s not over yet
It’s not over ye-et
Keep on fighting
Out of the dark
Into the light
It’s not over
Hope is rising
Never give in
Never give up
It’s not over

Life is a race we run
So run till the race is won
Don’t you ever give up (Here we are)
Oh no never give up (Here we are)
Life is a race we run
So run till the race is won
Don’t you ever give up (Here we are)
We will never give up (Here we are)

[Chorus:]
Oh, to everyone who’s hit their limit
And even when you think you’re finished
It’s not over yet
Oh, to everyone who’s hit their limit
It’s not over yet
It’s not over ye-et
And even when you think you’re finished
It’s not over yet
It’s not over ye-et
Keep on fighting
Out of the dark
Into the light
It’s not over
Hope is rising
Never give in
Never give up
It’s not over

Yea-et-et, whoa
Yea-et-et, whoa
Yea-et-et, whoa
Yea-et-et, whoa

Run Wild. Live Free. Love Strong.

Moments of Happiness

Learning to live in the moment and savor the simple things in life…

 

1- New skills learned.

Went to a homeschool co-op Mom’s Night Out this week. It was “Crochet Night.” I had NO CLUE how to crochet but I was assured food and fellowship… so I went.  🙂

My mom showed me (years ago) how to do it. A lot of my crafty girlfriends do it. But me? Nope! It was challenging at first. And I’ve made several mistakes along the way. But I do find it fun. And I’ve been sticking to it these past couple of day. It gives me time to slow down and think. Gives me something to do with my hands. I’m creating. Who knew I sorta have a crafty bone in my body? And isn’t this color fun?!

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2- Warm(er) Spring days when the kids are busting down the door to play outside after a long winter.

So long as they pick up after themselves, I don’t mind kid messes as all. It’s a sign of life and creativity and imagination. I sit here on the steps outside watching my little ones play and laugh and squeal with delight. It seriously warms my heart. They are so full of life and play and adventure. I truly LOVE being a mom. So thankful for a day of warmer temps. It’s 60F or so and my kids insist on running around outside barefoot. The cool doesn’t phase them in the least. I am SO thankful for Spring coming!!! Bring on happiness and sunshine!

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3- On the topic of Spring… new growth.

This winter, for me, has been one of conquering strongholds and overcoming things that have been challenging me for the last 4-5 years. For many, this winter has been long and dreary and depressing.  But not for me. It’s been one of growth. So when I see these buds popping forth from the ground, I see a reflection of me and where I am right now in life.

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4- As the warmer weather approaches, the neighbors have begun playing music outside by their poolside.

The pool itself isn’t open yet, but my neighbors are starting to play music from their outside speakers. Yet *another* display of the on-coming of Spring!!!

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5- Professionally manicured gel nails.

I was originally going to get acrylic nails put back on. But after calling the salon to schedule an appointment, I was convinced to first give gel nails a try. After my first gel nail application with my beautician, I was sold. I LOVE them! I keep my nails. They remain healthy. They’re absolutely gorgeous. So thankful for something so simple as beautiful finger nails!

Today I went in and got mint green and sparkles, in prep for St. Patty’s Day. LOVE it!

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Prancercise

Prancercise

Not quite sure why I was thinking about Prancercise this morning. Perhaps it was my own giddy gate as I “pranced” around the kitchen making coffee that shook the memory loose. Mornings are my absolute FAV time of day. I’ll get up at least an hour before the rest of the family just to soak in the aloneness that’s all mine. I’ll even forfeit sleep to have these moments of quiet. It’s.the.best. I get AM adrenaline surges that literally make me go “eeeee” and make my hair stand on end. My husband, aka “the corpse”, is my exact opposite. Our kids seem to (thankfully) be a happy middle ground between our extremes.

Let’s face it… I “prance”. Esp in the mornings. Or to 80’s pop music. Or to fantastic summer breezes blowing in my windows. Basically whenever everything is right with the world and I’m overcome with energy and happiness. I “get” this Prancercising lady.

Do I prance in public? Uh… no. I guess that’s why I kinda envy the boldness of Joanna Rohrback. She’s so genuine, so true, so… herself. Looks like she could give a flying flip about what anyone else thinks. She gets to walking. She gets to listening to some music. She gets to jamming. And then she just lets herself get lost in the moment to the music. Does her movement look like everyone else’s? Not at all. But that’s ok. That’s how SHE rolls. And I TOTALLY appreciate that. I LOVE that. She is who she is and she does what she does regardless of what other people say and think of her. She put herself out there and shared from her heart, probably in hopes of encouraging others to free themselves from the shackles of what others think and to embrace their own inner beat. To get fit while having fun.

But boy, she’s been made fun of for doing so. Lots of parodies and jokes and whatnot out there bashing her for being so weird/strange.

Anytime anyone puts themselves out there, they risk the chance of being made fun of. Actually, it’s a guarantee… they WILL be made fun of or ridiculed or bashed, etc.

