Have Fun with Your Family

Harmonica FunHappy New Year! One of my goals this year is to find time to have fun with my family.

Last year my word for the year was “finish”. I had so many unfinished projects that I wanted to focus on finishing some of them. While that was a worthy goal, I found myself finishing things but starting so many things that I became a little overwhelmed with all the tasks left undone by the end of the year.

This year I picked a word that I feel would free me of some of the stress that I find myself under. That word is “boundaries”.

In December, I started reading a really good book entitled Boundaries: When to say Yes How to say No to take control of your life.

That book made me realize that I tend to over volunteer to do things. It’s not anyone else’s fault but my own because I haven’t set clear boundaries in my life to help me know when I need to say “No, I really can’t right now.”

So this year I planned to set some healthy boundaries in my life.

You know the Lord has a sense of humor, I honestly believe, because it really wasn’t part of my plans to hurt my shoulder which forced some boundaries upon me.

It is all good though because I finally went to a local health clinic today and the x-rays show that I didn’t break nor fracture any bones and I still have a good range of motion even though it hurts so with some medicine and gentle exercise I should heal in a few weeks.

harmonica funNow to the fun stuff.

My husband and I got new harmonicas for Christmas and we started a new goal this year. We are going to try to record ourselves playing our harmonicas together each week.

Here is a fun video of me opening my Christmas harmonicas. My husband and kids surprised me by getting me more than just the one harmonica I was expecting.

Here is that video:

I was really surprised. I think the biggest surprise for me was that none, I repeat, NONE of our six children told me about it. They kept it a secret and were very proud of themselves for it too.

Now I know you are waiting to hear us play some so here my husband and I are having fun with our first recording for this year. My husband is playing a Hohner 48 chord harmonica and I’m playing on a Lee Oskar Diatonic harmonica.

And here is our second video. This is after I hurt my arm so it hampered my playing a little bit.

And our latest video together still with my hurt arm. I’m glad to say that I’ve been given the “go ahead” about using my arm so my next video will be less encumbered.

It really is good to find things you enjoy doing with your family.

My husband and I enjoy playing harmonica together. Our younger children enjoy basketball and I will share a post about that in the near future. The important thing is to find something you can do as a family that brings you closer together.

Maybe for your family it is playing games or putting a puzzle together.

What does your family enjoy doing together?

I would love it if you shared what you do together in the comments.

 

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My Birthday, Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

I had to sing the title as I typed it. Well, at least that last part.

2013 was a wonderful year. I met and exceeded many of my goals. I wrote a book, attended a writer’s conference and ended the year with a clean kitchen.

Those who were following me at the beginning of last year might remember my word for 2013 was “determined”. I was determined all the way to the end to finish the year out strong.

Here are a few blog posts of note in 2013:

Why I Started the New Year with 1000 Kicks (We’re doing this again this year.)

Conquering the Chore Monster

How to Baby Proof a Kitchen in 8 “Easy” Steps I need to do another post like this with Elisabeth as a toddler. We have not put a baby gate up at all to our kitchen this year.

Finding Beauty in Imperfections

These are just a few to show what we have been up to during the year.

I also wrote a book “Don’t Quit: Build a Legacy of Commitment” which you can download for free here. You can also read the blog posts I wrote to go along with my book. I plan to finish the 31 Day Building Commitment series and write a more in depth book from that theme.

December was a very busy month. Our children were sick the week before Christmas. I caught it the day before my birthday. 

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Birthday Presents from My Husband and Kids

I shared this on Facebook about my Birthday.

“Thank you, everyone, for the Birthday greetings! I had a wonderful day. 

My younger children gave me one roller blade and a floaty.  Now I can skate on one foot in a swimming pool without drowning.

My oldest son gave me a beautiful necklace. And my husband took me out for dinner and bought me a Keurig.

When we came home we had birthday cake made by my kids, ice cream, and coffee made in my new Keurig.

