Monday, January 27, 2014

The Key to My Success...

A well meaning friend asked me on facebook not so long ago what the key to my success was as a busy mom of four.  While the intention was encouraging, I couldn't help but grimace and think of all the failures I've experienced.  I enjoy facebook and the ease of sharing all the fun stuff, the good stuff, and sometimes the crazy stuff that I do with my kiddos.  It's also very easy to choose not to share the not-so-fun stuff, the not-so-good stuff and the downright maddening stuff that also happens in life. It is easy to share how wonderful the good things are and sweep away those pesky times when I've yelled at the children or we've all had a melt down or what have you.  But the truth of the matter is those times do happen whether I like to share it on social media or not.

That being said, I have come a long way since beginning this trek in parenting eight short years ago.  I have made discoveries that have helped me love more and yell less, enjoy my children more and worry less about every last thing that might happen.  I enjoy reading my Bible and I find that just spending time reading it and sharing it with the children helps me to keep my focus. 

Another major discovery has been the need to think less.  Yes, I said think less.  During the day many things may happen and take the daily routine way off kilter.  Perhaps one of my cherubs decides to play slip n' slide in the tub causing a rather substantial amount of water to pour out all over the floor which then causes the ceiling to leak, or one or two of them decide to play with a full bottle of baby powder and end up decorating the entire hall as well as themselves in tremendous amount of white!  These kinds of situations could easily get me completely discombobulated so if there are some routine decisions that I don't have to think about, such as what chores the children need to do or what are we going to have for supper; then all the better for me.

So here I present our chore list:

This is just one of my Brain Savers.  Every day the children have daily chores that they do for a month and then we rotate them.  This month Sean is sweeping the kitchen floor after supper, Emma-Lyn is setting the table and wiping it, and Nate is bringing down the laundry.  Then on Fridays we do our major household cleaning and this month Sean is emptying garbage cans, Emma-Lyn is cleaning the bathroom and Nate is wiping windows and mirrors.  They also have a portion of vacuuming to do upstairs.  I have this posted in the kitchen where we can all see it and know what jobs everyone is doing. The activities are posted on laminated cardstock with velcro so they will be easy to rotate come the end of the month.  I find this list is really useful, there is less quibbling about which jobs one has and things get done efficiently.

Another Brain Saver is my menu plan.  We use the dry erase calendar in our kitchen.  I don't have a picture of it for you as it looks fairly messy.    Marko and I usually discuss what types of meals, or parts of meals we have on hand already and then go through the flyers to see what is on sale.  From there we put together our meal list and post it on the calendar for the week.  So for this week we have: Monday--chili, Tuesday--stir -fry,  Wednesday--left over chili, Thursday--lasagna, Friday--nachos, and Saturday--left over lasagna.  Just knowing what I'm making or reheating puts me in a good mood.  Also, none of the meals are written in stone, so if there is a need to switch them up we can do that easily.

These are just a couple of our favourite Brain Savers.  Is there a Brain Saver that you swear by?  I'd love to hear what helps get you through the day!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Emma-Lyn Turned Six!

 This past Thursday was Emma-Lyn's sixth birthday. She was so excited!!  She has been counting down since the beginning of January! In the morning, we decorated the kitchen and baked her birthday cake. We had Grammie Peric and Auntie Linda as well as Anna and Honey join us for supper.  Emma-Lyn wanted to make mini pizzas and everyone enjoyed their own creations.

Emma-Lyn had hoped that her friends Abby, Hannah and Sarah could come for her birthday, but I had to tell her that they were just too busy and couldn't come.  What I didn't tell her was that we had already arranged for their family to come over on Saturday to surprise her.  She was so thrilled that afternoon when their van pulled up and the girls came tumbling into the house.  Oh the squeals of laughter and delight that ensued! All the children had a blast... Except for Levi, who slept through most of it. And while the children had fun bouncing off the walls, the parents also got a chance to sit down and play a game--that is after we got out a movie for the kiddos to watch.  Then on Sunday Auntie Linda picked up Emma-Lyn and took her to see Frozen.  I think this was Emma-Lyn's second time at the theatre so she was enthralled with the whole experience.  And to top it all off she got to spend the night at Auntie Linda's.
 Everyone around the kitchen table.

Little Miss Emma-Lyn with her baby brother.  Oh how she loves this little guy!

Monday, January 13, 2014

I Don't Normally Do This Kind of Thing...

But I was approached by a reader to share her story.  Her name is Heather Von St. James.  I've never met her and only have contacted her through email.  I've decided to share her story since it resonates with me.  My mom is a breast cancer survivor as well as a brain tumour survivor.   As you will find out, Heather is also a survivor and she desires to share her story in an effort to help others, to encourage them, uplift them and give them hope.  Heather says, "Don't take a death sentence as a diagnosis" and I have to admire that.  Here is Heather's Story

Monday, January 06, 2014

Happy New Year!

 We enjoyed a wonderful if overly snowy Christmas vacation.  I had hoped to have my folks come and visit us over the holidays but the weather refused to cooperate and brought storm after winter storm and piled us high with plenty of the white stuff!  The kids have thoroughly enjoyed it, but driving in it is a whole different matter.

On Christmas Eve we had Marko's mom and sister come and join us for supper before heading out for our church service. Afterwards we drove around town to check out all the pretty Christmas lights -- one of my favourite traditions.  Once back at home the kiddos got to open their new pajamas and head for bed.  Marko and I sat up and watched It's a Wonderful Life and wrapped gifts.  Our kiddos didn't get up until 7:30 -- their regular wake up time -- and down we went to open stockings and then have breakfast before opening presents.  It was a lovely relaxed day.  On Boxing Day we went to Grammie Peric's and auntie Linda's for supper.

Over the holidays we played the new game we got, Ticket to Ride Europe quite a bit.  The kids really enjoy it too, although we do have to alter the rules a wee bit for them.  The kids had their Christmas concert and they did a great job.  Sean even got to play a piano piece at the end of the program.  He did a great job and was very pleased.

For New Years we went to church and ordered in KFC and a dessert pizza from Famous Peppers.  After supper we had a devotion and then we played games until midnight-- even the kiddos stayed up and had a lot of fun!  We all slept in the next morning--thankfully!! :)

And with it being a new year and all, I've made some resolutions.  Just three really.  First, I plan to read my Bible every day.  I have been fairly slipshod about that lately and would like to spend more time enjoying reading  each day.  Second, I'd like to exercise on a regular basis and not just to trim the waistline but more so to live a healthier lifestyle.  And third, I'm going to write more, right here on the blog.  My plan is to post once a week on Mondays. I have my accountability partner so here's to accomplishing these goals!

 The kiddos enjoying the snow.

Christmas morning.

 This little fella just keeps getting cuter! Love him to bits!