Friday, January 30, 2009

The temporary house

I just thought I would keep it real here as an encouragement to my friend over at Storing up Treasures in Heaven (HERE). She was feeling discouraged the other day about her own personal move and it got me thinking. Moving really is one of the most difficult things. You take all your things and sort through them (which often stirs the emotions and brings back old memories of days gone by), then you put them all in boxes. And as we all know, searching for boxes is almost half the battle in itself (HERE). Moving also includes the cleaning, the fixing, the house selling, lots of inspections, saying good-bye, loading the truck and driving when you are beyond tired.

Then...when you get to your new locale...the new trials begin. The unpacking (and questioning of why you brought your JUNK with you), putting away, sorting again of your things. Painting new rooms and finding curtains for the new windows (most likely your old ones won't work in the new place) and trying to make it feel homey. Searching out to find a new doctor, hair dresser, church and not to mention getting a new drivers license. This doesn't even touch on breaking into a new group of friends (if there is room for someone new). Not to mention, just missing the feeling of just being "home" (for some reason the new home doesn't feel like home yet).

So we have completed the first part of the move. And we are still in the "can't unpack" stage and as we wait it only prolongs finishing the process. I looked around the other day and realized, we kind of live this pathetic little life right now. And I am not complaining, I am trying to encourage my friend. So for you my friends who are in the midst of moving...a tour of our place.
Everything we own is in the garage. It is packed to the top. I am actually shocked it all fit in there. We have tried to get to a few boxes but it is beyond impossible to find the right box, so it is just better to live without instead.
To show how high it is, here is Tally next to the stack. She is over 5 feet tall and the boxes tower over her.We held out a few school boxes and we are able to do an abbreviated version of school each day. That has helped make it feel more like our normal life. (I do love this beautiful table that Chuck made but finding a house that it fits in is another story).
In order to fit our boxes in the garage, we tried to put as much furniture in the house as we could. My dresser is in the eatery (breakfast nook) and we have been terrible at just dumping our stuff on top of the dresser and little black stand. I am afraid if I put the stuff in a drawer somewhere, I will lose it (note the red arrows).

The girls are camping out in the bonus room. We gave Tristen's dresser away and haven't replaced it so she has no place to put her clothes. The best place (other than the floor) is to stack them on the book shelf (the red wavy marks). The corner of the room is also just stacked with boxes.My clothing storage option is worse than Tissy's. I am still putting my clothes in a suitcase and an open box on the floor. It sure looks like I have given up all hope of trying to keep this place tidy. It is hard to tidy when you don't have the proper place to put your stuff. I also still have 2 little bags (of little gifts) from Christmas that I can't put away because I have no place to put themAnd lastly, I use a box on the floor of the bathroom to keep my "beauty products" in. How's that for trashy???

Like I said...I am not complaining, just keeping it real and poking fun at our mess. On a note of encouragement, reach out to that new family if there is one in your school, church, neighborhood or at work. See if there is a way to be a blessing to them.

Hope you enjoyed our tour...and I hope you feel a little more encouraged. =)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Symphony

We had the opportunity to join a homeschool group here to go to the "local" symphony this morning. It turned out to be a fantastic event. The girls had never been to something like this before and I wasn't sure how much they would actually enjoy it. The concert was Lemony Snicket's "The Composer is Dead". Even from the name, I thought that Tissy would be scared or nervous. The idea of it is to "introduce" the different instruments (kind of like going to see Peter and the Wolf when we were kids).

Music is something that we haven't ventured into all that much and I do feel a little convicted about that. Maybe our time today will catapult us into that arena. We had studied the science part of instruments this year and learned all about sound and movement (HERE). And then to refresh their minds we filled in a few sheets that I downloaded from Enchanted Learning (HERE) that categorized the instruments in groups.

The concert was FANTASTIC. It was funny and interesting and extremely entertaining. I am so glad we took the chance to check it out. To top it all off, it was FREE. Note to self, take advantage of the opportunities around and widen our world.

