Thursday, October 31, 2013

40 Things in 40 Years

Happy Birthday Baloons
So tomorrow's the big day - I will be 40 years old.  Wow.  Typing that kind of reminds me of the first time I said out loud, "I'm pregnant," to the appointment-maker at the obstetrician's office.  She asked me if I was sure.  I told her I had 4 positive pregnancy tests.  She chuckled and said, "Bless your heart."

There was no denying the truth of those pregnancy tests (which were joyful, by the way), and there's no denying that a person born on November 1, 1973, will turn 40 years old on November 1, 2013.

In honor of this momentous occasion, I'm totally stealing an idea from my sister who wrote 35 things she had learned before her 35th birthday.  Here are 40 things I have learned in my first 40 years:

1.  Very few people - including myself - look best in light pastel colors.  Or mustard yellow.
2.  Hair color and wall paint are the two best kinds of therapy.
3.  Homestead Resort Tea Room Cream (at Lowe's) is the most awesome paint color.  It's one of those rare yellows that is cheery without being obnoxious.  (See #1 and #2).
4.  Weight Watchers.  "Because it works."  It's not fast or flashy, but it works - when I stick to it.
5.  Although I wish I could speed up my decision-making, I can't think of a single deliberated choice that I now regret.
6.  Proverbs 31 doesn't mean what we think it means.  This post has been revolutionary for me.
7.  Most adults who hate math developed that feeling at some point in elementary school.  I shudder to project the future effects of Common Core.
8.  I don't really love math.  It's just something that has always come easily for me - well, until graduate school, but that's a whole other post.
9.  I have decided to stop reading student evaluations.  It's always  lots and lots of "She's awesome!" followed by that one disgruntled "She's the worst teacher I've ever had!"  Guess which one sticks with me....
10.  Online learning is not for people who "don't have time" for regular classes.
11.  When in doubt, buy the one with the middle price.  The cheap one will fall apart.  The expensive one usually isn't worth the extra money.  One exception to this: toilet paper.  Never skimp on toilet paper.
12.  My bottle-fed babies were/are healthy and highly intelligent.  This is solely by the grace of God, not by the particular protein they consumed.  If you don't believe the Mommy Wars really exist, try mixing up a bottle of formula in a Moms Group.
13.  Garnier Age-Defying BB cream is great stuff.
14.  I love my crockpot.  In fact, I have two of them.
15.  My best crockpot tip: Cook up a bunch of chicken breasts all day or overnight, shred it up, and freeze in 1 cup portions.  Then you're ready for all sorts of other recipes.
16.  Jane Austen is awesome.  I have no idea how I failed to discover her writing until I was 33 years old.
17.  Sometimes it takes a Mr. Wickham to open our eyes to a Mr. Darcy.  (See #16.)  This certainly proved true in my life.
18.  I'm comfortable teaching a large group of people, and I'm comfortable being a wallflower.  Small groups are extremely challenging for me.
19.  Sleepovers are never fun after midnight.  Anyone who has ever attended a Lock-In or watched Gremlins knows this to be true.
20.  I much prefer to shop alone - or, on rare occasions, with my mother.  The same goes for cooking.
21.  The Bible really is living and active.  I'm still learning new things.  This is because the Author attends all of the readings.
22.  Only marry someone who is your best friend.  Romantic feelings will ebb and flow.  Marry someone whose company you prefer above all others'.
23.  I don't understand people who marry their opposites.
24.  I'm still trying to figure out what Biblical submission really looks like.  Neither extreme has worked out very well.  It's probably like Andy Stanley said about something else entirely (not a direct quote), "It's not a problem to be solved but a tension to be maintained."
25.  I still don't really feel like a grown woman.  However, I did come close one time.  It wasn't after I got married or after the births of my children.  It was the first time I put a garage door opener in my car after we bought our first house.  For some reason, in my mind, garage door opener = grown-up.
26.  One of the biggest challenges in homeschooling: pencils.  Mechanical leads constantly break.  Good sharpeners must be hiding out with the Loch Ness Monster and Big Foot.
27.  The best parts of homeschooling: reading aloud to my children, hugs, individualized pacing, and field trips.
28.  Your identity - how others view you and you view yourself - will change multiple times.  Case in point: my childhood friends might be very surprised to know that the vast majority of my friends of the past few years don't even know that I can play the piano.  
29.  All people are basically the same, wherever you go.
30.  Wherever you go, there you are.  You can never expect a new location to fix all of your problems.
31.  Moving is ALWAYS a big ol' pain.
32.  It takes about a year to feel at home in a new town.  A new house takes about a month - at least.
33.  While others' opinions should often be considered, they're not as important as I used to think.
34.  Going contrary to your Mama's opinion does not get easier with age.
35.  Everyone should keep a gratitude journal.
36.  Football atmosphere is always better at an SEC school - even Vanderbilt.  I expected Georgia Tech games to feel like Auburn games.  I was wrong.  And the University of Washington is not even in the same league when it comes to fan enthusiasm.
37.  Facebook and texting are the best things ever for introverts.
38.  I'm so glad I was alive and cognizant during the 1980s.  Music, hairstyles, the President - all awesome.
39.  You will become like the people with whom you spend the most time.
40.  Never start a sentence to your husband with, "My mother thinks...."

So, what have you learned in your x years?  Agree or disagree with any of mine?  Anybody else got a "momentous" birthday coming up?





This post may be linked up to one or more of the following blog parties.  Check them out! Monday: Menu Plan Monday on I'm an Organizing Junkie Wednesday: Works for Me Wednesday at We are THAT Family Friday: 5 Minute Friday at The Gypsy Mama, Company Girl Coffee at Home Sanctuary, Pieces of Amy Other days: A Wise Woman Builds Her Home

Friday, August 2, 2013

Teaching the Bible at home - no seminary degree required!


