Monday, June 26, 2017

Monday Refelections

One reason so many Christians today are worn out and faint is because their lives are complicated.  -- Joyce Meyer

And I begin this long time coming blog post telling you that my life is complicated. Yes. It is.  It's been more than 1 year since my last post, and frankly longer than that since I posted with any frequency.  For those that followed me at one time and have stuck with me, THANK YOU.  Thank you for sticking with me while life has been complicated and I adjust to new normals.  Not Homeschooling doesn't mean I have nothing to blog about because I am still tending my garden.

Later this week I will update in bits and pieces but today I will muse on how to embrace the seemingly disorganization that life has been for the last 3-4 years.  It really hasn't been any more disorganized than before.  Adding Gram to the mix changed things a bit, which I am sure to touch on how having your mother in your home can add its onset of complications, but that is for another day.  I pray your gentle friendship will allow me those times and these times.  :-)  

On the home front, we are currently moving things around and Gram has agreed to divest our home of many small items that stack up and create a big mess, of course, a family of four with the gene for hanging onto things long past their use is difficult.  I made the hard choice last night to toss all of Bear's old birthday cards.  Really, what was I keeping them for?  You would be very proud of my resolve.

I have been using Sunday's to mentally plan the big anchor tasks for the week and menu ideas.  This week we are having:

  • Lasagna 
  • Hobo Meal (Potatoes and Beans with Franks)--it sounded good.
  • Goulash
  • Breakfast
  • Pizza--  Because Friday should always be Pizza right?
That is a lot of meal planning for me.  In the past, I have tried to create 4-6 weeks of rotating meals, and it has proven a headache and unsustainable.   I know my limitations! Instead of viewing this as a failure I decided to adapt and do what does work with my life, my abilities, and my family.  Welcome Sunday week planning.  I am not micro-planning, but planning my anchor tasks, and then each night I am planning the large things the next day and keeping my lists short.  This is working for me and if you are finding planing and keeping to task is proving to be hard this might help you.  I will try to post a VLOG post talking about this soon!  ;-)

For now, Happy Tending!

Monday, March 7, 2016

New Food Journey

I have decided to take the Whole 30 plunge.

I am rebooting our eating.

I need this to crash course to push us into a healthier eating life.  Food is not the enemy, but our relationship with it might be unhealthy.  I know it is.  If I can't do a project without the reward of a pop and candy bar, then my relationship with food is likely not healthy. 

The idea when the 30 days is up, is that we will morph it into a "WHOLE FOOD" lifestyle, meaning less processed foods.  I am not saying we will never eat processed foods because hey, we like going out to eat, and we like having occasional treats, but 90% of what we eat needs to be recognizable and pronounceable food.

What is the Whole 30?  I am still learning but you can find out the basics at this web link, Whole 30

I hope you enjoy the next 30 days as I share my thoughts, concerns, temptations, dilemmas, and the end result ....  in the course I will find that I have accomplished something I said was hard, even impossible.  Yeah, its going to be hard, but its going to be a great sense of accomplishment as well.

We got this!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Reboot your life, yes you can!

Sometimes the day is gone from bad to worse and all you want to do is lay down on the floor in a fetal position. Have you been there?  I know I have.  But once you get to the place it doesn't mean you give up, it means it's time to do a systems check and REBOOT.

