Friday, December 30, 2011


well im very excited to talk about my new fundraiser! a dear friend contacted me yesterday and asked if she could set up a fundraiser for us. she owns her own business called sew sew sew your boat. she makes a wide variety of items like skirts, burp cloths and other baby items. i was so excited and felt extremely blessed to have a friend with a heart for adoption and a heart for our family. thank you anna!!! so many people are already interested. so for the month of january 50% of sales will go to our fund. and as always you can go to our donate button on the side of my blog and donate. thank you to everyone that is supporting us and to everyone for your prayers! i will be attaching a link to annas business on the side of my blog.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


normally wednesdays are my homeschooling encouragement day. but since we are on a nice long break i do not have much to talk about in this area. except how great it is to have a break! and i have skipped a few days/topics over our busy weekend. so im going to rewind and give a family update today. christmas weekend has come and gone once again. it was a blur. we had our family time on christmas eve. the children woke up early and we opened presents. i love their giving spirits. they were so excited to pass out their presents they bought or made for each other. and it blessed my heart to see them all working so hard to make presents for each other. that evening we spent time with family, having dinner and opening gifts.
christmas day was on a sunday this year. we went to church in the morning. and it was a wonderful service. my favorite part was having all of the children in the service with us. this is something that has been on my heart for awhile now. bringing our family to worship and learn Gods word together. after church we took the children to visit a care home. i loved seeing my children open up and get over their shyness. when we went for thanksgiving they were very shy and reserved. but this time they were very outgoing and couldnt wait to pass out cookies to anyone who came into the hall. a few of the children played some christmas songs on the piano and guitar. im looking foward to watching my children open up even more and bless these elderly people.
christmas evening was spent with more family. it was a nice weekend. having daddy home for 3 days was the icing on the cake. i am very much looking foward to new years weekend and another long 3 day weekend with daddy!

Friday, December 23, 2011

home study

i am so excited to have something to update this week. wednesday afternoon i turned in our home study applications to the agency. i have been hanging onto them since august! i was shaking with nervousness. when the lady came out to take my 3 copies each with our family photo i was shaking. to my surpise she glanced through the application while i was standing there and asked me if we were wanting to take the adoption prep classes in january. of course!!! i even took all of the children in with me to drop the apps off. they were very well behaved. and the social worker that i talked to is the oldest of 13...7 being adopted. i think we are in good hands :) i couldnt wait to tell hubby that they didnt laugh me out of the office. so my nervous shaking turned into an excited shaking!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

laundry soap

we have been having lots of fun around here finding things we can make on our own. we are feeling healthier and more independant. a couple of years ago i started making my own laundry soap. it was the liquid recipe that i found on the duggar website. i stopped making it when we got our new HE washer and dryer. but a friend sent me a blog with a new recipe and it says safe for HE washers! i was so happy. so we made it this past weekend. i am loving it. its a powdered version. and i am liking it better than the liquid. it seems to get our clothes alot cleaner and they smell very fresh. i didnt find that when i used the liquid.
1 box of borax
1 box of arm and hammer washing soda
1 big box of arm and hammer baking soda
1 3 lb tub of oxyclean
3 bars felz naptha soap (grated)
you can find the felz naptha at raleys.
line a 5 gallon bucket with a garbage bag and combine all of the ingrediants. mix them good and then store it however you like. i was able to fit mine into a big ice cream tub. it fit perfectly. the hardest part of this whole process was grating the soap. my children love to hep but they got burnt out quickly doing that job. you only need to use 1 tablespoon per load. all of the ingrediants cost about 20 dollars. i read one blog where a lady said she did 8 loads a week and it lasted her 6 months. i do almost double that. but 20 bucks for even 3 months!!! cant beat that!!!

Saturday, December 17, 2011


this has been a busy time for our family. 2 days after our anniversary we celebrated another birthday in the van clan house!! emily mae turned 9 years old. she is our third child, second girl. emilys entrance into the world was a quick one! she was almost born in the car on the way to the hospital. and only gave the doctor 10 minutes after we arrived! today she is a sweet, gentle spirited young lady. she is always willing to help around the house and is often a second mommy to the babies. she has also taken on the role as family bread baker. she enjoys sewing, ballet and playing the piano. and today is her piano recital! she is playing "silent night". zaccy will be playing "we three kings". later tonight we will be celebrating with emily by taking her out to her birthday movie. we are going to see "hugo". well we get a break from family birthdays until february. that has its good point and bad points. it will be nice to fill that birthday envelope back up but we do so love celebrating birthdays around here! we are looking foward to this next coming week. we have our last recital for this time of year. a ballet/guitar recital. then it will be christmas break! we will enjoy a very much needed down time here :)

Thursday, December 15, 2011


a few weeks ago a friend mentioned to me that she was making homemade granola. i was sold. i love cereal. and why not go a healthier route and make homemade granola to replace the boxed cereal we buy. well i did and so far it has worked. noone is going through cereal withdrawls. i made 4 different flavors but 1 of them really triumphs over the others. the flavors i made were pumpkin pie, stovetop cinnamon, golden cinnamon and dark chocolate granola. all of these recipes i found on i wish i was an original :) after making it a few times though i dont really follow the recipe. i just wing it and eyeball the measurements. my absolute favorite is the chocolate one. the one i liked the least was the pumpkin pie.
many people asked me for the chocolate granola recipe. i posted it on facebook a few times. here it is again:
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons peanut butter
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons butter or margerine
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups quick oats
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup craisins
1/4 cup crushed almonds
the brown sugar, peanut butter, honey, butter and vanilla are put together in a bowl and melted. in a seperate bowl mix oats, cinnamon, and almonds. then stir in the melted mixture. then add the chocolate chips. cover a cookie sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. then spread it out and bake it for about 15 minutes. let it cool then break it up and store it in a big ziploc or bowl with a lid. this granola has the best mix of salty and sweet. i use kosher salt so it compliments the chocolate chips wonderfully! sometimes i eat it plain. you can use milk but i think that takes away from the wonderful granola experience. yogurt would be yummy on top. it makes such a nice, quick, healthy breakfast and lunch for a busy mom on the go!!! frugal tip: buy your almonds whole or sliced and crush them yourself. they are cheaper that way.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


i cant write today about encouraging our husbands without writing about our wonderful anniversary weekend. i want to think everyone that made this weekend happen. first to my friend that surprised me and asked her parents if we could stay in their home while they were on vacation. and of course to her parents that said yes! a big thank you to my parents for watching the children all weekend and for letting us drive their truck. especially thank you to them for getting excited to watch the children! not many people would want to, let alone get excited to watch 9 children. i am blessed. thank you also to my aunt for hanging out with them while we were gone and bringing crafts and fun things for them to do. we are surrounded by some wonderful people that made our 10th anniversary very special.

it was such a fun and relaxing weekend. we visited many old towns. walking around and enjoying the scenery and the old buildings and walking in and out of every little shop that was open. all of those antique shops that we cant take 9 children into. hehe. i was able to sneak in some christmas shopping. what a wonderful way to spend some money without feeling guilty. hubby and i talked and talked about life, family,our goals, and God. we held hands and walked slow....not rushing around anywhere. i enjoyed my husband and our time together. we were in awe at how fast the last 10 years have flown by and how much we have done in those 10 years. and we were in awe at how much we have changed and at how we love each other so much more as who we are now than who we were 10 years ago.

it was sad to leave our weekend behind but we sure did miss our babies. and coming home to their happy, excited faces is one of the best parts!

