Friday, December 30, 2011

Character Study Introduction

(Source)

I really felt convicted yesterday that we need to start doing a Character Study with the kids. (I have wanted to teach them for a couple years... but no more excuses! We only get one shot at this parenting business!)

I'm sort-of piecing together some resources. We are starting with the Humility packet to kick off the first few days of the year. It seemed to be the best trait to start on around here. I'm really excited! Here is the link to the packet on the Confessions of a Homeschooler website. (she has 10 of these packets, which I immediately downloaded like a pack rat just in case I wouldn't find them when I finally was ready to teach them. ("Humility" does not mean to humiliate oneself or others - these are very positive studies!! Its Christian-ese for "Not having a big head" These cite Bible verses and such, but I strongly feel that these are useful even if you prefer not to use the scripture. These do a very good job of explaining complex, important values that anyone with good character possesses) .

I'm looking forward to our whole family learning these - not just the kids :)

Oh, and please post a comment if you want me to blog about this - It may help me stay accountable to doing this and would love to share what I'm doing and be encouraged by you all.

If there is interest in my blogging about it, I will try to keep it updated about same-time from when I'm teaching it. I know sharing would be a good source to those in Internetville, but I don't want to invest the time right now if it is not helping someone *right now*

(I'm one week into recovering from shoulder surgery and typing is an issue the way it is! For that reason, and obvious energy restraints from therapy and healing and trying to keep the house in order-ish I just can't spend time polishing posts and creating flow right now. Sorry!)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Please consider supporting Lydia


Lydia lives in China. She is severely disabled because of a fire when she was young. She was abandoned by her family because of this. In China, if you are disabled, you have NO opportunities. Lydia has taken up cross-stiching to try to support herself. Please check out/share this website and see what she can do and consider supporting her.

I will post a permanent link to her store on my side bar as well. Can you imagine living her life? This was not her fault.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Money Saving Tips

Ways to save some money (mostly grocery related)

-www.coupons.com and www.smartsource.com and www.TARGET.com (yes - way down on the bottom where it says "grocery coupons" in the text) are printable coupon websites that you don't have to pay for (besides the ink and paper). Do not photocopy these coupons as that would be fraud, but usually the system lets you print two. You can pair the Target coupons with the manufacturer coupons you get from the first two websites or the inserts in the Sunday paper.

-look in your grocery ad (usually available online at the grocery store website OR delivered in that free weekly "shopper" paper that everyone ignores) and find the best deals (and look on those products' websites for more printable coupons!)

-where I live, the Star Tribune is the best newspaper as far as coupon inserts go, (so check to make sure it has the coupons in it before buying it) and pick one-or two- up!

-a great resource was mentioned tonight: Fare for All. I don't know how extensive this program is but you pay ahead and get to bring home a box of food on pick-up day that is worth MUCH more than you paid. Look into farmers markets and, if needed, a food shelf to make your grocery budget ends meet. Not sure how to cook it? try www.allrecipes.com - you can punch in the ingredient and it will pull up different recipes that use that ingredient.

-with holiday cooking coming up, this might be useful. Cash Wise Foods has a bulk section in the back of their Natural Foods department... so if you never buy rolled oats but need one cup for a recipe or need 1 teaspoon of cloves, this is the place to go! The costs per ounce/pound may cost more than the pre-packaged, but you are only buying what you will use, so therefore, saving money. A lot of it is fresher and organic, to boot! (most herbs/spices in bulk will cost well under .25 for a teaspoon-tablespoon.

-great coupon websites are: www.hotcouponworld.com and www.afullcup.com. I'll admit, they are quite intimidating at first as to where to start, I'll tell you that, but once you have figured out your way around, you can find a coupon database that tells you if there are coupons out there for certain products (and how to get them), store ads with the coupon matchups are posted, and there are forums for printable coupons and freebies you can request from the manufacturer (which usually come with more coupons!)