It’s a shame really. And with social media, people can hide behind their anonymity. They say things online that they’d NEVER say to someone’s face.

There’s def an art to learning how to let crap like that roll off your back and not let it affect your heart. I liken it to bullying. The very mental flow of a bully is this: 1) the bully feels like crap inside (for whatever reason), 2) they see someone else that’s “better” than them (or that has something good going on), 3) the bully feels even yuckier (& prob threatened), 4) so they say or do something mean in hopes of tearing that “better” person down to their level (or lower), 5) their wounded ego (temporarily) gets stroked, and 6) they (temporarily) feel better. It’s primal and requires very little thinking. But that feeling of ok-ness only lasts a for a little while. Then they have to repeat the process again in order to re-feel better about themselves. The only thing that will REALLY heal a bully is for they themselves to work on/through their issues. Bashing other people is not a permanent fix.

But anyways, back to Prancing. Joanna Rohrback is prob a truly happy person. An energetic person (obviously). And this prancing… it’s from the heart. And if I had to bet, there’s prob a LOT of other people out there that, if stripped from the cares of what others may say, they too would prance in public. Even on a fitness level, that added movement incorporated with regular walking probably does indeed burn more calories!

Though I may not “prance” in public for my exercise routine, I do genuinely appreciate Joanna’s staying true to who she is. That’s a technique we should all be learning to do in our own lives– a lofty goal we should all be attempting to achieve. It’s taking that risk and putting ourselves out there. It’s sharing our life, thoughts, experiences, successes & failures… to help others, touch other people’s lives, encourage them, and to better someone else (even if it’s just 1 person). It’s standing tall regardless of the ridicule.

For more on Prancercise, Joanna has a YouTube channel. You can also read up more about it on Wikipedia.

In closing, I hope you my reader are learning to care less about what other people are thinking about you. I hope you’re taking that risk and putting yourself out there to reach and touch other people’s lives. I hope you are learning to listen to constructive criticism but to let hurtful criticism roll off your back (and to have the wisdom to know the difference between the two). In your life, do your own form of “prancing”– be & do what you were created to be & do.

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I’ve FINALLY found my focus!

As many of you have probably noticed, I haven’t updated this blog since the birth of our seventh child, a beautiful little girl: Ivy Jean (aka Miss Little Lamb). Be still my heart, she is the sweetest little surprise gift from God EVER!!! Difficult pregnancy, difficult labor and delivery, difficult start to breastfeeding, difficult getting her to sleep through the night…

BUT, I freakin’ wouldn’t change it for the world!!! She is AMAZING!!! You could offer me a trillion dollars for her and I’d never take it, I’d never let her go! I thank the Lord almighty above every day that I have her! What a blessed gift!

Even her brothers and sisters adore her. Since they’re all older now, they finally have the privilege of enjoying having a little baby in the home. We all, together: laugh with her, take turns holding her, change her diapers, give her baths, take pics and videos of her, make her smile and giggle, rejoice over her developmental milestones, burp her, rock her to sleep, cuddle with her, breathe in her sweetness… She’s precious and everyone is absolutely in love!

She was four months old, as of November 1st. *sigh*
Four months already?! Unbelievable! Going too fast!

Time, please slow down!!!

Many a time I’ve wanted to post here on the blog. But every time I would sit down to write, there was nothing there. My mind went blank. What should I say? What should I write about?

Blank-ness. (Is that a word?)

Fast-forward to just yesterday. I had a revelation in the shower. (Why is it that deep thoughts seem to happen in the bathroom. *snicker*) No but seriously, I had a line of thought run through my head absolutely out of nowhere:

Living on a dime with a part of nine!

Living on a dime with a party of nine? Hmmm… like, write about how we (a large family) live and thrive on a modest income? How we make the dollar stretch? How we save and scrimp? How we make food and possessions last? How we are frugal?

I have like a bazillion tricks up my sleeve (beyond just coupon usage and Amazon deals) on how we make things last over here. That’s something I’m very knowledgeable about, something I’ve learned very well these past 14 years, something I’m still learning, something that I could probably endlessly talk about.

When people come to me for help and advice, oftentimes it’s about how we do “it”, that is, survive life, survive in this economy, with 9 people and actually make it work.

So, I believe the Lord is leading me to make this the focus of my blog. I think my readers could benefit from taking a peek into the ins and outs of how we do things over here. Perhaps there’s something we do that would benefit someone else.

I certainly haven’t arrived. Nor am I (or will I) be the best blogger on the block about this topic. But I do believe I have something to share with people that might help them in their own lives. Maybe there’s other large (or small/medium) families out there that are struggling to make ends meet and could benefit from some of my tips? Maybe if someone could see how we do it, it would spur them on to stretch money? Maybe there’s other mom’s out there that don’t have the time to pick up a part time job to help ends meet, but they could do a thing or two to tighten the purse strings, things they’ve never thought of, that would help stretch their husband’s income?