Monday, December 12, 2011

cleaning schedules

i remember back when i had 2 children. i used to do a deep cleaning of the house once a week. granted it was our first little apartment. then 3, then 4 children and my cleanings moved to once a month. the houses grew bigger and so did the family. and so did the amount of children i was homeschooling. now with 9 children and 5 homeschoolers my deep cleaning has spread out even farther. im not complaining about this. over the years i have relaxed tremendously. if i didnt i would go insane trying to keep up with a schedule like that. we clean and pick up everyday. everyone has their chores and we stick to a pretty tight schedule. so i had to adjust to what i knew we could keep up with. since our days are filled with school and activities i have set apart 3 times a year to deep clean the house. these are times the children are not doing any schoolwork or extra activities. i go through the house one room at a time and tear it apart. trust me it gets much dirtier before it gets cleaned up. i move furniture, take pictures down, scrub baseboards, dust, mop....and even touch up paint. my first time of year to do this is spring break. the children are off for a whole week. the next time i do this is over summer break right before the children start homeschooling again. right before activities start up again. right before the craziness begins!!! and the 3rd time i do it is over christmas break. i have 2 whole weeks!!! i used to do it over thanksgiving but found it was very stressful to squeeze it all in to 4 days. so this is the schedule that works best for our family. my house may not be spotless but this schedule seems to work and doesnt cause too much stress on everyone. i get asked alot how i fit this in and now you know!

Friday, December 9, 2011

update friday

not much to update on our adoption process this week. i did join a facebook group with adoptive moms. what an amazing group of ladies. i am gleaning so much wisdom from their experiances. i am also enjoying reading all of their blogs and following their journeys. i am cohosting a gold party this month as well. i hope that will give us the little amount we have left to have our home study fully funded. and then i can turn those applications in this month and i will be right on schedule. thanks everyone for all your prayers and support!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

leftover recipes

this time of season we are blessed to have so many leftovers from the holidays. turkey, stuffing, corn, gravy, and potatoes are just a few of the items we had left in the fridge after thanksgiving. i think coming up with meals out of the leftovers is funner than eating it the first time around. here are a few things we came up with.

1. turkey enchiladas. i think this one is pretty common. and it was so easy. mix together shredded turkey, enchilada sauce, shredded cheese and corn in a bowl. then start wrapping it in tortillas. after placing in a casserole dish i make up another mixture of enchilada sauce, cheese and onions and pour over the top. bake and enjoy!!!

2. "shepards pie". i know there are alot of versions of shepards pie. we had alot of leftover mashed potatoes this year. brown ground turkey and mix it with cream of mushroom and green beans. top with mashed potatoes then shredded cheese. bake! this was a huge hit here.

3. stuffing is a great topping for casseroles too. we made a mixture of shredded turkey and cream of mushroom and topped with stuffing and baked. dont forget the cheese. cheese makes everything lovely :)

im looking foward to christmas and what i can come up with then.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


well we are only a couple of weeks away from christmas break. and that means the end of our first semester and about half way done with our school year. some exciting things going on in the vanclan homeschool. a few of the children have finished up some books they have been working on since last school year. we put some extra hard work into getting them done this year before christmas so we could move on. some have finished up books they just started at the beginning of this semester. i try to make a big deal out of it for them. sometimes i announce it for everyone to hear and all the other children will clap. i love these simple ways to encourage my children. we are all looking foward to a nice big break. although i use that time to get all of my deep cleaning done, i still look foward to having the time to do it. we enjoy the break from our extra curricular activities. recitals and concerts are over and we can spend a couple of weeks not rushing here and there and just stay home as a family. i think daddy likes it alot. i think he likes not coming home to an empty house a couple nights a week. but like always at the end of the break we are read to get back to our regularly scheduled program. jonah has a pen pal now. this is very exciting for him. i think it will encourage him to work on his handwriting and reading. hes getting better and better with his speech therapy. praying for the day he graduates from that. we love miss judy but it will be a huge relief to be done with that!

reason # 4 why i love homeschooling....being together as a family

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


with today being " encouragement for our husbands" day and this weekened being my anniversary, i thought i would share about that. this saturday is a big anniversary for us. 10 years of marriage. when i look back at how we began; all wrong, i am reminded of our redeeming God. without going into a long testimony we were 2 young people living life for the world, unmarried and having babies. thank you Jesus for your salvation. i laugh at the old us. we sure thought we were in love then. i laugh because we didnt even know what love was. oh yes, by the worlds standards we were in love and just doing what everybody else was doing. but after giving our lives to Christ, and growing together in God i can boldly say i love my husband more today then i did 10 years ago. i love him now as my head, provider, and father of my children. there are many things that shape a marriage. children, hardships, ups and downs. and we have been through alot in our 10 years. having 9 children has made for a busy (but fun) and challenging time. but being followers of Christ shapes how you handle each of these together as one flesh. im so excited because a friend has blessed us with an amazing anniversary gift. we get to go away together for a couple of days up in the hills. this is so special to us because we never had a honeymoon.

" so adam gave names to all the cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. but for adam there was not found a helper comparable to him. and the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on adam, and he slept; and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and he brought her to to the man. and adam said, " this is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man. therefore shall a man leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and they shall become one flesh." gen. 2:20-24

Friday, December 2, 2011

colossians 3:23

i would have to say the biggest news this week around this house is about roger jr. he has been wanting to earn more money than what he gets around the house so he thought he could make up some flyers and do some yardwork. we have a very small yard and use a push mower. so he has mastered that. my neighbor and good friend called the other day and asked about having jr over. he was so excited. her husband was so nice and went out and bought jr some gloves and wrote his name on them. he enjoyed in taking part with us to teach jr this life lesson. my friend is pregnant and has 3 small children so it is hard for her to get out and do yardwork. so she put jr to work pulling weeds. we walked him over there yesterday as a family at about 1:30 and he didnt come home until 4:30! i was so proud of him. she sent me a few texts throughout the day to let me know how he was doing. he never asked for a break and only asked to go potty once. she treated him to some hot chocolate ( which he drank while he worked).

when he came home we all clapped for him. i hugged him and told him how proud i was of him. he was tired but he could not stop grinning. see how hard work makes people happy! we let him know if he worked hard he would glorify God. and secondary he might get more work. and sure enough he did. my neighbor asked him to come back next week to do more work.

why is it so important to teach your children hard work? well look through the scriptures. all throughout the bible there are verses that talk about the man that works hard. how he will be happy. how he will provide for his family. it even says the man that does not work hard shall not eat and the man that does not provide for his family is worse than an unbeliever! teaching them when they are young may set the pattern for the rest of their life. it teaches them responsibility. it teaches them respect. and as a young man it teaches him how to prepare for providing for a family someday. why do we take this so seriously as parents. for one, God takes it seriously. also our country has gotten so far away from having a good work ethic. as parents we need to try and put a stop to it. we can change the next generation for the better. i can already see an attitude change in my now young man. he carries himself a bit differently. he is more eager to help around the house.

that morning before jr went to work hs daddy called him and gave him a pep talk and prayed with him. keeping in line with this scripture which jr memorized before going over there,

colossians 3:23 "and whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men."

