Thursday, June 22, 2017

A Good-Bye House Tour

The other day we had to get the house all tidy and clutter free to take pictures to send to a Realtor who was going to give us some comparables, so I thought I would share some of the pictures here as a sort of memory post.  We have had a lot of good memories here. I have never had a nicer home. Selling is bittersweet of course.  I don't want to go into that here.  I want to remember this house as just another example of God's great mercy to me.  He is an amazing God!!  As it turns out, I was already living in my dream house and now it is time to move back home.  Good-bye home sweet home.  You have been very good.  I am so very thankful.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

June is Going to be Just Peachy

June is a special month!  School is out.  There is no band until August band camp at the college my son is going to attend.  We basically have the whole month to relax.  OK, not really relax, although if you think preparing a house to sell is relaxing, then it is going to be really chill around here. Ha.

Yes, that is right.  We are finally going to set a date and get it done!!  Another house around the corner, the only house for sale in our neighborhood, just sold in less than a week.  That is scary fast.  We have done some scouting around and think we may end up renting in the area that we want to move to for a few reasons.

First, prices are on the rise everywhere.  We can no longer afford a house like ours even in our neighborhood so image trying to find something comparable in the most desired area of the state.  Thankfully, we are not looking to upgrade.  We want as small a house as possible so that we can maybe even pay it off in our lifetimes.

Second, houses are moving too quickly.  I found what seemed to be a perfect house yesterday.  By the time I had emailed the listing to my husband and he got home so we could talk about it, it was SOLD.  Gone in a day!!  How can we compete with that?  I am not sure I can make such a huge decision in such a quick manner.  It is a very important decision.  People are basically forced to buy a house the instant it comes available and hope for the best.  Nope, can't do that.  It is too risky.

Lastly, we don't know exactly what kind of house we need or exactly where would be the best location.  We still have two kids who will be living with us for the next 5 years or more.  We are not kicking anyone out.  We would love for them to live at home and commute to college, saving 10k a year easily.  We may not be ready to buy a house that is built for two.  We don't know where they will be going to college.  There are some good state colleges that are an easy commute from our desired area.

So as much as I hate renting again, we are probably going that route, unless a house pops up that would fit the bill and no one else wants it.  The worst part is having to move again and knowing that the houses are just going to keep rising in price.  I am praying we have wisdom and courage.  We are not the kind of people who enjoy risk.  The main thing is to be up closer to work, our church and friends.  So exciting!!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

May, You Sure Went by Quickly

May, you sure went by quickly!  School finished up and a first graduation came upon us.  We celebrated quietly with just the grandparents and our family.  The graduate requested no big open house.

We also started bowling with the Kids Bowl Free program.  So far we have managed to go quite a few times and are enjoying the challenge of learning a new activity.  We are so lousy but it is fun.

We have no camping trips planned as we are trying to save money to get the house ready to sell, hopefully by the end of the summer.  We need to get our graduate ready to go to college before we list the house.  It is too emotional to do both at the same time.  Patience is called for here.  Houses are selling so quickly, too. The timing is just not right at the moment.

June is shaping up to be a full month as well, but not as crazy as last year.  We can now find time to visit the library!  All winter I had been only reading their ebooks.  We also will visit our city's zoo, swim, take a day trip to the lake, and hopefully spend some time playing board games, reading and relaxing, the usual summer stuff.

Grace and I got our garden boxes planted.  I am very excited about them.  This year I have started 12 sunflower seeds.  Will the bunnies let me have a few grow into beautiful blooms?  Time will tell.

How is your summer shaping up?

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Field Trip Time

One of the neat things we get to do now that we are part of a school is to go on field trips with our teachers and classmates.  Last week we went to the Indianapolis Museum of Art.  We had gone last year when Grace was taking Digital Photography.  This year she is taking Advanced Art History with the same teacher, who by the way is awesome!  This year we focused on types of art.  I just go along for the ride and the opportunity to see great art and talk to other moms.  This year I got to see some that I have met in a Facebook group for our school.

Today we went to an organic dairy farm, Traders Point Creamery on the northwest side of Indianapolis.  This time Grace's Environmental Science teacher lead the group.  Grace got to meet one of her classmates whom she had been corresponding with via email.  Her family drove over 3 hours to get to the dairy farm.  They were delightful.  It was sweet to watch Grace and her friend get to know one another better.  I am proud of Grace for making the effort to make new friends.  The dairy farm is another post all to itself.

