Packing

In my last 2 months of packing and preparing to pack I have come to a conclusion.

Clean, organized, tidy homes are quick and easy to pack.

Cluttered, scattered, disorganized homes are painful and slow to pack.

At least I am organizing as I pack. So hopefully our new home will be less cluttered, more organized, and less messy!

But, the reality is, I have 5 kids….

Making Lemonade From Lemons…

When we were told our landlord was selling our home, it was a big hit. We were finally at the cusp of getting ahead.

When we started looking for rental homes and saw the prices and severe lack of pet friendly availability, it was another huge hit.

When a good friend offered us his “little” rental home as a last resort, it was a ray of hope.

We finally decided to take the “little” home. It wasn’t the perfect solution, for sure; but it was a sure one.

It would mean downsizing, when we needed to upsize. It would mean living “homeless” for a month, in between places. So we took the lemons we were handed and decided to make lemonade.

I planned 2 weeks worth of lake camping. We have been tirelessly downsizing our stuff. We have been purging like crazy.

We didn’t want to move, hadn’t planned it, and certainly hadn’t planned on moving to an even smaller home. But we chose to embrace this unchanging reality. And we have been blessed as a result.

The feeling of purging is a great one! It is awesome to rid ourselves of those things that are no longer useful to us. It is a freeing feeling. It is an incredible opportunity we have had to also bless some others through our purge. This brings me great satisfaction and contentment.

This move has created tension and stress and made me feel alone and inadequate to accomplish the task. But it has made us see clearly who our friends are. In some ways it has brought clarity to our lives.

I have also recognized that I cannot judge others by the very high expectations I judge myself. And I need to lower my own personal expectations and judgments.

I tend to be a positive person. I see the bright side of a situation, and try to show others that too. So, I have chosen to view this move in the positive and see the good of the bad and try not to worry about the bad.

Today, I got some fantastic news. I was told that we will NOT be homeless for a month. We will be able to move into the new place on the afternoon of the 1st of July. This is such a breath of relief! So many issues are eliminated with this news. Our parents don’t have to keep our dogs for a month. Jason doesn’t have to stay at our friend’s home for a month. We don’t have to pay an additional $470 in storage rental. So many blessings this news brings our way!

So, today I am thankful that I have chosen to embrace our changes, and not worry over them. In the end, it has all worked out far better than I could have hoped! And we get a 2 week vacation at a lake, with our boat. That wouldn’t have happened without this move! And that’s pretty close to MY absolute dream family holiday!

We all have power to build up or destroy, which will we choose

We all have the power to build-up those around us, or to tear them down.

I know I am sometimes guilty of the tearing down. My sense of humor tends to be sarcastic. I have had to try hard to reduce this, because to my children, sarcasm is simply truth. They don’t always understand it. I am sure not perfect at it, I still make sarcastic remarks. Not as often as I used to, but they still do come out sometimes. And usually they’re under my breath and not intended for little ears. However, often little ears are big ones and they hear many things not intended for them. It’s amazing what they can hear, especially considering all they can’t hear. Like “clean your room” or “put on a coat”.

Yesterday my 2nd grade daughter went to school. She was SUPER excited about having read an entire chapter book the previous day.

The background to this excitement is that, like her closest sister, she has struggled with her reading skills. Last year was a battle on the reading front. She disliked reading because it was so much work for her. Her closest sister had great struggles with reading. She was at maybe a grade 2 reading level by the end of grade 3. We got her some outside help, and her 4th grade teacher was amazing at inspiring her and encouraging her and building her up. By the end of that year she was at grade level.

My oldest daughter reads like a fish swims. She goes to the library every Tuesday and takes out up to 50 books, walks home carrying them and has them read usually before the weekend. She is a speed reader, with a photographic memory. Her reading skills are far above grade level.

So, my youngest daughter has seen both sides, experienced being behind and struggling. A few weeks ago she tried a chapter book. And she was hooked. She now loves reading them and challenging herself to read faster and retain more. She is doing really well.