Thursday, December 1, 2011


i have so many new recipes im excited to blog about. i have to take it one week at a time. this week im highlighting my homemade "bisquick". it is so simple and the ingrediants are things that are usually on hand. im kicking myself for not making it sooner. i found the recipe on there are many different recipes for the homemade bisquick. some have 1 or 2 more ingrediants than others. the one i went with is super simple. i like simple.
8 cups flour
1/2 c baking powder
8 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup shortening
i mixed it up in a big ice cream tub and store in the pantry. and i treat it just like bisquick. if i add an egg and some milk i can whip up pancakes. if i just add some milk i can whip up buscuits. you can use it for casserole toppings, like a pot pie also. some of the recipes call for dry milk. then you only have to add water to make it cookable. i can now cross bisquick off of my grocery list and add this to my list of homemade items!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

well after a nice relaxing 4 day weekend we are back to our regularly scheduled show. it is nice to have a break like that to recharge. our extra curricular activites started again this week too. and its that time of year that we are preparing for many recitals. always praying they do not overlap! so these next couple of weeks are so important for the children. everything they have been working on up to this point will come to fruition. those moments make me cry everytime!!! i think i get more nervous than they do. afterall i work hard taking them to all of the practices and rehearsals right?? and i love it when they get to perform for daddy. hes at work usually when we are at lessons so its all a surprise to him. having the grandparents and godparents and aunts and uncles come is so nice as well. my children have been performing since they were very little. im not even sure they get nervous anymore.

reason #3 why i love skills!!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


i know they say the way to a mans heart is through his stomach. i do think there is a bit of truth to this statement. but i think the part that gets to his heart is the time and thought that is put into a good meal. i love blessing people through food. i love the excitement on my childrens faces when i come up with some new creation in the kitchen. a love it even more when my husband is wow'ed by a new creation i come up with in the kitchen. we show our husbands that we think of them all day when we spend the day making something they will love. it shows our husbands we care about their health when we ty to come up with healthy alternatives to some of their favorite foods. and it shows we respect his hard work when we try to make things on a budget or discover more things we can make from scratch. i see this extending to my girls as well. they get excited to make things for the family and other people. they put alot of work and thought into food they are preparing. and when they aim to please their daddy, they will aim to please their future husbands. lets not save the blessings for their birthdays. lets wow them everyday! and sometimes this can be as simple as having a soda in the fridge for them when they get home from work :)

Monday, November 28, 2011

phillipians 4:8

"finally bretheran whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy meditate on these things." phil 4:8. i know i have blogged many things about this verse before but today something new comes to my mind. when we stay home all day with our little ones what are we filling our minds with? do we have soap operas on in the background or worldly music? and if we homeschool we are filling our childrens minds with the same things we are watching and listening to. i encourage you to make your home an atmosphere of peace and learning and dwelling on Gods word. put an audio bible on in the background or an audio book or commentary. one of the things i love to do is listening to sermons and teachings while im cleaning and going about my daily routine. i have been really blessed by voddie baucham, paul washer and kent hovind sermons and seminars. audio theater is fun too. my daughter has quite the collection of adventures in odyssey. they love having those on while they sew or read in their room. sometimes it is just not easy for us to sit and read a good book. but we can listen to one! and i find as i learn i desire to learn even more and through that we can draw closer to God.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

family news

this week has been an eventful week for our family. we celebrated a birthday this week. daddy had a birthday on wednesday, the day before thanksgiving. we were able to sneak a small date in. we also celebrated thanksgiving. the best part about holidays is having hubby home. this week we have him home for 4 wonderful relaxing days. thanksgiving day was spent with the extended family. a nice big dinner and visiting. the day after thanksgiving we spent at home having our own thanksgiving. we had my best friends family over and we feasted!!! hubby spent the day cooking a yummy turkey. i am not a big turkey fan but his is always the best. moist and flavorful. we revamped some leftovers from the day before, pasta salad, potatoe salad. we added some homemade bread, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, and stuffing to the menu. it was a great evening. now the fun part is coming up with lots of ideas for turkey leftovers. maybe that will make a good blog!! we only have 2 days left of having daddy home. we are always a little sad when he has to go back to work...ok alot sad. but we are thankful for the time. im very proud of my children over the weekend. my 2 oldest had a neighbor pay them to help her put up decorations around her house. and this of course sparked a little entrepreneur in them. jr. (10) would like to start a lawn mowing business in our neighborhood. savanah (12) and jonah (7) would like to partner and offer a leaf raking service. they made flyers and passed them out today. its never too early to teach them the value of hard work. the best part is their heart attitudes. they all have said they want to be able to donate some of their earnings to help with the adoption. oh, and lets not forget josie (3). she has filled her piggy bank and is ready for a small lesson in money. we counted her money yesterday and i showed her the 3 envelopes we use to split it up. she was very interested. and now shes very excited to get to spend her spending envelope! and i must admit im excited to take her :)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

stuffed squash

my mom gave me 3 squash a couple of weeks ago. i was at a loss of what to do with them. so i asked my cousin and she told me to stuff them!! i love getting brave in the kitchen and trying new things. so the first thing i did was cut the squash in half. i needed hubbys muscles for that one. then i baked the squash for about 40 minutes until tender. this made it easier to scoop some meat out. while the girls and i were doing this my 7 year old was sauteeing onions and browning the ground turkey meat. and the rice was cooking. after all of the fillings were cooked i mixed together the turkey and onion mixture with the rice. then stuffed each of the squash with this mixture, topped with shredded cheese and put them back in the oven to bake for about 10 minutes. the flavor of the taco seasoned meat with the sweet meat of the squash was so good!!!! i sliced up the squash and the family enjoyed scooping out the yumminess!!! i had a few sceptics at first but they changed their minds very quick :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


this has been a fun week of homeschooling. it was so nice not to have any activities to drive to. we have been home all day getting alot of schoolwork and baking done. definately a home economics kind of week. there has been a very peaceful atmosphere here this week. we have been doing alot of studying this week about pilgrims. the children have really enjoyed the pilgrim stories we have been reading out loud. today is a day off...technically. but we are going to do some school. its nice when we are home to get ahead a little so when we have those busy days full of doctors and dentst appointments we can relax a little. another fun book i have added to our group reading is a character first book. right now we are reading about responsibility. i think these lessons are more important than some of the required lessons we have. we are looking foward to having the next 4 days off though!!
reason #2 why i love homeschooling....flexability!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

hubbys birthday

tomorrow is hubbys birthday. we should encourage our hubbys everyday of the week but its nice to have a whole day to focus on making him feel special. why?? because he is!!! my husband is a selfless man. he is always thinking about me and the children. he delights in making me happy. so the least i can do is make tomorrow all about him. im looking foward to showering him with love, even if he will be at work most of the is always fun seeing what the children come up with to bless their daddy. they enjoy making things and planning little surprises for him. and this should be ecouraged. it teaches them to honor their father and to focus on someone besides themselves. im looking foward to tomorrow and all the excitement that comes with birthdays in our house! happy birthday babe, you are finally old like me :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

deuteronomy 6:6-9 " and these words which i command you today shall be in your heart. you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house when you walk by the way when you lie down ad when you rise up. you shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes . you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."

