My Fab Fam

My Fab Fam
Photo by Thousand Hills Photography. Click on photo to visit their site.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Getting back to real: a different kind of crazy

My girls are 9 and 11 now. And things are no less hectic than when they were 2 and 4. It’s just a different kind of crazy. Now we juggle after school academic team practices, two hour dance lessons, archery practice twice a week and meets on weekends, church, orchestra rehearsals, homebuilders’ meetings, and (I finally dropped) choir. This is not an extensive list. You all know. You are mentally adding your additional ten things to the list. This is life for the young American family of the 21st century.

That said, I want you all to know how this looks on the inside. Outside we may look like we are juggling quite well. Behind the doors, spinning suspended plates are falling out of my raised hands every day. If not the plates themselves, then at least the food is sliding right off. Especially the food.

In the last two weeks, I have left out to entire crock pot of vegetable soup, the grape salad I was going to take to Easter dinner, a large pot of boil eggs I was cooking ahead for breakfast all week, AND all the beautifully dyed eggs we made for Easter (and might I add that we used home-made dyes because...why not add one more time consuming activity to our list so we can post it on Insta?).

Waste. When waste breaks my heart.

Then we have laundry. I start a load at 9, after putting the kids to bed, thinking I will throw it in the dryer on my way to bed...but fall asleep on the couch. Sooooo, the next morn I have to wash the load again. Because my washer transfers a nice sour smell onto any clothes left in there for more than 5 seconds after it spins. How much detergent have I wasted washing loads twice or, heaven help me, three or four times?

Speaking of falling well do you sleep on the couch? My couch is pretty comfy but I never agree with myself when I wake up at 4 o’clock in the morn with my legs still painfully curled upon the half of the couch I choose to use when I fall asleep there. Why did I not just go to bed when I got sleepy you ask? Because I am waiting to switch out the laundry.

Friday, January 8, 2016

I agree. Mostly.

A dear old friend whom I greatly respect recently had the honor of being published! I'm thrilled for her and admire her even more. Besides homeschooling, gardening, and turing that garden into a small biz farm, she also finds time to write?!?! Her intriguing and inspiring, if a bit bitter when swallowing, article is here at her blog, adorably named

I read it and loved it and was pained by it and processed it and now offer these thoughts for anyone who can relate. I started to actually post on Facebook (which should explain the quirky letter-to-a-friend-like beginning of my reply to her), but as the length grew, I questioned the propriety of that. Why not blog? It was, afterall, a blog to which I was responding. I haven't in too long anyway. With no further ado, my reply:

So, I'm just going to bravely have this convo right here [on Facebook, which I didn't, so it's safe to say I'm not that brave]. First, you have a blog?! How did I miss that? And you are published? YAY!!! Will def have to check out some other posts soon! FYI: I couldn't access the article through FB - said it was restricted - but I went online to read. And I agree - real food is worth it. And I am convicted.

However, I also know this: real food isn't the single most important issue facing me as a parent, though it is at the top of my list. Showing them Jesus is first and foremost and I am heavily convicted at my failures in that area as well. (But more about that later.)

With that said, here I go...I have been where you are, at home, gardening, emphasizing good foods, making health high priority. Now I am working outside the home, along with my man, who works more-than-full-time, while also going to school full-time and building our new home. We are at our current home, on average, less than 3-4 hours a day, other than sleeping. We have been eating TERRIBLE! We still try but I now know how real the real food struggle is for two-working-parent homes. When I stayed home I was working - yes! But my work was focused on the home and my family and good foods and household order we just survive. And my kids ask for, and I quote, "real food." My youngest literally asked for "fruits and veggies" when I recently offered something else - chili - which was also homemade but not the raw stuff her body was craving. And I am both grateful that I have instilled that in her and heartbroken that she actually had to ask.

I still pack their lunches - one decent meal they are guaranteed a day - because the school food is hardly food. (I think you would be surprised how many people agree with you there.) And kids often ask my girls what they are eating and mock their lunches and I have to encourage them to be strong and not stop eating almond butter or [inserted whole food] just because their friends say it looks like "poop."

I get both sides of the issue. Both struggles are real. Real food is worth it. To a point. Until you start to loose your sanity because there isn't enough time and you are down to 5 or 6 hours of sleep a night consistently - and you need 8. And you start screaming at your kids. And you wonder how you can fulfill priority #1 (Jesus with skin) if priority #2 (or 3 or 4) makes you act demon-possessed.

