Relishing Life

Focusing on the Blessings in My Life

Recovering February 19, 2009

Filed under: family,raising children — Relishing Life @ 10:27 pm

The little ones have been ill for the past week now. I have been a bit under the weather, but the poor boys have been in hit pretty hard. It turns out that our older son is fighting (with the help of antibiotics) a double ear infection as well as the flu while our younger son is combating the flu alone. This is actually the second round in our house since last Friday which began with the younger one and has come back around again. I feel so sorry for them. The blessing is that everyone seems to be on the up-swing of it all (and they could have been inflected with much worse – a HUGE blessing as that was not the case!) and hopefully not be sharing it again. The second blessing is that our oldest can blow his own nose. Now, I just have to convince Mr. You-Need-to-Do-Everything-For-Me-Unless-I-WANT-to-Do-It that he is quite capable of accomplishing this task on his own as well. LOL! But, it is nice to be needed even if it is to wipe slime off.


The Homeschool Freebie of the Day February 16, 2009

Filed under: education,frugal living — Relishing Life @ 6:01 am

I have been very blessed to have found several different sites that offer free homeschooling resources. (Lori at Freely Educate has been my greatest source of free homeschooling information and referred me to this terrific resource!) One of my favorites is the Homeschool Freebie of the Day. I have it set as my home page so that I don’t miss a single resource!

The Homeschool Freebie of the Day provides a different homeschooling resource to download every week day for free! The resources are only available on the day that they are posted, so stop by every day to download your free resource! And, if you sign up for their weekly reminder, you receive an additional free resource to download every week. This week they are featuring:

Monday, Feb 16th:
Great President’s Day Resource Links! (links)
Want to make the most of President’s Day? Check out these Lesson Plans, virtual tours, poetry & the actual papers of presidents Washington & Lincoln! You have to check out the Highlight’s link as it has 10 ebooks to download free!

Tuesday, Feb 17th:
A Chinese Wonder Book (PDF ebook)
This fascinating collection of Chinese stories and legends, edited by Maggie Hogan of Bright Ideas Press, is a great literature-based introduction to the rich history and culture of China. Includes a read-aloud guide.

Wednesday, Feb 18th:
“Harriet Tubman & the Railway to Freedom” (MP3 audio)
A classic old time radio dramatization of the story of Harriet Tubman and the activities of the “underground railroad” during slave years.

Thursday, Feb 19th:
Blessed Is The Man: High School Unit Study Sampler (PDF ebook)
“Blessed is the Man” is a wonderful High School Unit Study geared to Christian young men, and based on Psalm 1. Thursday’s resource is this extensive 74 page preview of the complete four year curriculum – normally $10 on the publisher’s website – but yours to download today! If you have growing boys in your household, DON’T MISS THIS!

Friday, Feb 20th:
Creatively Simple: How to Make Butter in the Blender (PDF ebook)
Learning to make butter is something everyone should do at least once. This simple ebook by Penny Raine can teach you how, using items you probably already have in your kitchen. Detailed instructions and lots of pictures.

Remember, to go every week day to enjoy the most benefit from this great free homeschooling resource. All of these are free on their respective days at


A Day of Growth February 13, 2009

Filed under: raising children — Relishing Life @ 12:01 am

Growing my resolve that I will not give into the bad behavior of my toddler who keep openly defying me.
Growing patience as I repeatedly put K back in the corner as he refused to “do his time.”
Growing a deeper gratitude for the time and effort that my mom put into my “child training” helping me to be one of those children that parents comment on their good behavior (at least that is how I remember it…).
Growing my repertoire of skills which to use in my child training.
Growing a greater appreciation of my husband’s ability to handle the children’s misbehavior in a manner that gets results without the backtalk. There is something about Daddy that just makes them straighten up.


The Best Brownies EVER! February 12, 2009

Filed under: Homemaking,raising children — Relishing Life @ 10:01 am

J loves baking with me. His favorite thing to make? BROWNIES! J is a very picky eater – but he loves brownies and really enjoys baking them. J and I have the recipe for the best brownies ever!!

Best Brownies EVER

2 boxes of your favorite brownie mix
Ingredients to add to the mix per directions on the box
Huge bowl for mixing
9 x 13 glass baking dish
1 sandwich baggie
1 wooden spoon
1 bowl scrapper
Lots of love
2 dish rags
1 towel

1. Preheat the oven as directed by the instructions on the back of the brownie mix.
2. Using the sandwich baggie as a glove, Little Person greases the baking dish with the shortening. Mommy discards baggie after “touching up” the dish to ensure complete coverage of grease.
3. With a little assistance from Mommy, Little Person adds the brownie mix and all required ingredients listed on the box into a huge bowl. Don’t worry about the brownie mix that gets split on the counter – there will be more added to it shortly!
4. Using the wooden spoon, Little Person *gently* stirs the ingredients until he tires and turns this task over to Mommy. Note: Little ones are still learning about the physical sciences and the fact that while mixing batter the resistance level does not remain constant. He is trying to stir gently! Refrain from becoming upset or cleaning up just yet.
5. Mommy finishes mixing the brownie batter.
6. Mommy pours the batter into the grease baking dish – not scrapping out the bowl well – while Little Person tries to patiently wait until he can use the bowl scrapper. Mommy spreads the batter in the dish and places in the oven allowing them to bake for somewhere around one hour.
7. Little Person now uses the bowl scrapper to scrap out the yummy raw brownie batter and licks off the scrapper. Mommy gets to us the wooden spoon to scrap brownie batter out for herself as this allows Little Person a chance at getting a good share on his much larger bowl scrapper. Remember to let other little people have a lick also.
8. Use one dish rag to clean brownie batter off the faces and fronts of Little Person and yourself. Use second dish rag to clean the counters, back splash, floor, cabinets, etc.
9. Let brownies cool and enjoy your yummy creation of love!