as a new believer this verse impacted me so much. it was one of the first verses i memorized as a young mom. it also impacted my decision to homeschool. one of the things i love about Gods word is that He didnt leave anything out. this verse covers every part of the day. we are to be diligent, proactive and constantly pouring Gods word into our children. God obviously values children so much. i even love to post scripture verses on the walls around the house. maybe verses they are trying to memorize or verses that relate to a life issue someone in the house is going through. yesterday as we were studying through phillipians 4, and we came to verse 6 and then 7 i was reminded of my daughter. she is worrier. she worries about all the details to the point of tears. i mentioned this to my cousin and she gave me a good idea to give this verse to my daughter and pray it with her. have her pray it when shes feeling worried...even do what deuteronomy 6 says and make a poster for her or a bookmark. this is something we can do with all of our children. whatever they are going through in life, whether it be a correcting verse or an encouraging verse, we can pray it over them, give it to them to pray and make signs for them to put up. and of course their verses can change as they go through different things. this is just another way we can pour Gods word into our children and teach them diligently!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

family news

there is always so much going on in our house. i thought it would be fun to set a day aside each week to catch up with all the eventful things that go on. some big news over here, roger jr. and emily took a cpr training class and are now certified in infant, child, and adult cpr and aed. proud mom...yes i am! and we had a birthday in the van clan house. zacchaeus turned 6 on november 15th. he is the oldest of the "irish triplets". for a month the twins and zaccy are all 5. which is always a fun conversation starter. it must be so fun to be a child. i think he has been celebrating his birthday for a week now. first he had his birthday dinner at grandma and grandpas house. he picked buscuits and gravy for his dinner. thank you to my mom for having salad fixings as well. im not a fan of buscuits and gravy. one of his birthday presents was a toys r us gift card so a couple of days later grandma and uncle matthew came and took him to lunch and shopping. i like to let the children pic the menu on the day of their birthday. so for breakfast he picked homemade donuts. for dinner he wanted tater tot casserole and brownies for dessert. the day after his birthday we had joy club and i made the "acorns". those were a hit! now on to today...his movie!!! today we are taking him to see "puss and boots". at first it doesnt sound very interesting. at least not to me. but the reviews on plugged in were pretty decent. like i said before...must be great to be a child! i think my children even enjoy going to the doctor for their birthday!

Friday, November 18, 2011

gold party

today is adoption journey update. yesterday we had a gold party fundraiser. it went very well. the gold party is a really good way to make quick cash. and people are supporting you but going home with money. its a win-win. i had a few guests and also some items to sell. as a host i make 10 percent commision off of what the gold party purchases. and i had 1 party booked. so as co host i make 5 percent off of that party. so its the fundraiser that keeps on giving!! im very excited to see where it goes. and im convinced i will have another party in the near future. we are very close to having our home study fully funded and in the savings account. i cant wait to turn the applications in and get the ball rolling. and im right on the schedule i wrote down in my journal. God is so good :)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

fun fall acorns

a friend of mine posted a link on facebook awhile back and i just had to make these. no real recipe involved. just a few simple steps. they may have been simple, but they were a huge hit! i made them for my sons birthday and we took them to church to share. they are called acorns.

step 1: melt a bowl full of melting chocolates.

step 2: take a hershey kiss and dip it in the melted chocolate.

step 3: press a mini nutter butter to the top of the hershey kiss.

step 4: take a chocolate chip and dip it in the chocolate. press it to the top of the nutter butter.

step 5: i placed them on a cookie sheet to harden and kept them in the fridge until it was time to take them to church.

step 5: the best and enjoy!!!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

homeschool wednesday

i find it kind of ironic that wednesdays are homeschool write up day. wednesdays we do anything but "homeschool". we could change the name to "car school". monday we had another ethnic night for dinner. savanah just got done studying ancient greece. so we had a yummy, simple dinner of cheese, bread, olive oil, fish, apples and honey. boy, are the ancient foods so much alike. which is fine with me. im enjoying the simplicity of it. we have also been having alot of fun reading stories about the pilgrims. i enjoy reading out loud to the children. and i enjoy being able to teach them this all at once. and the little guys can even get in on the learning. i am blessed to have been passed so many fun books. and so many christian books. this saturday is our first jr high science olympiad meeting. im really excited to see whats in store for this year. it seems like our team has grown a bit from last year. jr and emily have some homeschooling news. they both completed their cpr classes and are now certified! this is an accomplishment we are all very proud of. and its that time of year again....recitals! the children are all practicing hard for upcoming recitals in piano, guitar, ballet and choir. this is one of my favorite times of year. as nervous as i am that someones recital will overlap with someone elses i get so excited to see them display what they have been working so hard on up to this point. i also love seeing the family come together to cheer them on.
reason #1 why i love homeschooling....having time for a well rounded education!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

praying for our husbands

today i would like to stay on the same topic as yesterday but concerning our husbands. just like we should be praying for our children, we should also be lifting up our husbands. i tend to always pray for my husbands safety because he commutes to work. he also leaves very early in the morning. but we should also be praying for them spiritually.

1. if your husband is not a believer pray first of all for their salvation!

2. pray for their spiritual growth and walk with God

3. our husbands have a huge responsibility before the Lord as the spiritual leader of the home, the spiritual leader of the children and as the wifes covering. pray for their strength in these ares. if they dont have a walk with God they cant be performing strongly in these areas.

4. lift them up as the providers of the home. pray for a hard working spirit and good health so they can bear this responsibility.

5. pray for protection from the world. from the influences of the world. to remain pure in thoughts and actions.

6. as they are out in the workforce all day, we should pray that they work for God and not man. having a good reputation at work and letting His light shine before men.
7. pray that they are good example for their boys as they are growing and watching how dad does things. and also a good example for his girls as they too are watching and will someday look for a husband like their dad.

i count it my priveledge to get to go before God on my husbands behalf. what an eternal way to show how much we love, respect and are grateful for what they do for their families!