We all bring something unique to the table. I think this is a knowledge that I’ve been blessed to learn. I believe it’s something I could bless others with.

So, if you’d like to learn how a family of nine lives on a dime (and thrives), stay tuned!!!

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Aluminum Foil Dryer Balls?

So I’m getting low on dryer sheets and instead of running to the store to replenish, I figured I’d research online some dryer sheet alternatives.

Everyone seems to be talking about the  many dangers of dryer sheets… they apparently contain high degrees of garbage that are especially dangerous to the health of children.

And then there’s my youngest son, Master Bam-Bam. He has several allergies and there’s always been a nagging thing in the back of my head that perhaps some of his skin issues may stem from what chemicals I launder with. Hmmmm.

So I wanted to try a healthy alternative. Of course there’s wool balls. But I just don’t have any of those handy. 😉 There’s tennis balls… but I don’t have any of those just lying around the house either.

What to use? What to use?

That’s when I came across a most interesting article: 

You can use WHAT?! instead of dryer sheets?

There, it was suggested to use aluminum foil! Most intriguing. I just have to give it a try! I def have aluminum foil on hand.

So here’s my mini homemaking adventure today. I sure had LOTS of laundry to do, as (3) of our kids were up puking last night. Whew.

It was suggested though, that in order to soften your clothes naturally, to add 1/4 Cup of either baking soda or white vinegar to the wash… then finish it off with the aluminum ball in the dryer.

First load is in as I type. We’ll see how it goes!!

 

*Has anyone else ever used aluminum foil balls in your dryer? How did it work?

*If you don’t use traditional dryer sheets, what do you use?

*Has anyone had a child that has had skin issues due to chemicals that you washed with?

Being An Introvert

Just recently, I had one of those epiphany “a-ha” moments… one in which I wish it hadn’t taken so many years to discover. It would have saved me a LOT of trouble, heartache, and frankly… anger.

I am an introvert… through and through.

Now, please don’t confuse introvert with “shy” because the two are completely different entirely.

A shy person has a hard time making eye contact, is somewhat socially awkward…
Here’s a dictionary definition of “shy“:

“being reserved or having or showing nervousness or timidity in the company of other people “I was pretty shy at school” synonyms: bashful, diffident, farouche, timid, sheepish, reserved, reticent, retiring, self-effacing, withdrawn, timorous, mousy, nervous, insecure, un-confident, inhibited, repressed, inhibited, repressed, self-conscious, embarrassed.

Shy people (surprisingly) can be both introverted AND extroverted actually.

It all comes down to what ENERGIZES a person?

Extroversion: Does being in a group of people make one happy? Is it with people that someone gets clarity, ideas, peace, joy, energy, etc? Does one seek out having company?

Or…

Introversion: Is someone energized by being alone, being quiet with one’s thoughts and feelings? Is it in solitude that one finds peace and clarity and equilibrium? Does being with people for too long make one feel drained and depleted?– this is so me!

[**Here’s another great definition of Introversion.]
[**A great article. And another one for good measure.]

Why it took me so long to discover this, I’ll never know.

I like people. Shoot, I *love* people.

But in all honestly, I can only handle people in small doses… Ahhh… that’s so hard to say cuz it sounds so harsh. But I’m slowly recognizing it’s just a personality thing and not a bash on people.

I didn’t realize just how much I NEED to schedule time away, just to breathe and regroup… until I starting getting some alone time. Ahhhhh

And it’s perfectly alright! It’s OK! In fact, it’s a necessity!
Having alone time actually makes me a *better* mom, wife, friend, etc.

So my hubby and I came up with Wednesday nights, specifically, as “Mom’s PM Alone”.
WOO HOO.

Here I sit… my Mom’s PM Alone… blogging… Facebooking… updating social media stuff… emailing… And I am totally digging it. And to think, I get to do this EVERY week!!! And if not computer stuff… perhaps working out… running errands… working on a hobby… or SLEEPING!

And now that I’m starting to do a little work on the side as a Social Media Manager (SO excited!), these Wednesday nights have been a fabulous time for me to work on material toward this endeavor.

It’s helped me SO much to finally understand my personality and what makes me tick. To start implementing periods of alone time. And recognizing that needing “me time” does NOT mean I don’t love people or I’m shirking my responsibilities…

Are any of you Introverted?
If so, how do you schedule your time and energies to make sure you get sufficient alone time?
How do you balance parenthood with Introversion?

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**A point of clarification… Wednesday nights are not the ONLY time I get alone and get away in any given week. I now try daily to schedule times where I get quiet, especially to read my Bible and exercise. Or when I’m really stressed, the kids now know mommy needs some “quiet time” and they’re pretty awesome about seeing to it that I get it.