I was reading one of my favorite decorating on a budget blogs, The Nesting PlaceNester was speaking of how she realized that she has missed having a garden to prune and weed and flowers around her home. She has made a couple big moves in her life and went from a home owner to a renter and in doing thus has lost a bit of the freedom that being a home owner allows in decorating.  It made me think of my own loss of flower friends when we moved from our quaint little 1940′s home in Norman, Oklahoma to transverse the Eastern half of the US to move to Annapolis, Maryland.

It was a huge move for me.

We lived in Norman, Oklahoma for five years after getting married, while I was attending University. We lived in a modest little two bedroom house that had a wheelchair ramp from a former occupant that my children rode their trikes down or sled down in the snow. I worked in the Botany Dept green house and was able to make the best potting soil mix and propagate all kinds of wonderful plants.  I spent every day with my plants either in the greenhouse or in my yard.

When we moved to Maryland I had to sell my 35+ houseplants including bonsai that I nurtured as if they were my own children.  I left lasagna layered flower beds that were filled with compost so carefully made from bags of lawn clippings I collected all over town, coffee grounds from Starbucks where I was employed, and cast off plants from the OU greenhouse.

My Japanese maples, passion flower vines, and purple woodland violets that I had started from seed, my wild grape vine that had made its way from rural Chicago in a graduate student’s agrimonia specimen for research for her thesis, and my beloved herb garden.

Needless to say even though it was just dirt and organic matter, I mourn the loss of my yard and plants as I would have a friend. It sounds crazy, right?

But I know that I have many more flowers and plants to nurture in my lifetime, many more sunburned backs ahead of me as I bend and sweat while tending my Lord’s creation.

For it is He who has made everything beautiful in His time and has dominion over all.

Yes, I know it is supposed to be chasing rabbits…but I am not going to go into all of the rabbits that I chase on a day to day basis.  I lose more time and energy chasing rabbits than I should and care to admit.  Whether it is in conversations while stepping out of the house to run an ‘I’ll be quick and get right back,’ errand, cleaning house but stopping to thumb through a book, or jump onto the computer and hopping over to face book and then proceeding to get lost in the never ending maze of wardrobe refashioning and sewing crafty blogs.

I have long-suffering and supportive husband.  He is so patient with me that I sometimes wonder when it is going to run out…don’t worry I know that although his patience might wear, his love is still strong.  He is a wonderful man and a loving father.  I find my love increasing for him every day that I have been privileged to call him my beloved.

There I go again…

So, I have had a lot of projects that I have wanted to tackle and haven’t really gotten started due to other things coming up and taking priority position.

Tonight we are hosting the Men’s Prayer Meeting and I have to clean my house and get it prepared for having company.  I prefer to always be at the ready to receive guests into my home, however, with four kids ranging from 9 years to 7 months it can prove difficult.  So this morning as I was going about tidying up the nursery, I began to think of projects yet unfinished in the children’s room; raised shelves for toys, hooks or pegs for backpacks, storage solutions for toys, etc….bunk bed tent being the coolest.

I have a problem in the fact that I have the oldest children of our young couples groups at church.  Not that I resent having older children. I  have older children and I  have taught Sophia the limits of her freedom around her siblings stuff. It is because of this that I have  forgotten what it was like  teach my children limits concerning playing in other’s bathrooms, opening closets that are supposed to stay closed to pull out every toy that said closet contains even though some are dangerous for children younger than 2 (small parts), or not to climb up unto the top bunk and while there pull all of the posters off of the wall.  I am also not going to say that we have a 100% obedience ratio either, my children are after all children who delight in their desires first and ours as parents as an after thought. I know that this will change as they accept the saving knowledge of Christ’s sacrifice for us and as they mature and grow.

Thus my thinking of the bunk bed tent.  I googled do it yourself bunk bed tent and found this blog: The Woman of 1,00 Hobbies.  Well, bless my soul, a kindred spirit.  Here is her bunk bed tent. It is on the bottom bunk, but I think that this might entice the little kiddos that come over to play in it instead of choosing to crawl to the top bunk to play ship, especially if it looks like a house. I am still trying to find a solution for the top bunk that will  keep little ones down and them let my son up at night.  I might do something with anchored hooks in the ceiling and a tarp with bungy around it acting as a wall…hmmm.

Oh, And here is her sewing room, yes she has an entire room for sewing, and no I am not coveting it, shame on you for suggesting such a thing.  I do however love her decision to use vintage pattern covers as the framed art in her sewing room. Rabbits are hopping all over here, can you see them?  Such cute and inventive little bunnies.