-Shopping online?  I posted my method on the sidebar because I wanted people to reference it easily, and I'm always tweaking my method - so take a look!  There is a lot of money to be saved when shopping online!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Our Thankfulness Tree


This year we made a Thankfulness Tree in the month of November.  We gathered up some sticks from our backyard and arranged them in an old Mason jar.  I cut out the leaves on my Silhouette.   I printed this thankfulness art from this website for in the jar.  I kept it simple.  I left the blank leaves a the base of the "tree" contained in an upside-down lid and kept a fine-point Sharpie right next to it.    We had a tradition of doing our Thankfulness tree during mealtime (hence lots of meal-related items from some people).  I got a kick out of what each person chose.  The theme you find in each persons' list shows a lot about their personality and age.  I tried not to discourage any suggestions, just merely intentionally duplicating our previous answers.  But we all had duplicates.  This was so much fun!  We may not wait till next November to do our next Thankfulness Tree.

I'll let the answers do the rest of the speaking...


Our 6-year-old daughter:
Art
Beds
Books
Chapstick
Clothes
Cups
Dirty dishes (because otherwise the table would get very dirty at mealtime)
Exercise
Food (twice!)
For a sister
Grandmas
Lights (twice!)
Napkins
Our house
Phones
Piano
Raising hands
Reading
Sending my OCC box (Operation Christmas Child)
That I had a good birthday (twice!)
That Jesus died on the cross
That we have the freedom to do OCC
Toys
Wasn’t sick on first day of school
Water
Windows

Our 9-year-old daughter:
A dog
A piano teacher
Army and Navy
Astronauts
Aunts and uncles
Cars
Doctors
Energy
Family
Food
For having my ears pierced
Friends
Games
Gasoline
Go Fish Guys
Jesus, for coming
Milk
Money
Our garden
Parents
Plastic
Radios
Restaurants
School
Science
Tape
Teachers
The Bible
Wood

My husband:
Artwork
Bed with mattresses
Bible Study group
Cars, for traveling
Church family (twice!)
Garage cleaning
Happy family
Having a job
Health
Internet
Jesus, my Lord and Savior
[our 6 and 9 year old daughters]
Lights
Means and gifts to help others
Medicine
Mommy
Progress on basement
Season changes
Skills God has given us
Sparky
Technology
Warm home
Warm home on cold winter nights
Weekends with family (twice!)
Working from home

Myself:
A gracious God
Family Traditions J
Food
For [our 6-year old]
For Daddy
For [our 9-year-old]
God provided enough for us to give to others
Health
Music
My creativity
Operation Christmas Child
Our garden
Our good friends
Reliable vehicles
Safety
Supportive friends
Technology
That Auntie Robin’s sister had a healthy baby
That Daddy works so hard for our family
That I could be a SAHM
That I found Boggle at the thrift store
That my kids are happy and healthy
That the Gyro meat was on sale!
That this generation of young people know what a true hero is
The Bible
The snow
Torn-up French toast

One last Thankfulness item from me - that my daughter read the leaves to me so I could make this list faster!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A new stage



Our Thankfulness Tree... a new tradition for us.
  Oh boy.  Its a new stage of life for me.  It always seems like I go through YEARS of longing for the "way things were".  I'm trying not do do that now that both kids are in school full time.  I mean, of COURSE I miss them and totally KNEW this was coming.  Don't get me wrong, but with that part aside, I'm trying to figure out my priorities.  I've put myself on the back burner for so long regarding devotions, health, looks, creativity, and accepted lower standards for housework for too long, that it all seems urgent...not to mention doing a better job caring for my family and making meals when they come home (because I'm supposed to have more time, you know...)

I want to ride the exercise bike for an hour a day... but it takes SO much out of me, I don't have much energy to do anything else.  OR I'll tell myself the house is too dirty to do my workout and my workout will have to be cleaning house instead.  

I really miss being creative. I know that is my calling in life.  I told myself that I'd give myself every afternoon a chance to be creative - it would work great to get working on an idea for a scrapbook page and then greet the kids when they get off the bus and while they relax a bit downstairs with me while they watch TV, I'll finish my project and get going on dinner.   And Fridays would be my all-day crafting day (at least for the time being) because I've had crafter's block and part of it is because it is overwhelming with how far behind my goals I am, and I need more time to catch up and be more readily inspired.