Saved from Spoiling!

Filed under: frugal living,habits,Homemaking — Relishing Life @ 7:06 am

I am blessed at being able to find good deals. (Now, I am not able to find may free items or pay only pennies for items, but I usually save about 40% on our household/grocery shopping.) This is balanced by the fact that I tend to procrastinate and forget about the *deals* that needed to be repackaged for freezing as their expiration dates near – and sometimes (more often than I would like!) pass – before being tended to. Yesterday, I was able to rescue several packages from going to waste and thus ruining my grocery budget. Here is what was lurking in our extra refrigerator waiting to become science experiments:

12 packages of 1.5 lbs. hamburger meat
1 chuck roast

Luckily, I “discovered” them just in time before they spoiled. The chuck roast and a celery bunch that was wilting in the bottom of the refrigerator were put into my sanity-saving crockpot to become a savory roast with carrots and potatoes for lunches and a dinner later in the week (reheated). Four of the hamburger meat packages were lazily placed as-is in the deep freeze’. I browned five packages and repackaged them into one pound packages and refroze to be used in later dishes. The three remaining packages were transformed into 8 mini-meatloaves and frozen for another day and 1 regular meatloaf to be reheated Friday night. I did retain one pound of the browned hamburger to be combined with the kidney beans (and seasonings) that needed to be used up to make chili for supper last night and made cornbread to go with it. So, what was about to have to be rubbish is now prepared meals for the next couple of days and for those days that I don’t feel like cooking in the future.

Do you frequently get that sick-to-your-stomach feeling as you open your refrigerator to find that *deal* that you purchased and had such great intentions for has spoiled? Does it break your heart see your hard-earned money being thrown away because you procrastinated and forgot? You are not alone! I am going to try harder to prepare items as I bring them into my house for longer term storage instead of allowing them to be wasted. This will take much discipline, but it is my job as homemaker to make our resources stretch as far as possible – and throwing away food because I didn’t feel like dealing with taking care of it properly earlier is a poor way to run a household.

Yesterday, I was able to turn my laziness into a blessing. Not only was I able to save our investment, but I also have some ready-made meals for later! Quite a feat for me!


Insecurities February 11, 2009

Filed under: musing,quote — Relishing Life @ 9:42 pm

“What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and in intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness. It is the harder, because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it. It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

Ralph Waldo Emerson has always been one of my favorite philosophers. The clarity with which he wrote about the human experience seems to convey my fuzzy thoughts and feelings. It is as if Emerson looked inside me and printed onto the page the words that reflect the turmoil or thoughts that I am experiencing. This is NOT to say that I believe myself to be on Emerson’s level – far from that!! It is just that his writings always touch me in such a personal way that I can relate as if he and I were sitting down chatting over a nice cup of hot chocolate and his words were chosen carefully for the lesson that I needed imparted to me.

How often is it that we are comfortable being ourselves in the privacy of our home? How is it that we are in a group that we become someone else – taking on the attitudes and behaviors we perceive as being favored by those in our company? How hard it is to be completely true to ourselves when in the presence of people whom are not part of our immediate family! How we wish to have everyone love us and accept us for who we are yet we put on a facade in hopes to make a better impression. Even as we walk down the street, we try to present an air of confidence which we may not truly feel. Acceptance and insecurity. We seek to be accepted and we are insecure about being accepted as we are by others.

I find myself all too often concerned with being liked by others. Did he misunderstand what I was trying to say? Did she misread my body language as being standoffish instead of being uncertain in the situation? Does he think that I am uneducated because I cannot contribute to the current conversation? Does she think that I am rude because I am not good at engaging in small talk? Did my attempt to be funny come across as idiotic? Was my awkward attempt to reach out and make a new friend interpreted as needy?

As I deal with my insecurities, I remind myself of my strengths. It is during these times that I focus on who I really am and the person that I wish to grown into. As I strive to be the best person I can be in all of my roles, I hope that others are able to see me for who I really am and love me anyway.


Winter Returns

Filed under: family,nature — Relishing Life @ 1:00 pm

Ah, yesterday was refreshing with the warm sun melting most of the snow and the kids being able to play outside without coats or even a jacket on! The boys enjoyed splashing about in the puddles and completely covering themselves in mud. I was able to air out the house and bring that fresh, crisp smell back inside. (Although, now, I see just how much dusting I need to do. LOL!) The sunshine seemed to linger longer than normal and following me where ever I went. The geese even cooed “hello” on their way to Canada. Ah, yes, spring must be here!

HA! Yesterday was just a treat – a harbinger of warmer times in the distance, as alas, today it is winter yet again. The wonders of winter! Winter always reminds me of what is important in life. It is when the warmth of our home and family seems to beckon us to tend to it even more – to enjoy the blessing of security it provides against the frigid temperatures and outside elements. It is when we most look forward to returning home to our families and we remember just how blessed we are to be in their warm bosom. Today, we will celebrate the return of winter by keeping one another warm and cozy while we enjoy reading books together and making a delicious treat to warm our tummies and our souls. It is the simple things that are the most rewarding.

Please excuse me as I cuddle up with my little ones while I read them book upon book under the warm blanket on the couch. If only DH could be here to share this time with us it would be PERFECT!

Enjoy your day – whatever the weather!