Monday, November 14, 2011

blogging schedule

i have not blogged in a couple of weeks. i guess i had a blank. so i decided to make a bogging schedule. this way i already have an outline of what i am going to write about each day. so this is how it goes:
monday: encouragement for moms
tuesdays: encouraging our husbands
wednesdays: homeschooling encouragement
thursdays: recipes
fridays: adoption updates
saturdays: family updates
so since today is monday i wanted to write about encouraging moms. and today i want to encourage moms and dads to pray for their children. this is something i need to work on in my own prayer life as well. some things i want to focus on when i pray for my children are :
1. most of all their salvation
2. if they have already made a proclomation of faith then pray for their walk with God. it must be so hard at their age to tune out the world and focus on their walk with God.
3. i like to pray for my childrens friends. for my children to choose wisely who they spend time with and also for their friends walk with God.
4. even if your children are not interested in the opposite sex yet i think its so important to start very early praying for their future spouse. pray they will choose a godly husband or wife. to not show interest in and unbelieving partner. pray for their spouse as well. even though you do not know them. pray for their salvation and their walk with God.
5. this leads me to pray for their purities. purity in all areas of their life. their minds actions, conduct, hearts. yesterday we read phillipians 4:8 with the children yesterday. "finally bretheran whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue and if there be any praise, think on these things." then we asked the children how we could apply this to our own lives they responded with " the things we read, the things we watch on tv, the things we do on the computer, the music we listen, the conversations we have."
we should ask our children how they are doing and if there is anything they would like us to pray about for them. i think thats encouraging to them. maybe keep a journal and write their rayer requests in it. ask them about these things and update your prayer journal with praise reports!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

holiday teachings

there are so many holidays coming up this time of year. i always think about doing fun teachings with the children but the holiday will come and go and i miss it. something we started yesterday was a holiday journal. our first entry was reformation day. i read to the children out of the church history book about martin luther and we watched a video from the movie luther. then i had the chidren make a journal entry. the bigs wrote a summary of what luther did. the littles drew a picture. yesterday i started reading to them out of a book called pilgrims of plimoth. it is told from the point of view of a pilgrim. our journal project for this book is to pretend you are a pilgrim keeping a journal. after each reading the children journal about their adventure. i love teaching like this. my plans for 2012 are to celebrate the jewish holidays for the whole year. i have wanted to do this before but never got started. hopefully i will stick to it this coming year. what a fun homeschool adventure. first we will study the holiday and then celebrate it the best we can. and then of course i will blog about each one :)

Monday, October 31, 2011

the bible

this weekend i joined a facebook group that is reading through the bible chronologically in 182 days. i am so excited about this. its only day 2 and i cant wait to read again tomorrow. i am so hungry for Gods word. there are so many neat things about this group. first of all its like having an online bible study. we have a group page and talk and discuss what we read each day. there are so many insightful people. im being challenged to dig deep into Gods word and reread passages i would normally scan over. i am able to have this bible study while still being at home with my family too. i am also getting to talk with people all over the country and world. something else i thought was neat is how many people saw my posts on facebook yesterday and jumped into the group. so many people hungry for Gods word. we can read and reread and learn somthing new everytime. my children are currently studying through genesis in their sunday school classes, so i have enjoyed sitting and asking them what they have learned by reading the passages i am on. in the evenings we read through the bible as a family before we eat dinner. right now we are at genesis 9. so im hoping all this will help me really get genesis into my head. and each reading will reinforce the other. im excited as the days go by and as people finish their days reading ,they post on our group page!

Friday, October 28, 2011

home study time...almost

it is adoption journey update time! it is nice to have something to update finally :) a few months ago i sat down and wrote out a list of goals that i had. it seems we do alot of talking about things we want to do or accomplish but we rarely follow through or we forget. i do not like being that kind of person. so i sat down and wrote out our goals and gave a timeline. of course i know God is the author and just because i write them down doesnt mean its in His timing, but it helps to direct my prayers and give me motivation. one of my goals was to have enough money raised to turn in our home study application by the end of the year. it seems to me that God is going to make this happen right at the time i prayed for. isnt that amazing! isnt that another WOW moment. with alot of hard work, fundraising and saving we are only a few hundred shy of meeting that goal. right now we have an ongoing fundraiser thanks to a friend of mine. her business link is on the side of my blog if you would like to check it out. her ministry is for orphans. and she raises money to help families fund their adoptions and to send money to orphanages to help children get adopted. and in a sense she has been so kind as to adopt our family and help us on our way. i also have a gold party scheduled for november 17th at 6 pm. i thought what a great way to raise money and nobody has to donate any money. they actually leave with money! and just in time for some holiday shopping. i think we may have finally sold our bed...for real this time. this will be a huge help! and of course there is my donation button on the side of my blog as well. im so glad my friend told me about doing that. its been a fundraiser all in itself. once our homestudy application is turned in and if we get aproved...thats when the ball gets rolling and we will be a very busy family! please keep us in your prayers!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

baking days

now that i have gotten back into the groove of making many things homemade i am hoping to have 1 day a week set aside to prepare food for the upcoming week. we did this last sunday and it was great! we made 6 loaves of bread and roasted almonds. it is nice to have things prepared and not have to worry about trying to fit it in during our hectic week. as i get better at it i hope to add more items to the agenda. things like cookies, croutons, "bisquick" mix, breads, chocolate almonds and roasted almonds. i am already seeing the fruit of this labor! not only is it already saving us money but its bonding us as a family when we work like this together and its giving us the reward of eating the labor of our own hands. the whole family is enjoying this!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

daily devotions

getting into a daily devotional routine is something we have struggled with for many years. as the babies kept coming and our family kept growing it seemed we pushed it aside more and more. sometimes it was just too frustrating to try and read over all the noise. but recently i have had a desire and deep love for Gods word. and i want to share this desire with the family! i want them to love Gods word like i do. i want them to grow up in the adminition of the Lord. i want them to have the character of Christ. i want them to be servants. but most of all i want them to be in heaven with me in the end. what better way to accomplish these things than by reading Gods word together. and not just a few short devotions together here and there. Gods word is transforming! a couple of routines we have started in our home is an evening devotion. this happens each night before dinner. daddy reads from the bible. we keep it simple. we started in genesis and read half a chapter to 1 chapter a night. then we have a small discussion. the next routine we started was a bedtime devotional. daddy reads with the boys and mommy reads with the girls. currently daddy and the boys are reading out of the book of john. mommy and the girls are reading an age apropriate book on sex (christian) and also a book on courting. we also look up verses and read them together when teaching oppurtunites come up. if someone in the house is fighting, having a bad attitude or showing bad character. we will look up verses that pertain to those subjects. as i sit here and type my 2 quarreling daughters are reading scripture together about loving one another and putting others before ourselves. and already i can see them calming down :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

ethnic night

we love cooking and baking in our house. anytime the children study something that has to do with food we love to turn it into a homeschool lesson. its such a fun hands on way of learning and experiencing. since savanah has been studying ancient civilizations we have made this into a tradition. anytime she finishes up a unit we celebrate by researching the food they ate and having it for dinner. and it has to be ancient not what they eat for today. for example the jewish eat bagels today but they didnt in ancient judiasm. we try to do this the best we can.sometimes it is hard so we try to find something to represent something they ate. so far we have had ancient egyptian night, ancient china night, and ancient jewish night. most of the foods are very similar. alot of fish, flatbreads, nuts and fruits. i had apples and honey for the first time together last night and it was so yummy! it reminded me of apple cider or a caramel apple. today roger jr. is going to be making indian pudding to go along with his study of colonial america. next up for savanah is ancient greece. i cant wait for that night! maybe for thanksgiving we should plan a traditional pilgrim dinner....hmmmm i feel a lesson brewing :)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

operation christmas child

its that time of year again! time to bless a child through operation christmas child. what an inexpensive way to get the whole family involved in james 1:27. operation christmas child has been a tradition in our house for so many years i cant even count. our local christian bookstore gives free boxes away. if you have any old shoe boxes handy you can wrap and use those as well. there are 6 labels to choose from. you can choose a girl 2-4 years old, 4-9 years old, or 10-14 years old. there is a boy label with the same age groups to choose from. after you choose cut out the label and tape it on your box. each year we do one boy box and one girl box. this year we chose a 2-4 year old boy and a 10-14 year old girl. my boys pick out 5 fun things for the boy box and my girls pick out 5 girl things for the girl box. then mommy and daddy pick out the not so fun neccesities like toothbrushes, toothpaste, band aids etc. target has a great dollar section to find fun items. they also have a dollar section full of neccesities. the only other small cost is 7$ they ask that you include to help with shipping. this year my older children are writing letters to put inside the boxes too. i pray they get a letter back! all of the children are hoping our boxes get sent to africa. our boxes are all ready to go. now we just wait for november to drop them off at the local church that is shipping them off.