I couldn’t have asked for a better day! — feeling loved with Scott Maness

I had quite a few comments asking, “What’s up with the one roller blade and the floaty?”

I promised to write a post about that and then immediately the busy-ness of the season set in and I never stopped to post the rest of the month. So I will now give you that explanation. 

My children have sweet, caring hearts even if at times they are a bit misguided in their efforts. They believe that a Birthday is not complete without a gift being given some time during the day.

My younger children felt bad that I didn’t already have a gift so they ran to their rooms and grabbed probably the first two things they found on their floors as a present to me. It just so happened that those two gifts were a roller blade and a deflated floaty which they wrapped in a baby blanket. 

They brought it to me and when I opened it I smiled and with all the excitement only a mother can give for such a gift, I exclaimed, “Wow! Now I can skate on one foot in a swimming pool and not drown!” I gave them all hugs and thanked them for the gift. 

My 15 year old son later in the day gave me a necklace he had bought a month earlier. I was very impressed by his having thought to get me a gift that far in advance. It was very sweet and a sign of his growing up. 

My husband took me out to eat and we shopped for Christmas presents and bought a Keurig for my birthday. I have only been drinking coffee off and on for about a year and a half now. Two years ago I would have never dreamed I would want a Coffee Maker for my birthday. It’s amazing how much we grow and change in just a few years.

We spent Christmas with my family and enjoyed seeing my sister and her family as well.

Did you have a good 2013? Are you as excited as I am about the things to come in 2014? What type of posts do you like to see on my blog? Is there anything you would like to see more of? Feel free to share your thoughts with me in the comments or if you follow my blog by email just hit reply if you would like to talk with me privately. 

It took me long enough to get this post written. I have quite a few goals for this year. My word for the year is “organize” and I’ll be sharing more about that soon. I will also tell you about the goals I have for this year. I’m looking forward to a lot of great things to come. 

Have a very blessed and productive New Year!!!

~~ Anastacia ~~

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Life is Like a Boat

You may be wondering where I have been. Well, life has been pretty busy lately and my blog has been down for right around a whole week. I have finished my book and will be sharing that with you tomorrow. But today I wanted to describe what my life is like.

My friend Pamela Hodges asked on her blog ipaintiwrite.com what life is like to us. She plans to put all submissions into a book. You can read more about her plans on the post “Tell me what life is like and be in my book“. I have been describing my life as a boat for a long time. So I’m going to share it with you today. And since I haven’t blogged in quite a while (try a whole month!!!) this post is very fitting as a prelude to my book launch tomorrow.

Art Credit: Scott K. Maness (2004)

Art Credit: Scott K. Maness (2004)

My life is like a boat. A leaky boat. It keeps taking on water.

I run over to one part of my boat realizing I neglected an area. I work diligently to fix the holes and bale out water.

Ah! Smooth sailing…

Then suddenly I look behind me… Oh, no! Another leak. In the process of fixing one area of the boat I forgot to see the damage in another area of the ship. I then have to run over there and fix that leak and bale out more water. 

There fixed! Life is good.

Uh oh! Yep, you guessed it. I’m constantly running in circles to fix up this rickety ship.

One day it’s the dishes starting to pile up. I get so upset about the mess that I work very diligently to get that mess cleaned up. It may take a few days but I’m back on target with the housekeeping. 

Then I turn around. Sometimes I don’t even turn around just someone warns me. You have a problem over here. Maybe it’s a problem one of my children are having. I leave everything else behind and focus on that problem. Great that child’s problem is solved. Even if it took a few weeks to resolve the issue, I’m happy with the results. 

But oh, no! I planned to have a book finished and given to you, my faithful followers, by the end of August. So I rush over to that part of life and try to get that resolved. I have so many things planned for my little part of cyber space. 

Anyway, you get the picture. And that is what life is like for me. I’m still on this same old rickety ship called “Life”. I’m beginning to see that it will always be this way.

I used to get very upset at the tipping and tossing by the waves. Once I accepted this ship that God has given me, I can now enjoy the ride.  

