I’ve been embarrassed.   I’m not posting any cutesy garden pictures or photos of amazing garden bounty this summer. 

I can’t.  My small garden can barely be entered and my large garden feels like a jungle.  

This is my facebook status:

“So today I spent hours and hours out weeding my garden. Anybody driving by might wonder why someone would let their garden get that out of control. The truth is ~ anybody at anytime can let their spiritual life get that far out of control too, and you can see the weeds just the same!! Pride, Mockery, Sarcasm, Anger, Frustration.. all signs you are growing weeds.
The reality is we can see those weeds also in other people’s gardens and lives.
This is going to be random but have you ever driven by someone else’s garden and went “Wow, they have big weeds!” with a sense of relief, that you aren’t the only one. Talk about a plank of wood in our eyes.
Nothing like just hanging out with lots of really tall weeds to give you some thinking time. It’s therapeutic so if you want to have some therapy – call me – I can share my space.”

((HAHA do not google pictures of WEEDS when it’s after midnight and you are exhausted – you might leave off the s and then you might not get the picture you wanted. This post will be Weed FREE – oh my funny!))

The reality if that life is sometimes different then the way we plan it to be.  In my head, I can still do it all – the garden, the canning, the home-making, add in the mom-ing, the wife-ing,  the homeschooling.. oh Lord, fall is upon us!  Now the full-time (plus?) working…  I love every single aspect of all of my life (except toilets – with 4 little boys! Cleaning toilets I do not love anymore.) but I CANNOT.get.it ALL.done.

and some of it is so obvious, like the weeds.   (tall enough to lose small children in)  Don’t worry! We counted at bedtime.  I spent hours and hours today weeding, and I feel like I gained some control.   And other of it not so obvious,  spent an hour today hanging with a little guy who needed mom time.  

Harmony is still a work in progress.  What do you have to let go off?  (May I recommend it not be cleaning the bathrooms?)    

What about you?            Making any progress?  


Harmony Vs Balance (for the WAHM)

I keep pursuing this infinite theory of balance.

scale of justice

If you spend an hour on your business, you have to spend an hour with your kids,  if you spend an hour playing, you spend the next hour scrambling around to clean or figure out what is for supper.. and Heaven forbid! if you spend an hour vegetating, vegging, what is this word where you sit and chill you spend the next hour regretting it.  The life of a WAHM is never done.. the to do list is endless!   (can I just add in homeschooling – seriously… let’s just end this blog post now while i get back to work?)

At the Young Living Silver Retreat this weekend, a Royal Crown Diamond  (Cherie Ross) gave us instead the idea of Harmony.  To me, harmony is where you work at what you are working at with all that you have in that time and that no matter what you’re doing, doing that thing.  It’s not harmonious to be checking text messages at the dinner table, it’s harmonious to be talking with your family.  It’s not harmonious to not have laundry done.   It’s not completely in context but it truly is how I want to live…  Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, (NASB) 

I have lots of parts of Harmony to work on, in this transition to full-time WAHM from SAHM but just knowing that it isn’t balance in the everyday minute but harmony in my life is actually a thought process that will help me a lot!



Williamsburg – part 1

We are very blessed to be part of a group of people that vacation together.  We have done this consistently since spring of 2002.  We have missed 3 years in all this time (2007 – house fire, 2008 – we did Florida instead, and 2010 grandbaby!)  This year, we came home saying, “next year is a must do”.  It is through a group called MOMYS that we get to go.  MOMYS stands for Moms of Many Young Siblings.  To qualify, at some point in your life you would need to have 4 children in an 8 year age span.  (obviously I have qualified a few times over… I have 4 in one year age span)  MOMYS  has a web presence through their message boards, their wall, and through the daily email loop.  We also have special loops for Adoptive MOMYS, Moms with Special needs blessings and more!

I’ve put our family photo out to see on the last post, so let me tell you a little more about our trip.  We drove to Indiana to stay with friends from MOMYS -and this has been so wonderful in the past, that we stayed there an extra day (planned for!)  We would also stay with them on the way home for an overnight as well.  This greatly broke up our time in the car.