Friday, October 21, 2011


today my 12 year old daughter started experimenting with old jeans. she has had so much fun this morning converting old jeans into skirts!! and i think she is doing a great job. emily has so many pairs of jeans that she does not wear. she prefers skirts. so savanah is taking these jeans and cutting the leg seams, then adding a peice of fabric to the center and sewing it up. voila! a new skirt! she has only made one and i know they will get cleaner looking as she has more practice. emily is super excited to have some "new" skirts to wear. i think this qualifies as recycled and frugal and homemaking skills. just like the children get a satisfaction out of eating the fruits of their labor, i think they will get the same out of wearing the fruits of their labor.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

busy bee

i love to be a busy mom. filling my days teaching, cleaning, cooking and running the children to their activities. some days i get weary but i cant help but love what i do! it is what God has called me to! investing in my children is never a chore, always a priveledge. once in awhile it is nice to have a day at home to get caught up on the little things that get pushed aside. today is one of those days. my to do list is quickly growing. remember i like to be a busy bee even if it is at home. a few things i would like to accomplish today are baking a few loaves of bread, taking pictures of the kids, getting caught up on folding the laundry, schoolwork, making some shopping lists, and organizing the bills to be paid tomorrow. sound mundane? sound boring? not to me! remember scripture tells us no matter what we are doing, do it for Lord, not for man. with this perspective and attitude our everyday activities can turn into a missionary field.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


this past monday was free homeschool day at the monterey bay aquarium. i want to stop for a second and say how very thankful i am for oppurtunities like that. as a large family on 1 income we do not get to do big things like that very often. when oppurtunities like this arise we need to seize them! but i think this also helps us not to take things for granted. the icing on the cake was daddy being able to come along. i only enjoy these trips when we get to do them as a complete family. the children had a blast. it blesses my heart to observe the children taking it all in. especially the little guys that have never seen anything like this before. its also special to see the middles that are just able to understand it all, enjoying it. i would have to say the shark was the biggest hit for the children. i personally liked the sea horses. what an interesting creation. and hubby and i couldnt help but crack up at the video of the daddy seahorse popping the little babies out of his pouch. i think its safe to say hubby is very glad he is not a seahorse. the weather was beautiful we could not have asked for a nicer day. the drive out there is always nice. the kids get to see farms, and animals, mountains, and then finally the ocean. coming home is not as fun. everyone is tired and grumpy and just wants to be in bed! one thing that still sticks out in my mind is something my friend told me as we were leaving. she asked one of the employees if they noticed anything different on homeschool days than on regular admission days. he said yes, they tone back on the education portion because it is not in line with most of the homeschoolers beliefs. i thought this was very neat. i thought this was very respectful. it is nice that they didnt take the oppurtunity to "educate" our children.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

loaves and fishes

recently i was asked by a friend to recall a time when i was totally wow'd by God. of course there are so many times that its hard to tell one story or another. but i think its good to share these stories. it gives people hope and encouragement. and isnt the bible full of commands to encourage one another daily! " but exhort one another daily while it is called today, lest any of you be hardened through the decietfullness of sin"hebrews 3:13. i would like to share that some of the biggest wow moments from God is the way he provides. sometimes we can act like the isrealites and forget that God has provided for us in the past and then when tough times come we get upset or anxious about how we are going to get through it. i like to joke around when its grocery shopping time and old mother hubbards cubbards are bare, and say we need a loaves and fishes miracle. but in all seriousness we experience those miracles. we are so blessed to not truelly know what it means to have a bare cubbard. there are times we look and we "think" there is nothing because there isnt a box of cereal or poptarts. something quick and easy to grab. there are times its so close to payday and we have a few days to wait to go grocery shopping and we are stretched to get creative but we never go hungry. God always provides. sometimes we whip up a "gourmet" or thanksgiving like meal and think, "where in the world did this food come from". we look in the cubbards as if they are magic....but no that is what we call one of Gods loaves and fishes miracles around here. sometimes he uses people that have no clue about our situation but just are giving people to share with us. its always just enough, exactly when we need it. and i love to share these stories to encourage others who think its impossible. so i would have to say these are my big wow moments!

Sunday, October 16, 2011


my mom lives in the middle of some orchards and the almonds are falling off the trees right now. a couple weeks ago she sent home a bunch of almonds. the girls and i were trying to figure out what we were going to do with all of them. of course we didnt want them to go bad. well everyone knows chocolate almonds are my favorite thing. i normaly buy the ones from costco but those can get pricey. so i thought it would be a wonderful idea to buy some melting chips and make our own! and that is what we did this afternoon. the girls spent the afternoon shelling the almonds...with daddys pliers :) i melted the chocolate, dipped and set them on plates covered in foil. they are currently hardening in the refridgerator. we used all of the chocolate and have about 6 plates full of almonds. i also have alot of almonds left! i cant wait to pack them up for our trip to monterey tomorrow! maybe i will share ;) so over all i spent about 2.50$ for 6 plates full of chocolate covered almonds!!

Friday, October 14, 2011


when i was pregnant with josiah i went through a nesting faze and started making all things from scratch. although it was alot of work, i really enjoyed it. i felt very little house on the prarie-ish :) for those that know me real well, know that i love that lifestyle!!!

the recipe i use is amish white bread. i found it on . after i made it a few times i thought it would be fun to tweak it and make different flavored bread. i did this by sprinkling with cinnamon and sugar, or garlic and salt before i formed it into a loaf. if i make alot at a time i freeze it. i have not sat down and done the math, but i think this is saving me money lol!!

maybe it is time to get back to my homemade bread and buy less from the store. like the scripture says..."when you eat the labor of your hands, you shall be happy and it shall be well with you...".

