The Future for Us and This Blog

 

There is this one question people keep asking me lately.

1.) Are you moving this summer? Do you have orders yet?

Yes and no. We are moving this summer, and we DO know where we are going. The person in charge of that has reassured Alan over and over again of where he’s assigned.

However, we do not have orders yet, so until we do, we aren’t announcing it. Last time we moved, we made this big announcement to the kids, and they keep waiting for this. The thing is it keeps dragging on for so long the they are having bad dreams, so we did tell them, “Look, more than likely, we pretty much know we’re going to this city.”

That helped them a bit. It just got to me yesterday when Daniel told me his dream. He dreamed we kicked the boys out of the house for three days, and then we finally let them back in because we were all moving. Even as he was getting in the car, he didn’t know where we were moving to.

Sad!!! I promise you we’d never do that. It was just a dream from a boy with an uncertain future! These moves were much easier for them when they were babies!

The Blog

It feels like I hardly ever blog anymore. When the boys were younger, I HAD to have the blog as an outlet. It was air to me.

Plus, there was no schedule much to life, other than what self-imposed schedules we devised. Now that the boys are older, life moves FASTER. I can’t keep up. I literally keep 3 planners/calendars, 4 if you count Caleb’s, which I’m teaching him how to use.

Driving from place to place and drop-offs to pick-ups is pretty much what I do. When I’m home, that time is taken up with helping my middle boys study, cooking, cleaning, and getting ready to leave the house again.

I love having school-aged children. It’s a completely different kind of stress than having toddlers, a fatter phase of life for me. I was so much thinner when they never let me sit down!! Ha!!! This has made a solid 10 pounds of difference.

Apparently driving the mini-van all over town does NOT count as exercise…

I’m also enjoying sleeping through the night and not changing diapers! Every phase has its perks!

Changing the Blog

Towards the end of the year, I went through a crisis of decision. Should I drop the blog altogether? After all, I cannot write much about my oldest boys on here at all anymore out of respect, you know?

Should I switch to a single topic?

I couldn’t decide what to do at all, so I’ve still focused on one Real Army Wives story per week, and I’ve signed on for a couple of product reviews/ unboxings.

The blog must go on until the Army Wife series is complete, and the story will be complete at the end of the first deployment.

Past that, I haven’t decided. What do you think?

Me with my 3 thespians after their school’s Christmas play

Wonder

I keep meaning to write about this book: Wonder. Joshua, Caleb, and I read it together, and we loved this book. It was deeply personal to me, since I grew up with a sister who was a wonder in her own right. Everyone always stared at her too, so I felt a connection to the story of Via in the book. Via is the sister of Auggie, the little boy with the deformed face.

This book will may you cry, yes, but it’s more than that. It’s also inspirational and uplifting. Read it! See the movie!

Moving Again

One last topic I MUST hit on. Moving again. Y’all know we’ve moved 9 times already in the past 16 years, and it has always been an adventure.

There’s a huge difference between moving to different houses and moving to different states/ cities/ cultural regions!! It has been quite a ride!!

Moving is my favorite and least favorite thing about military life. I love the new experiences. I hate putting the kids through it.

It used to be easy to sell as “Oh we’re moving to so-and-so. Yay! This will be so fun and exciting.”

But now they can remember the past TWO moves, and they aren’t buying it.

The boys and I were all riding in the car the other day, and they were griping, and I exclaimed, “Hey! Moving is a grand adventure!”

The three oldest all gave me a resounding, “No! Nooooo it’s not!”

Sigh.

Y’all, they will be fine. I will too. We are trusting the Lord. And if the kids start to look mopey, maybe I actually will just buy them a puppy!  Hahaha! Because that would clearly solve our chaotic situation, right? Yep. I’m serious though.

So many decisions to make! Okay. I’ll end this here. A kid stopped up the toilet, and Alan called. I should find the phone and answer it. Probably I should also make dinner…

This photo made me laugh. I mean, you just gotta look at the camera when they’re taking a photo right? Who can resist?

 

 

My 4 Favorite Homemaking Hacks for 2018

I love Christmas break. Time off from spelling tests, chauffeur duties, graded papers, packing lunches, and best of all I’m not desperately rushing everyone to not be late…..oh how I love time off.

We always spend a few days at my parent’s house and a few days at Alan’s parents’ house, and it’s such a blessing to spend time with them and soak up the rest and good conversation.

With people you see on a daily basis, it can be easy to fall prey to simply talking about your shared problems and the annoying people you have to deal with. Ha! We all have them.

But when we get together with family at Christmas, we can re-focus on what matters and gain wisdom from others. We can always do that during the everyday too, of course, but I get the best ideas when I have some time and space to read and think!

Daniel and his favorite cousin at Christmas. They were born only a month apart.

I am reading 2 books and taking 1 online course that I’m gaining immensely from. One is on grocery budgeting and the other is on marriage. The course is about planning.

Alan even found an app for us to use for grocery shopping that has also been hugely helpful. I wanted to pass those along to y’all.

The Books

1.) How to Win the Grocery Game

I’m including an eBay link above for that one, which I do not make any money from. I just found the eBay price to be slightly better than Amazon.