The activities included in our Williamsburg package are: a 4 bdrm, 3 bathroom, 2 living room, 2 kitchen resort with a hot tub that seats 6 as our accomodations.

beautiful resort

Activities included in our price for the week were

  • a dad’s breakfast (does anyone have pictures of this??)
  • a large group gathering the first whole day for family introductions and introductions to the dance
  • a mom’s dessert (at the place that copyrighted Death By Chocolate)
  • a girl’s tea

    @ the girl's tea Williamsburg 2011

  • a boy’s craft project – they made leather pouches to hold their “stuff”

    Boys Craft Pouch

  • a boy’s encampment with training in guns

    Training "future men"

  • multiple lectures by a heritage speaker with a heart for the children (Jamestown -1 day, Williamsburg on multiple occasions including one night-time tour, Yorktown, different talks than other years and greatly enjoyed by us!)

    Discussing the growth of slavery in the colonies

  • the King’s ball with provided desserts and beverages – amazing!

    As the King's Ball is beginning, waiting dancers and waiting refreshments!

    ~many dancers~

Well, there were a few things we paid for on top of that, the parent’s dinner out (a wonderful treat!), the teenager dinner out and the costuming tour at Colonial Williamsburg (hopefully a separate post because it was amazing!)  as well as the much requested visit to Coldstone Creamery.

I have more posts coming on our vacation, it was a wonderful time and very relaxing. We were able to do it on an incredibly tight budget that got tighter as gas went up yet it was so filled with activity that it didn’t matter!

Here are some other bloggers on their Williamsburg adventures:



One of my favorite pictures – just for fun!

love this picture!

More to come,


All in a Day: House Cleaning

How do we keep our house clean…well… hmmm.. I’ll be back in just a bit (looking around)

In theory, we keep our house clean by:

1) being responsible for ourselves, picking up after ourselves. If you get something out, put it away.

2) spending a few minutes throughout the day tidying (10 minutes to clean at any point)  – this is especially necessary with 14 children at home, 12 of whom are homeschooled and 2 who are…  messy makers.   Figure 12 students with a minimum of 6 subjects – 72 books plus pens, plus notebooks… especially since we are book lovers, and so some subjects have a lot of books! Everybody helps with this. It is part of living in a family 🙂

3) chores – our chore system is a paid system.  It is 3 tiered.  If you are a little – you don’t do a chore.  You also don’t get paid AND you miss out on some things we do for just bigs.  They’ll get it someday – when they are old enough or responsible enough to do a chore.  Even in the chore system, there are 2 more levels, entry and professional.   Entry level gets paid, but doesn’t get benefits. (think hourly employee!)  They make $5.00 every other week and they do a fairly small chore.  Professional levels make perks!  They make significantly more money.  The people who help with dishes at my house make significanly more money than the person who empties the garbage.  The person who is currently on dishes does all the dishes for a family  of 16 every day with no dishwasher!   He makes 25$ every other week.  Other perks we have – late night snack :), movies,  etc.

4)  it is my responsibility to ensure cleanliness in my home.  I cannot “expect what I don’t inspect”.  Below is an example of a chore gone BAD!!! ((“THANKFULLY THIS IS NOT THE NORM!!))

Sometimes I am gone, sometimes I am busy or gone, sometimes I am tired. It isn’t an excuse. There are times where our house just doesn’t get clean.  I try but recognize I am human, and that the bodies in my house will still be here tomorrow. I also try and recognize that disorder in the house makes  others cranky (especially daddy who dislikes things under his feet!)  Those are his feet in this picture and this is the only picture with him, his feet and floor).

5) keep my priorities right 🙂   be a Mary first off!!! Value family and relationship above all else.  Here is our most recent family picture! (Vacation post forthcoming!!)


Williamsburg family

2011 @ The King's Ball

Check out the other All in a Day Bloggers…

Carrie @ Our Full House

Christi @ Where the Creek Meets the Lake

Elizabeth @ Yes They’re All Ours

Kathy @ Kathy Mom of Many

Kristy @ Homemaker’s Cottage

Lori @ Happy Busy Mama

Monica @ Natural Mama

Renee @ Bakers Dozen


Hope to see you more this week, as we recover from vacation, laundry, lack of sleep and photo overload…



Another kitchen tool I love!

I’ve been asked to share some other kitchen must haves for me.  I’ll have more to share in the future but this one is the immediate thought in my mind!

For bread – we use a nutrimill to grind our wheat berries!  I got my nutrimill and my mixer from Paula’s breads.   We love making our own bread!  We are going to start getting our wheat berries from Azure Standard next week.

