Monday, June 20, 2016

Summer Reading 2016

Greetings, Chaotics!

Today, I thought I'd share what our each member in our family is reading this summer. I don't include my husband in this, because, although I have bought him many books, he rarely reads. *shrugs*

So, with that said, here is what the children and I are reading this summer!

My Youngest Daughter(Age 9)
*The Beginner's Bible
*Play Ball, Amelia Bedelia!
* The Fire Cat
*Greg's Microscope
*Nate the Great
*Titanic: Lost and Found
* Junie B. Jones: Monkey Buisness
*Junie B. Jones and Her Big Fat Mouth
*More Junie B. Jones books of her choosing(we have several, and she really likes them)
*The Chalk Box Kid
*The Paint Brush Kid
* Riding the Pony Express
*Clara and the Book Wagon
*Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie
* Prarie School
*Third Grade Detectives #1, #2, #4, #10
* Jake Drake: Bully Buster

My Son(Age 10)
* Robin Hood
*Swiss Family Robinson
*The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
*The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
*Treasure Island
*The Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson
*Sadoka and the Thousand Paper Cranes
*House of Sixty Fathers

My Oldest Daughter(Age 12) 
* The Time Machine
*20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
* Famous Men of the Middle Ages
*The Screwtape Letters
*The Unaborted Socrates
*Mary Jones and Her Bible
*The Great Tennessee Monkey Trial(Audiobook)
*Vivan Apple At The End Of The World(Audiobook)
*The Boy Born Dead(Audiobook)
*Words in the Dust(Audiobook)

Me(30, I mean Forever 21)
*Consumer Reports Books: How to Clean Practically Anything
* I'm Not the New Me(note- this is a re-read, from my college days. It has some language in it, but this woman is my spirit animal at attempting to figure herself out)
* The Complete Tightwad Gazette(Also another re-read, but from my single mom days.Not fully reading, but grazing through it because several of the sections don't apply as technology isn't the same,etc.)
*Homesteading(mostly grazing through this, not fully/completely reading it)
*The Good Wife's Guide(Yes, I know there's a list *out there*, but a wonderful lady whose website I follow made it into a book)
*Reshaping It All: Motivation for Physical and Spiritual Fitness
And yes, I'm still(still?! Yes, STILL.) reading...
*Created to Be His HelpMeet

What are y'all reading for the summer? Any goodies the kids and I should be adding to our list? Anyone doing a Summer Reading Program at home/with their local library?

Until Next Time,
~ Mama Jenn

Summer Schedule 2016

Greetings, Chaotics!
Today, I thought I'd share our family's schedule for the summer. As I mentioned in a previous post, it will not look very glorious or Stepford-like to some. Yes, we are still homeschooling through the summer. The kids are doing what I call "Language Arts Boot Camp" and it's about as fun as it sounds(*hint* my kids are not lovin' it).

Anyways, here it is!

Monday-Friday Summer 2016 Schedule
5:00 Wake Up, Pray, Coffee/Tea, Personal Devotions/ Reading/Blogging

7:00-9:00 Water grass& garden boxes, pick weeds, feed pets, start breakfast, try to start dinner, and/or try to start some house cleaning task

9:00-10:00 Kids wake up, get ready for day, and eat breakfast, do Family Devotions

10:00 Summer Reading(What we're reading this summer can be found here.)

11:00(ish) Language Arts Boot Camp

12:00-12:30 Lunch

12:30-5(ish) Kids go outside, I finish a cleaning task or two, continue cooking dinner if needed and workout. Walk to the playground for kids to play

5(ish)-6 Free time. I finish dinner if I didn't finish it up to this point. 

6:00-8:00 Dinnertime, Everyone does a final cleanup blitz for the day, baths

8:00-10:00 Technology/Screen time for kids

10:00 Bedtime

I'd love to hear what fellow Stepford wives...or Homeschool Moms..or just plain ol' Families are doing this summer! Feel free to leave me a comment here or on Youtube to let me know!

I also intend on putting up two Vlogs up on Youtube this week- one where I talk "politics", and another where I share a store haul I did. 
And don't forget- if you want to see/read something from me, let me know! 
Stay Sunny! 

Until Next Time,
~ Mama Jenn

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Monthly Menu Plan-June 2016

Greetings, Chaotics!
This month's menu is centered around two things.
1. I am trying to get my grocery bill under $400 this month to meet our family's Summer Budget Challenge goal.
2. I am also trying to use up items in our freezers because we are going to need the room for the produce we're attempting to grow.
With these two things in mind, most of the meat items we already had from previous sales, and most of the fruit items we had from(dare I say?) last summer- this early spring and have been chillin' in our freezer this whole time or were from cans I got on sale that happened to be hanging around in our pantry.
If you see a meal that you'd like the recipe for, please comment and let me know!