How about you? What is life like for you? Do you have trouble keeping everything in balance? Please tell me about it in the comments

Where am I at today on this boat? Well, the dishes are clean. The kids homeschooling got off to a pretty good start.

Where are the holes? Well, you have just witnessed me patching one up right now. I am finally posting this blog post after a month of neglect.
Over all? Life is pretty good since I have great ship-mates like you to share it with. :)

And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.   ~ Mark 4:37-39 

~~ Anastacia ~~

 

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Building Memories

This week was Spring Break! My husband had most of the week off so we were able to take a short trip and have some fun with our kids.

Here are a few pictures I took this week.

 

I told them to pretend the sun wasn't in their face.

I told them to pretend the sun wasn’t in their face.

I said we built memories with the kids.  We didn’t necessarily get good pictures of them. :-)

We took this picture at the zoo.

We took this picture at the zoo.

I tried to get the kids to all look at the camera at the same time but Elisabeth looked away in this picture. Some of the others were looking away in the one picture she actually looked at the camera in.

Elijah is going down a really cool slide that lets you see under the water.

Elijah is going down a really cool slide that lets you see under the water.

Everyone had a really good time. We didn’t lose any of the kids. The only panic moment was when Jonathan panicked at the water’s edge of the slide that you see in this picture of Elijah.

Jonathan was scared to go under the water in the slide. But once we coaxed him through it he went down once with Ruth. Then he was willing to go down it again and again all by himself.

Jonathan finally slid down the tunnel. With a smile on his face.

Jonathan finally slid down the tunnel with a smile on his face.

Even Elisabeth got to go down the slide with Daddy's help.

Even Elisabeth got to go down the slide with Daddy’s help.

Scott took Elisabeth down the slide. She seemed to like it pretty well.

Scott went with the kids inside a small cave.

Scott went with the kids inside a small cave.

My Motto: If you have trouble taking good pictures just take a lot of them!

Finally one last picture for now.

I have a whole lot more but I’ll save the rest for future posts.

There was a little playground area where the kids posed for me on top of a snake tunnel.

There was a little playground area where the kids posed on top of a snake tunnel.

Even the picture on top of the snake was a bit of a flop. Jonathan’s hand is in front of his face. :)

I’ll spare you the picture of my wounded elbow. I cut myself on the passenger side mirror. It’s a pretty good little gash but it’s starting to heal now.

I was so glad it was me and not one of the kids that got hurt during the day. I hate hurting myself but I hate it worse when my kids are hurt.

Have you ever had a vacation or trip where you had a good time but none of the pictures were good? Or am I the only one that ever happens to? As always feel free to share with me in the comments.

 

This is a rather short and hurried post catching you up with what we’ve been doing this week.

I have a book I am working on that I’ll be sharing with my followers. I also  have a guest post to write and will be sharing that with you as well.

I am stepping out and trying new things. Thanks for following and listening!

 

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How to Maintain a Clean Kitchen in 6 “Easy” Steps

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I spent a day this week with just my 4 younger children. Joshua and Ruth had gone to a nearby farm to help with their animals and to have riding lessons.

I had to drop them off. Leaving the younger 4 by themselves is a disastrous proposition not even worthy of consideration. (Okay, I admit I enjoyed putting that many big words into one simple sentence.) In other words I’m not leaving the little kids by themselves for even a minute.

I got them all up and the older children ate breakfast while the younger ones were scrounging around for their shoes.

We dropped their big brother and sister off for their riding lessons and I took the younger ones to a local store for honey buns and hot chocolate mix.

That was a fancy breakfast in their minds.

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After breakfast I decided to let them have a little free time while I worked on some lesson plans.

Jonathan and Hannah were pretty creative. Hannah made herself a mop lady and Jonathan a broom man.

Hannah named her new friend Jennifer. Jonathan said his was grandpa with a Mohawk and a cowboy hat.