Housework.  Ugh.  All I think about when I'm cleaning is "dog hair on this surface or that ...or ew! one just flew up my nose!"  It's disgusting.  Never trust a breeder when they tell you "short hair dogs don't shed very bad".  It is especially bad in the fall/spring, when the forced air isn't blowing on the A/C or furnace, catching the fine hair in the filter.   My husband is supposed to brush him regularly and wash him ever 1-2 weeks, but I hate nagging him to do it.  (that was one condition of keeping the dog).   Never mind the animal lovers that will make me feel guilty if we ever find a new home for Sparky.  Like we didn't do enough research...   that's a different post, though.

And then there is my church ministry.  I plan music for 1/3rd of the services.  Sounds like it would be easy, but it isn't and it is time-consuming.  I always have something from it hanging over my head, whether it is the latest powerpoint to do, pulling music and stuffing folders or scheduling practice or being at practices.  Church services many times are spent being concerned about sound or handing out folders, catching musicians to ask questions, etc.  It really is like having a part-time job that I don't get paid for.  I do enjoy doing it, but there is so much flux in the variables with it that make it exhausting.   But someone's gotta do it.   The other two planners have their own jobs on top of this responsibility.  I just need to get more organized.

...and then there is the hope to make my home a peaceful, supportive refuge for my family.  A place of grace and hospitality.  To encourage spiritual growth in my family and maintain family traditions.  But it feels like every implement of getting more organized is like one step forward, two steps back.

It is just a lot to think about and is overwhelming to decide what is the most important thing to do each day.  I may need to make one of those "laundry on Monday, Bills on Tuesday..." lists.

I'm sorry this is a depressing read.  I realize I'm struggling a bit.  I like to be spur-of-the-moment but I feel like all my worldly responsibilities are holding me down.  I'm not sure what God wants for me.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

How to Peel A Tomato

Did you think I was kidding?!
photo credit: sunset.com

Maybe some other's will get something out of this...humor, maybe :)   But I'm posting this mostly to remind myself of this process so I don't have to re-learn it AGAIN next year!

So.  Start with a billion pounds of tomatoes.

Start a pot of boiling water on your stove.

Cover your counters with some towels.

Lay a tarp on the floor....

Fill an ice cream bucket half full with ice water.

Get out a cutting board, slotted spoon and a couple of knives (paring and longer blade one)

Put out a bowl for scraps or clear your sink if it has a disposal in it.

Have another pot out to fill with finished tomatoes.

Ok.  I should add that I am very messy in the kitchen.

I blame McDonalds.

It was my first job and the place I learned to cook, wash and prepare food quickly.

Have you ever looked in the back at McDonalds?

Washing dishes there was a chore - but they had a stainless steel sink with lots of room, and a dangling hose-sprayer...and a floor drain.  

I need one of those in my kitchen!

And forget those pretty wooden cabinets.  I need those metal Ikea cabinets that have an indestructible finish on them that don't mind a few missed water dribbles. 


Do you think there is a floor drain back there?
 Ok, now that no one is left reading, start peeling tomatoes!

Wash in cold water, removing stems

Par off any cracks or bruises.  Blossom end rot is ok to use, just cut it off.  You shouldn't can blemished tomatoes, though.

I'm scared of canning.  I hate to say it.  I just am afraid I'm going to end up killing someone!

I've thought of getting a pressure-canner, but I'm scared of pressure-cookers too, so that would be sorta a nightmare, I think :)

I'll stick with making messes in my kitchen, and freezing stuff and praying my freezer dosen't go out.

So now that all the tomatoes are ready for peeling, let the show begin!
(if there isn't much paring to do on the tomatoes, you may be able to pierce the tomatoes while others are boiling.)

Start by making a little "X" on the top and bottoms of the tomatoes.  Make sure they are about 1/2 inch big, and bigger than the tough stem part.  I put some slashes on the top of my tomatoes that I cut the tops off, because it gives the skin a place to break.

Drop 3 or 4 tomatoes in the boiling water at a time.

Watch with your slotted spoon at the ready for the first skin to start to wrinkle or peel.  It should take just a few seconds.  Firmer tomatoes take longer, but none should take longer than 20 seconds.  If they are too slimy when peeling, make sure the water is at a nice, hard boil and that the ice water is super cold, to stop the cooking right away.

As soon as you see the skin peeling, scoop it out and put it in the ice water bucket.  Repeat till all the tomatoes are out of the boiling pot.

