Tuesday, September 30

it stinks

It happened later on Saturday evening as my husband came rushing into the bedroom where I was enjoying having my feet finally off the ground.

"WHAT'S THAT SMELL?!?!?!"

And of course, my response as the spouse who doesn't seem to have a nose replied with, "What smell?"

As he paced back out of the bedroom, I followed him and then even I, the non-sniffer, could sniff out THE SMELL. Horrid. Strong. Overpowering. Nauseating. And the culprit seemed to be the dog who had been let into the house for the night....who was then quickly let out for the night.

Although we *think* it came from her close encounter with a skunk, we haven't ruled out the possibility that she wandered into a neighbor's yard and perhaps got sprayed with an animal deterrent of sorts. And we are only speculating on that possibility because none of us had the immediate or even later reaction of "SKUNK!!!!"

But that really is neither here nor there, is it? We had a dog that was stinky in a bad way and someone had to take care of her. And this is always the part I don't like. You know, the part about the kids who wanted a pet so badly that they promised everything they could in advance to care for named pet, but those promises quickly disappear upon the appearance of pet's vomit, poop, or bad stink (our dogs also enjoy rolling in dead fish down at the lake in the summer).

Yup, sometimes it stinks to be the mom. Especially the mom who has always loved dogs and cats, but has been changing her opinion on that love over the last couple of years :::::sigh:::::

So, guess what I got to do Sunday after church? YUP, give the dog a bath. First with my hard work canned tomato juice, then with some green apple scented shampoo which I found in the boys shower. After the newly cleaned dog dried, she still had a lingering odor yesterday, so I had to track down the skunk odor removal recipe from a friend who had posted it online a while ago. Here it is if you ever run into needing something that seems to work better than the old tomato juice trick:

Skunk Odor Removal

1 quart hydrogen peroxide
1/4 cup baking soda
1 teaspoon dish soap

Very lightly mix together and apply to the dog's fur. Avoid the dog's eyes. Rinse.


This morning she's finally dry (she has a lot of fur!) and I sniffed as I brushed her out. Much better. Her new pink collar was put on and even she seems much happier. Of course, that could be because someone was actually talking to her as the pooch has been avoided by most of the family over the last couple of days.

Yup, it's always something, isn't it? How about you? Any out of the ordinary adventures happening in your life lately?

Hoping for a quieter day in my garden!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~


Monday, September 29

it's pink

There were so many things I considered blogging about this morning, but of course every single one of them flew right out of mind after a single bite. A single bite of a leftover from Saturday night's supper. A single bite of my newest most favorite pink thing. Definitely not a breakfast item, but when I saw it sitting there in the front of my fridge I couldn't wait until lunch time.

Yes, I ate the leftover salmon for breakfast. Feel free to say, "Ewwwwwww!" like my kids did while they ate their breakfast cereal and orange slices. I never eat unusual things for breakfast. Never. But I absolutely could not resist as I love the flavor of salmon with a bit of lemon!

Ohhhh, salmon is so so good for you! It's low in calories and saturated fat, yet a wonderful source of protein. And it's also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids which are so good for you, especially for women's health. Salmon has several health benefits, but my personal favorite is that it helps with brain function. If you are suffering from fuzzy thinking in the perimenopause season of life, this pink fish is for YOU! Yup, yup, I'll take a piece of salmon any day over a good steak! Besides, it is my favorite color - pink! Here's an article about salmon if you want to learn more.

Of course, I'll test the brain function theory tomorrow as I'll see if I can remember what I was originally going to blog about today......hee hee!

Enjoy the day in your garden!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Saturday, September 27

second is just fine

Our soccer update.......

It was a day of hard played soccer and our U-10 team made it into the final championship game. Our team played their absolute best, however, in the end, the efforts of the other team were better than ours - what a goalie they had! - and we ended up with second place. Still a wonderful way to end our day and look at the trophy I got as coach of their team! Woo hoo!


My next older daughter's team also made it into their U-12 final championship game and their game was very similar to ours as they also finished in second place.