They have 100% grass-fed dairy cows.  They gave us samples of cottage cheese, yogurt, cheese, chocolate milk and ice cream.  We toured their barns and walked out to the pasture to meet the ladies responsible for this delicious milk.  I love cows and these were no exception.

We also recently visited our local zoo as a family, another fun trip.

It's a fun time of the year.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

This and That

Only a few days left until tax season ends if all goes well this week for my husband.  I am so excited to have him back during the evenings and weekends.  I have quite a long list of things for us to do before we list our house.  First up is to get the deck stained and mulch around the house.  Then I want to paint the master bedroom to a more neutral color.  It is a deep gold that we inherited from the previous owners.  I did not hate it, so we kept it.  Now it looks dark and scuffed. We also need to get the back screen door along with several screens fixed.  A certain little feline scratched them.  We need to clear out the garage and give it a good cleaning.  I want to get a storage facility and store some of our furniture and other items that make the house look cluttered.  Since I do not know what kind of house we will be moving to I cannot give things away that we might need.  I will give them away when I am sure we don't need them.  I want each room in our house to look larger and storing some things will help.  When all of this is done I will get the carpet cleaned and do a big clean up myself.  Houses are selling, thankfully.  On the flip side, there are fewer houses on the market that I want to buy in our price range in our target area.  This move will be a total God thing if it happens!!  And it has to happen.  Driving over 30 miles to church, work, and family is getting old.  My two youngest kids need to be closer to their godly friends.  Moving four years ago sure was an adventure and we learned a lot from our time here.  Never underestimate the importance of location!  

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Lessons Learned After Three Flat Tires in Three Weeks

If you cannot learn from adversity, you will be missing the hopeful side of a painful situation.  At least that is my philosophy.  And when your family has three flat tires in as many weeks on three different vehicles, you may as well look for the good!

We are super blessed to have three older paid for vans, all Dodge Caravans.  My husband drives our 2005 van with 120K miles back and forth to work.  It was a gift from my parents when they were getting another vehicle last year.  We lovingly call this van "Goldie."

Goldie started the flat tire trend when my husband noticed a slow leak the morning after a long weeknight trip home from church.  The first lesson learned, be grateful when a flat is just a slow leak and you discover it close to home.  Super thankful!  I think he was able to get it to the tire store without calling the motor club for help.  We also noticed that it was leaking more oil than usual, so we decided that we'd take it in the next day.  He'd drive "Old Faithful", the 2003 van with 180K miles, no A/C, and five-year-old tires that make it shake when you drive over 55.  Yes, we should have been expecting this next flat!

I took Goldie into the shop the next day with a bit of fear and trembling.  How much was this going to cost?  Thankfully, we go to an honest dealership and they gave Goldie a look over and called back saying it was just an old van with leaks, too expensive to fix it.  We are just supposed to keep checking the fluids frequently.  They charged us $5 to replace a lightbulb.  Score!!!

That evening, my dear husband discovers a flat on Old Faithful when leaving for home at 9:40 PM.  He has to call the motor club because he can't get home on a flat spare, too!  Thankfully, the motor club comes and the spare holds all the way home, 35 miles on the highway.  I was on standby to come to his rescue if needed.  He makes a note that the shake is gone.  Ha, ha!  Old Faithful is in the driveway with the spare still attached until we can get it some cheap tires.  We want to keep this van for our teens.

Flat number three happens to me yesterday on my way home from the morning school drop-off.  I drive the 2012 van with less than 120K miles and brand new tires.  I must have run over something in front of the lumber yard that I drive by.  Thankfully, again, I am just half a mile away from home and able to get home.  The motor company comes.  He has a horrible time getting the spare out from under the middle of the bottom of the van, the only place for a spare in a "stow and go" van.  Goodness, it could not be in a more inconvenient place.  He finally gets the van jacked up and cannot remove the tire.  He has to call a tow truck after all that.  The lug nuts are different sizes?  They don't have an adapter?  So weird.

By now, I am having to call the vet office and reschedule our morning's appointment.  I also do an attitude check,"Go with the flow" I tell myself.  I absolutely hate riding in tow trucks.  I hate having car issues.  But here I am, so I decide to look for ways to be a blessing to those I am going to come in contact today.

The tow truck comes and we have a pleasant conversation on the way to the tire store, my beloved Discount Tire.  I must give them a shout out.  They are awesome.  I get there, pay the money for going over 5 miles, and go into the store.

