Relishing Life

Focusing on the Blessings in My Life

Happiness March 7, 2009

Filed under: family,habits,Homemaking,marriage,musing,nature,raising children — Relishing Life @ 12:02 am

What is your definition of happiness?

When you have more than enough money to fulfill your needs?
When your soul mate smiles at you?
When your child tells you that he loves you?
When an friend calls to just to say “hi?”
When your pet cuddles with you?
When you are traveling?
When you curled up with a good book?
When you receive a hand-written letter in the mail?
When the traffic was light on the way to work?
When you nailed the presentation?

There are so many aspects of life which we can base our happiness upon. Yet, it is a choice as to what we allow to affect our moods. We all have things go wrong during our day:

We just can’t get up when the alarm buzzes the first time putting us behind for the ENTIRE DAY…
Traffic was horrid making us irritable…
The boss picks the other guy for the special project…
The kids make a mess and are fussing about everything…
Our spouse had a bad day and all household tasks are left for us to handle…
The cat threw up on the carpet AGAIN…

The list goes on and on. But are these really reasons not to be happy? Yes, they put a damper on that moment, but happiness is a state of mind. One which we have control over. We can choose to let these things bring us down for the rest of the day OR we can focus on the blessings of the situation or other blessings in our life.

Many – okay, most – of my days are rout with minor irritants that dampen my mood:

The kids don’t want to get dressed…
Now, they want to get dressed, but refuse to actually put the cloths on their bodies or let me do so…
The boys are arguing over a toy…
The house is a mess…
The ability to put DH’s dirty cloths in the hamper has eluded him – although our 2 year old and 4 year old do so without prompting…
The cat has thrown up on the carpet AGAIN…
It is five o’clock and I still haven’t even considered what to make for supper…
DH is irritable after a long day of work and traffic…
Did I mention that the cat has thrown up yet again???

But, these things are only minor nuisances. They might cause me a bit of additional work and definitely help me to develop more patience and tolerance, but they aren’t life-threatening although our attitudes can be. So, when something annoys me, I try my best – which quite often is not good enough – to remain calm and focus the blessings:

The kids are learning to assert their independence…
The boys are learning the art of negotiation…
We are blessed with an abundance of earthly things…
The boys love being Mommy’s helper and taking care of Daddy’s cloths for him…
Our purring cats…
McD’s is on DH way home from work (LOL!)…
DH comes home to be with us most every night and enjoys his work…

Happiness is a conglomeration of all of the little blessings in life that we choose to focus on.  As I continue on my journey, I work on my patience and understanding. I try not to become angered by the little ones’ blatant disobedience (most often failing). I try not to impose my expectations on others (DH) unduly. And, each night I pray that God will grant me the patience and skills to be the best mom and wife I can be. It is a blessing to know that I don’t have to be perfect!  With God’s help and my determination to try to choose to be happy as much as I can by recalling my blessings and the small joys that bring me so much pleasure instead of fixating on the nuisances, I am beginning to be a much happier person!  Please remind me of that it is up to me to remember my blessing the next time I start focusing on the negative, okay?


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


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!


A Fresh Start February 9, 2009

Filed under: habits,Homemaking,musing,raising children — Relishing Life @ 8:12 pm
A fresh start, a new beginning
Past mistakes erased, poor choices forgiven
A chance to thrive under new circumstances
The opportunity to become who you were meant to be

When blessed with a fresh start, make the most of it! Every moment is a fresh start to some degree. Make the conscience decision to make better decisions every moment from here on out. All decisions won’t be the best, we are human.

Here are some of the things that I am going to concentrate on (and it will take ALOT of work on my part and ALOT of help from God to even begin to make improvements in these areas!) as I step forward from this point:

  • Providing more “child training” for my little ones
  • Being more soft-spoken to my family
  • Taking more care in my household tasks as they are a reflection of my love of my family
  • Making better choices with how I spend my time (i.e., less time on the internet)
  • Giving others the benefit of the doubt
  • Reach out in friendship to others more

Just Keep Swimming January 22, 2009

Filed under: family,Homemaking,musing — Relishing Life @ 1:40 am

A funny picture just popped into my mind as I opened this post. Dori from Finding Nemo singing, “Just keep swimming.” How often that is our mantra. Just keep on keeping on. Today we didn’t accomplish everything that I would have liked, but we did get quite a bit done. The chores that aren’t completed will wait until tomorrow as we just keep going about our day until we are able to complete all of the items on our list. We have slowed our pace and are taking more time to enjoy our daily lives. As some tasks pile up keeping me feeling “just keep swimming,” I am also appreciating each and every day more – even if less is being done.


Wishing for Perfection January 15, 2009

Filed under: family,Homemaking,musing — Relishing Life @ 4:26 am

Have you ever found yourself barraged by internal turmoil? It is at this point in my life that I am both liberated and confined. I am liberated in the sense that I know who I am, who I would like to be and what I am capable of. I am confined in the sense as I have a family to take care of (which I very much love doing!) and do not have the freedom to pursue my dreams in the way one can tend to them as a single person. This is not to say that I wish I didn’t have my wonderful family – alas, it is my wonderful family which is truly my biggest dream. I simply wish that I were a more complete person so that I could fulfill the needs and wants of the precious people all around me more wholly and be completely satisfied myself. I always wanted to be little Miss Susie Homemaker (pre-prison, lol) who could take care of the house, her children, her husband, and herself effortlessly (or at least without falling to complete pieces). But, that is not who I am. I still dream of being that person, but at least I know that is not really the person that I am and have reduced the amount of times which I compare myself to that “perfect mom/wife.” I wish that I could have the perfect (tidy and ALWAYS company-ready) house, the perfect way of raising my children (one in which I felt that I was the one in control all of the time), the perfect relationship with my husband, and enough time AND energy to pursue personal interests and hobbies. As the kids get older and I am grasping a better handle of keeping the house under control, I inch towards this elusive dream of perfection. But, as for today, I settle for the perfection of two precious sons sleeping peacefully after a fun-filled day and the time to sit and blog for self purposes. That is as close to perfection as this day will come and I am content with that!