As soon as we were done, the girls kicked off their shoes and had to show me their pruney feet......ewwwww!

We have one more week of practices and a game. Whew!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

a soccer tournament

A full day of soccer is ahead! Both girls are playing in tournaments today and we'll be out of the house by 7:30 AM. Between the two of them, there'll be a game each hour with the final one at 4 PM. I just checked the weather and the rain and storms which came through during the night appear to be moving out of our area in time for the games to begin. But with this precipitation during the night comes much cooler weather :::sigh::: I didn't realize how wonderful the weather really had been until finding out last night that we were almost TWENTY degrees warmer than average!

A full day of soccer ahead will be a good test of my team. My little group of eight remains undefeated as we enter this tournament. And they are excited to play today! Very excited! The emphasis is teamwork and good sportsmanship. We'll see how it goes.....

Off to get ready while the house is quiet as soon the whirlwind begins!

Enjoy the weekend plans in your garden whatever they may be!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Friday, September 26

a blogging topic

Recently I was tagged by Amy from Living Locurto and am finally getting around to writing this. She's a wonderfully creative mom who not only has great ideas and an amazingly cool site, but also regularly features free downloads. Be sure to stop by for a visit right here!

So here are the rules:

1. Write about 5 specific ways blogging has affected you, either positively or negatively.
2. link back to the person who tagged you
3. link back to this parent post
4. tag a few friends or five, or none at all
5. post these rules— or just have fun breaking them

Here we go!

1. *The time factor* When I first found the blogging world, I did a lot of surfing and reading. Slowly as I became more comfortable at various blogs, I'd leave a comment here and there. Blogging is the ultimate people watching tool, isn't it? And the great thing about this form of media is that you can do it at your own convenience. At a moment's notice when there's a break in action at home, I can jump online and catch up with someone. Or after the kids are in bed at night, I can unwind as I read through blogs. It is all done at my convenience which makes it a wonderful media.

2. *Friendships* Because of the above factor, I have developed online friendships. The blogs I keep returning to are ones where I'd love to sit down someday with the author and share a cup of coffee. Each person is so unique and offers something different in my life through their writings from encouragement to spiritual insights to incredible crafts or projects to laughter to homeschooling ideas to amazing photography to common interests to....well, you name it! These friendships have definitely broadened my life :-)

3. *Creative journaling outlet* Before there was internet - yes, there was such a day! LOL! - I loved to hand write letters to friends and family. I rebelled for many years about doing a form Christmas letter until I realized how much easier it would make my holiday. Imagine handwriting unique letters of life over the past year to a hundred people?! Yes, craziness, yet I loved doing it and still like to hand write notes via snail mail to friends and family. Blogging makes creative journaling and writing that much easier and I love to be stretched by writing my thoughts. And perhaps some of my desire to blog comes from reading my own children's hundreds of essays for years....it's finally MY opportunity to write! Of course, I don't seem to follow one of those good blogging tips by keeping my blog to a theme or consistent topic, so I'm thankful for those who do keep regularly reading despite my varied content!

4. *Encouragment* Blogging gives me an opportunity to use my gift of encouragement to benefit others. Hopefully raising a large family, as well as other life experiences, has given me insights to help and encouragement others. Blogging also gives me an opportunity to share my walk of faith in Jesus Christ which is the foundation of my life. We are all at different places in our faith walk and just as I have certain authors who challenge my walk, I hope I do that in the lives of others, too, as I ponder out loud through my posts.

5. *The black hole* I'm guessing that if you followed everyone who has ever been tagged on this topic that they will mention the *being sucked into the black hole* as a negative of blogging. Not only is it time consuming on a regular basis to write a daily post, it is just as time consuming to follow the blogs of others. It would be quite easy to sit here ALL DAY LONG if I wasn't married and had homeschooling children around! Hey, my house would stay spic and span because I wouldn't move from my desk if that were the case. But, it is not my reality and I've had to really monitor my computer time more closely so it doesn't interfere with my home life or other activities I'm involved in outside our home.