Oh wow!  There are people EVERYWHERE.  I am not the only one towed in.  I finally get checked in and they are going to also replace the lug nuts. Who knew that the ones that came on the van are not the one-piece type and they can swell up?

Thankfully, I have some things to work on and get settled in for my 2-hour wait.  Not too very long goes by and a nice young lady asks to sit next to me and we strike up a conversation. She tells me of how she is a single working mom and depends on her church for help with her 3-year-old because she has no family.  We have a nice talk and then my van is finished.  They were able to repair the tire.  Another nice worker puts the spare back in the awkward spot it belongs and I am free to go home, five hours after I ran over whatever that was!

I was able to see God working in my favor all morning long.  I received mercy upon mercy.  I remained patient and kind.  I saw opportunities to bless others.  It turned out to be a nice morning!  God's mercy was written all over all of our flat tires, still, I am praying that we have learned some valuable lessons and this is the end of the flat tire season.  :)

Thursday, March 30, 2017

March Thankfulness

These are taken from my March journal where I write down a few things each week that I am giving praise to the Lord for.  I thought I'd share them here as an online record of my thanks to God.

They are random.  They are simple. They are from the heart!

At the top of my "blessings page," I write, "Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God" from Psalm 50:14a.

  • The worst of winter is mostly behind us! 
  • My church isn't afraid to take time for difficult topics. 
  • The gift of long lasting friendships.
  • Enough energy to do the things I ought to do. 
  • Just eleven more days until spring.
  • Three precious children who are home to enjoy.
  • Weeds to pull because that means spring is near!
  • Good vet visit for Pippin.
  • Spring break!  A change and much-needed rest. 
  • Klove and Air1 to keep me praising the Lord all day long. 
  • Rainy, spring weather.
  • Saturdays that Jeff can work from home. 
  • Our online school's teachers.
  • A date with Jeff at Culvers.
  • Grandparents who take the kids away for 5 days! 
  • An old washer and dryer that keeps on going. 
  • Sunshine is the best.
  • The ability and desire to grow in Christ. 
  • Casseroles.
  • Extended family lunches after church.
  • Youth group leaders who love on my kids.
  • Abundant access to books.
  • A dear husband who loves us. 
  • More daylight.
  • Psalm 40
  • Robins singing in the morning. 
  • A flat tire discovered at work, not a blow-out on the highway! (Two this month)
  • Old vans that keep on going.  

Friday, February 3, 2017

Longing for Lake Michigan

This view from the best web camera ever was just too pretty that I had to post.

It is a cold, windy day at Lake Michigan, in the middle 20's.  I would still take a walk along the shore if I was there.  For now, I enjoy from my warm home!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Halfway Through Winter

This coming Thursday we hit the halfway through winter mark!  Time to celebrate! Perhaps I will bake a cake.  Yes, for certain I will.  And I am going to start making plans for Valentine's Day.  I love to celebrate this holiday as a way to show God's love to my family.  I cannot wait!

 Last week was so wet and dreary that today's sunshine is most welcome.  My new favorite winter day is sunny and above freezing.  Thankfully, this week might just be filled a few of these wonderful days.
The sunrise from my favorite beach cam.

 It is also going to be a wonderful week because I don't have many extra social engagements on my calendar.  Last week was too busy.  You know it is too busy of a weekend when you are secretly longing for Monday so that you can be home!
Eiffel Tower picture from my mom's trip.  

Best of all, my sweet mother and father are back from their trip to Paris, France.  Oh, how I missed them.  I talk to my mom each day, so a whole 10 days without a hello is too long.  I savored every text she was able to send my way last week.
Mom and her exhausted puppy, finally home! 

My list of books to read has grown.  I am currently trying to read five books and not doing so well, as I bought a new book this week and downloaded an electronic library book.  I must stop and finish a few before I add any more to the ever growing stack.  This must stop.  :)
Better get reading!

We have received our state testing dates and times.  These tests no longer strike terror into the hearts of my sweet children.  They are so smart, they say,"bring it!"  :)  I love their work ethics with their school work.  They love their online school.
My darlings.

Lastly, I am contemplating how to help a little outside cat who likes to hang around our bird feeder. There is a community cat program that loans traps to people for strays.  The cats are seen by vets and neutered if needed.  They are then brought back to the community where they came from.  I have set up a shelter and feeding station with a heated water dish.  He seems very scared of people.  I need to go over and talk to the people about getting a trap, I guess. I hesitate because I do not know how that would all happen.  I must go investigate.  At the moment he seems well enough.