Week 1- May 30-June 5
M-F: Hard Boiled Eggs and a banana
Saturday: Sausage and Egg Sandwich on either toast, bagel, or English Muffin
Sunday: Scrambled Eggs, Home Fries, Papa Bear Pancakes, Sausage

M-F: Pinto Beans and Brown Rice
Saturday: Leftover Pizza
Sunday: Leftovers

Monday: Memorial Day BBQ(BBQ Chicken, Hot Dogs, Cheddar Wurst, Hamburgers, Corn on the Cob, Salad, Baked Potatoes, Watermelon)
Tuesday: BBQ Chicken Salad
Wednesday: Cheese Burgers and Fries
Thursday: Baked Potato Buffet
Friday: Cheesesteak Pizza, Pull-Apart Bread
Saturday: Son's birthday meal(Cheeseburgers, Jo-Jo's, BBQ Chips, Salad, Ice Cream, Birthday Cake)
Sunday: Leftovers

Week 2- June 6-12
M-F: Plum Bread
Saturday: Bacon, Egg, and Cheese on Bagel OR Muffins
Sunday: Bacon, Scrambled Eggs, Papa Bear Pancakes, Homefries

M-F: PB&J Sandwiches, Pretzels, Carrot Sticks
Saturday: Leftover Pizza
Sunday: Leftovers

Monday: Salmon Patties, Rice, Peas
Tuesday: Corn Chowder, Whole Wheat Biscuits
Wednesday: Slow Cooker Chicken and Pepperoni, Rice
Thursday: Lentil Rice Casserole
Friday: Fruit Cookie "Pizza"
Saturday: No dinner prep. Invited to Pastor's House. Dessert- Strawberry No-bake Cheesecake.
Sunday-No Dinner Prep. Father's Day BBQ @Church. Dessert- Strawberry No-Bake Cheesecake

Week 3-June 13-19
M-F: Apple/Pear Crisp
Saturday: Sausage, Egg, and Cheese on English Muffin
Sunday: Sausage, Scrambled Eggs, Homefries, Papa Bear Pancakes

M-F: PB&J, Popcorn, Homemade Mac N' Cheese w/ peas and corn
Saturday: Pizza Leftovers
Sunday: Leftovers

Monday: Zucchini and Corn Quesadillas, Rice
Tuesday: Chicken Pot Pie, Salad
Wednesday: Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs
Thursday: Chili Dogs, Corn on the Cob, baked Potatoes
Friday: Double Bacon(Canadian and Regular) Three Cheese Pizza, Pull-Apart Bread, Salad
Saturday: (Celebrating Father's Day) Lasagna, Cheese-Stuffed Pull-Apart Bread, Ice Cream Lasagna
Sunday: Leftovers

Week 4- June 20-26
M-F: Peach Bread
Saturday: Bacon, Egg, and Cheese on Wheat Toast
Sunday: Bacon, Scrambled Eggs, Homefries, Papa Bear Pancakes

M-F: PB&J, 15 Bean Soup
Saturday: Pizza Leftovers
Sunday: Leftovers

Monday: 15 Bean Sausage Soup, Corn Bread
Tuesday: Slow Cooker Lemon-Garlic Chicken, Brown Rice, Green Beans
Wednesday: Turkey Burgers, Home Fries, Carrots
Thursday: Homemade Mac and Cheese with Corn and Peas
Friday: BBQ Chicken Pizza, Pull Apart Bread, Salad
Saturday: Salisbury Steaks w/ gravy, Mashed Potatoes, Peas&Carrots, Apple Pie
Sunday: Leftovers

Week 5-June 27-July 3
M-F: Strawberry and Oatmeal Bread
Saturday: Sausage, Egg, and Cheese Burritos
Sunday: Bacon, Home Fries, Papa Bear Pancakes

M-F: PB&J, Chicken&Orzo Soup
Saturday: Pizza Leftovers
Sunday: Leftovers

Monday: Pinto Beans and Rice, Corn Bread
Tuesday: Chicken and Orzo Soup, Rolls
Wednesday: French Toast w/ Strawberries in Syrup
Thursday: Creamy Sausage and Tomato Skillet
Friday: Breakfast Pizza, Cheddar-Garlic Biscuits, Salad
Saturday: null and Chips, Ice Cream
Sunday: Leftovers

Until Next Time,

~Mama Jenn

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Sometimes I Wish I Were a Stepford Robot-Real Talk Moment about Infertility