Soooo, there you have it! I'm not tagging anyone on this....if you haven't done this topic yet, feel free to do it on your own blog.

Have a great day in your garden!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Thursday, September 25

acorn economy

"The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

I have the potential of having thousands upon thousands of forests come up in my garden next spring!

ACORNS!

My goodness! The acorns just keep falling this autumn and in massive amounts.

As I've been working on garden clean-up and after pulling a patch of plants such as beans, I've raked out the area and have actually been using a shovel to scoop up all the acorns from that spot. What's amazing is that I can go back out to the garden the next day and the same area now has been re-covered with acorns.

The same is found in our yard under the oak trees scattered around.

A couple of days ago I had met some women for a ministry meeting outdoors at a coffee shop. As we were talking, suddenly an acorn would pop down on the table. And then another one sometimes hitting one of us. It isn't just a little pop....those acorns dropping out of trees are like little ballistic missiles! We laughed about needing hard hats for our meeting :-)

ACORNS!

So what's the meaning of all these acorns? The old timers will say that there's a hard winter ahead. Be prepared! And as I look at the economy and the way the financial market is going, I say there's a hard winter ahead. Be prepared!

In the meantime, I'm gonna keep cleaning out my garden and piling up the acorns for the wildlife that can use them.

Enjoy this fall day in your garden!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, September 24

back on track

After a summer season of no regular exercise plan, there's been a number of things that have been prompting me to get back on track with exercise and to reconnect with the overall plan that works best for me. Briefly bumping into one of the *regulars* from Curves in the grocery store late last week was like the final reminder I needed to GO!

On Monday I walked back into Curves and who should I bump into on my way in through the door, but the exact same person I had run into at the grocery store! We both laughed out loud (yes, people really do LOL! ) at the exact same moment. She immediately told me that running into each other last week had been what prompted her to get back on track with Curves as she had been missing in action for quite awhile. And I told her that the exact same thing crossed my mind, too! She hadn't been to Curves since the beginning of August. As I flipped through the sign-in pages, I saw that my last day was August 27th which means I had over three weeks of absolutely no organized exercise.

It was a cool lesson in simple nonverbal accountability! Just seeing each other was enough to kick us both back on track!

And now I feel motivated once again :-) For whatever reason, getting back into the fall routine has a way of doing that for me. My goal this week is to get my three days in at Curves. Next week I hope to add two early mornings of walking at the high school.

How about you? Do you find accountability to be a helpful tool in Living Well?

To follow the journey of other Living Well women, please go HERE

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, September 23

no longer equal

Yesterday someone reminded me that on the first day of autumn daylight and night were equal. Starting today, the daylight hours will begin to shorten and darkness will become more predominant. Darker mornings later. Darker evenings earlier.

Really. Doesn't it make you cringe when people share depressing news? I am a person of sunlight. Give me lots of sunshine and my spirit is happy!

I do NOT look forward to the long winter ahead of darker days.

My plan is to put a little ray of sunshine optimism into my days ahead as I'd like to plan specific projects to keep a smile on my face. Besides having a couple of baby quilts to work on which I'm way behind on (!), I also have a quilt project that my girls can help with and I need to get that put together so they, too, will have something to do which will be enjoyable and help pass the long dark hours. With certainty, there are several activities that could be added to my list.

And I'll get to that list right after I'm done enjoying the fleeting spectacular colors of fall in the days ahead!

Enjoy your garden day even though the daylight hours are shortening!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Monday, September 22

first day of autumn

To celebrate the first day of autumn.....


Yellow the bracken,
Golden the sheaves,
Rosy the apples,
Crimson the leaves;
Mist on the hillside,
Clouds grey and white.
Autumn, good morning!
Summer, good night!
~Florence Hoatson

Having woken up to a foggy hazy morning, this seemed like the perfect poem to celebrate the day. It would have been nice to take a picture of the brightly colored leaves outside my bedroom window, but I'm not certain how it would turn out with the current weather conditions. The forecast is actually for this to clear off and the weather to be sunny and quite warm.