Here are ten ways to reboot the day or week (heck, month maybe?  I know I have been there). 
  1. Go outside.  Just grab a coat and head out the door.  Of course the littles need to come too.  Go to the park, yes even if its raining (that's what rain coats and hats are for). Go to the beach, this time of year it will be your own private escape. If you have the forethought, pack a thermos of hot cocoa to enjoy and ward off a little bit of a chill.  Even half an hour can do wonders. 
  2. Call it an early night.  Make an early night of it.  The day has been going down hill all day and the steam engine is screaming at lightening speed, just figure you will eat cereal and toast for dinner.  Get each child into a warm bath.  Pull out a feel good family movie and grab blankets and pile everyone on the couch.  Watch a movie and cuddle.  The cuddles make the world feel just a little bit more normal again.
  3. Make meatloaf.  I have no idea why, but meatloaf makes everyone happier.  Meatloaf like they made it back before everyone decided it was boring.  Spices and garlic and oh yeah a yummy sauce on top.... 
  4. Add water and paper...  If you are home alone or your kids are older, take a bath, pick out a book and figure its quiet time for an hour or so. 
  5. Bake cookies.  A spice cookie, oatmeal cookie... even a chocolate chip cookie can slow everyone down.  just one batch....  if you don't feel like baking more than a dozen or so, the dough will keep a few days in the fridge, or freeze them for the next time you need the smell of baking cookies in the house.
  6. Get Organized.  Sometimes we need to get organized to relax.  But don't take that to the extreme.  Organize one thing.  Hang a key rack, write birthdays on a calendar, something small that can make a difference.  I use to lose the basement keys ALL the time.  I hung a key hook/rack and it has helped tremendously.  It not fancy, just a piece of molding left over from the kitchen that I put a few hooks into.
  7. Time Out.  Yep, mommy time out.  Hopefully you can get all the littles into a quiet time and you take a time out.  Read, pray, whatever you need to do.   
  8. Put music on and dance.  Put on something fun, has a beat and sing and dance, with the kiddos.    It will leave everyone in giggles.
  9. Go off grid....  Turn off the phone, computer..  all those devices which "connect" us and get back into a real connection with people.  Go for a walk in the mall, let the kids play in the play area while you have a coffee or coke and relax.  Kids don't need constant adult intervention.  Yeah we need to make sure they don't disappear or kill each other, but we don't need to have our fingers in the pie all the time either. 
  10. Practice realism.  Make real goals for yourself.  Forget what you think everyone else does, make realistic goals for you and your family. 
I am in the boat with you as I continually strive to de-stress and simplify.  What do you do to de-stress you life?

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Give thanks in all the things

In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 
1 Thess. 5:18
This day, I am thankful for love.  There is a song which states that love makes the world go 'round and there is a cup full of wisdom in that.  The greatest love known to man is that of God.  This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. – 1 John 4:9-11  There we have the two greatest commands.  We are to love God and then love our brothers and sisters as God loves us.  This is what I am thankful for today, and every other day.  I am truly blessed with having many people around me whom show me love, even on days I don't deserve it.  Sometimes I get so wrapped up in what's going on I neglect to see the love right before my eyes.

Happy tending of your gardens my gentle friends; and remember think of the raindrops as little drops of love!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Thankfulness Project 2015

Gentle Friends,

It has been so long since I have published in Garden Tenders.  Life has been full.  I will update soon, but here are a few things I have learned more fully....
  • Everything happens for a purpose.  We may not know it or understand it but there is a deep purpose to it.
  • God is in all things, even trouble and turmoil, all you have to do is call upon His name.
  • I never considered myself a leader, but I do think God is putting me in places for this to happen. I know I am not a follower, I think too much outside the box for that.
  • Worry about tomorrow will hinder your today.  This is something I am still working on, but its so true.  God wants each of us to lean on him and cast our worries at the foot of the cross.
Join me in our November 2015 "30 days of Thankfulness Project" and look for God's blessings, love, and peace in every area of your life. What are you thankful for?

Feel free to use this picture when you post a Facebook status giving thanks this November and spreading God's grace and love to the whole world.  Check me out on Facebook at Garden Tender's Facebook Page

Feel free to use #gtthankfulnessproject2015

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Learning fun with Littles

While in the trenches I often didn't think we were doing much in the way of learning during the preschool and toddler years, but looking back I can see we did so much.  Bear was blessed with rich learning experiences that traditionally schooled children would never have access to. 

