Being Mama, Family

Dancing In The Kitchen

My girls and I were preparing for the annual dessert auction today. As we moved around the kitchen it was like we were synchronized in some sort of baking routine. It’s funny because yesterday my husband was trying to cook and was so frustrated because there was a chair in his cooking space. He hollered and he yelled. He may have thrown a few things. I pointed out that maybe he was having a bit of an attitude and that most certainly didn’t make matters any better. My son, the mechanic, tends to stay out of the kitchen unless he’s very very determined to make something of his own creation such as his famous (at least in our house) pleasant pheasant dish. Otherwise you can count on him to be about as helpful as a pimple on prom night in the kitchen.

As my two girls and I walked past one another dumping cups of sugar and stirring in handfuls of salt and baking soda it made me think of that saying “kitchens are made for dancing”. Although we weren’t actually dancing it seemed as if we were. I was in complete home maker happiness at that moment. We scooped and stirred and mixed and waltzed around one another reaching here and leaning there and moving aside so the other could get to the cupboard or stove. It was all so timely and without a mishap I thought perhaps maybe I was dreaming a little. Then I realized It was just a bit of déjà vu. This what happens when my mom, my sister and I are in the kitchen together. It’s a perfect seamless dance as we maneuver raw ingredients into a delicious meal. That made me a bit homesick I’m afraid.

Home to me really isn’t a place anymore. It’s more the people that belong to the deepest part of my life. I miss the nearness of my loved ones. I miss seeing their faces on a regular basis. I miss my best friend who no longer lives 15 minutes away. But I have to be thankful for each and every blessing that I do have. And what I have is a beautiful family and a church full of wonderful people that I call friends that I can call on anytime I am in need. Looking forward I also have many wonderful people that I’m sure will become dear friends to me in the future.

I chose to live where I do because that is where God planted me. I have no regrets and I’m in love with what God is doing in my life. But the truth is I hunger sometimes for the nearness of my family. And though they are not far away it is still a sacrifice.

But as always when I face these moments I think about my simple phrase that always carries me through another day and that is “today I choose joy”. I will enjoy this snap shot and treasure it always as a beautiful moment in time. A time when my girls and the girl I was danced together in perfect harmony.

Being Mama, Family, Kids, Life, Love, Marriage

Where Have All The Housewives Gone

We just had our yearly chat with the gal who does our taxes. I have been contemplating working a few hours in the summer. Something very part time. I asked if upping our income a bit was going to help or hurt us in the long run. Funny thing is if I make over $10,000 annual ( which I probably won’t) we up our tax bracket and lose some of the return we are now getting. Essentially, it’s a wash.

My kids are teens now and looking for work of their own. I love this age and yet I yearn to just be out of the house. They don’t need me as much now anyway. I love home but I’m not thrilled with staying there all day, ya get me? And yet, I hear my mother’s voice saying how she wished she had not gone to work when my baby brother entered his teens. He had a very troubled adolescence and she still feels a bit guilty.

And if I’m being honest, there are days when I’m not really up to the task. I’m working on myself this year to improve that. After chronic pain had become intolerable and migraines ate up the hours in my days I stepped back and made few changes in order to better myself physically.

I’m sure this all sounds like I am justifying my choice to remain out of the work place ( at least for now). I guess it is but it’s so much more than that to me. It’s a calling. I’m made to nurture and to love. I don’t understand how being a housewife has gotten such a bad rap. No, we are no longer living in the 1950s but there is truly something satisfying about providing the best for your family.

On any given day I am a driver, a cook, a teacher and tutor, a cleaner (NOT maid), a mentor, a help meet, a friend and lover, an encourager, an organizer, a planner and appointment maker, an economizer and financial assistant, a dreamer and reader, a prayer warrior and a keeper of the home. It’s a big job.