SO I am not going to chase rabbits on Woman’s blog.  But I think that I might get some great ideas from her in the future to face my rabbits, and that is a very good thing.

I love blog giveaways.  I always put my name in the pot for giveaways or free samples.  I mean really, what do I have to lose?  I don’t have to pay for the entry.  I have gotten samples , coupons, and literature, all through the web sign up.  I have even won that book  I posted about previously.

This giveaway is for an adorable outfit…yes, the entire outfit.  I love the combination of goldenrod yellow with the navy and white stripes.  And that poppy skirt is to-die-for cute.

Along with entering this giveaway for free today,  I received a parents feeding guide through the mail via BeechNut.com.  It is packed with coupons and lots of good advice for starting a wee one on the road to solids.  The total coupon value is about $20…On baby food. That my mommy friends is good savings. It also comes with a feeding guide fridge magnet. Did I mention that it was FREE?

I highly recommend checking out your family’s favorite product brand’s website.  You can sign up at so many of them to receive coupons, and free samples or complete product surveys that will allow you the same benefits.  I signed up at Leap Frog, Gerber, Beechnut, Earth’s Best, Huggies, Pampers, Luvs, Fisher Price, Red Plum, and so many others.

I am not sure why I have not had the gumption to blog more since starting ProsperoHouse.  I get busy with this or that, kids, obligations.  I have been online.  I have found many new crafting and sewing blogs to read that give me ideas and eye candy.  I have Facebooked more than I would like to admit.  I even watch my movies online because we have a TV but we only use it for DVDs & PlayStation.

I can say that I have been busy.  Four children in one two bedroom house makes for lots of fun, laughs, tears and messes. We have seen Liam grow from a little grub to a scooting, yawping man-cub.  Sophia is increasingly girly in a way that her older sister never was;  hiding under the table with my purse, the cell phone, and a smile.

My oldest two children start back to school next Monday and I have tried to figure out where the summer has gone. Then I go to my husband’s flickr site and I am reminded that our summer has been full with Karate, sunny days, church, fellowship, and family.

I have been meaning to compose an entry about a new-to-me blog that I have been perusing more often than I care to admit.  It is Soule Mama, the sounding board of Amanda Soule, an author, crafter, wife, and mom. She is a gifted lady.  I go to her site for the eye candy, to get ideas,  and to enter her giveaways. Her children are adorable and her handiwork is enviable. I love her use of light and warmth.  She is a kindred mothering spirit and I do not know how she has the time to get it all done.

We may have differing views theologically… I am unsure of her heart’s beliefs for she doesn’t use her Soule Mama blog as a sounding board for that aspect of her life, and for that I am thankful.

I do know this: I love to read of her delighting in her children, her husband’s presence, and ordinary days with extraordinary occurrences. And upon the next time I have money to spend on books, I plan to buy one if not several of hers.

She is having a giveaway today for an adorable cow kimono and rockin’ aqua blue messenger bag sponsored by Bayan Hippo.  You should probably check out Bayan Hippo on Etsy as well… AWESOME! Their clothes are the cutest and the bags are so me.

bookA Mothering by Grace Giveaway!

Mothering by Grace is very graciously giving away a copy of  Jeff VanVonderen’s new book, Families Where Grace is in Place: Building a Grace-Filled Marriage and Raising Creative, Contented, Capable Children Without Legalism or Manipulation.

The book’s list price is $12.99, but you can purchase it from Amazon for $10.39. However, if you follow the steps outlined on the Mothering by Grace website  you can be entered to win a copy for free, for as many was five times.

I have not read the book, but judging from the description on MbG, I feel that I could use the wisdom that Jeff gathers together in the text:

Families Where Grace Is in Place by Jeff VanVonderen.

This book jarred us both from the unbiblical errors and extra-biblical extremes that run rampant in our previous life. Most startling is VanVonderen’s rather matter-of-fact correction that the Bible doesn’t say that I’m supposed to make my husband love me, nor is he supposed to make me submit. I have my responsibility to submit, and he has his responsibility to love. That’s our division of labor, so to speak.

The same goes with parents and children. My responsibility to not provoke my sons to wrath is actually greater than their responsibility to obey/honor me. I can’t make them honor me, but I need to act honorably. VanVonderen was the first for me that made that very simple, mind-blowing point.