The things that occupied our time when scribbling was was the norm and cuddles on moms lap was still cool.

  • Sensory Bins: These are bins that I fill with a wide range of textures and items. We have used baking soda, bubbles (water and dish soap), shaving cream, rice, corn meal, beans.... really the limits are your imagination Then I toss a few fun items in the mix and a small garden shovel for kids (like what you get with plastic buckets) and let the children dig, scoop and more. If you have the space and inclination you could get a water wheel and let the little ones use it as well. Funnels are a fun toy to use in the bins too.
  • Paper time: This is time we have with paper and scissors. Crayons and glue are generally married to it as well.
  • Stickers:  'Nough said. 
  • Play dough: Be sure you have some cookie cutters, rolling pins (you can find them reasonably priced at stores like Target, but be sure to not forget looking in the Dollar Store) and if you can get your child to do it, a sheet of wax paper or butcher paper for working on. Sometimes this works for me if I think about it.
  • Small easy craft projects. Things that require cutting easy straight and slightly curved lines for littles are best. Complicated cuts should be kept for the older children. Stringing beads, using pasta and glue, using colored sand and glue on a paper plate, etc. Again the opportunities are limited only by your imagination. just remember to keep it within the scope of your child's abilities.
  • Old cards and magazines can be used to make collages. One could even do one that would be specific to a certain unit or event.  

From an earlier adventure but a fun reminder!

Above all, remember that as the mother and father it is our job to gently guide when needed. Let your child scribble and paint and get messy; just make sure its an area that is appropriate for the craft. Of course we don't want scribbled walls, so provide gentle guidance but try not to tell your child that the sky is blue if he paints it orange or yellow. If your little girl is painting all sweetly and the next second decides that fingers are much better than the brush, smile, she is exploring and discovering her world. Those explorations into cause and effect will be invaluable as they age. 

world's best sensory bin; Seattle
Its more about the creating and exploring than the end product. It has no need to resemble a tree to you, in her eyes it tells a whole story and what she is looking for from you is validation and enjoyment in her creative self; have her tell you the story it tells.  You may be surprised. 

In our home "art" products are easy to be had often and that is another key to allowing creativity to flow.  When Bear was younger during her preschool and kinder years (and younger still!) I would often have our coffee table covered with butcher paper so impromptu art projects weren't very messy. When the paper is completely used you can remove it and replace it with something new. I use the blue ore green painters tape to attach the paper to the table, and trust me that painters tape is your best friend.

Once a month I will be exploring books and corresponding crafts as we continue on our educational journey and continuing on with our "after-school" learning adventures.  Next month, I will be looking at a fun craft for Valentines Day.  Some months we will be looking at Nature Studies, some months science and others reading helps!  While our journey has changed a bit this year, our goal to instill and encourage a love of learning for a lifetime has not!

We will be linking up once a month in 2015 with The Story Corner Blog Hop!  


Monday, January 19, 2015

Passing time

Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its life believing it is stupid. -- Albert Einstein-

We all are bright and capable people, we just need to encourage a love for learning and doing.  We need to try to do things, even if they are hard.  Why do we go about setting goals we already know we can attain?  I am guilty.  GUILTY. 

Each of us are creative beings, but society puts restraints on us, shackling us into their confines and ideas of what is and isn't beauty. We are constantly being told what is and isn't good.  Why do we feel we have to color within the lines?  Shouldn't we set goals that stretch us beyond those lines?  Goals should stretch us, and make us leap. We need to open our minds and step out of the box that someone else put us in.  Goals are something we should set high, and they require work. 

I am busy making plans for what to create for the February Barter Fair here on the KP.  What will Promise Farms have to share in the middle of winter?  Nature Bags, Chicken Goodies, Doggie Goodies, bread, and later on very possibly flavored adult beverages. But in the meantime, we dream and set goals, making a leap and stretching ourselves.  Taking action and actively working toward our dream.