Week 1 of the 2013-2014 school year has come and gone, and we are off to a great start.  I'm very pleased with our curriculum choices so far (most are a continuation of what we used last year), but I just ordered some additional things for my Kindergartner.  I think she'll enjoy some extra challenge.  :)

If you have read this blog or followed me on Facebook for any length of time, you've probably heard about one of my favorite things: Grapevine Bible Studies.  This is our second year to use them, and I'm still very happy.  In the picture above, you see yesterday's lesson on Jesus Calming the Storm (from the Beginner Level of New Testament Overview).  The children each have a page on which they draw the same pictures (using colored pencils, crayons, or just pencil).

Here are some of the things I love about it:
1.  Simple to prepare, and simple to teach.  I didn't make up those drawings.  They are shown in the teacher's book along with instructions on how to teach the lesson.
2.  Scripture references for everything.  With the exception of stories that cover a really long passage, I start by reading straight out of the Bible.  Then I can explain and answer questions.
3.  It's strictly Bible - no doctrinal "issues."  I think this would be equally suitable for Baptists, Methodists, Catholics, Church of Christ, etc.  You, the parent, can add in additional information and context as you see fit.
4.  It's fast.  Although I usually try to get some sort of discussion going, the lesson could be taught in about 10 minutes in a pinch.
5.  Works well for multiple ages.  As I mentioned, we are finishing up the Beginner Level.  (We did the Old Testament Overview last year and part of the New Testament Overview.)  After that, we're going to start on the Level 1 Old Testament Overview (for my 2nd grader) along with the Traceables version of the same (for the Kindergartner).  I anticipate that we will spread those lessons over two days each.

Obviously, we use these as part of our homeschool day, but they could be used at home by any parent as a devotional time.  I believe they would also work well in a classroom setting (at church or a private school).  There is also a Spanish version available! While we may switch to something else when the children are several years older, I love that they are getting a strong background in basic Bible passages.

The New Testament studies have recently gone through a revision, and there's a 30% off sale on all of the NT books and e-books.  (I recommend the e-books if you have more than one child.  You can choose a family license or a classroom license.  Then you can print the pages as needed.)

Additionally, I have a special code for my blog readers!  Use the code AUGBLOG to get 20% off of any item not already on sale.  Still not convinced?  You can check out a free e-lesson here.

Laura

Note: I have not been compensated for my review of Grapevine Studies, but this post does contain affiliate links.  If you're going to buy anyway, I'd be delighted if you entered through this blog.  :)  

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Real Men Drive Kias



Today is my 15th anniversary.  It's hard to believe it's been that long, and yet, I can still remember each year distinctly - the newlywed years, the student years, the residency and test-taking years, the baby-birth years, and now the homeschooling years.  Each era has had lots of ups and plenty of downs.

I could spend many blog posts writing all about my husband, but I can sum it up in one sentence: he drives a Kia.

We sold one of our two cars before moving from Washington to Florida, and we bought the Kia from my father-in-law while passing through Alabama.  It wasn't the car that we had intended to buy, but after discovering some mechanical problems with the planned purchase, it was the one we ended up with.  It was supposed to be mine after I learned to drive a stick, but one brief lesson involving lots of yelling (by me) made it quickly apparent that wasn't going to happen.  So I kept driving my paid-for-and-dearly-loved Mustang, and David started driving the Kia.

Then after the Mustang was totaled when I (pregnant with Nathan) got rear-ended, I drove an Altima, and he drove the Kia.

Now I drive an Explorer, and he still drives the Kia.  Ten years later.

He hates that car.  Loathes it, actually.  And I don't blame him a bit.  It's beat-up, makes strange sounds when it moves, and seems to be held together by some sort of invisible duct-tape.

But he keeps driving it.

Because his family is more important than a car.  Because he wants his wife and children to be in the safer vehicle.  Because he's not willing to put us in an unnecessary financial bind.  (All vehicles purchased since we've been married have been used and bought with cash.)  Because he loves me dearly.

Because David is the kind of man who puts others first.  Fiercely loyal.  A servant-leader.  A husband worthy of great respect.

He hates the sight of that thing.  I think it's beautiful.





This post may be linked up to one or more of the following blog parties.  Check them out! Monday: Menu Plan Monday on I'm an Organizing Junkie Wednesday: Works for Me Wednesday at We are THAT Family Friday: 5 Minute Friday at The Gypsy Mama, Company Girl Coffee at Home Sanctuary, Pieces of Amy Other days: A Wise Woman Builds Her Home

Friday, July 12, 2013

Old and New



Today's a pretty big day for me.  First of all, we are closing on the sale of our house in Fort Smith.  It's very bittersweet.  Financially, I am SO grateful to have sold it so fast and without having to pay a hefty commission.  But my heart is still sad.  That was our longest-lasting address since getting married almost 15 years ago, so a lot of our hearts, souls, and memories are tied up with that house.

Sigh.

The other big news is that I'm guest posting over at Hip Homeschool Moms again.  Hooray!  (If you are stopping by from HHM, Welcome!  I promise I'm not usually this melancholy.  :) )

I think it's no accident that my guest post coincides with closing on our house.  I wrote the post a few weeks ago without a posting date, but it's all about the sometimes-disappointing expectations surrounding things that are "new."  God knew that I would need to be reminded of some truths today, and I hope that He will also use it somehow in someone else's life.

I would be honored if you clicked HERE to go over and read my post.  Thanks for stopping by!





This post may be linked up to one or more of the following blog parties.  Check them out! Monday: Menu Plan Monday on I'm an Organizing Junkie Wednesday: Works for Me Wednesday at We are THAT Family Friday: 5 Minute Friday at The Gypsy Mama, Company Girl Coffee at Home Sanctuary, Pieces of Amy Other days: A Wise Woman Builds Her Home

Friday, July 5, 2013

Before and After

Hi, faithful readers!  I really appreciate those of you who take the time to stop by my Home On the Web.  It's so gratifying (and a bit surreal, and very humbling) to know that people actually read my words.

I'm hesitant to post these pictures because they might come across as a bit "braggy."  However, several people have asked for updates on our new house.  Personally, I love seeing before and after pictures of real houses, but if you don't, then feel free to stop reading now.  I'll never know.  :)

Our house is still very much a work in progress, but we have mostly completed the living area (it's all one big open space for the kitchen/dining/living, as you'll see) and the office/homeschool room.  Some of the pictures aren't the greatest.  I'm still trying to master taking good pics on my phone.

