Friday, July 26, 2013

Isaiah Christopher is Here!

Our newest little love and grandson Isaiah Christopher made his grand debut into the world at 7:52 a.m. on July 25, 2013!  He weighed in at a healthy 7 pounds 5 ounces and is 21.5 inches long. :)  His big brother Bradley was not sure about him at first but quickly became a fan and wanted to hold and hug him.  Jeff and I are thrilled with the newest addition to our family and can't wait to spend lots of time with him and Bradley.  Being a grandparent truly is the best thing ever!!!


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Only 4 More Days Until Bradley is a Big Brother!

Bradley came to spend some time with us on Saturday while his Mommy took a much needed nap and got a few more things done to prepare for the arrival of his new baby brother.  Bradley knows that something is up but can't quite understand it yet.  Some "Grammie and G-pa" time was much needed for him and a delightful time for us all! :)

Finishing up his lunch...he was really hungry today.  He must be on a growth spurt again. :)

He was so tired but did not want to take a nap or be held.

Grammie got out the "secret weapon", he loves this soft blanket.  Between that and golf on tv, he was out on less than 15 minutes.

After nap he put on his new Fire Chief hat that he picked out earlier in the day and pushed "beep, beep" around on the porch.

I love this little guy!

Bradley and his faithful sidekick Caesar. :)  And yes, Caesar really is that big!

Bradley playing with the big bowl of water and a measuring cup.

He was really digging deep with the measuring cup and saying "Brrrr...brrrr". LOL!

Splashing away with cold water on a hot day feels so good!

He just got himself in the face with the water!  He kept getting it on his feet before that and saying "toe" in a very concerned tone. :)

Friday, July 12, 2013

If I am so Lazy then Why am I this Sore?

   I think that every homemaker has heard these remarks or some variation of it many, many times.  "She is just lazy, that is why she does not have a job", "She must just watch her soap operas all day", "I feel sorry for her husband who has to support her while she does nothing".  Well, to all those people who have uttered or thought these thoughts, I am here to set the record straight. ;)
   During the school year, I am a substitute teacher, a job that I absolutely love!  My husband works the graveyard shift as a delivery driver for a freight company.  He used to work construction for years before his body told him it was time to find something a bit easier on his body.  Before I started subbing, I was a librarian and I also home schooled our boys for many years.  My husband and I both agree that having me home at least part time, now that our kids are grown, is still the best option for us.  During the Summer, I am home full time and my husband really appreciates that also.
   Before I get into what I do, let me first tell you what I don't do.  I do not spend my husband's hard earned money going shopping for the latest fashions at the mall, going out to lunch with the girls, having weekly manicures (never have has one of those but I hear they are nice) and spending hours on the phone engaged in gossip.  I have no idea what is going on in the soap opera world, who "The Talk", "The View" or anyone else has on as their guests, who "Judge Judy" has scolded today or what kind of dysfunctional people Maury Povich has found under a rock and has as screaming guests (and I use that term loosely) on his show.  Is Maury Povich even still on?
   So let me just give you a run down and peek into my day so far today shall we?  I got up and vacuumed and swept before I even got ready for they day and before I had coffee.  I did this while my husband was in the shower so that I would not wake him later on since he has to sleep during the day.  I sipped on a cup of coffee while getting the first load of laundry going in the washer.  I then took a few minutes to sit down and do my devotions.  I got back up, got a loaf of bread going in the bread maker, started to make some maple syrup, took the first load of laundry out of the washer and put it in a basket and got the second load of laundry into the washer.  Back to the kitchen now to unload the dishwasher, load it with the dirty dishes, do the hand washing of the pots and pans and finish the syrup.  I take a quick break from that to go and transfer the second load of laundry from the washer into the dryer and get that started.  Back to the kitchen I go yet again and take the burner drip pans off the stove and scrub them,  wash down the entire stove and vent hood, bottle up the syrup and put it away, clean out the fruit and veggie drawers in the fridge and check on the stuff in the dryer.  Then, and only then, I take a few minutes to go and get dressed so I can hang the first load of laundry out on the line to dry.  
   Onto the next thing on the huge list of things I need to do to today. I grab a big bucket and haul 2 heavy buckets full of water over to water the pear tree we planted this past weekend.  While I am outside I pot up some Tumbler tomato plants in a nice recycled pot and then grab my hand shovel and head to the main veggie garden.  I weed for about 1/2 an hour, plant another squash plant and 4 more Lemon Cucumber plants and notice that something has been in my garden and knocked off one of the 8 Ball Zucchinis.  My friend and neighbor comes out and we visit for a few minutes and she tells me that her animals were really upset last night because some wild animal was making the rounds near us .  That would explain the knocked off squash.  After our quick visit, I weed for a few more minutes before heading inside to fold the load of laundry that I had in the dryer.  I start getting light headed and realize that I have had nothing but coffee so far today to eat or drink.  I make some lunch, sit down to eat it and get caught up on email, field a few phone calls, clean up the kitchen from my lunch making, check to see if the laundry on the line is dry yet and then move on to the next item on my "to do" list.
    I head back outside once again to do the maintenance on our hot tub.  I scrub the sides down and check the chemicals to make sure everything is good to go.  I debate about going down to get the mail and decide that it can wait until tomorrow because I still have boutonnieres to make for my oldest son's wedding and I need to get them done before I drive over and pick up my grandson at 4:30 p.m. to spend some time with us while his Mommy and Daddy get a few things done this after noon and evening.  We are planning on taking him down to play at the park for a while and then come home to pick raspberries off our bushes. :)  Oh my, I almost forgot, I still have to print off the games for my DIL's baby shower tomorrow and place an order at for a few things.  I'll wait to make the chocolate covered strawberries for the baby shower until tomorrow morning so they will be fresher that way.  Now I just need to decide what I am going to make for dinner and fold that last load of laundry that was out on the line.