Now, back to school yesterday…

She arrived at school excited about her speed reading. She wanted to hear her teacher’s praise and exaltation of her accomplishments. Instead, her teacher said she couldn’t read a book that fast, because her teacher couldn’t.

I’m fairly certain this teacher was trying to tease her. I hope this is the case. However, my daughter didn’t catch the teasing. When my daughter was telling me her story, she was crying. When I tried to explain to her that she was probably just “teasing”, my daughter replied “then why didn’t she smile, like you do”.

It is heartbreaking when your child tries so hard to accomplish something and they are crushed, instead of praised.

I was pretty upset with this teacher. But, then I realized that I am this teacher. Sometimes I do the very thing this teacher did.

With my oldest daughter I used to tease her when she brought home a mark in the high 90’s. I’d ask her where the rest of the hundred was, where was the missing 1 or 2 questions. I realized some time ago, that this wasn’t building her up. It wasn’t encouraging her to do better. It was actually somehow telling her she wasn’t good enough. So, I try not to say this anymore. I try to praise her instead.

We are all human. Including me. I need to take the log out of my own eye, before I take the splinter out of my daughter’s teacher’s.

I will however, try to explain humor to my daughter. I will try to bring wisdom to the situation for my daughter.

And I will continue to try to do better, be better, love more purely, and judge less…

Dark Corners

In my house, I have numerous “dark corners”, where piles of “stuff” have accumulated.

There are a number of reasons for this. One is we just don’t have enough “places” for all our “stuff”. Another is my children bring me “important” stuff into my bedroom, when I’m busy and don’t have time to deal with it.

With this move, I have the opportunity to go through all these “Dark corners”; and sort, relocate , purge, chuck, and finally pack up these spaces.

It is my hope that at the smaller new place, I will be a bit more intentionally organized, and less busy. If I can stay on top of the little things, like keeping the kids’ scrapbooks current, then many of the piles won’t ever even happen. I am also a realist though. I know I can’t eliminate ALL of my piles, but some would be a start.

Also, I am learning to hold much looser to my “stuff”. Hopefully I won’t have SO much to relocate next time!

I am a servant though. I keep many things so that I can lend them out to others, or use them to serve others. So, part of my solution will be finding better storage solutions. šŸ™‚

Homemade Bouncy Balls

I was on Facebook and a friend had posted a recipe for homemade bouncy balls. It looked super cheap and simple. We had all the ingredients and it looked like it would take about 5 minutes. My kids needed a distraction, so I thought we’d give it a whirl.

It said to use 2 cups for mixing, we used clear plastic disposable cups.

In the first cup you put 0.5 tsp borax and 2 Tbsp hot water (we boiled it with the electric kettle)

In the second cup you put a few drops of food coloring of your choice, we used pink for one and blue for one. Then put in 2 Tbsp cornstarch and 1 Tbsp glue (we used wood glue because our white glue needed the lid cleaned). You use a stir stick to stir this second cup (we used a craft stick) until it is completely mixed together.

Now pour the water-borax stirred solution over the second cup’s glue-dye-cornstarch solution. Let it sit for 15 seconds. Then use the stick to stir the solution, all the mixture will begin to stick together and once it is all attached in a big blob, remove from excess water solution.

homemade-bouncy-ball-work-in-progress

Now roll in your hands into a ball. The more you roll, the faster it dries. The more it dries, the harder it gets and the better it bounces.

homemade-bouncy-ball-blue

 

This project took less than 5 minutes to make, kept the kids busy “rolling” their balls for at least a half hour, and I’m sure would bring another hour of fun outside play. If you’re lucky, it’d keep them busy for a whole afternoon!

homemade-bouncy-ball-pink

Great idea for a “boring” summer day.

This would be a fantastic craft for birthday parties, and wouldn’t cost but a few cents!