My adorable Dorothy. 

So there we have a little this and that from my corner of the world.  I hope that your week is off to a good start!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Protecting the Food Supply

Protecting the food supply is one of my most important jobs as a homemaker.  It involves so many aspects of economy.  Aspects that I have had to develop over the last 22 years.

The biggest part of this job is shopping for food. Looking for deals, using coupons, writing a menu and making a list takes time. Going to more than one store is also a good idea, thus shopping the sale ads.  I admit that I do not do this as often as I should.  One of my excuses being that we have too small of a small freezer.  One day I hope to have a separate freezer in the garage again.  Another excuse being that I dislike shopping.  I really need to work on this attitude.  I realize that I am blessed to have the resources to go to different stores to seek out bargains.

Another big part of protecting the food supply is rotating the food that I buy.  I have a dark, small, but deep pantry.  It is so easy to put things in and forget that I have them.  It is also easy to open a new item before using up an old of the same item unless I keep a watchful eye on things in the pantry.  At the beginning of the year, I took everything out of the pantry and reorganized.  I also updated my family on the new arrangement so that they would be able to help maintain order.  So far, so good!

Cooking the food might seem like a no-brainer part of protecting the food supply.  How many times do I buy something and then forget to make it before it goes bad?  Vegetables usually fall into this category.  I really hate tossing produce.  I have also been known to buy something because it is a bargain and then have no plan as for how to use it.

Storing the food properly is also crucial to protecting the food supply.  When I get home from a shopping trip, I must put things into the freezer that will be used later in the week.  I must make sure that leftover food is used up or frozen.  Eating leftovers cuts down on waste only if they are indeed eaten.

Reducing waste is a top priority and a big job.  Because I have the privilege of staying home to care for my family, the job falls to me.  It helps us stay out of the drive through, too!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Tax Season Number 11 Begins

It is hard to believe that we are back to tax season, with my dearest husband working long, long hours for the next 84 days.  Today is the first Saturday he is at work.

Eleven years ago when he started working tax season, I had three small children at home.  They were 7, 6 and 4 years old.  I can remember those long days of tax season with little children and am thankful that we are no longer in that season.  With three teenagers, tax season is a lot easier!

For instance, early this morning, I dropped off our oldest son at the high school, as he is going to an all day jazz band festival at Purdue University.  Grace is planning to decorate a birthday cake for Daddy.  We will also watch a musical, as she has decided that each Saturday in tax season is dedicated to watching a musical.  (Yes, we have that many musicals in our collection.) My youngest is currently making us a big pan of bacon and no doubt he will help me with laundry as usual.  I will be looking for things to purge while I am making a big batch of chicken noodle soup.  This first Saturday will pass quickly!

The hardest part of tax season is the lack of rest for my husband.  He gets really worn down by the end.  Sunday is his only day off and that is spent running back and forth to church two times, 30 miles each way.  Plus, he is a Sunday school worker, which is always a challenge.  Hopefully, this is our last year living so far away from work and church, as he wastes a lot of time commuting, and time is precious!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Less is More

I am in the mood to purge, everything except books.  I want to really dig down deep and just get rid of everything that I hang on to "just in case."  That is so hard for me because I have had to buy things that I have given away.  My husband calls it the "Flylady Syndrome."  I would purge until it hurt and then later I would need something that I had given away, necessitating another purchase.  We agreed to NEVER give away any exercise equipment.  Moods come and go and you never know when you will miss those ankle weights.  (I do miss them! Not the step, though.  It was cheap.)

Despite the real fear, I remain in the mood to purge ahead of a move, getting a child off to college, and just wanting to be free of clutter.  Ah. to be free of clutter.  Perhaps my mind would be free as well?

The downside is that I am a sentimental hoarder (anything owned by my grandparents) and thrift store junkie.  I am actually going to one tonight.  Why?  I cannot help myself.  What if there are books there that are on my to-read list?  It happens.  No matter if I cannot ever possibly read all the books that I now own, including my Kindle.  *grin*

A favorite quote of mine from Gretchen Reubin is, "Outer order contributes to inner calm." I really believe that this is true, therefore, I am going to purge.  I am probably going to purge something that I will miss later.  I might even have to buy that item at a thrift store.  It is time to be brave!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Snapshots From Around the Home

A few snapshots from around the home... 

 Visiting our uncle who is in the hospital. 

 Making bread. 

 Playing games. 

Messages with Scrabble letters.

Our feeder's stalker has taken two doves. :(