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The BIG 50 and a Letter to the Teenaged Me

   Yesterday I celebrated another milestone in my life.  I am now 50 years young! :)  I have reached the halfway point in my life (I plan on living to be 100 years old). ;)  I was so blessed with many phone calls, messages through Facebook, birthday cards and gifts and surprise visits from some of my hanai kids and friends.  It was a laid back, relaxing day spent at home and I loved it!
   This morning I got to thinking about those country songs about if you could write a letter or talk to your much younger (as in teenaged) self what you advice you would share.  Mine would go something like this:
Dear Debbie,
   I wanted to write you this letter to encourage you.  I know you have a lot going on in your life right now and are full of questions about your future.  I know that some days you are overwhelmed and your heart is breaking over things that you have no control over (this will be a continuing theme in your life because you care so deeply for others).  I know that you are excited about going away to college but at the same time fearful of leaving because Grandma has been ill for awhile and you can see that she is not getting better.  You worry that you will be far away and not be able to come home and see her if she gets worse or if she passes away.  You sometimes feel very hurt and alone and you keep some things locked up tight deep within your heart and mind, pushing them aside and hoping they never surface again.  You try and put on a happy face and pretend everything is fine when deep in your heart, you know it is not.  I want you to know that things do get better as time goes on.  Here is some advice to help you navigate the next few years. 

~take time to figure out who you are and what you really want out of life and don't let anyone come between you and your goals
~you are a person of value, nothing and no one can take that away from you
~stay away from the "bad boys", they will only leave you heartbroken
~one day you will find a very special man who loves you deeply, unconditionally and will help you become the person that you were always ment to be, wait for him
~you were born with a gift to teach and encourage and will touch many lives because you honestly want kids to succeed in life and to know that they can accomplish their goals, no matter what
~your greatest areas of ministry will be in the areas where you yourself have struggled the most and where you will overcome and find healing
~healing is process that takes time and can be gut wrenching but you will heal with the help, understanding and unconditional love of the man you will marry
~forgiveness is not only for the other person, but for yourself as well, if you do not forgive, you will be caught up in a vicious cycle and will never find that peace that you are so desperately seeking
~Grandma will hang on until she knows that you have found the right person to share your life with and even after she passes on, you will still feel her presence and love for you
~your 21st birthday is going to be one you look back on for the rest of your life as one of the best days me on this
~remember years ago when the doctor said you should not have children because your heart could not take the stress of pregnancy and you cried out to God telling Him that all you wanted to be was a Mommy...well God heard you and He truly did heal your heart; you will see how abundantly and in how many unexpected ways He blesses you :)
~believe it or not, you and Mom will become very close friends and be some of each others biggest supporters in addition to mother and daughter, your relationship with each other will be better than you could have ever imagined and it will be one that you cherish
~you will be challenged in throughout your life with difficult people and situations, just pray and stay true to who you are, no matter what
~your life will take some unexpected twists and turns that you can not even imagine right now and you will be challenged to your very core, but you will learn valuable lessons along the way and also learn just how strong you really are