Kitchen before:



Kitchen after: 
(I'm still wanting to replace that rather hideous fluorescent light.)


Dining area before:
(The turquoise was along half of that wall, to the right of the fireplace.  I actually liked the color, but it didn't coordinate with anything else that we have.)

Dining area after:

Living area before (complete with TV on the floor):


Living area after:
(Remind me to do a post sometime about the cabinet under the TV.  David is particularly proud of that DIY project, and I'm very pleased with how it turned out.)


The verse above the window means a lot to me because of all our moving around.  It's very hard to see in this picture, but the pictures along the window are maps of the cities/areas where we have lived, roughly in chronological order.  (Sometimes we backtracked - for example, we lived in Knoxville, TN two separate times with two other places in between.)


Now on to the office/schoolroom.  Some of you may recall this picture that I posted on Facebook when I was choosing the paint color:


While the majority voted for either the third from the left or the large square, I confess that I stuck with my original opinion and went with the fourth one.  I love it!  I was afraid it might be too dark, but the color makes me happy, happy, happy!  (And since I spend A LOT of time in this room, that's a good thing.  :) )

Before:


After:


The cabinet to the left of the piano came from our last house and will likely be hung (horizontally) above the piano.

Pictures via Pinterest and Etsy.


Before:


After:



Before:


After:



So there you have it!  The bedrooms and bathrooms are all still "builder beige," and the backyard jungle seems to grow visibly each day, but I am enjoying the process.  I'm certainly no Martha Stewart or Erica Bartels (Hi, Erica!), but I really do enjoy decorating (once I stop constantly second-guessing myself!).

So what projects are you working on?  Got any before and after pics to share?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Feeds and Followers and Friends, Oh My!

If you follow very many blogs at all, you have probably heard that Google Reader has gone away.  Why?  Because it kept people from seeing advertisements in the sidebars of blogs.

Sigh.

If you are reading these words right now, then obviously you get blog content through some other means: Facebook, going to individual blogs, or another feed reader.  If you are happy with your current choice, that is awesome!  But if you've been visiting individual blogs because you didn't know there was another option, I'd like to suggest three alternatives:

1.  Social Media
Most blogs these days post links to their content directly through Facebook or Twitter.  If you are already on one of those pretty frequently, this can be a very convenient way to access lots of different blogs.  (Have you "liked" my Facebook page yet?  You can do that by simply clicking the "Like" button up at the top of the right-hand column of this page or by going to http://www.facebook.com/BloomingLaura.)  

2.  E-mail
Many blogs also give you the option of having posts delivered directly to your inbox.  If you like that option, you can go again to the right-hand side of my blog and enter your e-mail address where it says "Follow By E-mail."  This is a great option if you only follow a few blogs, or if there are a few that you particularly don't want to miss, but it could quickly fill your inbox if you follow lots of blogs this way.  Of course, another option is to set up a second e-mail address just for receiving blog posts.

3.  Feed Reader
A feed is a means of distributing blog content to the masses (or in my case, the hundred or so).  A feed reader is how that content is accessed.  Up until yesterday, Google Reader was one of the most popular ones.  But as I mentioned earlier, if that's what you've been using, you'll have to do something else now.
My personal favorite is Pulse.  I use it for reading blogs on my iPhone and iPad, but I believe it is also available for Android devices and for desktops.  If you have been using Google Reader, this is a great option because you can painlessly import your feeds from Google right into Pulse without missing a beat (pun intended).


One of my favorite features of Pulse is the ability to categorize blogs that I follow.  This is helpful if I'm looking for content from a particular blog or type of blog.  I also created a "Time Crunch Blogs" category of ones that I want to be sure and check if I only have a small amount of time.


Another reader that I have seen recommended many times now is Feedly.  I have very limited experience with it personally, but you can read all about it (along with a better explanation of feeds) at http://simplemom.net/feedly/.

So how do you access blog content?  Have I left out any methods that you would recommend?


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Blindly Blooming

Two weeks ago today, we bought a house here in Rome, Georgia.  The first time we ever walked into the house, our names were on the mortgage.

That's right.  We bought it sight-unseen.  What on earth were we thinking?

Let me start by saying that I do NOT recommend doing things this way, especially if you are buying a house for the first time.  But if you've been around me or this blog for any length of time, you know this is not our first rodeo when it comes to moving.  This was our fifth home purchase.

We made two trips to Rome before moving here.  The first time we looked at houses within a certain price range.  The second time - with an actual job offer and specific salary - we looked at houses in a lower price range.  One goal we had was to buy this house on a 15-year mortgage, and thankfully we did accomplish that.

In a certain neighborhood that we really liked, there were three houses in a row for sale.  Let's call them A, B, and C for simplicity.   (They are actually about the same distance apart.  It was hard to get a good picture of all three without causing a bit too much curiosity among the neighbors.)



During the first trip, only House A was for sale, and it was one of the ones we saw.  We loved it!  It was impeccable inside and out, and it had a wonderful play set in a big back yard.

But it went under contract by the time David got a firm job offer.

By the second trip, Houses B and C were listed.  In addition to several other houses in Rome and another in the same neighborhood, we toured House C.  We tried to see House B, but the renters living there were very inflexible when it came to scheduling showings.  Never mind.  House C was a foreclosure and needed some work, but we felt we could get it at a price that would still work with those added expenses, so we put in an offer and headed back home.

We soon found out that there was a second offer on House C, so we put in our best offer.  We "won" the bidding battle, but the bank still countered at a price we felt was too high considering the money we would have to put in.  (We later learned that a previous home inspection had revealed water leaking into one of the interior garage walls.  That, along with other needed things like appliances, blinds on all the windows, and hardware in all of the closets, would have put it out of our price range anyway.  Thank You, Lord, for Your protection!)

While this was going on (after we were back in Fort Smith), our agent finally got in to see House B, and he called me as he was walking through it to tell me how it compared to A and C.  It all sounded good to us, so with an agent sort of trembling with fear (and at first refusing to do it), we wrote an offer on House B, which we had never been inside.