Perfect!

Too long and will be a bit slimy.

I prefer to just keep doing this process until my bucket of ice water is full.  If you have a helper, they could do this next part.

Now, take a tomato out of the ice water, and start peeling away!  Usually, there is a long, vertical crack in the skin and it works perfectly to simply unwrap the tomato.  Sometimes, you can even give the tomato a gentle squeeze and it'll slide right out of the skin.

Then I take my longer blade knife and slice the tomato into chunks or sections and put them in the other pot, ready for stewing or food-processing or whatever!

Keep doing process, adding water to the boiling pot and ice to the ice water bucket as needed, pouring off water (NOT on floor!!  But if you are prone to spills like I am, have your hubby grab the mop and a bath towel - *cough*).  

These tomatoes eventually turned into Marinara sauce.  I first stewed them, with some salt, pepper and a bit of a sweet pepper diced up in it, for a few hours (but you should stop at 30 minutes if you are freezing them that way).  Then I followed this recipe for Marinara sauce.  Yum!

OctoDogs

A quick post to share what I did with leftovers the other day...

I originally got the idea to slice a hotdog this way from Family Fun magazine - I didn't think of it on my own! 
You could totally use Ramen noodle soup instead of broth.

In chicken broth, I boiled one cup of mixed veggies, 1/4 cup of small shell noodles and then sliced three hotdogs BEFORE cooking in the broth.

When everything was done cooking, I took a slotted spoon and scooped the noodles and veggies onto a plate.  I tore up some string cheese and laid that on as well.  If my kids liked Parmesian cheese, I would have used that instead (for sand)...but they don't.  Then,  I stuck the (tricky!)peppercorn eyes on the little hotdog guys but went sans ketchup smile, because, well, they were hot!  They'd look pretty un-appetizing with dribbley ketchup smiles running down their faces.  Then I added Basil flowers for seaweed, since I had just brought in some basil from the garden.

Whaddy'a think?
Kids didn't like them.   Flop.

Maybe I'll try again with different flavors, even mac and cheese leftovers.  Oh well - at least I blogged about it :)

Coming soon - How To Peel a Tomato!   - I bet you are on the edge of your seats!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bloom Where You Are Planted - my garden pictures!

I love my vegetable garden. I am so inspired by others' garden pictures that I wanted to share my own.

Our rustic path up the hill, guarded by our "gate"-
with a path wide enough for our wheelbarrow.
I didn't garden last year. And in this neighborhood, we fight thistles like crazy. I am always pulling them out of my garden, but they have very complex interconnected root systems (think: horseradish) so unless you are willing on pulling all-out biochemical warfare on multiple fronts for long-term periods of time, you have to deal with them. That doesn't mesh well with my organic farming practices :) Since we didn't garden last year, I allowed my husband to wage such an attack, but he lost, due to time constraints and his carpal tunnel getting so bad he had surgery and recovery over the summer. ...so the thistles are worse than ever!

And the battle continues...

gate made with leftover fencing and a stake. 
I just shove the stake in the ground to hold it open or closed :)
 Here is what I get to open when it is time to garden. I love my primitive "gate". It is the epitome of simplicity. I love how my garden fills me with contentment. Sure, I could have wood-framed fencing around my garden with mulch around my organically-fertilized plants in my perfectly and meticulously weeded garden beds, and it stands as a gem in the corner of my perfectly manicured fescue.

But that's not happening here.

This is organized chaos!
 
  

see the little pumpkin plant starting in the center?
 
Like my top "bed" which is outside the parameter of the fencing. I plant my vining plants up here. Mainly pumpkins. They have to grow with the weeds up here in the native clay soil instead of the black dirt in the beds. (like the volunteer tree in the fencing we have to move?)