Having been gone this weekend, my mind is swirling with all that needs to be done today....this week. Our autumn is quite short and there's many tasks to be taken care of outdoors, particularly the cleaning up of the garden. Yet there are task indoors calling myself at the same time. Finding the balance and good use of my time will be the challenge!

May you enjoy this beautiful fall day in your garden!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Saturday, September 20

a week completed

The greens of summer are fading and color is beginning to burst out in the woods around us. It looks to be another beautiful fall day!

Due to a community event being held where our local soccer fields are located, we have the day OFF from soccer games. Most games were rescheduled over the past week on practice nights, but both my girls ended drawing a *bye* when they revamped the schedule, so we'll have a nice long stretch OFF. It is just what I needed....a slight break as we are adjusting to our new fall routine.

Yesterday we didn't get finished with school corrections until mid-afternoon. When I was finished with that task, I then had a couple of errands to run. Finally I began canning the two bushels of tomatoes that I had picked up the afternoon before. I turned the final canner - the sixth one - off shortly after 1 AM. There are no longer any quart canning jars left in my storage....I have used every single one this canning season! It must be a good sign that goes along with the massive amount of acorns our oak trees are dropping right now. Perhaps a hard winter ahead? I still have my pint and half jars reserved to can carrots sometime in the next week or two and could can more tomatoes in pint jars as I think there's maybe a canner's worth left on the shelves.

All that to say.....our work is completed for the week and we're going to enjoy this break in our soccer schedule to do a little traveling. My newest princess granddaughter is being dedicated at their church tomorrow and we look forward to being there :-)

Enjoy this fall day in your garden!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Friday, September 19

get your hands dirty!

From my gardening flip calendar this morning: I learned everything I know about gardening by getting my hands dirty.

Ahhh, such a true saying!

This picture was actually taken this spring as we went along the inside of the garden fence cleaning up the weeds that encroached from the field before we even began planting.

All my kids have been involved in our garden and the various stages of a garden's life. They've helped with the early spring clean-up, the tilling, the planting, the weeding, the hoeing, the thinning, the watering, the eating, the harvesting. There's definitely some parts they like doing better than others, but they've all been well rounded in gardening and have gotten their hands dirty in the process. Hopefully some day they will be able to use those skills in a plot of ground somewhere. If not, I know they've learned many lessons from this activity such as diligence, patience, responsibility, and God's unfailing provision.

Growing up, I was also exposed to gardening through my grandmother and my mom. I cannot remember being involved in many of the stages of a garden's life except perhaps the eating part back then. Once grown up though and as soon as I had a place to garden, it was an immediate calling in my life. Fortunately my mom was a wonderful resource to call upon through the season of gardening. But honestly, much of what I've learned about gardening as been through getting my hands dirty. Trial and error. Finding out what grows well here and what definitely doesn't (will my cantaloupe ever mature yet this fall?!), how close to plant various veggies, what likes more sun and what likes more shade, what matures quickly and what takes the entire season up until frost time....all of which took years of experimenting and again, getting my hands dirty.

Isn't mothering a family much like that? We can't just sit back and let it happen, but have to get our hands dirty in the process by being involved in all the stages. My background is from a small family and no experience with babies except a few time babysitting in high school and honestly back then babies scared me to death! It's been a learning process all along because I quickly found out through the years that babies and children aren't all the same. At all. Each one is very unique with characters designed by God. I'm constantly challenged with how to help each one grow to their full potential because something that may work for one probably won't work for the other eight!

My ever steadfast and faithful resource has been the Master Gardener who knows each child perfectly for He is their Creator. It is He who I call upon for wisdom and whose Word helps me in the midst of my days gardening my children. For
not only do a mother's hands get dirty in growing children, but her knees also as prayer becomes essential in the growing process.

And I'm realizing more and more that mothering is not just a season, but a forever dirty hands and knees experience which doesn't stop once they leave home but continues as I'm now learning about mothering adult children AND grandchildren as well.