Greetings Chaotics,
Today, I may come across as crazy(although THAT would be nothing new), or to some women out there, I may appear completely sane.
Today, I'm going to talk about...babies.
And why, since I currently cannot have any, why sometimes....
I wish I were a Stepford Robot.
Okay, first off, I dont want to put myself in the group of women who want to have children but for things/ reasons beyond their control they cannot. I almost didn't say the Infertility word, because I feel like I'm sort of slapping those women in the face that actually ARE infertile beyond their control. But, I don't know what other word to call this. Unfertile(?) Unable(?)
Before I get started, I have to confess something.
Some of you may of followed me on social media and I may of danced around it but never actually admitted it. Others may of just assumed, while others still may have no clue. So, with a sad heart, I confess something I don't boast publically....
After my third child was born, my tubes tied. I did it for all the wrong reasons. I don't take pride in it, and never fully had. I was very ashamed to get it done, and since I met Aaron and felt God calling us to be more...I feel even worse.
I can't speak for everyone woman that's had this done. I can only speak for myself and how I feel on it.
Getting my tubes tied was something that was....more or less forced down my throat after child number two was born. I felt weird even back I was, a single mom, who loved having babies. Not because I wanted to be on welfare or use them as some sick pawn to keep a man. But simply because.....I freaking love babies. I could of cared less if the father stayed or not. I just love babies. I love being a mother to a baby, a toddler, a preschooler, an early elementary, a middle schooler....I love all the stages I've dealt with this far. I freaking love kids.
But, despite my love for babies, I had next to no means to provide for them. I didn't fully believe in God back then, so when people reminded me of the financial struggles I was going through, I didn't have faith to trust that a higher power would provide a way, or even hold onto hope that the father would stay around and provide. I just knew....I loved raising and growing babies. I was young and the people pleaser in me was strong.
So, when EVERYONE(I kid you not) was saying/suggesting and pleading/screaming with me to just get my tubes tied because it would be stupid of me to attempt to add more when I had zero dollars to support them....I complied. When my third child was born, and after the surgery, I cried.
But those around me nodded their heads in approval....then walked away.
For years, I felt so embarrassed. Even though I was far from conservative, much less a Christian, I felt incomplete. A half woman. I mean....aside from boobs, which even some men have, what separates us from men, if not only the ability to be pregnant and give birth? What man would willingly marry me, if I couldn't give him children? I felt like leftover, damaged goods.
I can't tell you the many times I cried over it....the many times I STILL cry over it. It hurts even more so that I'm now blessed with a wonderful husband that wants nothing more than to get me pregnant but can't because of a stupid decision I made to please no one that really mattered.
I go through this time every single month. Praying, begging God to do just ONE more miracle in my life. I confuse the signs that I'm about to get my monthly with that of being pregnant, and my heart thinks, maybe this is it! Maybe God HAS heard my prayer and will remove this guilt and shame I've had all this time! Maybe God is going to give us another blessing! 
But, of course, he doesn't, I get my monthly, and tears of anger at myself and the regret of a decision years ago just come flooding back for one hellish week every.single.month. I want so badly to get mad at God, but I know I can't. Regardless of the reasoning, I did this to myself. I was the one who agreed and signed on the dotted line.
And yes, I could and Lord willing one day will get them untied. But as I see our financial goals and all that we plan to accomplish in the next 5-7 years, it seems stupid/selfish of me to ask for $10,000 or more to fly to another part of the country and get it done. With no guarantee that I will get pregnant, as my age and time since getting it done may hinder their ability to even reverse it.
This yearning in my heart for more children is so strong, it hurts. Each time I get my monthly, I beg God, please, just take this overwhelming desire away. Let me be content with the three blessings you have given me, even while I didn't acknowledge you. Let me just accept it. Remove this pain of my decision and give me peace that my body will probably never bear more blessings.
But, for whatever reason, he doesn't. I don't always understand or even try to fully grasp God's ways, but dang it....this really hurts.
And every spring, it seems like....everything screams baby and new life. Someone is ALWAYS pregnant, someone is ALWAYS just having a baby. And while I am so, so, so happy that they are welcoming another blessing into their family....a part of me feels empty and just sad. I probably will never have that again. My husband and I will never know what it feels like to have  the whole process from conception to adulthood, together.  He has his, and I have mine, but we'll never have an "ours". We treat each other's children as our own, I am very grateful for that, but at the same time, we won't have that child or children that is part his and part mine biologically.....
That's why, at least in this regard, I wish I could be a Stepford Robot. I wish there was a chip I could remove from my a "desires baby" chip. I wish I could just go to a Stepford doctor and have it removed and just be programmed to be content and happy with just the children God gave us.
Anyone know a doctor that could do that? No?
I kid, of course.
But sometimes....I really wish it were that easy.
Anyone else have this struggle?

Blessings Until Next Time,
~Mama Jenn
P.S.-sorry for any potential grammar, etc. Issues in this post. I'm typing this using my tablet, which I don't usually publish on and it's hard to figure out how to correct things on here.