Sunday, January 25, 2015

12 Years

Holy cow you guys!

I've been married for TWELVE YEARS! That must mean that I am getting old.

Twelve years...

Some of the years were good, some were great and some were straight up awful.

The honest side of me insists that I tell you that the past two years... I didn't celebrate my anniversary. The past two years were kinda sorta miserable. The past two years had me thinking that all those people who tried to talk Mike out of marrying me were going to have a reason to say "I told you so."

But I'm not a quitter... and thankfully Mike isn't either!

We are still here and we are ready to actually celebrate this year!

This year... the end of the twelfth year of marriage... we celebrate
*making it.
*not quitting.
*surviving.
*honoring our commitment of "till death".
*change and growth.
*LIKING each other again.
*sticking together even when we didn't want to.
*still being an "us".

We don't have any plans for today because we didn't have a sitter. But we will be taking a weekend just for us in February. I'm looking forward to it!


In twelve years we have gone from this...

wedding 1

to this...

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It's been hard... but it has also been worth it. :)

Friday, January 23, 2015

Contentment


noun
1. the state of being contented; satisfaction; ease of mind. 
 
Synonym... happiness.
 
 
During the summer I had ideas of what I thought my days would be like once the kids were both in school again. I thought my days would be relaxing. Laid back. Easy. Peaceful.
 
That didn't happen.
 
For the first two weeks I was a little bit lost. I didn't know what to do with myself or my time. But then life got busy. My days started filling up with things and I wondered where the time went. I had a lot of work and a lot of projects that ate up my days. I had meetings and things to do.

What I didn't have time for was the things that I wanted to have time for... reading, writing, hobbies... rest.

And then the school consolidation stuff entered my life and made it even more hectic and crazy. (And continues to do so.)

But in the past few weeks I have found myself settling... settling to a place of peace and contentment. Even in the midst of all the craziness I still have calm. Even though my life is far from perfect and there are hurtful situations that show up all the time... I am still happy.

I'm not quite sure how I found my way to this place of contentment but I sure do like it. I like the peace... the calm... the rest. I like that even when things go wrong my world doesn't get flipped upside down. I like that I know who I am and where I belong.

During the past few years the storms of life have been big. I often felt like I was getting sucked into a whirlpool and just using every last bit of energy to fight for one more breath. There are days where I still have to fight for my happiness and contentment to remain... but it's a wonderful feeling to be able to just breath normally again. 

I don't ever want to lose this feeling of contentment.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

I Only Spent 2 Bucks On Laundry Detergent Last Year

And yes, I did wash  my clothes plenty!

A few years ago I had a friend share about making your own laundry detergent. After we bought our house and I had plenty of room to keep a five gallon bucket of laundry soap I figured I might as well give it a try and I've been making my own laundry detergent for about two years now.

The best part is that it is cheap and easy!

The first time I made it the cost was more because I had to buy all the ingredients and a bucket. But I just made my fourth batch of it and am still using those ingredients that I bought the first time. The only thing I had to purchase to make my two batches last year was a bar of Fels-Naptha soap each time. A batch of laundry detergent makes about ten gallons and lasts me at least 6 months.

Are you wondering how to make this laundry detergent???
I'll share the recipe that my friend gave me. I have no idea where it originated but I do know that it works!! (Found out that my friend who shared the detergent recipe with me learned about it from the Duggars.)



HOMEMADE LAUNDRY DETERGENT

4 Cups - hot tap water
1 Fels-Naptha soap bar*
1 Cup - Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda**
½ Cup Borax

Directions:
-Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.
-Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved.
-Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.
-Stir (I use a hand blender because it is thick and tough to do with just a spoon) and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser (gallon jug works great!) half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use. (will gel)

-Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil.
-Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons.
-Top Load Machine- 5/8 Cup per load (Approx. 180 loads) -Front Load Machines- ¼ Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)




*Visit the Fels-Naptha website to find a store in your area that carries the product.
**Arm & Hammer "Super Washing Soda" - in some stores or may be purchased online at Meijer.com. Baking Soda will not work, nor will Arm & Hammer Detergent - It must be sodium carbonate!!