We have always had a Dimension mixer since we started making our own bread.  It makes 6 loaves per time, much like Bosch. Well, after 8 years and a house fire – we decided to upgrade and just 4 weeks ago received in the mail –  a new Bosch!!!!

and this effort results in this…



Hand Made Noodles

From my facebook today,

This is the roller we have,we bought it at  Lehman’s. We do make enough noodles for our family – these are recent photos …

We love home made noodles, we’ve had them this week in homemade Chicken Noodle soup and with Venison tips over noodles!

Our recipe is 6 eggs, 5 cups flour, add a little cold water as needed.  Press through roller, dry a bit, cut, and dry completely!

Momma A

All in A Day: LAUNDRY – how we escape the Mammoth Mountain

One of my favorite topics! Seriously, there is nothing I love more than clean laundry!
Too BAD in my large family it never stays this way!

This was one of the biggest accomplishments of my 2010 year. I got to do this::

Amanda Friedl: I have NEVER been able to post this since I’ve had facebook… I AM CAUGHT UP on Laundry!!!! WHOOO HOOOOO!!!!!!!
December 31, 2010 at 5:01pm · Friends Only · Like Unlike ·
37 likes and 25 comments later, I realized what this meant. Most of us large families don’t ever see the end of what has been called Mt.Never Washed.

A family with 16 people living in it, had nothing dirty to wash in the house minus the clothes on their bodies. Unfortunately, it was already 5 pm, and pretty soon the preschoolers would be heading to bed, followed by a lot more…

We do 6 loads of dirty laundry a day on average. Each room has a day of the week that they do their laundry. The oldest child gos first from the room, followed by younger siblings. They are responsible for remembering what day it is. I have someone who is responsible to be the laundry helper as his chore. He helps people who haven’t mastered the washing machine.

I know the Duggars have 4 washing machines, but I only have one. I love my washing machine and dryer.
Here is a picture of my washer:

We have the GE Profile Washer and Dryer.  We first bought this set in 2004, when we added the laundry room.  I love my washer and dryer so much.  We moved in 2007, and then had a house fire (obviously another post).  We lost our washer and dryer in the fire.   I replaced them with an identical set.  They keep up.  They are HE machines, and they have the front loader technology with a top loader system.  I definitely prefer this to the front loaders I’ve tried, especially with cloth diapers.  (again, another post… and I don’t currently have anyone in diapers).

Here is my laundry room.  The back side.  I’m trying to find a front few but… until 12/31/10, never had laundry actually caught up so I wanted a picture.   Opposite the buckets are the washer and dryer, and probably 4 tall baskets.  At our house, we use tall baskets for dirty and short, flat baskets for clean.  I’ve also done a little fixing since this point, and there are small dish tubs labeled for each smaller child on shelving.

If we are doing a “family” load, I sort their clothes into their buckets, and have them come grab them.

Well, I love folding laundry, and I love clean laundry.  I hate clean laundry in the dirty baskets and I apparently don’t like that every day, there is more dirty laundry again.

As far as soap, generally I use an HE soap.  I have made my own but usually sales and coupons, I do some stocking up.

My son, who is my helper, helps me fold my towels, sheets etc and is old enough to swap it out during the day.

My biggest laundry advice is to

1) swap the laundry when you wake up

2) swap it at every meal –

3) set a timer if you are really far behind.

4) train your children to follow your system, and to respect it (ie – put clean clothes away so that you aren’t washing them again, dont’ hide dirty clothing, etc)

I guess there is nothing brilliant about this post.  The problem with lots of laundry is that you have to do it.  And then there is more.


Check out the other All in a Day Bloggers…

Carrie @ Our Full House

Christi @ Where the Creek Meets the Lake

Elizabeth @ Yes They’re All Ours

Kathy @ Kathy Mom of Many

Kristy @ Homemaker’s Cottage

Lori @ Happy Busy Mama

Monica @ Natural Mama

Renee @ Bakers Dozen

What would you do first

We have the land, unfortunately we have the debt tha goes with it. Due to our very large family and the economy as a whole, moving is probably out as an option. We want to become God-sufficient in how we prepare. I’m wondering out loud, what is the first thing you have done or websites you have visited that have helped you to decide what order to become less dependent on the world’s systems.

Her Introduction

Exciting.  We are going to start this blog to share about our journey into homesteading from very differing points of view.  Introductions: me, a city slicker, mid thirties,a mom, college educated, raised by a woman who not only didn’t do much cooking, shopping or gardening but who didn’t teach me how.  I’ll save his intro for him.  We are a large family with both biological and adoptive children. We live in Zone 5 and we homeschool. 

GP (God’s Peace)