  When you are 50 years old, you will look back on the first half of your life and realize all the struggles, failures, successes and lessons learned have made you the person that you are.  You will also realize just how blessed you are and that God's plan for your life was better than anything you could have come up with. 
   Hang in there Debbie, it will be a bumpy ride at times but you will be surrounded by people that love and support you and they, along with your faith in God, will pull you through everything that is in your life at this moment and in your future.  You will experience some of the greatest challenges but also the greatest joys ever!  There will be times in your life where your eyes will well up with tears, not because you are sad but because you are so overwhelmed with joy, gratitude and even pride in seeing the fruits of your labor and love come to fruition.  Life is good and things do get better!

  The 50 year old YOU :)

Friday, July 5, 2013

Living Well While Our Income Fluctuates

   My husband and I have lived most of our married life with a fluctuating income.  There were many years when we homeschooled our sons that we managed on his income alone.  Now that our children are all grown, I am back working as a substitute teacher which means I have the Summers off and that means no income coming from me for 3-4 months out of the year.  My husband still has a steady income so we are able to manage on that during those months. I had someone ask me recently how we are able to do this so I thought I would just do a post on it.

   First of all, our mortgage payments are very low in comparison to many other people and even lower than rent payment would be.  We bought a home that we could afford on one income and that has allowed us not to lose our home, even during a period of no income when my husband got hurt on the job and had to be home for awhile.  The home we bought has a nice sized yard with fruit trees and we put in a garden.  Every year we try something new or add another plant.  This year we added a blackberry bush and today we found a pear tree on clearance that we will be planting to replace the 2 peach trees we lost.  Right now in the garden we have cherries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries all bearing fruit.  Our Summer apple will give us fruit later in late August.  We grow oregano, mint, thyme, parsley chives and basil to add wonderful flavor to meals.  Lettuce, bok choi, rhubarb, squash, potatoes, peas, cucumbers, beans, eggplant and tomatoes are also growing in the garden.  I like having fresh produce right from the garden to help cut down on the grocery budget.

   I enjoy searching out great deals on things that we need and try to prepare ahead of time.  I have a gift closet that I set aside items that I find all year round that I know someone would enjoy on a special occasion like birthdays, graduations, baby showers, bridal showers, weddings and Christmas. I also stock my pantry and freezer this way, taking advantage of sales combined with coupons and also freezing produce from our garden.  I try not to waste food and during the summer will use the leftover morning coffee to make iced coffee as a afternoon treat.

   The library is one of my favorite resources for free entertainment.  Jeff and I borrow books and dvds from our little library here in town.  Since it is part of the county library system, we can request things online and have access to lots of resources.  We can even do an inter-library loan and get books from outside of our local library system.  Our library also has a free magazine section where you can take home magazines that you want to read and can drop off ones that you have already read so that other people can enjoy them.

   My husband and I do go out to eat and we do go to see movies in the theater, but we budget for these things.  We will usually hit up a matinee movie and we only do this a few times a year.  When we do eat out, it is usually at lunch.  I have been able to get gift certificates through for pennies on the dollar to help offset the cost of dining out.  Jeff and I also celebrate our birthdays during the Summer and we are sent all kinds of gift certificates for free birthday meals and treats.  Today we used a gift certificate for a free meals at one of our favorite places and even with tip it costs a little over $10.  We enjoy lots of free activities too like going to the river, picnics in the park, local festivals and just spending time with our family.

 Available Anytime - Every Day!

   I think a big part of learning to live with a fluctuating income is to be thankful and content with all that we are blessed with and not living beyond our means.  We are currently paying down credit card debt and should be completely debt free within the next few years.  That will be a huge weight lifted off of us.  Our plan, once we are debt free, is to then live below our means and aggressively save money towards our retirement years.  We will still budget for trips to see family and to finally take a nice vacation for just the 2 of us.  The key word there is BUDGET.  If we don't plan for it, there will not be the money there when we need it. ;)