I was purging paper work recently and found stacks of report cards and college applications. Among these were several letters of reference from various mentors and teachers. I read them and was amazed at their kind words. They were chock full of sincere praise and promise. How did I not realize I was a golden girl? I was one of the few that would “amount to something”. I was just now seeing what my teachers must have seen in me then. A bright future. A world changer. Someone destined for more.

Did I squander my life? In the world’s eyes, maybe. But as I sit here writing this my 10 year old is bringing me her school poster to inspect, my 16 year old is explaining his newest dilemma with his vintage motorcycle and I am nagging my 13 year old to feed the goats. I know this may sound like your definition of crazy but this is my little slice of heaven and I wouldn’t trade a second. I’m here for my family and that’s right where I want to be.

I may be in the minority on this one but that’s ok. I’m proud to be a mother and housewife. And, if you ever need a cup of coffee or a hot meal there’s a good chance you will find me in my kitchen and I will gladly bring you in and make you feel right at home.

Being Mama, Family, Food, Frugal

Crunch Wraps For The Win

I’m seriously into food. I love it. It makes me happy. A while back I went to a restaurant with a girlfriend and neither of us was fully satisfied with the offerings. As soon as the waiter left our table after taking our orders we both began rummaging in our bags. She came up with REAL butter and I with my secret stash of tea. We know what we want when it comes to eating and weren’t taking any chances.

That being said I also live a great on the go meal. This crunch wrap is what a busy moms dreams are made of. Portable. Self contained. Good now and still good later. AND….It freezes well! Heaven sent I tell ya!

But the true test is will they eat it? Um, if they like Taco Bell they will hands down like to see this guy in their lunch boxes.

So here is the skinny….

You’ll need:

Ground beef -2 lbs will get you roughly 6 wraps so expand or decrease according to your need

Tortillas- one for each wrap

Shredded cheese- about 1 tbsp for each wrap

Salsa or sauce of your choice ( optional)

Large frying pan

First cook and drain the beef then assemble like so…. Tortilla, meat, cheese, sauce

Then you will need to get a large pan on medium heat to fry these guys

If you have non stick you probably can get by with no oil added, otherwise just add a scant amount to prevent sticking

Now the folding….

Continue all the way around until you have something like this

Press your palm into wrap to keep the tortilla from unfolding and place it fold side down in pan

It is important to keep the folds down when placing it in the pan. As it cooks press down gently to help the cheese to melt and “glue” the wrap together.

Flip and cook until golden brown on both sides ( if you plan on eating these immediately I would cook them just a bit longer to thoroughly heat it through. My kids will be reheating these at school so I cook them just enough to hold together )

Here is the pressing- make sure you do this if your wraps have to be carted to school or work- it ensures your wrap is not going to unwrap itself

I got these ones a little toasty but after they cool I’ll toss them in baggies and into the freezer for a quick grab and go lunch!

Yum!

Hope you liked this!

What are your favorite quick meals?

Being Mama, Organize

Capsule(ish) Wardrobe to Simplify Life

Hey everyone! It’s been a while since I posted. Life. You know how that goes! 😶😯😄

Today I am working on school prep. I’m sure you are wondering how that applies to my closet…Well, when you have chores and kids and animals all crammed into your school morning anything you can do to streamline is a big plus. So in with the capsule(ish) wardrobe! Ok, so I kinda cheated. I narrowed it down to 40 pieces and a true capsule wardrobe would be half that ( or less). But to be real I live where the weather is very changeable so I did repeats of some items in different fabrics. For example I have 3 black toppers: a sweater cardigan, a lightweight layering cardigan and a heavy neoprene hooded vest. That easily could have been one item instead of three but, again, the weather… I also have three denim skirts because I live in them and I don’t want to wear the same thing 2x a week. (Yes, I’m an over washer and if you think I’m “saving” that shirt for another wearing you are wrong)

So here was the 40 piece capsule(ish) wardrobe

If you will notice the bulging suitcase above… yeah, those are summer clothes. And down the hall there is this…

This is back up in case I just get sick of the whole idea after a while. So yeah, I definitely cheated but I have to be real here. I know that things get stale after a while and I may want to swap my color palate around.