We try. We fail. We try again. And we come alongside each other in this REAL real food struggle and nod and say, "I know this is hard, but we do all we can and pray God will cover the rest." I am learning His love covers a multitude of mistakes. And that includes my bad food choices. Not that His grace is a reason to sin and eat poorly, but I certainly know He forgives me when I can't get a square meal on the table and He even blesses my efforts to provide the best food I can.

This season too shall pass. And someday I hope to say, "Jaimee has a little farm," and be able to share some edible gold with others who are in a crazy season, wanting better for their kids and themselves but are at the end of their rope and unable to give it.

Until then, coddle me a little and please don't slap me when I fail because, believe me, I do enough of that to myself. If I'm not hanging my head in shame over the rotten supper we ate, then it's hung because I short-circuited on my child while I was chopping those veggies to roast, while stirring the pot on the stove, while knocking over the coffee I made for myself to get through the evening but never even took a sip because I was too busy helping my oldest with her homework.

So very grateful I have a Savior who promises to be the lifter of my head. And promises it ALL works together for my good. Possibly this bumpy path to better berries is creating a little compassion within me, even if we eat a little corn protein and cellulose gel along the way.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Working Momma Recipes

I went back to work outside the home this week. I am now a CIA at my girls' school. It is fun. And exhausting. And exciting. And chaotic. And stressful. And...I love it.

I love being on a schedule and getting up before the fam and having quiet time and being ready before anyone else gets up. I love being in the same building with my girls and getting hugs in the hallway. I love that I have a job that is on the same schedule as my kiddos; I go in when they do and walk out with them, and I'm off on the days they are off.

I don't love being completely pooped when I get home at three o'clock. But I have discovered that I have energy to get through the night on the days I work out after school. But I have also discovered that working out is hard because my classes are at 4 and 5 pm, right when we are normally fixing and/or eating supper.

I have also discovered that the crock pot is my very good friend. And a crock pot meal that can lead to several more meals is an even better friend. And, this week I am thankful for Ree Drummond, who gave me three recipes in one. And I added a few twists of my own; so, I had five days of meals from one crock. Woot woot!

Tuesday night I soaked a pot of black beans. Wednesday morning I put the soaked beans in the crock pot. Since that day we have used the black beans to make three-bean chili, chili/chips/cheese, taco pizza, and black bean veggie wraps.

Here are the recipes I've used:

Black Beans

Three Bean Chili

Taco Pizza with my go-to quick and easy pizza crust recipe

Black Bean Veggie Wraps with Mango Guacamole

This week is:

Monday: left-overs from our meal at the Olive Garden tonight

Tuesday: Potato/Sausage/Kale soup

Wednesday: left-over soup

Thursday: something with chicken

Friday: ???

This is my idea of a weekday dinner plan, which really means I have no plan other than for one night. Ha.

And in between working and trying to keep my family fed and clothed - preferably in clean clothes - we are building a house. We now have a basement. After this week we should have a foundation for our garage and front porch. And after next week, we should be framed!!!

One last funny thought from my G-girl I will leave with you this night...

We received a movie in the mail on Friday from Netflix. I thought I had ordered a movie the girls would enjoy: Little Women. I read the description to the girls:

"Louisa May Alcott's beloved novel comes to life in this sensitive, soulful adaptation. Four sisters and their mother battle life's vicissitudes in Civil War-era America after their father leaves to join the conflict."

Then I said, "Hmmm...maybe this isn't something you all would like."

G said, "It sounds real. And gray."

E and I cocked our heads. Then realization dawned on both of us at the same time. As I began to laugh, E said, "You mean black and white?" G laughed as she said, "Yes, I mean black and white."

Hahaha! I admitted it did sound real (non-animated) and gray (black and white). Love her little mind.

And...we rented Charlotte's Web.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Wine or Whine

So, I got a two-fold lesson during my readings this morning. And I'm going to have to be quick about this because the girls and I have a breakfast date in less than an hour. But writing is remembering for me; so, I jot quickly.

First, Proverbs.