 I love marking my garden with primitive sticks that probably only make sense to me. It's easier that going back to the garage when I realize I need some more stakes. I just grab anything that has fallen nearby, or is unused in my garden already, like this old splintered and cracked bamboo pole that held up my beans two years ago. Now it is split in four, marking where I planted my rows of corn.
Along the front of this bed is my row of peas, ready to start climbing up on my hog panels I bought at the local farm store this year. I'm so excited to see how they work - especially on my tomatoes! This corner of my garden was filled with crab grass and we didn't quite get all of it when we tilled it. But pulling it out will have to wait so I don't kill the delicate pea plants.

cabbage and baby seedlings off to the upper right of the plants.  
Peas in the foreground.
Way in back, I have my rhubarb, which is doing ten times better than it ever had been (thanks to harvesting wisdom I've been heeding) and in front of it I had some room leftover, so I planted some old cabbage seeds in the ground. A few weeks later, I still didn't see any plants coming up so when I saw cabbage plants for half off at the greenhouse, I bought them. Sure enough, right after I planted them, teeny cabbage plants started growing from the seed! I guess I'll have LOTS of cabbage this year! I teased my husband that I'll be having to make sauerkraut!!
This spring, I shoveled-and-turned 2 of the beds which took almost 5 hours to do because I attempted to sift the thistle roots out of it. This was one of the beds. I just weeded the thistles out again yesterday. But at least my plants got a good jump-start ahead of the thistles. I still had to be very careful not to pull up my plants and hopefully I didn't kill too many! I have lots of stuff in this bed! I'm bummed that my celery plants died, though - they are one of my FAVORITE plants to have in the garden because of how rarely I use fresh celery, and this (for the cost of one bunch at the grocery store) keeps all summer long!

more tomatoes, basil, cilantro,
(dead) kohlrabi, (dead) celery :(   , peppers and eggplant


And that is a whole twelve foot row of tomatoes planted along the front, there. I hope they don't overgrow the hog panels. For those who want to know the difference, hog panels are about 36- 40 inches high, with closer spaced wire at the bottom. Cattle panels are more like 50-54 inches high and have the same six inch grid spacing. Both types of panels cost around $20 each for a 16 foot panel. And of course, for the indecisive, you can get combination panels that combine the spacing of the hog panel and the height of the cattle panel and cost about $30 each. (and please forgive my measurements - Its been awhile since I bought them and don't recall the exact measurements)
 
Lots here - lavender, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts
The next bed has another row of Roma tomatoes planted along the front, along with lots more greenhouse plants.
Strawberries, chives and Red and Yukon potatoes in back
My second-from bottom bed has my strawberries in it. I have let them take over one half of the bed, all though, we had to till up strawberry plants that had creeped to the other side of the chives and into the bottom bed as well. I usually have these covered with an old, very thin, loose weaved blanket to keep out the birds, but I left it off so the strawberries could re-pollinate again. I'm not sure the bees and bugs could really get though that blanket freely. Making a better cover for the strawberries out of chicken wire might need to be my project for next year. On the other half of the bed I have some space for a pea-house, though I haven't planted the pole peas with the girls yet and them potatoes (reds and youkons) behind it.

Hopefully will grow 4-6 rows of carrots with seed-taping.
Last but least, I have my carrots. I had prepped the seeds by seed-taping them last spring but then decided against planting after that, so these guys have been in my garage since. In all honesty, I've had a little trouble with the seed-taped plants in the past. But its about the only way I'll plant something such as tiny carrot seeds. I put them in the bottom bed to help the soil stay moist so they will hopefully germinate and grow out of that TP and flour-glue that they are stuck to.


You can plant a seed.  You can water it... But only God can make it grow.

In addition to my garden, we planted a new apple tree (Honeycrisp) because the old one got eaten by deer and rabbits.
We have our blueberry bushes covered with oh-so-stylish plastic crates to protect them from the rabbits by the house.  I'll have to brainstorm a better barrier for them for next year.  They were pretty-much chewed down to the ground this spring, so for now they fit under the crates. 

We moved (and subsequently killed) our very healthy grape vine to the other side of our A/C unit to plant under a trellis on our pergola - so we have 2 new grape vines growing this year.




And we have our patio project we have been working on this spring...


We just planted a flowering crab tree last weekend!  This will shield the western sun (eventually) from the patio.  Lots of work to do here - staining the deck steps and waterproofing/staining the trellis, building the planter by the house, adding the locking sand to the patio and patching the grass with seed.


home-made Topsy-turvey planters out of Hawaiian Punch 1+ gallon bottles.