Only bummer was...I ran out of battery on my camera and you can't take pictures in the concert hall. So I had to borrow some online.
The girls were really impressed with how fancy the concert hall is. Oh...I am so glad we live here!!!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Salad tossed in our Goldfish container

We are trying to figure out and make do with what we have access too. I have already bummed some basics off my very sweet new friends here. We only had 2 mugs and the girls wanted hot cocoa, so I ended up borrowing 2 more mugs so they don't have to wait while I finish my coffee on those chilly mornings. And we did end up borrowing a colander so I could strain some pasta (didn't even think about how to do that until AFTER the pasta was made). I also got a pot with a lid so I can heat soup or boil water. If you haven't already figured it out, ALL of our things are packed away and are waiting until we actually move into our home before we unpack. has been a little interesting on making do with what we have.

Every meal is off of paper plates. And yes I feel guilty in that (goes against the reduce, reuse, recycle idea of me being a tree hugger). We are using plastic ware (plastic silverware sounds too much of an oxymoron). And most of our meals are sandwiches (doesn't take any thing to prep that kind of a meal).

Trying to mix it up a bit I picked up a great salad kit at Trader Joe's the other day. We had sampled it at the store and it was fantastic. Spinach with pecans and blue cheese. Yum-o. I was ready to toss it up for dinner and then I realized...I have nothing to put it in. No large bowl. Not a big pot. Nothing. Then I spotted a air tight plastic container that has goldfish crackers in it. That seemed to be the best bet, so I cleaned it out and tossed our tasty salad in that Rubbermaid container. I wasn't sure it would all fit but it did. And with the lid, tossing it with the dressing was pretty easy. Actually a lot easier than in a bowl with tongs.
It has been the adventure, none the less. Living a very minimalistic lifestyle. It kind of makes me we really need all that stuff that is packed in the garage?

Don't you just HATE insomnia?

I am sure many of you blogger out there have struggled with insomnia from time to time. And for some reason, it seems to come in waves. I may not have issues with it at all, and will strike. I have my little remedies that seem to work - a little at least.

For starters...I end the evening with Sleepytime Tea Extra Wellness (HERE). That seems to help, except for tea makes me have to use the bathroom and that is a bummer at night time. Must make sure it is the EXTRA WELLNESS TEA not just the regular sleepytime tea.

I also try to not wake myself up with chores right before bed. That tends to get me going again and then it is hard to drift off and I hate when I miss that sleepy window. You know when you were sleepy and then it has seemed to passed and you are awake with thoughts running through your head.

I have a few movies I have seen so many times that I love to fall asleep to them. Anything that I am too interested in tends to keep me awake. But if I have seen it many times before, I can doze off to it. May favorite list of those movies are...Sabrina (my choice last night at 4:30 am), Sleepless in Seattle, Baby Boom, and While You Were Sleeping. These movies are all sweet, not scary or intense and the music in the background isn't too wild.

So, those are my best remedies. Any one have anything else I am missing? What are your remedies to help you deal with insomnia? Or am I the only one that struggles with it???

Monday, January 26, 2009

Oh my !!!

Last night Tristen said she learned some new dance moves at church. She showed me how she now knows how to do the "sprinkler". And, BTW, it is really cute. times changed !!! Learning a dance move at church ??? Oh my !!! =)

Thursday, January 22, 2009


I am just finishing up a series of studies in the book of Isaiah (HERE) and I have been so blessed by the truths of God's word. The last few lessons have gently reminded me that there are blessings in our enemies and blessings in our illnesses. As I was going through this study, I couldn't help but think that there are blessings in difficult times too. When we are struggling, in any way, it is a chance for us to turn to God. When those times challenge our faith it shows us who we are trusting in. Where our comfort is. Those hard times drive us to the Almighty God. God has His perfect purpose for our circumstances. It is not to divide us or weaken us, but to strengthen us. To make us more of who He wants us to be. To allow us to respond in EVERYTHING with a Christ-like attitude. Ultimately to refine us.

I am just loving how God is always working. Loving His blessings. No matter how they come.

The house drama continues

Well, after all those wonderful guesses with the last post. The answer to the question is... we had put the offer on the house with the acreage. And to not keep the suspense, those sellers will not budge off their price. And their asking price is more than we wanted to spend. We just don't have a peace about giving their asking that means we are back to the drawing board. Back to house hunting. Back to seeking God for just the right place. We feel strongly that we will have a peace about the right place.

Monday, January 19, 2009

We put another offer on another house.