Yes, gardening for a lifetime! Just my kind of thing :-)

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~


Thursday, September 18

an opportunity

We are hosting a small group Bible study in our home for eight weeks and last night was our first gathering. Our church as a whole is doing a series on the peacemaking church with weekly sermons, children's and youth ministry covering the topic weekly as well as home studies.

The first night's key principle was: Conflict is an opportunity.

How many of us think of conflict as being an opportunity? Not many, I'm guessing. Yet our lives are constantly filled with conflict when you look at the definition the study gives for conflict: a difference in opinion or purpose that frustrates someone's goals or desires.

Conflict.

Yup, it's a pretty daily thing in my life as a homeschool mom. And I'll bet it's a pretty daily thing in most women's lives even if they aren't homeschooling.

So how can it possibly be an opportunity? Our response to conflict can be an opportunity to glorify God.

How many times is our initial reaction to conflict one which would please and honor God? Bring glory to Him?

With life's plate overflowing right now, I can easily say it isn't my first response. But my heart's desire is to have a God glorifying response whether the conflicts are trivial or huge.

So you know what I'll be working into the soil of my garden path in the days ahead....and I'm asking the Master Gardener to help me out on this one!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~


Wednesday, September 17

an overflowing plate

My plate is overflowing!

The good thing is that it isn't my real plate overflowing with food and lots of things I shouldn't be overindulging in that aren't good for me.

The bad thing is that it is my plate of life which is overflowing with too many commitments, activities, responsibilities, and whatever else you want to add on this day as I will hardly notice them being added in the process of overflowing. The result, of course, is that Living Well - in all its various areas - is lost somewhere in it all :::sigh:::

The good thing is that part of my overflowing has been adding something back into my schedule with the early morning women's Bible study group meeting again early Wednesday mornings (which is also why I'll probably be late posting here every Wednesday unless I'm organized the night before). With this addition back into my schedule, I am now blessed to be back studying the book of Philippians - best known as the *joy* book of the Bible - which is EXACTLY what I need to get my focus back to what it should be while my plate is overflowing since *joy* has not been in the forefront of my mind....it's been more a daily combination of irritation, frustration, and annoyance ruling my days. The other blessing is being back within a group of women who sincerely care and love one another as they provide support and encouragement AND some wonderful ideas to deal with the overflowing plate syndrome.

So I hope that if you are in a season of life's plate overflowing, that you, too, have a portion of good overflowing to encourage your days and help you get back on track with Living Well!

To follow the journey of other Living Well women, please go HERE

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, September 16

always a birthday

With a large family, it seems there's always a birthday! And if it isn't someone's birthday, someone is talking about an upcoming birthday because they know how many days until that big event happens. My littlest has already been talking about her birthday next summer and her next sister up has been talking about her birthday in the winter as well as her friend's birthday in November. And on the eve of a birthday last night, the girls got into one of those traditional conversations of "when I'm twenty, how old will so and so be?" Those conversations tends to age our family rather quickly (!) and I always wonder what it will feel like to have all my children grown up into adults......Anyway, back to birthdays :-) The oldest of my three-daughters-in-a-row turns twelve today. Simply put, I'm starting to feel like my girls are growing up. Way too fast! And this very easy going girl of mine is just coming into an age of, um, becoming more opinionated. Primarily in her choice of clothes.

For her birthday, since she's outgrown so many things AND is more particular about what she wears, I will take her shopping for clothes. Let's just say it won't be one of my favorite shopping trips. She will go for what's *in* right now and her mother - that would be me - will tend to have an opposite opinion. So it's like walking a tightrope of compromise as she chooses clothing that needs to meet mom's modesty standards and often that is a line as fine as a tightrope.

Who needs to play the "when I'm twenty, so and so will be how old?" conversation game to age quickly? I think having three girls at the end of our family will age me quickly enough just from taking them clothes shopping, thank you very much!

Until then we're going to enjoy this gorgeous fall day the Lord has provided for us to celebrate a wonderful young girl's special day! :-)

Enjoy your day, too!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Monday, September 15

a slippery lid

Yesterday I was finally able to complete my big canning clean-up from Friday. Most of it had been taken care of on Saturday, but I hadn't gotten around to boxing up all the jars and taking them down to the food pantry.