The above bold emphasis is mine.  I struggle with parenting by grace.  I did not have the best role model as a mother. I do not struggle as much with submission to my husband, thankfully.  It is very easy to submit to a man that you know loves you and has God’s will as his main intention for your life.

Well what are you waiting for? Go and enter yourself to win the book!

meat-loaf

I have been so busy this month. I do admit that some of that time has been my own decision to just play with Liam and veg with the kids. Still, we do have something to fill the time almost every day of the week.

The kids started Karate on Monday nights from 7-8 pm, Tuesdays are Men and Women’s Bible study at 7pm, Wednesday nights we walk around the corner to church and fellowship at 7pm, Thursdays are Library day till 7pm, Fridays nights are Fellowship Night at 6pm, Saturday’s are Free , and Sunday is the LORD’s day.

I have managed to get behind in my domestic duties this past week after finally catching up and in a groove the previous week. I am disappointed about falling back into the “I’ll do it later” trap last week. I procrastinated and made up excuses because I gave in to my body’s desire for slothfulness. I got on the computer and wasted time Googling, searching, blogging, Facebooking. You name it. I would start and stop cleaning different rooms, and just generally stayed in a funk.

I did manage to have my yard sale on the one day last week that it got up to 102 degrees… yes, I am an idiot. I cannot believe I allowed myself to put the sale off until the week of Summer Solstice – the hottest and sunniest period of summer. I developed dehydration sickness and malaise. On top of that, I only got 30 bucks out of it. I do thank GOD that I made any money at all. When I was sitting outside I kept trying to figure out why no one was out yard sale-ing… everyone else watches the local news and common sense kicked in after hearing the weather forecast the night before I am sure.

I did not sleep the night before the yard sale, instead electing to set the sale up in the cool of night. I crashed for a power nap while nursing the wee man before Matthew came home from work and then again at around 5pm. I ignored the mess and laundry that was piling up.

Around 10:45 Saturday night, I realized that I had neglected to prepare for my Sunday school lesson… DOH! I decided that I could pull off the “Three Parables” lesson without much preparation since I had heard it a dozen times or more in my life. So back to sleep I went to nurse my semi-migraine and sleeplessness.

Sunday morning the sun shone down on my yard as I walked to church and it looked like a war zone. I walked deliberately past the melee to get to church, stopping along the way to pick up my neighbor’s daughter for her first visit to FBC Overton. Once at church, I realized that I had not nursed Liam yet…  due to my focus on getting everyone to church on time.

After church I nursed, shopped, nursed and napped, cooked, and ignored the mess in and out of the house again. We were going to visit Matthew’s brother, Mark, and I knew that if I began to worry about the house we would never make it. We were late even with me trying to get ready early.

We brought potato salad, fruit salad, drinks, Bluebell Ice cream and chicken. Mark grilled a pork loin, the chicken and his fiancee Nikki made a pasta salad. We all ate until full, reminisced and laughed about the kids antics. Sophia became better acquainted with “Venitor” (Mark’s pet painted Dragon). Gaelynn and Israel played Wii Baseball, and explored Uncle Mark’s double Monitor setup on his computer desk. We had a lot of fun and upon arriving home and getting the kids to bed; I promptly fell asleep nursing Liam.

I awoke this morning when Matthew came to bed just as the first light of day was seeping into the sky. I “shook sleep from my eyes” and headed outside to pack up my neighbors yard sale items and take them to her house. I lost track of time and before I knew it, the kids were asking what was for lunch… never mind the fact that they wanted saltines and Cherry 7up for breakfast. This is not a normal breakfast menu in my home. I only had soda because it was on sale at Brookshire’s, Tuesday the women are coming here and next weekend is July 4. I quickly scanned the fridge…  some grilled chicken and some raw, beans, fruit salad, meatloaf, etc.

I grabbed the meatloaf, crumbled it into a saucepan, mixed in some soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, onion and garlic powder, and apple cider vinegar. Voila! BBQ sloppy Joes and fruit with milk; all in under two minutes.

Thank you, GOD for leftovers on a downhill kind of day….things are looking up now.

I have been taking full advantage of my local super marketplacing soon to be past sale date items in bulk packages and reducing them for quick sale.  I have found packaged fresh vegetables in steamer bags and loose veggies or fruit, like peppers and bananas, for a dollar a bag.  For $19.95 a flat I have been getting about 10 pounds of meat of various types and cuts.

These are my finds for this week:

Produce:
2 bags of fresh California Blend veggies, 2 bags of cabbage slaw, a bag of broccoli slaw, 2 large bell peppers, 5 lbs. bag of bananas, a bag of jalapenos and limes, and a bag of broccoli florets
Cost: $1.00 per listing or bag,  for a total of $9.00.