For this capsule I used denim, black and beige tones for neutrals. I added blue/ greens, gray and berry colors to liven things up. My goal was to create fast and pulled together outfits every day that consistently looked good and saved me time.

In my capsule:

10 bottoms- black, denim, beige

10 tops- blue, green, berry, black , cream

2 vests- black, beige

10 toppers (cardigans or jackets to layer)- black, beige, denim, green, gray

8 dresses- beige, berry, green, blue, gray, black, patterned

I feel like this is a good amount to get me through 2 weeks if needed but not so much that my closet is crammed.

Why bother with all this work you ask. Well, the great thing about a capsule wardrobe is that each item is supposed to easily mix and match with the others so that you always have a pulled together look without all the time matching an outfit while you are standing in your towel and late for work. Basically, all your outfits are preplanned to go together in a snap.

So the big question is – does it work??? I didn’t want to wait a week to do a test run so I did a BLIND sample.

I turned off the lights and walked to my closet and closed my eyes. I grabbed a bottom and a top and then peeked to see what I ended up with.

Test 1:

Test 2:

Test 3:

To be fair I could feel the nubby texture of the sweater vest in test 3 and the cream bell sleeve was next to it which also had lacy fabric in it so I guess my tactile senses helped on that one.

I’d probably toss a denim jacket over the top in test 2 but I would wear all three of these out so I consider it a success!

Tell me how you save time in the morning!

Being Mama, Get Happy!, Life

Thankful 365 – April 2018

I have been working on this little project since the first of the year and here is Thankful 365 for April.  This was an idea that I saw and decided to try it out for myself.  In order to cultivate a grateful spirit I have written one positive and specific thought for each day.  This will be for an entire year but I will post it at the end of each month.


 

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April 1- Easter. Thank you Jesus for your sacrifice

April 2- Gardening. Set my first plants in the ground TODAY. Ah, blessed dirt!

April 3- Gardening

April 4 – My doctor! She is pretty awesome.

April 5- Care group- they’re my tribe!


April 6- It’s Friday and its been a long week. FriYAY!

April 7- My husband took 2 out of town calls that kinda ate up our Saturday but I’m glad that my son had a job to do to keep him busy and productive. The girls and I spent the day cleaning so we made the most of a rainy Saturday.

April 8- I’m thankful for wonderful church services that change lives for the better!

April 9- It was a crazy busy day but I’m thankful I had energy for it. I may not have much left but I got through today and made a big pot of chili for a cozy comfort food. Yum!

April 10- My dog. She was at the vet and we missed her. Its good to have her home.


April 11- My seedlings have sprouted!

April 12- My husband. Its his birthday today and I’m thankful for him. And for seeing friends who came just to wish my man a happy birthday 🎂

April 13- I’m thankful for a day off. I was not at my best but a rainy restful day was just the thing.

April 14- lazy Saturday. And we hired out cleaning the chicken coop! Nice!

April 15- Had fun with my bus kids. Love those babies!


April 16- Monday workday. Gettin’ stuff done!

April 17-My husband! He loves me enough to buy me treats when I’m crabby #lovehim #hesakeeper #scottiedoglicorice

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These little puppies are sooo cute and tasty!

April 18- Bert and Ernie! Not the Muppets, our new cows!

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These guys. They are cute but come fall they will be huge. They certainly round out the farm! #hennekefarm

April 19- Care group…my sides still ache!

April 20-It’s Friday!

April 21-We were go getters today! So much done! Whew!

April 22- I’m glad we had a relatively quiet Sunday. Sometimes its hopping and a bit too busy for me.

April 23- Thankful for tea today

April 24- Got to show the animals off to a friend today. Their autistic son loved them! It made me happy that he was so taken with them and enjoyed being outside.