Although I had tested all my jars late Friday night before bed to make sure all the lids sealed on the jars, I did it once again yesterday. Yup, since every lid stayed down perfectly, I proceeded to take all the bands off the jars and then date the lids with my marker. One last task to do this time though as in one load a jar broke during the processing and there were tomatoes all over the place inside the canner. So it meant washing down each jar which would be a quick process. No problem.

What?! Suddenly I was startled when one jar's lid completely slid off the jar. I just kind of stood there looking at it. This had never happened before! I had tested each jar's lid TWICE and was amazed that this jar had totally fooled me! It was a relief to know that I had to take the extra step to wash each jar down or there would have been a very spoiled jar of tomatoes down in my food pantry this winter.

And as I was putting the jars away, I thought of two different circumstances in life today that can do the same thing. The one that easily comes to mind is politics. Late yesterday afternoon I had a phone call survey. After a few minutes into the survey, it was easy to see the bias as the caller went into a series of questions about a current congressman and his performance. As the caller prefaced each question with, "So and so *says*" or "So and so *will do*", I finally stopped her and said that I couldn't agree with any of the statements because what the congressman SAID was not what the congressman had DONE and most likely will NOT do. Politics is just one of those things that appear true as candidates speak, but upon further examination of their record you can determine whether or not they are true. And sometimes you have to take another step to confirm whether the lid will slide off or not candidate is being accurate because all may look good from the initial examinations.

The other circumstance that doesn't perhaps come as easily to mind is the church of today. I can remember reading in the New Testament years ago the warnings about false teachers and thinking to myself how easy it would be to spot them. Yes, some are a bit easier to spot as New Age teachings, but there are some theologies that are much more smoothly entering the church and whose books are easily found in any Christian bookstore. Upon initial examination what is taught may sound good to the ear, a tickling perhaps, but upon looking closer and checking other resources the lid will slide off doctrine presented may not be solid Christian theology and may be, in fact, actually pulling believers off course.

Ah, yes, truth. I am thankful for the simple truth which Jesus spoke in John 14:6 - "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

May your garden path be patterned with truth today!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Saturday, September 13

strolling along

When my older ones were home over Labor Day weekend, I couldn't resist taking a picture before we took a walk one day.

Guess which stroller is mine? LOL! Ah, yes, that sweet little blue umbrella stroller is mine and has served three babies quite well thank you very much and has now been put into use for my grands. When I had my first baby, I did have a real nice stroller which lasted a long time until those thingies down by the wheels broke which made it impossible to steer. I tried various things to fix it, but nothing worked. Oh well.

But, wow! The new strollers are pretty sweet and now have the infant car seat option as well. My daughter's *cadillac* of a stroller was a wonderful baby shower gift and will definitely be used much.

And autumn is the perfect time to be strolling babies before winter comes upon us.

Except if you live down in Texas. Do be praying as Hurricane Ike comes to shore!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Friday, September 12

more than commonplace

"The things that Jesus did were of the most menial and commonplace order, and this is an indication that it takes all God's power in me to do the most commonplace things in His way. Can I use a towel as He did? Towels and dishes and sandals, all the ordinary sordid things of our lives, reveal more quickly than anything what we are made of. It takes God Almighty Incarnate in us to do the meanest duty as it ought to be done." ~ Oswald Chambers

With being home full time it is sometimes easy to get caught up in doing all the menial tasks with a, um, yawn. You know, kind of like having an attitude that we'll get by doing these things until God calls us to something bigger. Something better. Something magnificent for Him!

Wait a minute! Raising children and caring for a household is something bigger. Something better. Something magnificent for Him!

The daily menial tasks are serving a future generation who will someday walk out our door and impact the world for Jesus Christ. They will leave with a servant's heart as they witnessed you serving the King in your home with joy.

Can we do it on our own? Nope! Only when we tap into the power of God can we do all things....ALL things....in an extraordinary way.