This is an extremely practical book about saving money on grocery shopping. However, it was written in the 1970s and is extremely outdated. I’ve had to look for more modern ways to implement some of the strategies in this book, but it’s the strategies and the meal planning tips that make the book worth while…..if you can look past the insane price amounts on everything. You have to ignore those since this book is from the 70s!!

I’ll share with you a modern app I’ve used to help me do one thing from the book later in this post.

2.) Created to Be His Helpmeet

The above link is to the Amazon Kindle edition, but it is available in paperback on Amazon and other sellers as well. I do earn a small percentage when you buy through this link.

This book doesn’t even attempt political correctness with words like “hillbilly ugly” and “submit”. Ha! You have been warned.

But I’ve found it to be practical and helpful, a solid reminder. It has also helped me understand my husband better, as she divides men up into three groups: command types, visionaries, and steady men.

The book is about becoming a kinder, more helpful wife, and by doing that, you can’t help but improve your marriage, even if you’re married to the Grinch himself. I’m only 1/3 the way through it, but so far it has helped me to straight up be a nicer person at home with my husband.

I also love that it’s written by an older woman. She has walked through all the phases of life, and she’s sharing what she has learned.

Us with Alan’s side of the fam. Greg was MIA this year due to food poisoning. You were missed, Greg!

The App

As I mentioned above, I’ve found a more modern way to implement the grocery strategy, but it isn’t foolproof. I’m not sure if the database is leaving out all the goods from stores like Aldi and the Pig because they came up less frequently than I expected. Some work may still need to be done there.

But if you want an easy way to compare everyday prices at one store with sale prices from the circulars, this is an awesome app.

It’s called Basket.

You type in your grocery list. It gives you options for brands and lines them up by price. Try it out. You may end up spending hours on it like Alan and I have.

We put in our entire grocery list, and then we hit “compare prices”. It showed us that the cheapest way to get all our groceries at one store was to go to Walmart. However, the real issue was that Walmart was the only store that carried every item on our list.

To get the best savings, you can tell it to break it up into 2 stores. That gave us Walmart and Food Depot. In the list, it breaks down which items we should buy at Food Depot and which ones we should purchase at Walmart.

Wow, huh?

It was funny how it would switch stores as we put more groceries in!

However, Alan found that not all of the prices and sizes were available at Walmart, so checking your weekly circulars is still important.

I think this is a good tool, but it doesn’t truly replace searching through the weekly grocery ads.

 

Christmas morning

Chore Looping

Another exciting tip I got this Christmas is “chore looping,” which my sister-in-law, Amy, told me about.

For those of us who have trouble with other methods of keeping up with house cleaning schedules, chore looping is the way to go.

You make a list of tasks, like this:

  • Scrub hall bathroom.
  • Clean the kitchen.
  • Sweep and mop the floors.
  • Scrub master bath.

etc., etc. Add whatever rooms you have.

Then you work through it until you reach the end and start over, and it doesn’t have to be all in one day, all in one week, or even all in one month. You just work through the list as you are able.

Some tasks you have to write on your list more than once, like scrubbing that bathroom that all 4 boys use…bleh…

For Example:

  • Scrub hall bathroom.
  • Clean the kitchen.
  • Sweep and mop the floors.
  • Scrub master bath.
  • Vacuum.
  • Scrub hall bathroom.
  • Tidy up dining room.
  • Clean the kitchen.
  • Tidy up living room.
  • Dust the house.
  • Scrub hall bathroom….lol…again and again and again…

…And the list goes on until you’ve covered all the tasks you can think of.

Some days you do 3 or 4 of them. Other days you do 1 or none at all. It just depends on when you have the time!

If you do marathon clean, then you skip the repeats. I almost never marathon clean. Why? Because it’s exhausting, and I was always hoping I’d be affording a maid by now….lol

Daniel helping with the Men’s Pancake Breakfast at church

I’ll save my excitement of my new Brilliant Life Planner and accompanying online planning course for another day. I can’t wait to show it to you. In fact, I’m definitely going to do a Facebook Live all about this planner this week, on my Stories of Our Boys Facebook page.

I hope you all had an absolutely fabulous Christmas and are as excited about the new year as I am! Actually, I’m pretty nervous about 2018. Moving…deep breaths…deep breaths…I’m going to need all the organization I can accomplish!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”    Jeremiah 29:11

 

 

 

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How To Overcome Your Stress Ball Ways

***Ad disclosure: This post contains links to Crystal Paine e-courses. I do earn a profit when you sign up for these courses.***

How To Overcome Your Stress Ball Ways

I can be a serious stress ball. If there’s a problem, it’s a “crisis.” When things go wrong, I feel like it’s all my fault. Self-chastisement is my specialty.

Getting the kids off to school in the morning is my #1 flip-out trigger. If you don’t believe that I am capable of total lunacy, you have clearly not seen me on a morning when someone’s shoes are missing, someone wouldn’t get out of bed on time, someone doesn’t have a clean Batman shirt, and another someone is taking 45 minutes to eat their ever-loving cereal!!!

Just ask Alan, Jennings, my parents, Alan’s parents, or any of my old roommates. They’ve all seen it.

Can I change the core of who I am? Eh…..

Can you re-program yourself to have a calmer head in tense situations? Hmmmmm

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