 And I gave my homemade topsy-turvey tomato planters another try this year. They are wanting to grow UP, though. Hopefully the weight of the tomatoes won't snap them. Maybe I should gently weigh them down a bit? Other than that, they are doing really well - better than they did last year.  I'll have to post on how to make these if they do ok.
 
...I think I'm going to have to find some of these a new home!
Oh, and last but not least, I did the same thing with the new Asparagus as I did with the cabbage! I've never grown asparagus before, but I couldn't pass up giving it a try in my old garlic pot (half sand, half soil). I bought some asparagus roots on clearance, taking a chance on them since they looked so dead and dried out. A week after planting them, DD5 decided to play in what she thought was an empty planter and dug up half of them!! So when I saw actual asparagus plants on clearance, I bought those and planted them with the roots. This week, I have both!! The whispies are the planted asparagus, and there are tiny asparagus spears coming up from the dried roots! (the pot is currently weighing down the tarp covering our extra sand from the patio project)



Hubs and DD8 shoveling dirt a few years back - 2008?
I love gardening because there is always more you can do, but it is so rewarding to get a crop with very little effort.  Don't get me wrong - I'm not talking about building the garden - that obviously took a LOT of work (thanks Hubs!) and hauling wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of dirt up the hill to the beds - but you can start with the topsy-turvy planters.  You can start with herbs in a pot.   I think it reminds me of how little I actually AM in control of things.  I can't help it if it hails.  I can't help it if it gets too windy, and sometimes it is just too dry or I'm too busy to water and plants die.  I think we have lost our touch with the earth and agriculture that our ancestors had.  It puts us in perspective...and it will go on and on - people have been farming for thousands of years and they will continue to.  It just gives me peace that everything is going to be O.K., one way or another.  I can't explain it.

What really makes it worth it for me is to have an abundance for out of season - to know where it came from and to share it with others.  There is always another project around the corner, or an idea that might make something work better, or a new veggie to try.  Sounds crazy, but I find contentment in that.  I know (especially from last year) what it is like to not have the garden.  And I appreciate everything it gives me and my family.  I find it a peaceful and rewarding process.

That's it for now!  I hope this inspires you, too!

Garden 2011 - Bloom Where You Are Planted

It has been a long, LONG time since I blogged. Last year seemed like rock bottom in many ways - I was trying to figure out what stays and what goes in terms of hobbies, must-dos and don't-wanna-do,-but-really-should-do-because-someone-is-counting-on-me dos. So I didn't blog, didn't coupon, didn't even really garden. I have some ongoing personal-life concerns that deserve and take much of my attention when that person needs it, and that is more important than most of my other responsibilities. At the end of the summer, I took on a new role at church, planning a third of the music for the year for our services. It was quite time consuming at first, but now it seems to have found it's rhythm. I have just focused on my family and their needs and my new responsibilities at church. I really missed those outlets I cut out but there simply wasn't time for them and I'm glad I cut them out for a season. It reminds me of how God instructs the Israelites to take a break every seventh year - to not plant fields, to celebrate and to reconnect. Last summer was our 4th in our home, sixth in this town relocated to, so I guess we wern't far off!!

Speaking of seasons, this summer is my final season of being an at-home mom with a kid home with me all day, most days. My youngest starts all-day, every-day Kindergarten this fall. People have asked me if I'm going back to work or what and I have been saying "No, I'm just going to try to do what I do, better."

Better to me, means:
--devotional time
--planning more meals
--being more timely in fulfilling favors to people and other responsibilities.
--scrapbooking moments, not memories (i.e. something special the kid did rather than a Christmas page, Birthday Page, etc.) and other creative endeavors
--keeping the house cleaner
--being more on-top of the kids' responsibilities (cleaning rooms, chores, discipline and trying to start devotional time with them as well)

I am not gifted with kids. Sounds crazy since I'm a mother. That's why I don't have 19 kids. I enjoy mine, but I know, KNOW, I will benefit from some quiet, uninterrupted time each day to take care of some of those outside stresses and to-dos, so I can be more present, relaxed and purposeful with my kids when they are home. That's why I've been focusing on building in some "me" time rather than jumping into the workforce. Whether I do or not, or return to college to finish my degree is up to God - and so far He is not leading me down that path.

