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Category Archives: Homemaking

Glass cleaner

1 cup rubbing alcohol

1 cup water

1T white vinegar or ammonia, whatever you prefer

All purpose Cleaner

1T ammonia

1T clear laundry soap ( I use the concentrate that I make)

2 cups water

couple drops of essential oil if you would like, I have tried lilac and it is lovely!

I realized today there are so many things I love about spring.   In the past I have never really cared for the season, what with all the muck and mud, and the in between snow gear and flip-flops of it all.  I think the joy of children seeing the first buds of the season, and feeling the warm sunshine fill the front porch may have changed my mind for sure.  So here is a list, of things I surley love about this spring;

I love the smell of lilacs….a smell that can fill a home with a slight breeze wafting  through from the back yard.

I love how Trinity calls out our names when she wakes in the morning..there is nothing more joyful to wake to than her deep little voice calling out “Mama, Mama” or “”Daddy, Daddy”  with anticipation behind it.

I love that two of my girls were able to dress themselves with a sundress and flip-flops.

I love that tomorrow we will find out if our 7th child will be a boy or a girl.

I love the wet leaves and dirty foot prints that have mapped out a path from the back door, through the kitchen and to the basement.

I love that 10 spring seasons ago, Matt chose me to spend the rest of his life with.

I love to hear the giggles from every room in the house with windows wide open and children circling the house while at play.

I love the crisp clean home from all the spring cleaning and de-cluttering.

I love sipping sweet tea on the front porch while thumbing through a good magazine or book.

I love that my husband’s voice can make even the most boring business ethics text book sound interesting.

I love cleaning the church while a fresh breeze flows through the building for the first time since early fall.

I love these children God has entrusted us with.

I love wearing skirts and flip-flops on a regular basis once again.

I love it when a bug lands on the picture window and Zoe tries to tickle his belly through the glass.

I love my new sassy haircut.

I love that my plants made it through the winter, and that I did not manage to kill them last summer with my lack of knowledge and care for them.

I  love spring cleaning. Especially the windows with the sun beaming through unlike it has in months.

I love that we can once again fire up the grill for our favorite meals.

I love the chance to reconnect with friends after a season of hectic family gatherings and cold weather hibernation.

I love a spring morning; birds chirping, kids sleeping in from being up too long because of the mixed up time change, and the smell of fresh coffee waiting to join you for some quiet time with the Lord.

I love the fact that Christ loved us so much that He laid down His life for us, and we can now live in a newness and freedom through Him.

I think it is official, I do love spring.  Never thought I would enjoy it so much, however I am filled with gratefulness and blessings!

What can I say, I am in love.

Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap- Front or top load machine- best value

4  Cups – hot tap water
1  Fels-Naptha soap bar
1 Cup –
Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda*
½ Cup Borax

– Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.

-Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.

-Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use. (will gel)

-Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil.

-Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons.

-Top Load Machine- 5/8 Cup per load (Approx. 180 loads)

-Front Load Machines- ¼ Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)

*Arm & Hammer “Super Washing Soda” – in some stores or may be purchased online here (at Meijer.com). Baking Soda will not work, nor will Arm & Hammer Detergent – It must be sodium carbonate!!

So, in the past I have not put a whole lot of effort toward the organization of school lunches. However, with three little ones starting this fall, expectations of yummy, healthy, and fun-filled sacks has made us think about becoming more intentional. After all, in the past I myself, being the loving mommy that I am, have prepared lunches for kiddos daily. This means getting out all the bread, choice fillings for the day, baggies, chips, veggies, extra snacks ect. Not to mention the chaos that sometimes erupts when I supply bowl, spoons, milk and evidently an unlimited amount of tasty cereal choices( or so it seems to our children whose eyes are much larger than their tummies at times) on the table for a quick breakfast. This has lead to a mess not to mention waste. My brilliant husband ( and I do not say that with sarcasm) said to me recently “what if we pre- measure the kids cereal for their breakfast” That question completely inspired me to completely transform the way we do lunches around here. My new found system my seem a bit to predictable, or complicated to some of you however, there are 6 cute little mouths to feed. We have done the math, that is about 100 sandwiches a month!!
In the past I have done different lunches every day for the kids, deciding daily what to pack and preparing it all each day. I have found that I waste a ton of time doing it this way.
Our new system is as follows:
We will have 2 lunch options each week, one for Mon., Wed. Fri., the other choice will be given on Tues. and Thurs.
For example one lunch choice could be
Ham and cheese croissant
bugles
gogurt

grapes

homemade cereal barsjuice

the coordinating lunch would be
peanut butter on wheat
carrots
cheese popcorn
string cheese
juice

homemade granola bars

Now to prep the food, we got the kiddos involved in the process and they loved it. At the start of the line was Gavin(7) he placed the two slices of bread on a small board, and spread one side with jam, then it slid to Jaiden (5),who spread the other side with peanut butter, then on to Maddison(8) who cut and packaged the sandwich. On the opposite side of the table Levi(3) was scooping snacks such as white cheddar popcorn or corn chips into one cup measurements and bagging them, and giving them to Zoe(2) who then put them into snack bins for our cupboards. We then freeze the sandwiches. This weekend we froze 50 meat and cheese sandwiches and 30 peanut butter and jam. That will save tons of time while packing, I also have found that if I just tell myself ahead of time what snacks go with what meal, I waste less time packing. (I use this principle with dinner planning which I do a month in advance as well, I will write about that later) This process only took about one hour for us to do all together.
I do try to be creative with the lunch choices, so we include wraps, filled with veggie cream cheese and lunch meat, and salads. Also warm meals like tacos or pizza, my kids have access to a microwave during lunch.
Our kids attend a “sugar-free” school, so we try to come up with healthy snacks that the kids will enjoy. I love that they never beg for super fatty, sugar-filled treats, because they know they are not allowed to have them at school. We have done a lot of home-made granola bars and home made cereal bars with cheerios and dried cherries ect.