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Elijah has been working on potty training. I have also been having to teach him not to be rough with Elisabeth.

In the above picture of Elijah and Elisabeth they are playing on our kitchen floor.

I’ve been managing to keep the kitchen clean. I try hard to keep every dish washed up after each meal. Sometimes there are a few left to be done before bed but not nearly as many as there used to be.

I have learned that there are a couple of things that help in being resolved to keep the kitchen clean.

1. You can’t expect anyone else to do it. I can tell my children to help but unless I show that I care and put forth some effort myself then no one else will.

2. Be determined. I tell myself that I’m not going to bed until every dish is clean. If I want to get to bed at a reasonable time I have to keep those dishes up throughout the day or I’d be up all night doing dishes.

3. Don’t make excuses.That popular saying going around that I used to listen to. “The dishes can wait they’re not going any where.”

That is true but unless you want those dishes to multiply into an embarrassing mess you better catch it while there is just a few. Otherwise you’re stuck playing catch up and believe me that is no fun. Keeping it up is much easier than catching it up.

4. Numbers don’t matter. Cleaning with 2 versus 6 kids? I’ve had only 2 kids before and now I have 6. I can actually speak from experience on this question.

With 2 children you don’t have as many helpers. Of course, they don’t make as big a mess either. Technically clean up is about the same with both.

With 6 kids there may be more dishes but you can assign them jobs that you would normally have to do if there were only 2 children.

5. Make it quality time. The same saying about the dishes not going anywhere is usually followed by “…but your children are only young once.” In other words, you should spend that time doing dishes and cleaning house with your children instead.

Okay, I’ve followed that advice before. I actually liked it. I much preferred spending quality time playing with my children to housekeeping. That’s why I had a messy kitchen for the past 2+ years.

I now have a new outlook on quality time. This year I’ve determined that I’d have even more quality time if the kids and I cleaned up the kitchen before we do other things.

And who says cleaning the kitchen isn’t quality time? If you think about it we are all in the room together. Why not teach my kids a new song while we’re cleaning.

Now with little ones particularly of the potty training years then I may have to leave the dishes for a moment to take care of an emergency.

If it’s a 6 month old wanting to be held. A clean floor with a pot lid and plastic spoon is a very fun toy. More fun than a brightly colored toy in fact.

6. Give the excess away. If I haven’t used a dish in over a year then I probably don’t need it. Give it away! Think of it as one less dish to wash. It’s also one more spot in the cabinet freed up for those dishes I do use.

Do you have any advice on keeping the kitchen clean? Or do you have a housekeeping question that you’re struggling with? I’d love to hear from you. Tell me what you think.

I’ll be posting again in another day or two. In that post I’ll be answering the frequently asked question, “When do you find time to write?” :-)

If you don’t want to miss any of my upcoming posts, please sign up for my free email updates.

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I Forgot!


Poor Jonathan had the best surprise look so he gets his picture put on here for my forgetfulness.

The time changed today! Why do they make the time change be on a Saturday night? Thankfully Scott automatically goes to the church about an hour early anyway, but I was late.

I woke up at 8:30 this morning. Scott fixed breakfast while I put some clothes in the dryer to dewrinkle. I sat down to eat a quick bite looking at the clock in the kitchen thinking, “Hey, I actually have time for breakfast this morning.” I don’t always manage to get breakfast Sundays. I usually get myself dressed and find clothes for Jonathan while the kids are eating.

So I’m sitting at the table with a bite of pancake in my mouth, when Scott asks me from the living room, “Why does this clock say 10:00? Was the time change this weekend?”

I panicked, just a little. I hurried the kids to get their shoes on. I still had to get dressed, and I had to get Jonathan dressed. But I made it to church only a half hour late. Which if the time hadn’t changed, means I would have been there about an half hour early. I had actually planned to be at the church 10 minutes early. Everyone was good humored about it, so I didn’t feel too bad. Now, I know that I can get everyone ready for church in just an hour if I have too.