A couple of hours later, the negotiations with the owners began.  The final price was settled within about an hour via text between David, me, and our agent, while I was grocery shopping with the kids in Wal-Mart.  Of course, we had a home inspection done, but it was the most pleasantly boring one I've ever seen.  (The most serious "issue?"  The gutters need to be cleaned out.)

So now we're here living in good ol' House B.  Do I have any regrets?  Nope.  The house definitely has some "quirks" that I'll point out when we get settled enough for me to post pictures, but nothing that would have been a deal-breaker.  We love this neighborhood, and we're happy with our decision.

Now, I must say this wasn't truly a blind decision.  Thanks to sites like Realtor.com and Google Earth (and LOTS of practice studying listings), I had a pretty good idea of the layout of the house.  I spent many hours with those pictures prior to us moving in, but seeing pictures and walking around inside are two different things.  However, with the exception of the living room (which is bigger than expected) and one of the bedrooms (which is smaller than expected), it's pretty much what I thought it would be.  Houses A and C had almost identical floor plans.  While House B looks very similar from the outside, the floor plan is different. While I did prefer the upstairs in A and C, the downstairs in our house is far superior for our needs.  All 3 have very large bonus rooms downstairs, but ours is the only bonus room with a window, and that makes it a perfect, sunny room for homeschooling and for my online teaching.  (If you're studying the picture above, the downstairs window in the other houses is in the laundry room.)

Also, I happen to know that the people who bought House A paid $14,500 more than we did for the very same square footage.

I believe we are in the house that God had for us.  Maybe He used the difficult renters to save the house for us.  We have talked to several people (including the ones who ended up buying House A) who said they tried to look at our house but couldn't ever schedule a showing!

At the end of the day, a house is a house is a house.  There are definitely things to watch for (and I hope to post about those soon), but almost anywhere can be made into a true Home with the right people inside, the determination to love it, and some cans of paint.  :)

Is it perfect?  No.
Is it my favorite house in all of Rome, Georgia?  Nope.
Is it HOME?  Yes!

So have you ever done anything like this?  If so, how did it turn out?  Would you do it again?

{By the way, this is totally off topic, but have you "liked" my Bloom Where You're Planted Facebook page yet?  I'd love it if you would!  The link is at the top of this page on the right-hand side.}




This post may be linked up to one or more of the following blog parties.  Check them out! Monday: Menu Plan Monday on I'm an Organizing Junkie Wednesday: Works for Me Wednesday at We are THAT Family Friday: 5 Minute Friday at The Gypsy Mama, Company Girl Coffee at Home Sanctuary, Pieces of Amy Other days: A Wise Woman Builds Her Home

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Home


Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I should have known this was coming.  It has certainly happened before.  I wrote all about it here.

Homesickness.

Yesterday, the kids and I met some new friends at a local park for a play date.  We had a lovely time.  This fellow homeschool Mama seems like someone I will really enjoy getting to know, and we're planning to get together again in a couple of weeks.

But on the way home it sort of hit me like a ton of bricks: I miss my friends in Fort Smith.  Today was a reminder of the tremendous time and effort that it takes to develop friendships, especially for an introvert like me.  In my natural state, I'm a loner, but I have experienced the powerful negative effects of staying isolated, and I don't want to go back into that hole again.

I also miss my old house.  We have a couple who are trying desperately to sell their house so that they can buy ours, and financially, we *really* need for that to happen soon.  But meanwhile, my house here still has lots of boxes.  It also still has "builder beige" walls and bare windows, and I am overwhelmed with trying to make choices about paint colors and curtain fabric and furniture placement. 

I will keep moving forward.  I will continue to get out of the house and make new friends.  I will make these decisions, and it will all be fine.  But last night I cried.  And I grieved.  And I got a muscle ache all down the side of my neck from stress.

Am I glad we're here?  Yes.
Do I believe this was the right thing for our whole family?  Yes.
Will Rome, Georgia, eventually be "home" for me?  Yes.
Would I rather be in Fort Smith, Arkansas, right now?  Yes.

Today is a new day.  I've taken some Claritin (since I'm allergic to Georgia in May) and some Advil, and I'm determined to unpack more boxes here in my office/school room today.  I might even choose a paint color or two.  And tonight, Rome will be a bit closer to "home."  Tomorrow it will be a bit closer again.  And so forth.  I've done this dance a few times before, and I know the steps.  Maybe I just need to crank up the music.  I'm thinking my Summer Hits of the 80s Pandora station may be just the ticket.  :)




This post may be linked up to one or more of the following blog parties.  Check them out! Monday: Menu Plan Monday on I'm an Organizing Junkie Wednesday: Works for Me Wednesday at We are THAT Family Friday: 5 Minute Friday at The Gypsy Mama, Company Girl Coffee at Home Sanctuary, Pieces of Amy Other days: A Wise Woman Builds Her Home

Monday, May 27, 2013

My Family: What an Odd Bunch!


Last weekend I had the privilege of attending the visitation and funeral of my great-uncle.  Why privilege?  Because it was a wonderful reminder of the importance of family.

My great-uncle, Griggs Rose (my family was giving children last names as first names long before it was trendy!), was 72 years old and had lived in the same area his whole life.  He was one of six children. (One of his older sisters was my maternal grandmother.)  He had been married to his wife, Joyce, for 45 years; had one daughter, Page; and was a Granddaddy to August Pearl.  He was the kind of man people call "salt of the earth."  Everyone knew they could count on Griggs to do what he said he would do, to be where he said he would be, and then some.  The visitation at the funeral home was packed for almost four hours, and his funeral was standing room only.

When my grandmother died at the age of 55 back in 1986, there were two jam-packed visitations and standing-room-only funerals for her - one at each end of the state of Alabama.  She loved people, and - like Uncle Griggs - she loved the Lord.  She could always be counted on for a joke (although she usually forgot part of it), and somehow she managed to know all of the latest news without even the slightest hint of malicious gossip.  She loved going to the grocery store and always dressed for the occasion, hoping to run into lots of friends and getting caught up right there in the canned goods aisle.  When it came to my Granddaddy, she was the epitome of Proverbs 31:12, "She does him good and not evil all the days of her life."