For all those out there waiting on pins and needles to find out about our house situation (I know...your dying to find out - he he). We have been all over the place and trying to seek out every situation and all of our possibilities. Not sure if we should go for...
  • the house with lots of bedrooms and a basement (no windows down there)
  • the house that has the huge WOW factor when you walk through the door (that would stretch our budget) and might be fancier than our tastes
  • the house that needs major updating (with the small yard)
  • or do we try and head just a little outside of town and get the country house on acreage (that doesn't have the sought after zip code)
  • or what about a house that is a little too small (not enough bedrooms) but with the yard that has room to play (but backs up to the free way)
So...which one did we put the offer on? I wonder if my blogging friends can figure it out. No pictures to post yet and we haven't heard from the sellers if they accepted our offer.

If you already know (ah don't tell. And as always...vagueness is appreciated in locale.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

We are just not sure what to do.

We are trying to make a good decision on a house for our family and we are SO desiring to make the right choice. As for the first house we had a contract on...well...we STILL have not heard from the seller's bank that they are approving of the short sale. The only thing we know is that this could take several more months. We prayed that if it wasn't God's will, that He would shut the door. And it seems that the door is shutting.

So that means, we have spent the last week still house hunting. We are really praying for God's wisdom and discernment as we make another choice and move on. Since we are ruling out short sales, it does limit our options. Thanks for praying with us as we search out our options and seek God's direction.

Sorry the blogging has been so LAME around here lately. We are pretty bored ourselves and missing our "stuff" as it is all packed away. I do always love to know that you have stopped by anyway. =)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

My is she tall !!!

I just looked over to the window where my girls had their noses pressed against the glass (it is starting to snow) and thought to myself..."My is she tall". Speaking of Tally of course. She has always been tall and she obviously comes from some tall genes. But I think she is growing an inch a month. She just seems so TALL and grown up. Last time she was measured she was 5 ' 3". This is a 10 year old. I have adult friends that aren't that tall. And if you chart that (HERE) she is higher than the 95%. (Well, she always has been off the charts).

I wonder how tall she will be. I am guessing around 6 feet. And I can only imagine, she will not only be tall, but beautiful. For some reason, when I just saw her looking out the window it took me by surprise. Such a blessing watching her grow.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I feel guilty...

...for not composting our kitchen scraps and bunny litter. Once you are so aware of how easy it is to compost, it is hard to throw a banana peel in the trash. I thought it was just me so I asked the girls if they felt the same and they both said YES.

So, I guess composting has become more of a habit than I thought. And we are missing our garden and composting bins. Once we are settled, we will have to get started on a composting area. And I am sure composting in the cold will be more difficult.
In case you missed my other posts on composting, this is how I started (HERE). Here are the benefits of composting (HERE). And here are some fun things that I "found" in my compost piles (HERE).

On a different note...there is no news on the house. This short sale was not why we chose this house and it is taking longer than anticipated. We are waiting on it for a little bit, but if it continues to proceed at this slow pace, we will have to find something else (we can only "camp" out here until March). Not to mention, we need to get settled. We are praying for God's will to be done and either continue to open the door on this house, or close it and lead us in another direction.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Science Center

We spent the day on Friday enjoying the Science Center as a family. Like I said in my previous post, I do know that I am going to like it here. I can imagine there is tons to take advantage of for family fun or for activities for homeschooling. We just need to venture out and find it. As with these kinds of places, it is worth buying the year pass for the family if you plan on attending more than once in a year. We hope to get back there next week, they are offering a class for homeschoolers.
Here the girls are lifting a car. This tied in perfectly with what we have studied for science (forces and movement with Noeo).
After our big study on space (HERE), they really liked this moon walk exhibit. We all gave it a try (notice I did NOT include a picture of me up there).

Here are Chuck and Tally trying out the Space Walk where you are kind of weightless. Notice how high up Tally is. She is pretending to float in space and fix the space shuttle.

As part of our science this fall (HERE and HERE), we studied musical instruments and the different ways they make sounds. Again, a great hands on example of a pipe organ. Just love how all of this ties in with our school work.
At one of these fun puzzle boards Tristen was checking out the puzzle for parallel lines (how cool...our lesson last week was on parallel and perpendicular lines in Math).

About 2 years ago, I taught a class at a homeschool co-op on the body (HERE). It was one my favorite studies I have ever done. Oh, I would have LOVED this "body" to demonstrate on.
We really had a great time and it was a HUGE treat to have Chuck along for this kind of an outing. We are just having a nice time, spending time as a family...just waiting to get into that house (more on that when we get some details).