As for breakfast, we will pre-package a “Hill kiddo” sized portion of cereal in plastic bowls with lids.( you can purchase these at gordon food service for about 10.00 for 50, they are deli containers ) Then our little cuties can pick one bowl of choice and pour their milk in and less waste, less mess!

I hope that this has been helpful in your meal prep. We are just excited about being on top of the 100+ lunches we will make this month.  Blessing to you an your family this school year, may you be intentional in what you do for Christ this school year!

So what do you do?  At home, how many loads of laundry do you do a day?  Do you always have dinner ready at a certain time?  Must you mop everyday, or once a week?  And what about you, how you dress, do you do your hair and makeup every day, and what about even getting a shower on a daily basis?

These are just a few of the questions I receive from other wives and mothers wondering how to order their days.  This is a concept that has taken me years to understand.  I fell for the “Martha Mentality”.  You know, the thought that I can be perfect at everything I do and always be on top of things,  Just like Martha.  What I never took into account is the many people she has working for her, behind the scenes.  Yes, if  life came pre-measured and prepped, cleaned up and primped, I could do it all with ease.  However, was it ever God’s will that my home be perfect? I knew I had a huge issue with this when someone told me my home looked “lived in”.  Lived in?  LiVeD In?  I thought this was one of the most offensive things I had been told, I spent so much time cleaning and organizing, all to have my house look “lived in”?  That’s when God showed me the pride spilling out of me about our home.  I always chose cleaning over playing, I would even say no to friends who wanted to get together, because then the house would be too messy.  I realized that my ministry is to my family and to other PEOPLE…not to my house!

What is my role as a wife and mother?  If I stay home all day, What is the expectation of my day?  What should be my top priorities of each day?  Alas, the answer is all too easy, yet taking the answer and applying it everyday is the most difficult part for me.

Be busy seeking God.  Intentionally imitate Christ.  Create an environment where the Holy Spirit can work in the lives of you and your family.  That is my calling.  Wow…no list of to-do’s to check off as I go?  Sure keeping a home in working order falls into place here, but seeking God is the focus.  Imitating Christ is the goal.  Seeing the Holy Spirit at work in our lives is the result.  Not the kudos from visitors on the polished look of a house.  So how?  Here are a few things I’ve learned to do,

Meet with God.  Meet with him in prayer, study and worship.  If this is the only thing you accomplish in a day, meet with Him.  Invite God into your home and ask him to help you order your time. Understand that you can continue your conversation with him ALL day.

Know your family, understand what helps them function well through the day and what stresses them out.  For my husband, one of the ways I can bless him is by making the phone calls he asked me to make.  I could procrastinate all day on that one task, cook a fabulous meal and have  a spotless house, but the biggest blessing to him would have been the calls being made and mac and cheese and a messy house.  That is one example. Go the extra mile and ask “How can I bless you today?”  And actually do it!  I tend to be quite the procrastinator, so for me this helps me remember to focus on one key thing that I can do that day that is out of the ordinary busy work.

Pray.  Pray for your children as you fold their clothes,  pray for their future as you tidy their rooms, pray for the choices they make at school as you file their homework.  So many things we do throughout the day can be accompanied by prayer, and what an impact that makes in the lives of our loved ones.  Keep scripture in a highly visible place in your kitchen, at the sink or above the stove, so that you can pray that scripture while doing dishes or making dinner. Pray out loud with your children as you drive them to school, this will be a blessing that will stay with them through the day.

Pray for your husband the same.  Pray for the future of your family as you prepare meals and clean up from them.  Pray for the future spouse of your child while you prepare special events, asking God for a full and joyful home in the future.

Set the atmosphere.  Help create a playful atmosphere when it its time to be playful, and a serene atmosphere when it is time to rest.  For some reason women set the tone of the home weather we mean to or not, so be intentional about how you set the stage.  The best days for me are those where the home is set to the atmosphere of peace and rest, since that is what I often view our home as, a place to find peace and rest.

Teach your children.  Play with them, show them how to love and how to enjoy life.  Dance with them and paint with them.  Teach them to cook, read with them.  Spend time loving on them, they will remember it for the rest of their lives and that is what they can pass down to your grandchildren.  Dishes won’t even remember being dirty, let alone the fact that you cleaned them.

Be passionate.  Find out what God gifted you to do and do it with passion.  Love the lord with ALL your heart soul strength.  Pass that on to your kids.  Talk about your faith with them at home and when you are out.  Impress it on them.(see Deut.6:4-9)

So maybe my floors aren’t mopped every day, or every week for that matter.  So maybe my home looks “lived in”.   So if you come by and see the lack of perfection in my home just know, it is because I have spent more time with The Lord and the ones I love than I have spent with the cleaning rags…and that is the joy I have found in everyday life!

Ah yes, the time of the evening when all rests.  Not always sleeps…but rests.  The home is straighted up from the undoing of the day, and the lights are dimmed.  The infant sleeps and the pounding of tiny feet upstairs has seized for the time being.  I sit in the living room with a handsome man (my husband) and we sip our sleepy time tea.  AHH…. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t think of taking for granted the chaos that is our daily life, but for now I enjoy the quiet of the evening.  I hope to use my writings to give insight to our lives and I hope you enjoy my thoughts, as random as they may be. enjoy….