I could tell similar stories about their brother and sisters, George, Margie, Gloria, and June.

All of my extended family that was within driving distance came to Uncle Griggs' funeral.  There were representatives from each of the families of the six Rose siblings, including the two remaining sisters themselves.  We all hugged, laughed, cried, and talked just like we do every year on Christmas night.  No one refused to sit by someone else.  No group of cousins was mad at another group of cousins.  Nobody was comparing the size of flowers they had sent to those of anyone else.  We were a cohesive unit.  Even though I see most of them very seldom, there is not a doubt in my mind that each of them would "have my back" in a time of crisis.

I take it for granted that all families are like this.  But I know it's not true.  The Roses are an odd bunch!

So what makes Roses different?

1.  They know and love the Lord.  There really is nothing else on earth that can bind a group together like this.  It's having a common purpose on earth, and a common destiny after death.  It also means extending that same love to those in the family who may not know or follow Him.

2.  Divorce is very rare.  We are not a perfect family with perfect marriages.  Divorce has touched our family just as it has everyone else's, but it is the exception rather than the rule.  When we say, "'til death do us part," we really mean it.  Also, family members build up marriages rather than chip away at them.  My grandmother famously took my Daddy's side whenever my parents had an argument.  She thought Steve Pearson hung the moon, and I'm sure that helped my Mom to feel that same way.

3.  Getting together is a priority.  Much of the extended family lives in the same town and sees each other from time to time during the year.  But we all come together on Christmas night.  This has been a tradition since long before I was born, and I've only missed a few of these since marrying David.  There's also usually a pool party at Uncle Milton's house sometime during the Summer.  It's really not about the quantity of time spent together.  It's more because we enjoy each other's company so much when we are together.

Can I guarantee that all of this will continue once my mother's generation is unable to host get-togethers?  No, I can't.  But I hope that it will.  My siblings and I are among the most "far-flung," geographically, so honestly it will depend a lot on the cousins who are still in central north Alabama.  

Like a true Rose garden, the original bush may eventually wither away.  But hopefully by then it will have been propagated into similar family trees in different areas.  I look forward to spending time with my siblings, and my children look forward to Pearson Cousins' Camp all year long!  I want my children to enjoy being with each other long after David and I are gone.  I would love to know that - someday, somewhere - there will be Baggett get-togethers that are just as beloved.  (Tip for future family members: it helps when there are a plethora of casseroles and desserts from which to choose at these events!)

If your family is nothing like mine, can I encourage you in this way?  It's not too late to create your own.  I've written about my "blood kin" today, but families don't have to actually be related.  I just left a group of people in Fort Smith that I would also consider Family.  We loved each other, enjoyed spending time together, and supported one another.  Psalm 68:6 says that God "sets the lonely in families."  This doesn't always have to do with bloodlines.  God is The Expert at creating something out of nothing.  I know He would love nothing more than for you to become part of His family if you are not already.  And as the creator of the family back in Genesis, He is still able to create one for you here on earth.


Monday, May 13, 2013

Following My Own Advice: Part 1


A couple of years ago, I wrote a little series called Bloomin' Monday: Making the Most of Moving to a New Town.  (If you're interested, you can either click that link or where it says Moving at the top of this page.)  Well, since we're moving again in less than a week, I am getting the chance to once again put those ideas into practice.  Want to know how it's going so far?

Step One is about things that can be done before the move even takes place.  And I'm not talking about packing, forwarding the mail, getting services set up, etc. - although those things are certainly important.  I'm talking about social things.  Believe it or not, it is possible to begin making friends while you are still several states away.

I am thrilled to tell you that my kids and I have already been invited on a play date in our new town.  How did that happen?  I joined a Facebook group.  Since we're homeschoolers, I was particularly interested in meeting other homeschoolers in the area, so I joined a group, introduced myself, posted a question, and the responses began to come in.  One person (Hi, Amy!) took it a step further to reach out to me, and I instantly felt more comfortable and excited about our new hometown.

God also has a way of orchestrating things if you ask Him and are open to seeing His hand in things.  The first time we went to Rome (Georgia, that is), back in March, we had looked at some houses.  Before heading back out of town, we returned to a neighborhood we were considering (and where we are now moving) to check out another house that was For Sale By Owner.  It turned out that the house was already under contract and the price was too high for us, but for some reason (God!) the people invited us in, anyway.  We met a wonderful, homeschooling family who were moving to start a church plant in Maine.  She told me all about the local homeschool groups (one of which she helped to start), gave us some great info on local churches, and told us things about the neighborhood that our Realtor didn't know.  And under the "It's a Small World" category, her parents own the Denny's here in Fort Smith!

So, if you're planning an upcoming move, what can you do to meet people before you even move?  And if you've already moved in (whether 3 days or 3 years ago), what can you do today to become more connected to your community?  How can you Bloom Where You're Planted?




This post may be linked up to one or more of the following blog parties.  Check them out! Monday: Menu Plan Monday on I'm an Organizing Junkie Wednesday: Works for Me Wednesday at We are THAT Family Friday: 5 Minute Friday at The Gypsy Mama, Company Girl Coffee at Home Sanctuary, Pieces of Amy Other days: A Wise Woman Builds Her Home

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Preparing for the Chaos

So you've probably heard by now that we're moving again.  While this is definitely "not my first rodeo," it's my first time to move with children old enough to know what's going on and to have an opinion.  (Number one request: they wanted upstairs rooms.  Check!  Of course, they also wanted their parents' room to be downstairs, but that didn't happen.)

For the most part, I expect this move will proceed as usual, with all of the inevitable chaos and general feelings of bewilderment.  But I'm doing something this time that I hope will help.  For the past couple of weeks, I've been trying to double up on recipes whenever possible to stock my freezer for the last 10 days or so before we move.  I'm hoping this will help my sanity along with our stomachs and checkbooks.