2 cups warm water

2/3 cups of white sugar

1 1/2 TB of yeast

1 1/2 tp salt

1/4 cup veg oil

6 cups flour

1. dissolve sugar in warm water

2. add yeast and stir until creamy

3. add salt and oil into yeast mixture

4. mix flour in 1 cup at a time

5. knead and place in an oiled boil , coat both sides

6. cover with a damp cloth and let rise for an hour

7. knead and divide in half

8. place in breadpans and let rise for half an hour

9. cook on 350

this makes 2 loaves

Thursday, October 13, 2011


sometimes it is hard to put into words the work God is doing in my life, so bear with me. it amazes me the way scripture can speak to me. i can read over a passage one time and the next time i read it and its like a light turns on, and that passage makes total sense to me. or i can be wrestling with something in my life and feel convicted about something in my life and God will confirm by sending me a passage of scripture or a person to share some scripture or God given wisdom with me. all of this makes me feel as if im growing by leaps and bounds and it truelly makes me fall in love with Gods word again and again. even better it makes me hungry for more. here are a few scripture verses that have been really speaking to me and convicting me lately.

deuteronomy 6:5-9 i heard in a sermon once that in the jewish culture they wear bracelets that have Gods word rolled up and tucked into it. and they write Gods words on their doorframes. this verse has never left me after that teaching. verse 7 says we should be talking about Gods word always. " when you sit in your house, when you are walking, when you are laying down and rising up" this just about covers all of it!

the books of timothy and titus are a couple of my favorites. it shows me that God doesnt leave anything out when it comes to the way we should live. these books talk about character, conduct and everyday christian living. a couple passages that i love are,

1 timothy 2:8-15

1 timothy 5:8

titus 2:3-5

romans 6

i could go on and on! i encourage you to read Gods word. take time to read these passages on your own. dig deep. pray before you read and ask God for a soft heart and a teachable spirit.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

birthday fun!

we just had a birthday in the van clan house! or should i say 2 birthdays. monday the twins, levi and benjamin turned 5. for anyone who knew us when they were born, you know what a blessing their lives are!

for those that did not know me, they had a rough start. they were born 5 weeks premature. levi weighed in at 4 pounds 13 ounces and benjamin was 4 pounds 3 ounces. they were born via c section. my first one after 5 natural deliveries. and let me tell you i would rather do it all natural any day compared to that!!! my little guys were not born healthy. they had several breathing issues right off the bat. i was so happy when they were weaned off of all the oxygen and moved into a crib together.

roger and i spent all day everyday at the hospital with them for 3 weeks. we missed our other children so much. we were always home in time to have dinner with them and go to bed. we had breakfast with them and then were off to the hospital. one great blessing from this was all the bonding i got to do with my husband over this. we held our babies, fed our babies, ate all our meals together and took many walks together inbetween feedings.

after 3 weeks they were feeding and gaining weight. they were finally sent home. as soon as they came home we noticed they didnt breath or coordinate their eating right. they would often stop breathing during feeds. the time benjamin turned completely blue and limp, i had to administer cpr and roger called 911. this landed us back into the hospital for a week of observation. they had what was called reflux apnea. this is where the reflux muscles are not developed and the babies airways close during reflux. as if they were drowning.

it was a looooong 6 months before they grew completely out of it. it was a 6 months i will never forget. roger getting laid off was a blessing in disguise. God used so many people in our lives to provide for us and i had someone home to help me take care of our preemies on top of 5 other children. 1 of them only being 11 months older than the twins!

looking back i see God written all over the circumstances. and i now have 2 very healthy rambunctious little boys! i watch them sleep and thank God for them.

so, they have had their birthday dinners at grandpa and grandmas. 1 chose pizza and 1 chose macaroni and cheese. yum! we had our own family dinner at home of pancakes. hopefully this weekend we will be taking them to their birthday movie!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


the theme of this weekends mother daughter retreat was transformed. this was based on the scripture romans 12:2. " and do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and exceptable and perfect will of God." what a wonderful, and heart searching verse. are we allowing our minds to be transformed by the word of God or are we conforming to the world? do we seek what pleases God or do we still find pleasure in what the world finds pleasure in?
we took a look at the life of a butterfly. we went into depth the 3 phases of a butterflies life and compared them to the transformation that occurs when we let Gods word convict us. yolanda really went into depth on the things we should be teaching our daughters. what are we feeding our daughters? what example are we being for our daughters?
we took a look at the difference between being a princess and being a daughter of the King. there is a big difference! the worlds view of a princess is someone with an arrogant, selfish, entitlement attitude. we should be teaching our daughters to be daughters of the King. by doing this we teach them biblical character qualities such as patience, self control, and delayed gratification.
yolanda also taught us that we have to model these quaities if we are going to teach them to our daughters. she encouraged us to invest in our daughters things that are eternal. she also encouraged us to ask God to convict us of any area of our life that doesnt line up with scripture. i have been feeling convicted in many areas of my life lately and this weekend was a confirmation of so many things i have been praying about.
i encourage you today to ask God to stir in your heart any areas of your life that need a transformation. its not an easy thing to do, yet nothing feels better!

Monday, October 10, 2011

mother/daughter retreat

what an amazing weekend i had with my girls, friends and other moms and daughters! being out in Gods creation is so refreshing. i enjoyed starting my days off with an early morning devotional hike. saturday we had a great teaching on esther and sundays teaching was on peter. from there we went to breakfast and then chapel every morning. we were led in amazing worship by the sunflowerz. there were "ice breaker" games, and a wonderful teaching by a lady named yolanda.
after chapel we had a flexable schedule. we could go to a seminar, go to crafts or enjoy the outdoor recreation. we did a morning seminar, then headed out to the activities then some crafts and then more activities.
some of the activities were go carts, giant swing, jacobs ladder, leap of faith, rock climbing wall, archery, and the zip line. oh! how the girls loved the zip line. me...not so much. but i did it for my dear friend monic :)
in between all of that lunch was served. dinner was served at 5:30 then we had chapel again. worship and another teaching. after chapel we went back to the mess hall and had an evening snack. they loved to feed us! ive never seen my girls so excited about food! after evening snack the first night they had a game called before and after. anyone could get up and do a before and after skit. saturday night was the talent show. savanah, emily and their friend isabelle participated in that. it was alot of fun!!!
we ended sunday with chapel and brunch. it was a great weekend. we made alot of memories. most important i invested in my girls. i was so excited to come home to my family. theres nothing like your husband and other children running to you as you get out of the car. its pretty amazing :)
yolandas message this weekend was so right on. i want to do a whole blog just on that!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


hubby and i are always dating on a budget. we have our envelope system and in it is a date envelope. but realistically, we have alot of envelopes and sometimes that poor date envelope just doesnt get fed a whole lot. so we are always thinking of things we can do for free or cheap.

one thing we love to do is play tennis. there are a few tennis courts in town that are free. we dont play by the rules but it sure is fun to get out there and whack the ball back and forth. we love anything active and active is usually cheap or free. find some country and take a nice long walk or hike. thats active and gives plenty of time to talk. you could even pack up a picnic instead of going out to eat.
another thing that is low cost is driving up to a lake. there are trails to hike and swimming is fun if the weathers warm. sometimes all you have to do is pay to park. again, pack a picnic lunch or dinner.
christmas shopping is one of our favorite things to do on a date. its not free but if you do the envelope system you get to use the christmas envelope! so you have the fun of spending money but your spending it on others and accomplishing something.
even driving up to old sac or another historic place is fun. you dont have to buy at these places. window shopping is fun and there are alot of things to see that do not cost any money.
so you dont have to have alot of money to make a date nice. just being together makes it a nice time.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

best friends

is your husband your best friend? do you look foward to spending your time with him when he is home from work? or does hubby get whats left over at the end of the day? these can be very hard questions to answer. at the end of a long day caring for many children, schooling them, taking care of the house, running errands....we can feel drained and see our husband as another chore or thing to be taken care of. i know, i have been there.

