Making the Decision to be a TOG Family

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Loving the Little Years

Books.  I love books.  I could read hours.  As a mother of six this really is not possible very often.  But occasionally there is a book that demands to be read and read as quickly as possible!  Loving the Little years is one of those books.  I read it in two sittings.

The author Rachel Jankovic wrote an article concerning Littles and Christmas for the Desiring God blog.  Her thoughts and ideas resonated with me.  When I realized she had a published work, I had to purchase it along with a couple of other books J!  I skimmed a chapter in the middle of the book and knew it was going to be lovely.  My sister-in-law read it and raved about it enough I decided to stop my current read (GIVE THEM GRACE—another truly excellent book) to see what the hype was all about!  WOW!!!  My devotion time went a little long that day and another night I slept a little less.   The consequences for both those reading sessions well worth it!

I intend this book to be a standard issue baby shower gift.  A standard first birthday gift maybe J?

Jankovic touches on issues that are common in every home because we are all sinners.  We all have the same perchance to selfishness.  While she does give some practical advice and some instruction on how to teach the principles she lays out, Loving the Little Years, is a book for moms in the trenches!  She drives home the point that our attitude determines our success.  Our job is one of sacrifice.

As moms we have a choice.  We can choose joy and sacrifice or we can not.  Is the world going to stop spinning if we are grumpy, play the part of a martyr or generally choose to perform our role of mother poorly?  No but you may find the consequences just as devastating.  Proverbs 14:1 Every wise woman builds her house, but the foolish one tears it down with her hands.  That verse always gives me pause.  I do not want to come the end of my life and realize my choices wrecked what could have been a beautiful home for Christ.

Here at the joy the journey the job I am going to use Jankovic’s  book as jumping off place.  (I highly encourage you to read the book.)  I am going to chronicle the implementation of some of her ideas—like the Picky Chicken and practical ways to implement her ideas.  Some of her ideas work well for older children also.



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Preparing to Travel with Children

I love to travel!

Packing–not so much.  Unpacking not at all!

BUT I will do both of those horrid tasks if it means we can take a trip.   Now before you get the idea that I am a world traveller, I am not!  Most of our trips are day trips (no packing!!!), and trips to see my parents in Arkansas with a few trips within the southeast US.

Travelling with children is a blast!  To spend the uninterrupted time exploring, watching their faces as the see something new and wonderful, is an experience I do not believe I will ever tire.  There have been times when Luke has not been very relaxed at departure time.  Normally that stress is from watching me frantically run around attempting to accomplish all that needs to be done before it is time to leave!  Time sneaks up on me and my list is always growing!

So let’s talk about what it take to make this happen as smoothly as possible.

PLANNING!!!  Flylady has great article on preparing to leave on vacation.  Her tip on pouring something in your toilets and drains is wonderful!  Things are so much more pleasant when you open the door.

So Flylady has your outline and everything looks easy.  Right???  I get stuck on the “make a list of everything that needs to be done before I leave” part, and then it is hard to have time for the packing in a timely fashion part.  Now I make my list of items to complete, then I prioritize it.  There will always be more to do than I can possibly get done.  I have to decide what MUST be accomplished and what can wait until we return.  Funny thing is my list changes.  What started off on my “must be completed or the world will end” may move to the “we will survive if this does not happen” list.  And some of those items on the “really wish this was completed” moves to the “what was I thinking, I will never have time for this so why am I stressing myself” list.

So tip number one is (detailed but realistic) PLANNING.  Clothes, food, and entertainment are the main areas that can cause stress while preparing to travel.

Clothes tips:

1.  Decide how many outfits are necessary and stick to the limit.

2. Pack each child in their own bag.

3. Fold outfits together.  For smaller children ziplocks work well to hold an entire outfit and accessories.

Food and entertainment need their own post ;)!




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Dating with a Large Family

Mix six children, no family close by, crazy schedules, and baby sitters living 40 minutes away and there is a recipe for a marriage going stale.  For me it is easier not to go on a date.  Going out most of the time adds more work and is logistically difficult for me to accomplish.  I still need to connect with Luke (my husband) so we “date” at home much more often than we go out.


We do go out.


For several years now we have made it a habit to take a walk around our yard with a cup of coffee and chat.  Sometimes the children will tag along, but most of the time we simple tell them this is our time. Our marriage has grown stronger since we implemented this time together.  We have a time to talk about the children, what is going on in each of our lives when we are not together, world events and dreams for the future.  The children have commented on our desire to be alone together and how we choose each other!  That is one benefit I did not think about when we implemented this time alone.  Our children can see that our marriage is important and something that does not include them, but does benefit them greatly.  They see mom and dad laughing and talking.  Enjoying time together.