Moving into a previous house.
I know you all envy me for this craziness...  Ha!

Here are a few things I've got so far:
Tortilla Soup (crock pot - no link, but I can post the recipe if anyone is interested)
Cream Cheese Chicken Chili (crock pot)
Brown Sugar Chicken (crock pot) - scroll down and look under Favorites in this link
Pizza Soup (crock pot) - same link as above, recipe also under Favorites
French Chicken (crock pot)
Chicken Macaroni Bake - I would suggest adding some frozen veggies
Chicken Spaghetti
Spinach Lasagna Roll Ups

In case you haven't guessed, I love my crock pot.  It is especially wonderful during very hectic times.  Here are a few more crock pot recipes I'll probably add to the menus for the next few weeks (not currently in my freezer, but super-easy to put together in the morning):
Sweet and Tangy Meatballs (serve with rice and a veggie or salad)
Crockpot Chicken & Stuffing (David isn't a huge fan of Stove Top Stuffing, but he likes this.)

What are your go-to meals during crazy times?




This post may be linked up to one or more of the following blog parties.  Check them out! Monday: Menu Plan Monday on I'm an Organizing Junkie Wednesday: Works for Me Wednesday at We are THAT Family Friday: 5 Minute Friday at The Gypsy Mama, Company Girl Coffee at Home Sanctuary, Pieces of Amy Other days: A Wise Woman Builds Her Home

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Big Reveal: Part 8

So, we're moving again.

But no, I'm not pregnant like I was in the picture above.

For those of you keeping score, this will be Move #13 - in just under 15 years of marriage.

Some of you are thinking, "What?  But I thought y'all were staying in Fort Smith after all that business last year!"  Others of you are thinking, smugly, "I already knew.  I'm obviously in the Cool Group."  :)  Others of you are thinking, "Ho hum.  Big deal.  Who cares?"

We did think we were staying.  But then God began opening some doors.  David finally passed his final certification test in orthotics (increasing his job possibilities immensely), and a job came open in a great location.  He applied in January, and the process began.

The very slow process.

We have been determined not to force our way into any job situation, and I can honestly say we haven't done that this time.  We've waited patiently (mostly), prayed fervently, and determined that we wouldn't budge if it wasn't God's leading and clearly better for our family.  In fact, David turned down the job after the first offer.  Thinking that was the end of things, we were just going to stay here.  But then they called again with a better offer.  Still we thought and prayed and discussed.

[One thing you should know about David and me - we can talk ourselves out of just about anything, given enough time.  We don't do well with a lot of "pondering time."]

After a second visit last weekend, we both knew it was the right thing to do.

So we bought a house... that we've never stepped foot inside.  (Another post for another time.)

Where are we going?  Rome, Georgia!  This will cut our time to get back to our parents (and more importantly, the kids' grandparents) from 8 1/2 hours to 3 hours.  And let's not forget we can now get to Auburn's Jordan-Hare stadium in 3 1/2 hours.  War Eagle!  Now, if they would just win some football games....

Remember all of these tips I gave for Making the Most of Moving to a New Town?  Well, I get to put them into practice again, and I'll let you know how it goes.  A friend of mine, Amy (who has an awesome blog, by the way), is also moving from Fort Smith, but in the opposite direction.  :(  Amy, I hereby challenge you to also go through those steps, and let me know if they work for you.  (I have another one to add, too, that I will hopefully post about soon.)

Here we go!  Time to Bloom Where We're Planted in Georgia!

P.S. Anybody want to buy a great house in Fort Smith, Arkansas?  I'm serious.  Click here for details.





This post may be linked up to one or more of the following blog parties.  Check them out! Monday: Menu Plan Monday on I'm an Organizing Junkie Wednesday: Works for Me Wednesday at We are THAT Family Friday: 5 Minute Friday at The Gypsy Mama, Company Girl Coffee at Home Sanctuary, Pieces of Amy Other days: A Wise Woman Builds Her Home

Monday, April 29, 2013

It's here! It's here!

Hooray!  The e-book sale is here!



Here's lots of information from the blogger making this all available:

"For 6 days only, more than 75 widely-known bloggers and authors in the homemaking sphere have joined together to offer 97 of their most popular eBooks and eCourses, valued at just over $600, for the incredibly low price of $29.97!  More than anything, our goal for this sale was for it to be, well… ultimate!  We firmly believe that you will not find a more comprehensive collection of homemaking resources anywhere on the web, and particularly not in this price range.

For this low price, you gain access to every single one of these resources, so that you can customize your own collection to contain exactly the ones you want and know you'll use.  This library of homemaking helps include topics such as mothering, organization and cleaning, recipes and kitchen helps, home education, spiritual growth for both moms and kids, home d├ęcor and DIY, pregnancy and baby care, frugal living, health and fitness, and even work-from-home and financial tools.  To sweeten the pot, we’ve also teamed up with 10 companies to bring you over $140 in bonus offers, giving you an affordable opportunity to get products you’ll use and love for only the cost of shipping, or in some cases, entirely for free!

 

What's Included in the Sale?

When you purchase The Ultimate Homemaking eBook collection, you will get instant access to any of the 97 eBooks and eCourses listed below.

PLUS over $140 of FREE Bonuses

Each The Ultimate Homemaking eBook collection comes with more than $140 of FREE Bonuses from 10 companies that we know you'll love. More on these bonuses below.
Please note: This collection is only available from 9 a.m. EST on April 29th to 11:59 p.m. EST on May 4th. There will be no late sales offered.