So every time you pick up a towel today whether to dry a dish, wipe a little one's hands, or to hand to a sopping wet child who just got off the trampoline in a downpour, remember that you are doing it with and for the King! And smile :-)

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Thursday, September 11

only a blink

Just taking a moment to remind homeschool mothers of an important unspoken rule:

Children always know when you aren't looking!

As one of my older daughters and I were correcting her language papers, it began pouring rain outside our window. A wonderful hard downpour. The kind of downpour that rarely happened all summer long while my garden was in desperate need of such watering. And suddenly I jumped up!

Often when my boys mow the lawn, they pull the drainpipes off the gutters so they can mow closer to the house edges. Sometimes they forget to put them back on which will causing flooding in areas of the basement when we get a hard rain. So I ran through the house peeking through windows to assure the drainpipes were all in place.

As I walked back to the kitchen, I heard my littlest crying in her room because she couldn't find her swimsuit. Swimsuit? What for? Well, she needed it so she could run outside with her older sister. Older sister? Outside? Swimsuit?

Her older sister was no longer sitting in the kitchen where I had left her and was indeed MIA. I opened the outside door and peeked out. And what did my eyes behold....but a daughter in her swimsuit jumping on the trampoline in the pouring rain during temperatures in the low 60's! I went YIKES! She went WOOHOO!

Yes, it only took her a matter of moments to take advantage of mom leaving the room and the lightbulb to come on in her mind which included becoming a quick change artist.

All in a day of the life of a homeschool mom, eh?

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

back to basics

The trees are beginning to show signs of color all over as we lose the various shades of green we've enjoyed for a wonderful season. A new season is upon us and for our household it means a trip back to basics for our youngest has officially started kindergarten this week. It's been a joy to sit down with her because she's so excited to get started and anxious to read all by herself. We opened the books and one by one went through a page or two. I was quickly able to make an assessment. Reading will not be an immediate thing learned and we'll have to take a slow and steady approach as she fine tunes her ear to matching letters with sounds. One of the tools I did have to immediately use was my *mother look* as older siblings were whispering, "ohhh, she's never going to get it" while I used my other tool called *a mother's praise* as I smiled, kissed her little cheek, and said, "Great job!". Ahhh, yes, the older ones don't remember once upon a time being at the exact same place that she's at right at the moment. For them sounds and reading are an automatic instrument which takes them flying through their books. And someday she'll be flying with them!

Until then, we'll take it a day at a time which is just fine with me. I'm enjoying this journey with my littlest one :-)

Over at Heart of the Matter today, I've written about our new season of homeschooling. Take a moment to stop over there and read my article as well as check out the many resources they have for homeschooling families.

Have a great day in your garden!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, September 10

get soggy

Water. Water. Water.

We've often talked about how important it is to keep our bodies well hydrated. There's a variety of symptoms that we may experience if we become dehydrated such as fatigue, fuzzy thinking (that would be me!), headaches, general weakness, slight nausea, dry skin....just to name a few.

When I was going through my soccer coach training, we were also taught about the importance of kids drinking water as statistics showed that most kids came to their practices or games already dehydrated before they even stepped a foot on the field. So it didn't take them long once playing the game to become flushed and tired.

So we've all heard the talk, right? Well, I unexpectedly saw the talk turn into results after a recent Friday supper. One of my daughters had put one of those after dinner hard peppermint candies into her mouth while she was cleaning up the kitchen. Not a problem except she was also singing and accidentally swallowed the whole thing! Youch! She could feel it in her throat as a burning sensation but it was definitely too far down to bring back up. The only solution we could come up with was to aid its travel downward with water. So she kept sipping water almost continuously to help melt it down and slowly but surely it worked. In the process she had drank quite a bit of water and I was surprised she wasn't up and down all night long going to the bathroom.