There ya go! Easy peasy!
Have you ever made your own laundry detergent?
Do you think you might give this a try?


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Unbroken, The Hundred Foot Journey and Big Hero 6

Last year my main reading list consisted of books that were being turned into movies. I read some really good books and some that weren't so good. And there were several that I started but never really got into so I didn't finish them. I've been enjoying seeing many of those books as movies now.

Unbroken was one of them. The book by Laura Hillenbrand is easily one of my favorite books ever. I read it early last year and had to wait MONTHS to see the movie. It came out on Christmas Day but I didn't get to the theater until New Years Day.

Unbroken is an excellent movie! It is very true to the book and often had me in tears. I still recommend that you read the book first because there were a lot of times where I was thankful I had read it just because it gave me more depth of the feelings and emotions behind everything. The book definitely made me FEEL a lot more than the movie. But the movie is still worth seeing!

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The Hundred Foot Journey was one of the books I tried to read but just couldn't get into. There was so much about food and reading about food just isn't exciting for me. But the movie!!! I. LOVED it! It was cute. It was clean. The characters were great. And the story was nice... and fun. I would watch it again! I would recommend this movie to my mom. (Hey Mom! You would like this movie!)

**********

The kids didn't  have school on Monday and Tuesday and I knew that if we didn't break things up by getting out of the house that we would all go very nuts with a four day weekend. We have a theater not too far away that is really nice and if you go to the early shows it's only $5.25/person. So I took Liza and Jason and two of their friends to see Big Hero 6.

I had no idea what to expect from this movie. The review on pluggedin.com was good and the children's librarian from our public library said it was really good so we figured why not give it a try. Big Hero 6 was so good! We all loved it and I can't wait for Mike to see it too. We will buy this one for the family and I am sure we will watch it again and again and again.

**********

Have you seen any good movies lately?


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Sneak Reading

Liza and Jason have not been lovers of reading. It's always been a struggle to get them to read beyond the things that they have to read for school.

Then this whole school consolidation mess started. The plan that they want to push forward and have ready by next year closes our school and moves the students from our school to two different ones. I'm pretty sure that our school rates lowest academically out of the eleven elementary schools in our district and one of the ones we could end up at is probably ranked number 1. I have a feeling that there is going to be a huge learning gap between the two schools and therefore I have decided that I need to do the extra work now so that if we end up at the number one school my kids aren't too far behind and have an easier time catching up.

The problem is HOW to go about doing that when my kids just aren't interested. (And who knows! The gap may not be big at all but extra work right now isn't going to hurt.)

Over Christmas break I insisted that Liza bring home a chapter book from school and read it. One night after tucking them in I went back upstairs and found her quickly tucking the book away and pretending she was just laying in bed trying to fall asleep. She had been trying to read by the light of the hallway. I told her to put the book away and go to bed.

And then I realized that was a dumb thing to do. So the next day I told Liza and Jason that they could "sneak read" every night if they wanted to. We went to the library and grabbed a bunch of books that Jason would be able to read and then we found a few chapter books for Liza. I made sure they each had a flashlight in their rooms and now they sneak read every night.

In just a few short weeks Liza has become a lover of reading. She told me the other day that she thinks she has the reading fever and she had to stay up to finish a book the night before because she just HAD to know what happened!

Jason grabs a book every night on his way up to his room and he tells me in the morning about how AWESOME it was. His confidence in reading has grown so much.

I'm pretty sure that "sneak reading" is one of my most genius parenting ideas yet. The kids get excited about it and feel like they are getting away with something and my job of helping them to become better readers has been made extremely simple.

And the best part of all... there is absolutely nothing sneaky about it since I told them to do it and they often tell me on their way to bed "I'm going to sneak read this book tonight!"


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