I guess this was longer than I thought it'd be - I'll post my garden pictures on the next post!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Perfectionism

I know, growing up, I had perfectionistic ideals. But I never really considered myself a perfectionist because I knew I was far from perfect or the desire to be perfect. But I think God has been showing me otherwise lately.

I am the type of person who needs to explore every option before I settle on a choice. Like when I chose a font for a particular scrapbook page - I have to go through all 1000+ fonts on my computer, sometimes applying the best contenders to my paragraph that has been copied/pasted several times so I can see my options side by side. Even when I'm 90% sure I've found the one that I know will do the job. I've always just figured that's how I'm happy operating.

But lately, I have this desire to make my scrapbooking count. Of course, any type of scrapbooking counts. I'm quick to point out that for the person that feels that THEY think that their work isn't worth it because THEY think they aren't as talented that they always include very heartfelt journaling (even if it is just in Times New Roman).

But I am keenly aware that this trend of paper scrapbooking can get out of hand. I, personally, use their scrapbooks more as photo albums - all of their pictures will be kept in the books, whether they are "scrapbooked" or just stuck efficiently on a white page. I try not to do single picture layouts because it is a waste of space - most of my layouts have as many pictures as if I had just left them as 4x6's and taped them down on a grid, like in a photo album. When I'm dead and gone, my (hopefully appreciative) kids will have several books each. (plus the family one that they will have to split or copy) But what if they marry someone who's mother has done the same thing? Now they have half a bookshelf of heavy scrapbooks. And yes, my grandkids may like looking at them, but what happens when THEY inherit them? Who has the room to store so much, 2 or 3 generations down the road? I don't want the books to be a burden. I know I need to not dwell on it. I need to just scrapbook because I enjoy it and want it to speak to my children when I can't. I just know that our current culture has so much storage (both real and digital) at our disposal that we just don't know how to par down to what counts. I'm trying. Like deleting the 800 pictures taken in 2009 that were duds, repeats, etc. before I archived my 2009 pictures (which still numbered over 1000). And it seems like I'm always paring and purging - which feels good to do, but it takes a lot of time and gets to the point that it is overwhelming before it gets done.

I haven't been couponing much, either. So I haven't been grocery shopping much. I hate paying full price for things when I know if I'd just do my homework watching the sales and clipping the coupons I could cut my grocery bill in half. Yes, half. I can be a very savvy shopper. And since I'm a at-home mom, I feel like it's almost my job to. Especially since we are working hard at paying off our debt. Last Sunday, with over half of the month left and only $150 left in grocery money, the weather was so beautiful that we decided we wanted to grill at suppertime. We were driving home from church at 11:30 with 2 hungry kids in the back of the car when my husband mentioned that we were out of charcoal. Rather than turn around and go back to the discount department stores that would have charcoal cheaper we opted to go to the more expensive store on our way home and cut our losses, since we were on a time crunch. My husband came out with a bag of charcoal that was $12. !!!

TWELVE DOLLARS! I was prepared for $8.

On sale, with coupons, right around Memorial Day or the Fourth of July, I could get that same bag for $5.

I sent him back to town later that day and he bought twice as much charcoal for $15 at the discount store. The other bag is in the back of my car with the receipt waiting to be returned.

See?

*sigh*

But I felt like we don't have much of a choice if we want to make a good effort stick to our budget.

Which leads me to this quote:

A man would do nothing, if he waited until he could do it so well that no one would find fault with what he has done.--John Henry Cardinal Newman

I do nothing.

That's bad.

Not that I'm worried about what OTHERS think - it's holding up to my own standard. And that's where I get the perfectionist thing from. But I feel like there is no other way.

But I don't think I have high standards...

I'm not a polished person. I don't wear makeup, my clothes are washed out, my house has migrating piles of clutter that I can't seem to get rid of any easier than the dustbunnies under my refrigerator. And anyone who's been to my house knows I'm not a fan of housework. I know I can be practical, like publshing this paragraph without polishing the flow and grammar. I will try to remember to spell-check, though.

But something is debilitating. And it's called Perfectionism. And it robbs people of joy and peace. It adds to feelings of depression and self-worth. And it's gotta go.

PacMan v2.6