How is this practical?  Our older children oversee the younger ones, if we can not see them, otherwise they are playing.  When we have a new baby, we take our walks while baby is sleeping.

Couple of other ideas for dates at home:

Movie and popcorn in the living room

Dinner by candlelight (put the children to bed first–when you have an 11 year old daughter she will love t0 help prepare this)

Board/Card Games

Work on a project (We enjoyed staining the boys beds together)

Whatever “date” you and your spouse like to do, choose time together.  The benefits are amazing!



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Focus For a New Year

We are entering a new year!  What is your focus for the year of 2012?  2011 was the year of JOY in our home.  2012 will be the year of GRACE.    
Following is a quote from the forward of  GIVE THEM GRACE by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson.
“The irony of the gospel-based sanctification is that those who end up obeying more are those who increasingly realize that their standing with God is not based on their obedience but on Christ’s. …. The power to obey, in other words, comes from being moved and motivated by the completed work of Jesus for us.   So, while the law directs us, only the gospel can drive us.”
God did not leave me (us) with the LAW HE sent GRACE!
I am anticipating this new year.  We will be studying the book of John and the names of Christ.  And this year, instead of detailed lists of goals hanging over my head, I have prayed about areas of focus (order in my home, health and fitness, school, ministry).  While I do have a broad ideas for each of these areas, I am praying God will direct my path!
May He richly bless you this year,


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Vegetable Barley Soup

Okay, I have barley.  A lot of barley.  Like 53 pounds of barley.  Have I ever mentioned that I like to buy in bulk?  Normally it cost less per pound, and then I do not have to think of purchasing that item again for a looong time.

I love bulk buying in bulk.

Then there are times after I order something (barley) in bulk I think…Have I LOST my mind?  I bought 5lbs.  We really liked it, so why not buy 50lbs?  Yeah…do you know how long 50lbs will last???  This recipe calls for about 1 cup of barley.  Any idea how many cups are in 50lbs of barley?  Neither do I but…I googled it and one site said 4 cups to a pound…do not know if that is cooked or uncooked.  But do the math 50 * 4…lots of barley.

Does anyone want me to share?

Very Simple Vegetable Barley Soup

1 large can of vegetable juice

1 large can of water

1 cup of barley (if you are cooking NT style you soak this overnight, but I forgot!)

Bring to a boil.  Stir cover and let cook about 45 minutes or until the barley is almost done. I am not certain about the time.



garlic and onion powder, ***


Italian seasoning [Dried–I am sure fresh would be delish but I did not have any].

Vegetables (any kind you like–I normally use frozen mixed vegetables)

Cook until the veggies are tender and barley is ready.

***If you are not to busy talking on the phone to your sister-in-law 🙂 , this recipe is even better when you saute’ onions and garlic and add those instead of the powder.  But one must remember priorities!

Enjoy other tempting recipes over at Blessed with Grace.


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Menu for Week of March 15

Note to self:  When working on a post and it looks as though you have lost it–check the edit section because you may NOT have lost it and you will save yourself much time.  Well, since I did not do that and here is a menu that is complete (the other was not) but without links to the recipes;  IF there is a recipe you would like, leave a comment and I will get it linked or emailed to you.  I am now taking my pregnant self to bed with a linkless post!!!!! Yes, I am aware some of those are not even words and my punctuation is terrible but I am too tired to care!

I have several food goals for the month of March that I am attempting to incorporate this week.  Soaking grains, sourdough going, kefir, and baking all our bread products .

Baking this week will consist of Irish soda bread, sandwich bread (some of the dough will be made into sub-rolls), tortillas (soaked), and whole wheat french bread.

Dehydrating this week will be multi-grain crackers, pineapple and granola.

Snacks are fresh fruit, veggies w/ dip, popcorn, gingerbread, crackers and dried pineapple.

Breakfast will be served with a green smoothie.


Breakfast~~Waffles w/ Blueberry syrup

Lunch~~Rice Balls and Veggie Platter

Dinner~~Vegetable and Barley Soup w/ Whole Wheat French Bread


Breakfast~~Pumpkin Muffins




Breakfast~~Soaked Granola

Lunch~~St. Patrick’s Day Surprize




Lunch~~Soup/Salad/Grilled Cheese

Dinner~~Chicken and Vegetable Curry


Breakfast~~Soaked Granola

Lunch~~Venison Summer Sausage, Rice-a-roni (homemade) w/ fruit and vegetable plate

Dinner~~Salad and Pizza (hopefully on sourdough crust)


Breakfast~~MultiGrain Pancakes


Dinner~~Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches w/ Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries



Lunch~~Lasagna w/ Whole Wheat French Bread


This post is part of Menu Plan Monday.


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