April 25- Today I realized that it is entirely possible that I could have ended up childless. I have 3 kids but after a visit to the doctor I fully realized that had I not had children at a younger age time simply would have run out for them. I had a very small window and I took it. I’m so thankful I did!


April 26- Its Thursday and I’m tired but I’m glad to be tired for a reason. I have a family a home and work to do

April 27 – Field trip! And flying with the Young Eagles program!Free flight for kids 8-18

April 28- Blood screening and church clean up and a NAP! Busy but happy day

April 29- Church. My resting place.

April 30- My amazing nephew who turned 16 today!


It was a busy month and as I look into summer it will only get busier.  There is just so much that I am thankful for and it increases daily!

 

Looking for the good and wishing you the best!

Veronica

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Being Mama, Life

The Storyteller In All Of Us

“Tell me a story,

Tell me a story,

Tell me a story and then I’ll go to bed.

You promised me,

You said you would,

You better give in,

‘Cause I’ve been good.

Tell me a story and then I’ll go to bed.” – Raffi

I have found that we all tell stories even if some of us do it unconsciously.  We have all heard the child who in excruciating detail gives this mother the account of his recent bruise or scrape.  How about the mother of a newborn relating the latest development of her little darling.  Maybe the guy who has just bought a sweet new ride. Oh yeah, we’ve heard some of those!  Is granny giving you the rundown on her recent surgery or maybe it’s couponing bragging rights that have their moment of glory.

Whatever the topic I think we can all say we have been the story teller a time or two in our lives.  It’s a human thing- we want to share the details and have our friends in rapt attention for our little moment. It’s also a heritage.  Long before the written word oral stories kept traditions and cultures alive.  We have a sense of belonging when our stories are listened to and passed on.

What's in a Story

 

My pastor tells stories as he preaches and I love to listen to them.  He says that Jesus told stories (parables) and it worked pretty well for Him!  I have to agree.  I always have fun at church when he is preaching.

I began telling stories to my children whenever we were out without a book and they needed a quiet moment.  It’s strange that I never considered it a thing – it was just natural.  We are a TV free family and that can pose some challenges on the entertainment front.  We cannot pack a library when we travel and when the kids were small no audio book was going to hold their attention.  I became the master of voice inflection, turning myself into a crotchety old woman or a chattering blue bird who sang as he flew.  We had one infamous story about a dog who blew bubbles out the wrong end.  If I can remember it all I will write it down for you.  It was highly requested during the early school age years.  Another one told the tale of a wayward elderly couple setting off on vacation only to misunderstand their way across America one speed bump at a time.  Again, if I could only remember it all!

When I was in grade school a principal of a neighboring school would take a day to tour around the area and tell stories.  He was a master! Old Russian folktales of houses with chicken feet sprang to live in my over active little mind.  I cannot tell you very much about the man himself.  It was as if he became a completely different person as he wove his tale.  He disappeared and only the story remained.  I remember being in complete awe and not being able to say a word when he got ready to leave our classroom.  My little brain couldn’t separate the man from the story and it jarred my senses to realize that it was all just fancy words floating through the air and that this was just a regular guy walking out to his car to go tell another batch of third graders another whopper.

I have made about a million goals for myself this year as I always do but I very much hope to capture a few stories in the near future.  I love to tell them and have the words float away but I’d like to nail them down now and then too.  How about you?  Do you have story waiting to be told?

Being Mama, Life

Monkey See, Monkey Do

The other day my little monkey surprised me. She sees me at the computer a lot. Research, homework helps, Googling anything I need or finding info on my latest project. She has taken to playing with the keyboard and pretending to “work” but the other day she wanted so badly to truly help me.

Girl 2 :”Mama, what’s your theme this week?”

Me: *distractedly making dinner* “Hmm?”

Girl 2 – *heavy sigh* “You know, your bus theme Mom. What are you going to teach? I want to look up your scriptures!”

(Insert pretty pleases and adorable smiles)

Me: *finally paying attention *….”You what?”

Girl 2: *getting impatient* “Mom! You know! What do you want me to look up for your bus lesson this week?”