At least we didn’t lose any sleep over the time change.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
(Ecclesiastes 3:1)

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A Blog A Day…

Well, my Dad blogs everyday. My brother at least blogs once a week. Me… well… I have to admit I’ve been a bit remiss. But sometimes I feel like I spend way too much time on the computer when I go online. It takes me a while to load pictures, since I have dial-up.

Then there is checking e’mail, which might not take me so long if I actually checked it everyday. But alas, I’ve not checked my e’mail in a while either. So here I am checking my e’mail and checking up on my Dad’s and Brother’s blogs. You wouldn’t believe how many of my Dad’s blogs I’ve missed. I’ve only missed 2 of my brothers, which makes me feel better. Of course last time I checked my Brother’s blog I didn’t blog that day either.

I love to write, in fact I’m taking a writing course from the Institute of Children’s Literature. However, I hate waiting on computers to load stuff. I often feel guilty about spending too much time on it. Even if I’m only doing basic stuff like checking and answering e’mail, cleaning out my inbox, and reading blogs. It just winds up taking so much time.

O.k. So here is what I have decided. I’m going to blog a little more often, however without as many pictures, since that is what takes me so long to do. I will try to blog tomorrow. I may even put at least one picture on tomorrow. We’ll see. I just have to plan it.

But without pictures I’ll be able to write more often. I was just trying to get a picture in every blog before.

Uh oh, better go chase Jonathan down again and get the others back on track with their school work. They are working on their Multiplication right now. At least, they better be.

I’ll write more tomorrow.

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New Glasses and Learning Lessons…

It has been almost a month since I’ve blogged. I have a lot of catching up to do. Since I’ve last written Joshua and Ruth both have new glasses.
Joshua does not have to wear his all the time but Ruth does. Of course Joshua has to put them on, when I insist that he gets his glasses instead of guessing at the writing on the white board or the T.V. screen.
Ruth has astigmatism, which the optometrist said she will need to wear her glasses all the time. She doesn’t seem to mind though, especially since we made sure she picked a pair of glasses that she likes and look nice on her. She really wanted her glasses to be pink like mine.
Their lessons have actually shown some improvement since we’ve gotten their glasses. Whenever I see Joshua staring at something funny, I just send him to get his glasses and he seems to not have such a problem. It has helped him with the tired look that he often would get in his eyes.
Of course we “had” to get Hannah a pair of sun glasses as well. She went with us to Ruth’s eye appointment. She felt like she needed her eyes checked also. So after Ruth picked out her glasses, we took Hannah over to the sunglasses section of Wal-mart and found her a pair of lightly tinted glasses. They look like sunglasses but they are not as dark as real sunglasses would be. They just have a pink tint to them. She was real proud of them. Jonathan just seems happy that he has so many people to pull glasses off of now. Whenever he gets a hold of Hannah’s sunglasses he tries to put them on his head. He loves to copy.
Jonathan is getting big. He is almost walking. He will stand up in the middle of the floor without holding on to anything. We haven’t been able to get him to take a first step, but I just know he will soon. I took a wonderful video of him playing with the his older siblings. Hannah was throwing a soft toy around the room and all of us would tell him, “Go get it!” He crawled across the floor grab the toy that she threw and then threw it for her to catch. Whenever he didn’t see where she threw it, we would point to it and tell him, “It’s over there.” He learned a new word. As soon as she would throw it, he pointed and said “Tha” for “There.” It’s hard to believe that he is growing so fast. He will be a year old soon. It doesn’t seem like a year has had time to pass. So much has happened this past year. I guess we’ve been so busy.
Hannah has been learning lessons as well. Her biggest lesson which I think she has finally begun to learn is to not lie. One of her incidences where we caught her in a lie, involved a chair that she obviously wrote on. I asked her “Hannah did you write on this chair?” She said “No.” When I asked her “Who did?” She said, “Them in France did it.” Hmmm… Her cousins sure would have
had to travel an awful long way to write on one of our chairs.
That is one of the lessons we try to teach our children at an early age. They get in far worse trouble for lying about a deed than they would have if they had told the truth. Hannah has figured that out and almost always tells the truth instantly now. Of course, now she tells the truth almost as if she were proud of the fact that she did it. But she gets into far less trouble that way.
He that speaketh truth sheweth forth righteousness: but a false witness deceit. There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health. The lip of truth shall be established for ever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment. Deceit is in the heart of them that imagine evil: but to the counsellors of peace is joy. There shall no evil happen to the just: but the wicked shall be filled with mischief. Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight.
(Proverbs 12:17-22)
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The Rest of the Story

