Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Easter at Our House

I think Easter is my favorite Holiday!  We had wonderful Easter traditions growing up that included: family, picnics, parks, hunting for eggs, new Spring clothes and dresses.  

When our little family moved to Minnesota years ago and Easter looked like this:
I realized it was time to make our own traditions!  (that didn't include picnics, or Spring clothes)

I have used ideas from Saren Eyre Loosli and her guide on the Power of Moms website:  A Delibrate Mother's Guide to a Christ- Centered Easter

For Family Home Evening this week we had a simple meal, maybe something like the last supper.  We showed pictures of Christ and discussed the last week of his life.  We ate:  bitter herbs, assorted cheeses, unlevened bread, and lentil soup.

After dinner we showed the picture of Christ washing his Apostle's feet and we washed the kid's feet.  It was my favorite Family Home Evening that we have had.  The spirit was strong and the kids realized that Easter is about Christ and His resurrection not about a bunny and candy.
 Throughout the rest of this week we will continue to use ideas from the article that I referenced above.

On Saturday we wake up and grab our bags and find treats and treasures that the Easter Bunny has left throughout the house.  On the Saturday before Easter we also dye eggs and have egg fights to see whose has the strongest egg.  I used pictures from last year when we had lovely Easter weather.  
I hope this year will be as warm :)  

 Pictures from last Easter:

On Sunday morning the kids get a new outfit for church and we open plastic eggs that each have something to represent Christ's last week of life and of course the final egg is empty, just like the tomb.

"He is not here, He is risen!" 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Individual Time

I think it is important to help each child understand how much they are loved and appreciated.  Our oldest daughter is such a huge help to me.   Sometimes when life is crazy and busy I spend the most time caring for the younger children and the kids that whine for help the most.  (squeaky wheel gets the grease :)

In order to give our oldest daughter the love and attention that she deserves we have a reading tradition.  We enjoy reading Nancy Drew books together or in the past we have read American Girl books.  After all the kids are in bed, she gets to stay up a little later and read to me while I finish up dishes or sweep the floor or on a good night I just sit on the couch :)  We really enjoy reading together and look forward to any moment when we can read a few pages together.  Sometimes we even bring our book along when we are driving to activity days and scouts so that we can read on the drive.

Right now we are reading a book called, "Out of My Mind," by Sharon M. Draper.  It is about a girl who is extremely intelligent, but she was born without the ability to communicate or walk.  Since we have been reading this book together there have been several nights that I end up crying!  It has taught us compassion and love for the amazing individuals that are born with imperfect bodies and the challenges that they face.  They are normal people with normal feelings and they want to be loved!  We have both really enjoyed this book!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Spring Cleaning: Body Clutter

It is that time of year when we welcome the happy signs of springtime life.  Along with freshening up our houses I always find motivation to loose those extra pounds that I always seem to gain between Halloween and New Years.

Yes, I realize that this year I am gaining weight very quickly (I am pregnant) but I know that eating healthy now will help me to feel good and have a better recovery after pregnancy.  

I wanted to get a visual picture of what  I eat so I have been taking pictures of each meal with the ipad.

I know it is a little silly to take a picture of what you eat, but it has helped me to be more aware of what  I am eating.  I also take time to put everything on my plate and then sit down to eat instead of just snacking while I prepare the kid's meals.  

 orange, cheerios, skim milk, almonds, dried cranberries
 oatmeal, pecans, natural applesause, skim milk

 cottage cheese, natural applesauce, applesauce muffin
 orange, granola, banana, almonds
 pecans, greek yogurt, skim milk, fresh rasberries
 apple, greek yogurt, pecans, flax seed
12 grain bread, scrambled egg, grapefruit

left over lasagna, carrots, apple, whole wheat toast
green smoothie, peanut butter balls, carrots, and sandwich 
(I am sure I ate more than a quarter of a sandwich :)
green smoothie, tuna cheese melt, pickle, and oranges
turkey sandwich with lettuce, cheese, avocado, yellow peppers, and an apple
whole grain breadsticks, greek yogurt, grapes, turkey, light string cheese
left over salmon, rice, mixed vegetables, crackers, cheese, and natural applesauce.
sandwich with tons of vegetables and greek yogurt with fresh raspberries.
bean burritos (cheese, beans, and corn) and a strawberry smoothie


 garden vegetable wraps, fruit with veggies with ranch
 Southwest stroganoff with lettuce wraps
 asparagus, rice, and broccoli beef 
 homemade cornbread with honey and butter and winter vegetable chowder


Friday, March 22, 2013

Questions People Want to Ask

Questions people want to ask, but most don’t dare:
My answers are pink.  Justin’s answers are blue.