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I know I am going to love it here...

...where else can you sit on a giant rocking chair?

(Did you see that? Focusing on the positives again. If nothing else, I am determined.)
***don't forget***vagueness is appreciated in our locale***

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


If you only knew how hard it is for me to post something real and honest like yesterday's post. It is hard for me to show any kind of struggle and I always run the risk of someone trying to be helpful with their words but end up come across as uncaring.

Oh how I was so blessed by your friendship both on the blog here and on FB. Blessed by friends praying for me, encouraging me, reaching out in comforting friendship. I love how I can be encouraged by virtual strangers. By some of you that I have never even met, but because you took the time to write an uplifting note, you were part of the blessing. You were used in such a powerful way to come along side me and lift me up. Handing me that cup of water as I am finishing up the marathon just trying to put one foot in front of the other. I am so grateful for you all. Thank you so much.

Truth be told, as I got started in my studies yesterday in my Precepts Bible lesson (still studying Isaiah), I was so blessed by the Word. Blessed by the truths that I find comfort in. Blessed as I study this book on prophecy, I find comfort for my daily life. Finding joy in God's faithfulness and hope that only He can give.

In repentance and rest you will be saved, in quietness and trust is your strength. Isaiah 30:15

Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; how blessed are those who long (wait) for Him. Isaiah 30:18


On a different note, even though we sold our home we are still praying for several friends that are still trying to sell a home in a difficult market. Let me know if I can continue to pray for you in this way...just leave me a comment.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Wondering if I can ENDURE???

If you are my FB friend you would see that my status says..."Cris wonders if she can endure?" And if you are not on Face Book, what are you waiting for??? Get on there and click on me to be your friend.

OK, wait, that wasn't my point here, my point was can I endure? I have come to understand that our values really drive us. I have put a lot of thought into values before, but I am coming to understand my own values even more. Though the last year was hard being away from Chuck and living the life of single parent, caring for the kids on my own, keeping up on the acreage and the garden and pool, showing the house at the drop of a hat, keeping it clean, packing our place up in less than 2 weeks, wondering if we were going to sell or not, struggling with the financial hole we were in each month...the list goes on. Believe me, it wasn't the easiest of times. But we were able to endure.

To be honest, I feel so stretched so thin and I held it together for all those long months and now...can I endure? Not sure I can. I understand that routine and familiar surroundings are two of my highest values. And right now, I have neither one of those. We are in a holding pattern with the house that we have the offer on and no idea when we will hear from the bank (it is a short sale). We are camping out in temporary housing (and don't get me wrong, we are VERY grateful for a place to crash). But since we moved so quickly, I didn't not pack with the thought of temporary. We just threw it all in boxes just to get out of there on time. And now everything is packed tightly in the garage stored in boxes and we can't really get to anything (imagine one box moved and the whole thing comes crashing down).

So as positive as I so often try to be, I also want to be honest. I am struggling. I am not sure I can endure. I need to create some kind of routine and I need to "make friends" with my current surroundings so I can find some comfort. The girls have been sick for about 10 days and we are feeling couped up to say the least. We have no new news on the house and I am just keeping it real here. Sorry to be such a downer. Believe me, I know the truth. I know it will all be over soon and we will be done with this whole thing. But for today...I can only endure in God's strength and not my own.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Homemade Holiday

Almost forgot the precious homemade gift debut. As I mentioned before, in our penny pinching effort this year, we made gifts for Christmas. The girls really got into this and spend days working on theirs. I was able to help them come up with ideas that they could actually pull off. We got lots of felt (not wool felt ~ too pricey) and a variety of craft floss (like embroidery floss ~ just easier for kids to work with). And they had a blast making their gifts. I didn't get pictures of the gifts that they gave away to cousins, so just trust me on how cute those were.

Tally made these AG doll mittens and scarf for Tissy (well actually for Tissy's doll). Tally was able to conquer the blanket stitch and used it on lots of her projects.With a little design help from grandparents, Tally made these ice skate ornaments for me. I used to ice skate when I was younger and I have always loved ice skate ornaments. Aren't they just darling?