Home & Property {Cleaning, Organizing, Decor}

31 Days to Clean by Sarah Mae @ SarahMae.com ($4.99)
Getting it Together: Your Guide to Setting Up a Home Management System that Works by Kayse @ kayse pratt ($3.99)
Pulling Yourself Together: Implementing a Cleaning Routine that Sticks by Becky @ Clean Mama ($10.00) Simple Living by Lorilee @ Loving Simple Living ($2.99)
NOT a DIY Diva by Melissa @ The Inspired Room ($3.99)
One Bite at a Time: 52 Projects for Making Life Simpler by Tsh @ Simple Mom ($5.00)
28 Days to Hope for your Home by Dana @ A Slob Comes Clean ($5.00)
Organizing Life as Mom by Jessica @ Life as Mom ($9.00)
Clean Enough: Simple Solutions for the Overwhelmed by Jenni @ Live Called ($4.99)
10 Steps to Organized Paper by Lisa @ Lisa Woodruff.net($5.00)
Handmade Walls by Jamin and Ashley @ the handmade home ($9.95)
Easy Peasy Chores: An Easy-to-Use Chore System That Brings JOY Back Into Family Chores by Alina Joy @ The Good Old Days Farm ($17.99)

Educational Children's Resources

Princess Training by Richele @ Under the Golden Apple Tree ($3.99)
The Armor of God by Richele @ Under the Golden Apple Tree ($2.50)
My Bedtime Learning Book by Richele @ Under the Golden Apple Tree ($1.00)
Think Outside the Classroom by Kelly @ Generation Cedar ($6.97)
Raising Rock Stars — Kindergarten Bundle by Carissa @ 1plus1plus1equals1 ($10.00)
The ABC's For Godly Boys Curriculum by Lindsey @ Road to 31 ($8.00)
The ABC's For Godly Girls Curriculum by Lindsey @ Road to 31 ($8.00)
K4 Curriculum by Erica @ Confessions of a Homeschooler ($15.00)
Write Through the Bible (print) by Trisha @ Intoxicated on Life ($5.00)
Write Through the Bible (cursive) by Trisha @ Intoxicated on Life ($5.00)
Balcony Girls (books 1 & 2) by Sandy @ Reluctant Entertainer ($19.90)
The Dig for Kids: Luke (Volumes 1 and 2) by Patrick, husband of Ruth @ The Better Mom ($5.98)
Music: An Essential Ingredient for Life by Ryan @ Resound School of Music ($6.99)

Budgeting {Finance & Time}

From Debtor to Better by Barry @ From Debtor to Better ($10.00)
Tell Your Time by Amy @ Blogging with Amy ($2.99)
The Homemakers Guide to Creating the Perfect Schedule by Amy @ Raising Arrows ($4.99)
Your Grocery Budget Toolbox by Anne @ Authentic Simplicity ($7.99)
Finding Financial Freedom by Kelly @ Generation Cedar ($5.97)
Become a Frugalista in 30 Days by Susan @ The Confident Mom ($3.99)

In the Kitchen {Recipes and Cooking}

Crock On by Stacy @ Stacy Makes Cents ($5.00)
Real Food, Real Easy by various bloggers @ The Humbled Homemaker ($9.95)
Wholesome Mixes by Kristy @ Little Natural Cottage ($4.00)
20-Minute Meals by Leigh Ann @ Intentional by Grace ($4.99)
Restocking the Pantry by Kresha @ Nourishing Joy ($9.99)
Money Saving Mom's Guide to Freezer Cooking by Crystal @ Money Saving Mom ($3.99)
Simply Summer by Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama ($7.95)
Do the Funky Kitchen by Laura @ Heavenly Homemakers ($4.95)
Real Food Kids: In the Kitchen plus 1 month access to select Real Food Kids eCourse videos by Wardeh @ GNOWFGLINS and Jami @ Eat Nourishing ($20.00)
Seasonal Menu Plans on a Budget: A Month of Meals from My Humble Kitchen to Yours by Diana @ My Humble Kitchen ($4.99)
Just Making Ice Cream by Marillyn @ Just Making Noise ($12.00)
The Curative Kitchen by Susan @ Handy Pantry ($20.00)

Pregnancy & Baby Care

First Bites by Hilary @ Accidentally Green ($9.99)
Confessions of a Cloth Diaper Convert by Erin @ The Humbled Homemaker ($9.95)
Stress-Free Baby Shower by Sara @ Your Thriving Family ($4.00)
Unbound Birth by Jenny @ The Southern Institute ($2.99)
My Pregnancy Journey by Mindy @ Simply Designs ($9.99)
My Buttered Life Baby Edition by Renee @ Made On Hard Lotion ($5.00)
The Minimalist Mom’s Guide to Baby’s First Year by Rachel @ The Minimalist Mom ($5.00)
Redeeming Childbirth: Growth & Study Guide by Angie @ Redeeming Childbirth ($3.99)

Holidays & Special Events

Festive Traditions by Jill @ Modern Alternative Kitchen ($7.95)
Holiday Mixes: Gifts in a Jar by Kristy @ Little Natural Cottage ($4.00)
Flourishing Spring by Michele @ Frugal Granola ($5.95)
Family Camping Handbook by Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship ($6.95)
Truth in the Tinsel by Amanda @ Oh, Amanda! ($7.99)
Plan a Fabulous Party by Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect ($4.99)
iPhone Photography: The Visual Guide by Alli @ Alli Worthington($9.97)

Spiritual Growth

Pursuit of the Proverbs 31 by Amy @ Amy Bayliss ($3.99)
The Best of Visionary Womanhood by Natalie @ Visionary Womanhood ($5.00)
God’s Word in my Heart: A Scripture Memory Learning Guide with Verses {all 4 versions} by Jenn @ The Purposeful Mom ($3.99)
Kept: a 13-Week Inductive Study on 1 Peter by Lara and Katie @ Quench Bible ($4.99)
Love Like Him: an 8 week Inductive Bible study on 1 Corinthians 13 by Lara and Katie @ Quench Bible ($2.99)

Marriage & Romance

Rekindling Romance by Jason & Jami @ A Biblical Marriage ($4.99)
Good Wife’s Guide by Darlene @ Time-Warp Wife ($2.99)
31 Days to Build a Better Spouse by Ashley @ Ashley Pichea ($4.99)
31 Days to Great Sex by Sheila @ To Love, Honor and Vacuum ($4.99)
Entangled: Recognize Your Emotional Affair by Amy @ Amy J. Bennett ($4.99)