Well, the trailer is no longer here. It has been moved. It took a little work getting it all cleaned out but it is finally done and moved to its new spot for however long it is needed. That was one of the things I was planning to have accomplished this weekend and thankfully it is done. I was able to keep my word that I would have it cleaned out by the end of this week. All of our stuff was cleared out and I feel a bit of relief with having that accomplished. Although it wasn’t moved on the day I had planned.

We also got the tools loaned out that I said we would let someone borrow. However, not on the day I told them we would get it to them.

Now all we lack is to take the kids to visit my parents, which I had originally planned for this weekend along with everything else I had planned. Hannah had been talking about getting to go to Papa and Nana’s church all week. Hopefully, Lord willing, we will get to do that next weekend. At least my parent’s were able to stop by our house for a short visit on Thursday. That helps.

So now, as Paul Harvey would say, you have the rest of the story.

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Much needed Update

It’s been a few months since I’ve written. Jonathan has now entered our lives and Scott and I have agreed we can’t imagine life without him. He is only two months old but he adds so much to our family life. I mean homeschool lessons wouldn’t be the same without the occasional “Isn’t that right Jonathan?” He just loves it when any of us talk to him. He usually returns a big smile in response.
He also loves the attention of his doting brother and sisters at least until he gets a little overwhelmed by them. Then they all say, “Oh, Oh! We’re making him mad!” then they run away from him. He usually calms down again when I pick him up.
I’m getting fairly proficient at typing one handed as well, being as the only time I really get to get on the computer is while I’m holding him.
Scott and I are very proud of our children. Every time I bring all four of them to Jonathan’s doctor’s appointment I receive compliments on how well behaved they are. The doctor told me that it is very unusual to have a room with that many children that quiet.

We are still waiting for a church to call Scott as pastor. We have been to several churches in view of a call but none have called as of yet. He is not the only preacher waiting for churches to call. We have friends who we go to church with on Wedneday’s and we ask them, “Have y’all heard from ___ church yet?”
And they say “No. How about y’all? Have y’all heard from the church y’all went to?”
“Not yet.”
So many churches say that they are praying for God to call more men to preach and yet there are men called by God waiting for churches to accept them. I don’t know what these churches are looking for. My husband has preached some really good sermons and has the salvation message in each one. He answers all their questions honestly and makes sure everyone understands the answers. He has even stated he is willing to take a part time while pastoring if needed. But he still has yet to hear from anyone. I think these churches should hear a man at least twice before assuming he’s not the one for their church. I don’t know though. Someone suggested that it could be Scott’s beard causing churches not to call him. That seems rather petty to me though. I personally like his beard and I don’t think it should matter as long as he keeps it neatly trimmed.
Scott said that a lot of churches are looking for Saul when they should be looking for a shepherd. The other preachers in our church seem to agree. I’m tired of church politics. It’s almost like preachers have to run for office in order to preach.
Anyway until God sends us to the church he wants us to be at we will continue to do our best where we’re at. I’ll continue to fulfill my purpose taking care and teaching our children and Scott will continue to work hard at his construction job and continue to organize materials for the house he intends to build for us. We will also do our best to help with any local ministries we are able to help.

Well, I must go for now I need to buy some more homeschool supplies. It’s amazing how fast pencils disappear when it’s time for writing lessons. Until next time!

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