but thats certainly not what God has in mind for our marriages. ephesians 5:22-33 is the perfect example of what God designed marriage to be. we should love our husbands all the time, not just when they are pleasing to us. love is an action not a feeling. we need to show our love. we need to show our respect. men are different than women. they need to be respected. this is love to them. by showing how much you apreciate their hard work, their leadership, their efforts you show them how much you love them.

most important is time. do we give our husbands our time? or do they come after the kids, the girlfriends, the church activities, the me time?

i love knowing that my husband is getting close to home. i anticipate it. i get excited. and i would rather be with him than anyone else. he is truelly my best friend. i enjoy his company. i enjoy working along side of him around the house. simple things like cooking dinner together can bring such closeness. taking walks with the kids is always a nice thing to do. the kids can ride ahead and give us some moments to talk and hold hands. find the joy in the little moments. when you do even going to the grocery store can be a great experience :)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Gods timing

i had some really encouraging words yesterday from a friend. in my flesh i can get very impatient and want things to go at my speed and my timing. in my brain my wheels are constantly spinning and brainstorming ways that i can move this adoption along faster.
yesterday a friend asked how things were going with the adoption and i told her how hard fundraising is and how slow its been. her words were very encouraging and eye opening. she said that by raising our own money for the adoption ( as opposed to taking a loan etc) we really are leaving the timing to God. its really keeping our focus on God and looking for Him in every step and process.
that got me thinking. instead of being discouraged and impatient i need to look at why is it taking so long. God has a reason. He has a perfect child for our family. and we have to wait for the right moment that God wants to bring that child to us. im sure as the process starts rolling we will be amazed at all the details God was working out in His timing. maybe our finances will be in better order, maybe our debt will be paid off or down. there are so many blessings in disguise that we need to focus on instead of complaining.
thank you to everyone that is being so supportive of us. your words of encouragement and your help and support are apreciated more than you willk ever know!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

date night

i love dating my husband. he is my best friend. theres no other person i would rather be with. its so nice to walk and talk and hold hands. i think having date time is so important.

i know when too much time has gone in between our dates i really start to long for a date.

we used to be regular and have a whole day once a month together. but sometimes thats just not realistic. life gets busy and money gets tight.

today was a refreshing time together after months since our last date. holding hands, talking, solving the worlds problems :) i love how roger still holds doors open and walks me to my side of the car. he likes to say, 9 kids later and we still got it. i told him we need to get date t shirts made. it never fails when we are out, we still love to talk to people about our kids. we need to get tshirts made that say happily married with 9 kids or some conversation starter like that.

make sure your hubby is still your boyfriend...:)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

the good ol days

ok, this one is just for fun. this came to me in the wee hours of the morning after hubby left for work i could not get back to sleep. sometimes my brain just wont shut off and i think a million thoughts at a time. this one was kind of fun though.

i have always said i was born during the wrong time period. of course i know God doesnt make mistakes. sometimes i just feel out of place in this modern world. i love the pioneer days. i love everything from the hard working people,to the clothes. i love the family values. i love the simplicity of the life. although they were busy working hard from sun up to sun down it was a simpler way of living. i believe with all of our modern conveniences we have made life busier and more complicated. and at the end of the day they had something to show for all their hard work and busyness. everything they did during the day was to sustain their lives. they made their clothes and food and worked their land. typically both mom and dad were in the home. working the home or working the land.

i often say i was born and raised in california but i am not a california girl. i would love to have some animals on some land. maybe it is just because i love history so much that i find this era fascinating. i watch movies of the amish and i think i would love to live like that if not for their religous beliefs.

when i read the scripture verse psalm 128 " blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways. when you eat the labor of your hands you shall be happy and it shall be well with you." i think that God is saying it is good for man to work hard with his hands. to eat the fruits of our labor.

what is your favorite time period and why?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

home making

"when you are out in public, in what ways can you show an unbelieving world that you are proud to be a mother?" this was one of the questions at the end of a chapter in the book i am reading by nancy campbell. this question really jumped out at me. maybe because in our modern culture moms, or the career of motherhood are not respected as they once were. i think this question searches my heart because when we have days that wear us out or we feel "trapped" in our roles we can "accidently" show the world, that even we dont respect what we do as moms.

do we complain about our kids to other people, do we yell and look frustrated with our kids all the time when we are out with them, when a stranger asks us what we do or if these kids are all ours do we answer them joyfully?? this is something the Lord works on in me constantly.

our kids pick up on our attitudes also. even when we are at home. do our kids watch us doing our household chores grumbling and complaining or joyfully, as though working for God not man. do they feel like a burden instead of a blessing.

do people look at us and wonder, why did that lady have kids if she doesnt enjoy them? or do they look at us and say, there goes a lady that loves her job.

another question that caused me to think and i hope it does for you too is this " why do feminists seek to destroy motherhood if they think it is so insignificant?" i would love to hear your thoughts on that...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

family togetherness

there are alot of cute little sayings that promote family togetherness, " the family that plays togther stays together" and "the family that prays together stays together". i think these are both true. God, husband, family is the order in which it goes.
we love being together as a family. we love running errands together, taking walks together, even going to appointments together (dentist, doctor etc.) and one thing i have learned by doing this with all the kids is that it has taught them how to behave in all situations. of course the little ones still get curious and pull an occasional fire alarm, but its something that comes with the territory! and if looked at positively it creates a teachable moment :)
one of the things i love so much about homeschooling is the closeness it has created within our family.
i know this is not a very popular concept in our modern society, but who ever knew me to be "normal" :) it is so important to have your childrens hearts.
enjoy your children today!

Monday, September 26, 2011


a friend of mine sent me a couple of books to read. they are written by nancy campbell of the above rubies magazine. as i was reading this morning on my treadmill i was overwhelmed by the amount of scripture that speaks of motherhood and childbearing. we have such a huge priveledge as women to be involved in giving life.
i was also amazed that scripture speaks so often of the womb. our wombs are life giving, they are a blessing. "websters 1928 dictionary explains that the word woman is a combination of words, womb and man. woman therefore means womb man or man with a womb." i really thought this was a neat tidbit of info.
sometimes it can be challenging to embrace our motherhood. but when we learn that it is a gift and a calling from God it changes our attitudes. God has been working on me over the years in this area. i am now to the point where i am truely embracing my role as mama ( not that i dont have bad days still).
another point i loved in the book is that we as women have a need to mother or nurture whether we have children of our own or not. i can see this all around me. women seem to have an instinct to want to nurture something. children, pets, younger mothers etc. i recall each time in my life that i really begged roger for a pet. each of those times i found out shortly after that i was pregnant! my instinct was overwhelmed with a need to nurture.
how have you embraced motherhood lately?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

garage sale/bake sale

yesterdays garage sale/bake sale was alot of fun! we did ok. the goodies were a big hit. the girls were a big help at the bake sale. we did not think anyone would buy the cowboy pic but alot of people asked about it and when we finally sold it we all cheered. a big thank you to everyone that heped and baked. with each fundraiser we are that much closer to starting the adoption process!

grocery shopping with the van clan!

everyones a helper! mommy bags with the help of the kids while daddy pays. 3 carts full! teamwork is what makes our trips enjoyable. it was light out when we went in....dark when we came out, lol!