Motherhood

The Heart of Simplicity by various authors @ The Heart of Simplicity ($9.99)
True Christian Motherhood by June @ A Wise Woman Builds Her Home ($7.00)
Hula Hoop Girl by September @ One September Day ($4.99)
When Motherhood Feels Too Hard by Kelly @ Generation Cedar ($4.97)
Mindset for Moms by Jamie @ Steady Days ($4.99)
From Cube to Farm by Heather @ From Cube to Farm ($2.99)
4 Moms of 35+ Kids Answer Your Parenting Questions by various authors @ 4 Moms, 35+ Kids Parenting E-book ($7.99)
That Works for Me! by Kristen @ We are THAT Family ($8.00)

Health & Fitness

100-pound Loser by Jessica @ Muthering Heights ($4.99)
Honoring the Rhythm of Rest by Danielle @ Domestic Serenity ($2.99)
42 Days to Fit by Brandy @ The Marathon Mom, Emma @ Real Fit Moms and Stacy @ A Delightful Home ($4.99)
Healthy Homemaking by Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home ($12.95)
Personal ePlanner by Jennifer @ ListPlanIt ($5.00)

Beauty

Frumps to Pumps by Sarah Mae @ SaraMae.com ($4.99)
The Cottage Mama’s DIY Guide by Kristy @ Little Natural Cottage ($4.00)
Simple Scrubs to Make and Give by Stacy @ A Delightful Home ($3.99)
The No Brainer Wardrobe by Hayley @ The No Brainer Wardrobe ($7.99)
Embracing Beauty by Trina @ Trina Holden ($9.00)
Reuse, Refresh, Repurpose by Kristen @ The Frugal Girl ($3.99)

Working from Home & Blogging

Your Blogging Business: Tax, Talk and Tips by Nikki @ Christian Mommy Blogger ($4.99)
The Bootstrap VA by Lisa @ The Home Life {and Me} ($12.99)
How to Grow Your Blog and Manage Your Home by Jacinda @ Growing Home ($4.99)
How to Have Your Cake and Eat It, Too by Mandi @ Life Your Way ($12.00)
Simple Blogging: Less Computer Time, Better Blogging by Rachel @ Small Notebook ($8.00)

Ecourses

Learning in Love: The Preschool Years by Renee @ FIMBY ($7.99)
Homeschooling from the Heart by Renee @ FIMBY ($7.99)
Grocery University by Carrie @ Colorado Bargains ($24.95)
Vibrant Living Strategies for Moms by Lisa @ Well-Grounded Life ($59)
You Can Do This! The First Five Steps to a Real Food Kitchen by Laura @ Heavenly Homemakers ($5.00)

PLUS, You will receive FREE Bonuses from these companies...

A FREE Two-Month Membership to Fit2B Studio, where their wholesome workouts for the whole family are tummy safe and particularly target Diastasis Recti (split abs). ($19.98 value. No shipping restrictions.)

  A $15 store credit to TruKid. With products like their aware-winning sun care, they are dedicated to providing all natural skin and hair care for kids, babies, and now pets. ($15.00 value. Standard shipping applies. International shipping available.)

  Your choice of incredible natural products like sea salt and clay for FREE. Choose from the Redmond Trading Earthpaste Bundle ($24.90 value) or the Facial Mud Bundle ($26.90 value). (Standard shipping applies. Continental US only.)

  Your choice of a FREE heirloom sourdough starter or FREE yogurt starter from Cultures for Health, the leading supplier of starter cultures and supplies for making cultured and fermented foods ($12.95 value. US & CAN addresses only. Standard shipping applies.)

Your choice of: a FREE 3-Month Subscription (for new accounts) or 30% off a One Year Subscription. Plan to Eat is an online menu planner that uses your recipes, scheduled for the days you want them. ($15.00 value. No shipping restrictions.)

  A FREE Culinary Herbs Assorted Seed Pack Check just in time for spring planting from www.wheatgrasskits.com, a living whole foods company. ($11.95 value. Standard shipping applies to all US states and territories- no international shipping for seeds.)

  Get $10 off Union28's original "my husband rocks" tee. Their marriage apparel lets you celebrate your spouse in style. ($10.00 value. Standard shipping rates apply. International shipping available, but free shipping only available within USA.)

  A $10 store credit plus 1 FREE lip balm from Bee All Natural. Their whole body products nourish and heal, and are made using only the highest quality, food grade, organic ingredients. ($13.49 value. Standard shipping applies. International shipping available.)

  A FREE 2 oz. bottle of your choice of liquid herbal formula from TriLight Health. They specialize in fast acting, great tasting natural herbal remedies. ($12.95 value or more. Standard shipping applies, within the USA only.)

Your choice of 3 FREE ePlanners OR a 3-Month FREE Membership to ListPlanIt, whose mobile lists will help to organize your life. ($15.00 value. No shipping restrictions.)

The fine print:

Bonus Offers
  • Each bonus offer can be redeemed once only per eBook Bundle purchase.
  • For each bonus offer, transaction numbers or proof of purchase may be required at the time of redemption.
  • All bonus offers are free gifts from the bonus sponsors, are their sole responsibility to provide, and are subject to availability.
  • All bonus offers expire at midnight on May 19th, 2013 (2 weeks from the last day of this sale).
General
  • It is your responsibility to download and back-up your purchase within the 1-month download time-frame. With proof of purchase, we can renew download links up until August 1st, 2013. After this date we will no longer have access to the books and will not be able to provide any new links to download.
  • Due to the nature of this sale, there will be no refunds available. However, we would invite you to read our Frequently Asked Questions page to learn more about the file types, the download process, how the bonus offers work, etc.


Please note: This collection is only available from 9 a.m. EST on April 29th to 11:59 p.m. EST on May 4th. There will be no late sales offered, so make sure that you get your bundle right away!
Particularly for those wanting to read these ebooks on their mobile devices (iPhones or iPads, Android, Kindle, etc.) you will want to learn more about the file types, how to download them correctly, and how to transfer them to your device.
This post includes affiliate links, and I make a portion of the sale of each ebook bundle. Thanks for your support of this site!"





Blog Widget by LinkWithin