Me:*crying/cheering a little inside* “Forgiveness honey, look up fogiveness.”

Aaagh! When did this happen? How did this being come to exist? She has followed my every move and knew my routine as if I had written her a schedule. Oh my, mamas! I almost missed the beauty of this moment! My baby doing a Bible search. For me. Wow!

How this girl copies me. How she loves that her mama is a teacher and planner. God help me to see these moments more clearly and to savor them. My dear sweet child, pray for your mama to be a good pattern for you to follow.

With love,

Veronica

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Here are a few of the reasons I am a mess Sunday mornings (and have lost a little hearing)

Being Mama, Kids, Life

Growth

The fuzz free boy holding one of our monster icicles

Yesterday was not a holiday and I was actually feeling pretty decent so off we went to Walmart for some post Christmas clearance. Seems we were not the only ones who had the same idea. Normally this is when I buy cards and treat bags as well as a few baking supplies and small gifts for birthdays and such. There, now you all know my secret.  Extra frugal tip: use a gift card that was gifted to you and then you can get a years worth of items for nothing! Hey, when you live on a budget you gotta pull every punch sometimes. Anyhow, I was cruising along and I made 2 purchases that kinda made me want to turn back time. I bought my son a shaving kit….and showed him how to use it. That peach fuzz kept getting fuller as the days went by. You are all welcome. Secondly,  I bought my youngest a bath set with deodorant. Yes, she is little but she is mighty….mighty stinky! So I’m reaching new mommy milestones every day as my kids grow ever close to the adults they were meant to be. Well, this house has fresh faced and clean smelling kids in it and I am forever grateful to be called their mother. Now if they would just quit wasting all the dish soap!

Happy Wednesday!

Extra little fun side note: those charcoal sheet masks are EXCELLENT for scaring your kids!

Being Mama, Family

Monkeys

Photo on 2014-11-25 at 09.55 #2

Yesterday we were coming home from Noah’s lesson and it has become my habit to “chore prep” in the car. Meaning, before we get home I’m outlining what needs to be accomplished that evening.  Yes, I’m a slave driver. I’m not sorry.

Anyhow, the chicken saga continues and even though they have granted us a handful of eggs we are still working on a solution. We made them an outdoor pen but that didn’t solve it.  That is the current project. My son has his own project and sometimes needs a helping hand.  Guess who? Yup, mama to the rescue.  It’s funny to me how the tables have turned.  Now I am trading and bargaining work with my son as we both are project people.  How fast the time goes!

Yesterday was a mellower evening for us and we spent the last hour of the day hanging out and telling jokes.  Always a favorite activity at our house.  We have had a lot of frustrating days but as my kids grow I find myself in a quandary.  At the baby stage I wished they could stay little.  I couldn’t wait for them to grow past that awkward not-a-toddler-anymore-but-still-ornery stage and now that 2/3 of my kids have left elementary school for good I am back to wanting to hold on but seeing the need for letting go. What is a mom to do?

happy Parenting!

Being Mama, Life

Proud

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An old picture of my silly girl in her “Proud Mil Kid” Shirt!

I have been absent from my dear little blog for a few days.  We have been in NC with my husband’s family.  I was blessed to be a part of my father in law’s memorial service.  I only wish someone could have recorded the military salute.  If you have never seen one you really should.  If you have never been much of a patriot it just might change your mind.  It’s an honor and we are so very proud to have been a part of a military family.

My girls and I sang “Tell Your Heart to Beat Again” and it was tough to get through it. I couldn’t look at my youngest as she would put her mic down every 5 seconds to wipe away her tears. I want to say again thank you to everyone who has prayed for our family.

I am thankful for the amazing things that have happened.  Isn’t it funny how hard things seem to draw you closer?  Anyhow, God is good to us and I am forever grateful for His mercies.

Lamentations 3:22-23 (KJV)

22 It is of the Lord‘s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.

23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.