Meat:
2 packages of Pilgrims Pride Thighs and 2 packages of PP drumsticks, 2 pkg 1lb 73/27 ground beef, 2 pkg 80/20 ground beef, 1  Family size pkg boneless pork loin chops, 1 pkg pork loin steaks, 1 pkg chops, 1 pkg tenderized boneless chuck steak, 1 pkg boneless chuck steak, 1 skirt steak, 1 pkg BBQ seasoned leg quarters.
Cost: $19.95 a piece for 3 about 27-30 lbs = about $2/lb

I begin by placing the veg in the freezer of fridge depending upon when or how I am going to use it. Then I take all of the meat and organize it by animal and then be what I am going to do with it and set about processing it for the freezer or fridge.

I made pork chops with Asian slaw salad last Sunday and had leftovers for lunch Monday. Monday night we had Broccoli beef made from the tenderized steak that I cooked the day before and added the veggies and sauce that night  paired with rice. Tuesday I made BBQ drumsticks and thighs in my broiler accompanied by coleslaw and a potato salad I put together on Sunday afternoon to save time during the week.  Wednesday night we ate Bratwurst that I bought on sale at Wal*Mart for $3.50/pkg and frittered eggplant, zucchini, summer squash that a young lady from church gave me.

This morning I spent less than an hour processing the rest of the meat to be placed in the freezer for meals next week. 

I put up chicken seasoned with season salt to be fried and served with green beans and potatoes, lemon pepper chicken for pairing with one of the packages of California Blend Veggies and rice, a two pound meatloaf that is frozen in the dimension that I plan on cooking it in for easy prep – served with mac n’ cheese and peas, Garlic and Herb Chops paired with corn and carrots, plain boneless chops for stuffing served with spinach, and a large bag of cut and marinating beef steak for more broccoli beef made with the other California Blend Veggies.

With the five pounds of bananas I made three loaves of Banana Chocolate Chip Bread.  This time it turned out like banana flavored chocolate bread pudding in a crust…YUMMY!

I cannot tell you how awesome it is to finally be getting back into the groove of having a week’s menu planned ahead of time.  It allows me to send Matthew with leftovers to work and have some leftovers for me and/or the kids as well.

Precious Lord
by Thomas Dorsey

Precious Lord, take my hand
Lead me on, let me stand
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn
Through the storm, through the night
Lead me on to the light
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home

When my way grows drear
Precious Lord linger near
When my light is almost gone
Hear my cry, hear my call
Hold my hand lest I fall
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home

When the darkness appears
And the night draws near
And the day is past and gone
At the river I stand
Guide my feet, hold my hand
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home

Precious Lord, take my hand
Lead me on, let me stand
I’m tired, I’m weak, I’m lone
Through the storm, through the night
Lead me on to the light
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home

Something said during Sunday School about how we as Christians hold our hope in Christ during this recession made me think of this hymn. Then it promptly got stuck in my head for the rest of the day.

Here is one of my favorite Youtube presentations of the hymn.

My archives have, for the most part, been salvaged and my site’s layout is, for now, reasonably aesthetically pleasing.

Of course, I do not care for red-orange text on a black background, but I am not ready to fork over the cash to be able to tweak the layout. In time, perhaps.
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With that said, I encourage all of you to drop-in on the new incarnation of what was formerly “not for you” but is now A Place To Standmatthew.wordpress.com

The title is derived from a famous quote of Archimedes: “Give me a place to stand, and I will move the world.” The Greek text of which accompanies the heading.

Granted, the great mathematician of Antiquity was speaking of the principle by which his fulcrum-based Lever operated and I am speaking of something different altogether. Mine is more of an oblique Francis Schaeffer reference. Even so, were I proficient enough in Greek, I would likely amend his phrase to say:  Give me a place to stand and He will move the world.

Huge credit goes to a dear Brother of mine and computer programmer extraordinaire John (he of the Donatello pseudonym) for all of his fantastic work in this endeavor, as well as the many of you who took so graciously of your own time to weed through browser caches and old emails to help fill in the missing pieces of the puzzle. You all have my gratitude.
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I will be gradually phased-out as primary author here at Prospero House. Though I will still contribute from time-to-time. Iit is my hope that Candace is able to make her mark here in the coming months.

Of course, she has her hands quite full at the moment, so it may be a while before she can get into a groove.

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