Question:  Wow, 7 kids is a lot!  Why do you want to have that many kids?  

Answer:  I have decided the better question is:  Why not?  We have been blessed in so many ways.  I have good pregnancies.  We have healthy children.  Justin and I are both passionate about family.  Financially Heavenly Father has always helped us to provide. 

The happiest people I know are the ones who dedicate their life to serving others.  Raising children is the most rewarding service available to mankind with the blessings from that service lasting throughout eternity.

Question:  Did you always want to have a big family?  

Answer:  Before Justin and I got married we decided that we wanted to have a big family.  Our first daughter’s delivery didn’t go as planned and was an emergency c-section.  When I went for a scheduled c-section for the second delivery we had an absolute miracle and I was able to have VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean).  Since the first c-section I have had 5 successful VBAC’s, which we feel has been God’s hand caring for us and enabling us to have the children that he wants to send to our family. 

Yes.  From the time we started dating and immediately knew we were going to marry for eternity, we both knew that a big family was our goal.

Question:  My two most often asked questions:  Do you home school your kids?  Do you work?  

Answer:  You would be surprised how often I am asked this question.  I admire mothers that home school, I think it is a great option with many benefits, but for our family we have felt that sending them to school is the right answer.  Our kids have been blessed to attend some amazing schools with great teachers. 

Yes, I work.  From sun up to sun down and at times all night!  I remember commenting to Justin after a particularly rough night of running from one room to the next, “I wonder if I get more exercise during the day or at night when I am running to take care of kids?”  So, I don’t work outside the home and feel grateful for the blessing of always having enough to keep me busy with my family :)  I am so grateful for a husband who has always provided for us, even when he was in graduates school, so that I could always be focused on our family.

Question:  What kind of car do you drive?

Answer:  I drive a mini van and love it!  As a teenager I determined that I would be a cool mom with an SUV.  That didn’t happen (I’m not cool and I don’t drive an SUV :)   I love the convenience of a mini van.  The automatic sliding doors is like having an extra hand!!  It is also easy to get everyone in and out of a van.  With baby #7 we will no longer be able to drive a “mini” van, we will upgrade to  “full size”.  Unfortunately, the options of what to drive are very limited when you have a large family.  I will keep you posted on what we end up doing. 

Question:  How many kids do you plan to have?

Answer:  There is not a set number.  We really evaluate each and every time.  I have been blessed to always know if there is someone waiting to come to our family.  Yes, we plan to have more.  I am still young.

Question:  How do you manage so many kids?  

Answer:  We do it together.  This job is too big for one person.  Justin and I are both committed to each other and our family.  We are far from perfect but have had so much divine help to guide us.  I feel that I am a better mother of 6 children than I was when I only had a few.  Each time we are blessed with another baby we aren’t given more hours in the day so we have to be more efficient with our time.  

Giving children age appropriate responsibilities is one of the keys to managing so many kids. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Building a Maternity Wardrobe

When you're pregnant I think most of us would agree, you often feel less than beautiful.  Our bodies are often awkward and swollen.  During my first few pregnancies the style of maternity clothes was, well . . . "tent like" and it left me feeling fat and frumpy.  Since I have spent over 4 1/2 years pregnant I have discovered a few ideas of what I can do to still feel great while gaining weight!

Step 1:  When it comes to building a maternity wardrobe I start with what I have. 

Maternity Shirts 

Maternity Dresses

You will notice that I don't own any maternity pants or shorts.  I discovered that the maternity pants that go up really high (over your belly) weren't very comfortable when my belly got really big.  When I wore maternity pants that fit under my belly, they felt like they would fall off if I bent over.  I discovered that for me it works best if I wear normal pants that are "low rise" style and one size bigger than I normally wear.  (They fit below my belly and I can zip them up:)

Step 2:  Then I look through my closet for normal items that I have that can still work when I am pregnant.

 Cardigans that are a short style.
 Skirts with elastic waist.
 Shirts that are a little big will help when my normal clothes are tight and maternity clothes are too big.
 "Low Rise" shorts and drawstring capris.
Shade undershirts that I use to layer still work to layer while I am pregnant.  

Step 3:  Create outfits.  I was amazed to realize that with just a few clothes I could create so many nice outfits for the summer.  

Shopping List:

I still need to buy:
colored capris
jean capris
black shirt +1 or 2 other shirts

It happened to be a snow day when I went through my clothes so I was fortunate to have two lovely fashion consultants to help me:

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