Tally has always been a natural communicator. And she was able to make these kinds of gifts totally on her own. She wrote a book for Chuck and made me a book of Poems. Full of phonetic spelling and all. I am not sure it gets any cuter than this. I just love these and I will bring them out in the years to come and put them out with the other Christmas books. (click on the picture below to enlarge the picture to read some of the poems)

Here I am unwrapping the gift that Tissy made me. I have mentioned that I want to make some cloth napkins and work harder at not wasting paper napkins. She came up with the idea to make napkins for our family with a special design for each person. She also got some help from Grammy and Papa and they couldn't be cuter. Her excitement for having me open these gifts was almost uncontrollable. She was bursting with joy. Tears and all.

The designs are from the left - race car for Chuck, teacup for Tissy, book for Tally, and apple for me.

My gift for the girls was this felt toy mail set. I had seen it in a catalog (HERE) and I thought it was too cute. But I wasn't willing to pay over $50 for the whole thing. So as I usually do, I figured I could make it myself (with no pattern). I thought it turned out just adorable.

All the stamps and names and such can be interchanged and are held on with bits of Velcro. The brown ones on the left are envelopes that the notes can go inside of.

My original idea was to paint on the felt, but I ended up stitching it on with floss instead. It has a sweet primitive look that I just love in simple toys.

Like I said before, we didn't take pictures of everything, but these are but a few homemade ideas. There was something really special about not having to hunt the stores for some gift that the person wont really use, and spend money that you shouldn't. It was special to make these and think about the person and express your love for them in a homemade way.

Though we ran out of time and didn't finish our gifts for everyone (our very fast moving threw us off), we had a lot of fun making these this year.

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Years Musings

It is the time of year to think through last years events and focus on the next new year. I have said many times that 2008 was a hard year, but a good year. Though many of the year was full of trials and transitions, it was also full of being refined by God. Less of me and more of Him.

A few things that come to mind...just last January, I joined a local Precepts Bible Study group. I believe that group and that study was one of the main reasons that we were in our last town. It was the tool that God used in my life to completely draw me into the Bible at such a deep level. I will forever be changed by that pivotal event.

Chuck changing jobs. Was also a huge transition in our life. Leaving the previous job and becoming part of an organization that works in the Christian industry. That has been a goal of Chuck's for years and to see God open the doors in that direction was a blessing. It is so neat to see Chuck fit so well in his environment.

I just realized that we lived without Chuck home for most of last year. God demonstrated His faithfulness in SO many ways as our family took that leap of faith to follow His lead. Like I said, it wasn't easy, but it was just the right amount of stretching that we needed to become a stronger family.

We have been so blessed in so many ways. God has been so faithful, and His timing so perfect. As I look to 2009, I find that God is tugging at my heart to be used by Him even more. To serve where He leads. I desire to be faithful in studying His word daily. I want to respond in every situation graciously and in a way that is a positive testimony to those I come in contact with. a nut shell those are my "resolutions". If you can call them that. More like goals or things to strive for. Hopefully with our life a little less consumed with moving (that is, once we get settled) I desire to celebrate the holidays with purpose. And, I wouldn't mind learning more about canning in my "spare" time.

(just for fun...last years resolution is HERE)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Wondering if you have a good tradition?

Yep...I was asleep before midnight. And though my New Year was safe and was a little lame. We really don't have any good traditions for New Years. Chuck wanted me to see if there are any good ideas out there to ring in the New Year. I think it is the one holiday that points out how different Chuck and I actually are. I think his dream New Year's celebration would be Times Square right in the middle of all the hubbub. I would rather be in a cozy cabin watching movies, somewhere they DON'T set off fireworks that scare the children.

We really don't have a good tradition for New Years. It seems that someone is sick (and in fact this year BOTH of the girls are sick). Or too tired. Or too busy to plan some kind of party. With kids, it is hard to stay up to midnight just to watch a ball drop on TV. Letting them stay up, just turns into cranky kids the next day. So our default was watching a movie and eating some lame, everyday food. I am sure Chuck was highly disappointed.

So...all that to say, do you have a good New Year's tradition? Family game night. Party with friends. Appetizers or fondue for dinner. Bang pots and pans around the yard at midnight. Bring on the ideas to inspire us.

Maybe next year we wont be in survival mode and we can get our act together to plan some kind of a shin-dig. Oh...and Happy New Year by the way.