I have read this passage numerous times:

"If you had responded to my rebuke, I would have poured out my heart to you and made my thoughts known to you. But since you rejected me...I in turn will laugh at your disaster; I will mock when calamity overtakes you..." (1:23-26).

And I have interpreted it thus:

Because I haven't listened to a particular instruction God has given me, I am unforgiven, unforgivable, and basically stuck in this pit of "disaster and calamity."

But today God helped me see a lie I have been believing, as I read on...

"...but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm" (1:33).

Whoever listens. Whenever we listen. If we listen, these are the promises.

So maybe I haven't listened in the past. Maybe you haven't either. But we can listen today. We can gain peace for today. We can be at ease today. We do not need to fear that we will live in this pit forever. We can be out today.

Do not listen = disaster and calamity, distress and trouble

Listen = safety, ease, and no fear

What exactly have I been rejecting? 1) The power of His Word. The truth that the Word alone has the power to keep me out of  the pit. 2) The power of praise. The truth that my willingness to focus on God and his blessings (whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy), rather than my trials will bring joy and strength.

Then, I grabbed up Oswald Chambers' My Utmost for His Highest and read April 14. (So, I'm a little behind.) Here is what Chambers says:

"'Whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth.' How petty our complaining is! Our Lord begins to bring us into the place where we can have communion with Him, and we groan and say--'O Lord, let me be like other people.'''

[Boy, have I said this!]

He continues, "Jesus is asking us to take one end of the yoke--'My yoke is easy, get alongside Me nad we will pull together,' Are you identified with the Lord Jesus like that? If so, you will thank God for the pressure of His hand.

"'To them that have no might He increaseth strength.' God comes and takes us our of our sentimentality [that is so me!], and our complaining [yep, me] turns into a paean of praise. The only way to know the strength of God is to take the yoke of Jesus upon us and learn of Him. [The power of the Word.]

"'The joy of the Lord is your strength.' Where do the saints get their joy from? If we did not know some saints, we would say--'Oh, he, or she, has nothing to bear.' Lift the veil. The fact that the peace and the light and the joy of God are there is proof that the burden is there too. The burden God places squeezes the grapes and out comes the wine;most of us see the wine only. No power on earth or in hell can conquer the Spirit of God in a human spirit, it is an inner unconquerableness.

"If you have the whine in you, kick it out ruthlessly. It is a positive crime to be weak in God's strength."

Wow. God's strength is available today. If I listen, believe, and refuse to whine in my circumstances.

So, here's what I concluded:

When Satan presses me with his lies with the intent to crush me, I can let him drive me to the pit or I can dig deeper into the rich soils of God's Word.

When God presses the grapes of my circumstances, out comes the wine or the whine. Which will I allow to burst forth today?

Satan presses = be crushed or dig on down into God's Word

God presses = whine or let Him bring forth the wine

Today I'm going to dig deep, offer praise, and let God make wine of life's bitterest grapes. Because I am clinging to this: What Satan intends for evil, God will use for good!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Summer Thoughts

My house has come undone. 
There is at least a load of dishes on my counters and in my sink, if not two. 
I would not even want to count the loads of laundry waiting to be washed. 
And there is more waiting to be folded, or ironed, then put away. 
The bathtub is grimy from the dirt of feet that have run bare in the summer grass. 
And covers and toys and books are strewn everywhere. 
Oh, and I won't even mention the garden. 
But I will share a picture of the weeds, trying to catch up with our 9-foot-tall corn.

And still, I love it.

We have horse-riding lessons, 

a new piece of property to mow and weed-eat, 

books to read, movies to watch, parks to visit, 

ice cream to make, a volcano to explode, veggies to pick/cook/share, 

fireflies to catch, games to play, family and friends to visit, 
(here we are in Pop's pool with the cuz)

and our friends' pool that beckons every time the sun shines 
(which hasn't been often since we are experiencing record-setting rain falls for this time of year).

And while we are on the subject...
Big girl learned to swim yesterday! Yay!!!

I have three weeks until both of my babies go to school. Have I mentioned that my baby baby starts Kindergarten this year??? I can hardly imagine what I will do with 7 uninterrupted hours 5 days a week! I think I might cry for a few of them. But until then, we will laugh, play, swim, lie in pajamas all day, and dodge piles of laundry as we head out of doors to squeeze every last bit of fun out of our last three weeks of summer.