But here's the interesting part. She's quite an active soccer player often playing the midfield or forward position which means lots of running. And lots of water sipping during breaks. The next day after her soccer game she showed me how much water she had drank out of the large water bottle that goes with her to games each week....she had only drank a minimal amount. She said she didn't feel thirsty at all during the game and actually felt great while playing! Her face wasn't all flushed like usual either. I truly believe that getting well hydrated the night before a game made a huge difference. Having seen the results, I will continue to encourage the kids on my soccer team to drink a good supply of water the day before a game.

And it's a good idea for the rest of us, too, in our daily life!

Ohhh, but not just for our physical well being. Consider how at times our spiritual well being often gets on the dehydrated portion of the scale. Life gets busy and we aren't taking the time to do our devotions or spend time in prayer or study or worship. What happens to our spirit ? Just as we don't do well physically from a lack of water, we don't do well spiritually from a lack of the Living Water.

It reminds me of the encounter Jesus had with the woman at the well as He was explaining the difference between the well of Jacob used to nourish the herds and the water which He offered: "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." ~ John 4:13-14

Ahhh, that's the kind of water we need to make sure we deeply nourish ourselves with spiritually! God's Word!

So the next time you are sipping out of your water bottle, make sure you have your source of Living Water nearby or vice a versa! And fill up!

To follow the journey of other Living Well women, go HERE

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~




Tuesday, September 9

being teachable

"Recently I've been learning that life comes down to this: God is in everything. Regardless of what difficulties I am experiencing at the moment, or what things aren't as I would like them to be, I look at the circumstances and say, 'Lord, what are you trying to teach me?'"~ Catherine Marshall

So, that brings me to....Lord, what are you trying to teach me?

You know, I had recently been reflecting on how well I was doing with the changes in my life. And the only thing that comes to mind about that at the moment is...pride cometh before the fall :::sigh::: Those changes were definitely little waves in my life.

Yesterday there were three big waves in my life. And although I kept talking to the Lord about them as they were happening, I certainly felt thoroughly soaked by the waves as I clung to the Rock by the end of the day.

But here's the interesting part. When I woke up a little after 4 AM this morning to go on a bathroom run, I didn't fall right back to sleep which caused me to use the time for prayer. And it was then that I remembered that I had forgotten to tell my husband about one of the big waves of the day. I mean really, how did I not remember to share that we got one of those letters you don't like to get from the governmental agency that collects taxes? So, as soon as we woke up for the day I immediately leaped out of bed to get the letter and hand it to him. He reviewed the multiple papers and had a gist of what we needed to do with the first thing being a call to our accountant. As I went to get the paper with his phone number, I *just so happened* to notice a paper next to it with some pertinent information on it which was critical to what we were discussing for the time period in question. Really, it was so so random to find that paper in the mix of everything for our current tax year. And it was the God sighting I needed for my day.

Which brings me back to....God what are you trying to teach me? Perhaps a reminder that God is involved in every detail of my life. If He knows each hair on my head, He certainly knows about each wave in my life and I just need to trust Him and He'll continue to reveal His presence as He guides me through the difficulty. One wave at a time....I just need to be teachable....

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Monday, September 8

today is the day

Today is the day.

I've been dreading it for awhile and this feeling tends to be typical this time of the year. Honestly, I sense a tad bit of rebellion in my spirit. Well, maybe more than a tad bit. Maybe a tad lot.

Today we start our regular school routine.

The kids have actually been lightly schooling through the last two weeks of August as we knew we'd have company the first week of September when we were originally scheduled to begin our school year. After our company left last Wednesday, which was earlier than planned due to some changes in their schedules, the kids got back to school on Thursday and Friday. But I continued to putz and catch up on some other things.

Today, however, my putzing is over.

God never ceases to amaze me - and I hope He never ceases to amaze you either - when He speaks through His word right when you need it. Okay, I wasn't exactly looking for it this morning, but there it was when I did my devotions. The verse of the day was from Proverbs 19:27 - "Stop listening to instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge."(NIV) or "Cease listening, my son, to discipline, and you will stray from the words of knowledge."(NAS) or"Cease, my son, to hear instruction only to ignore it and stray away from the words of knowledge."(Amp) or "Cease listening to instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge."(NKJ) When a verse hits me a certain way, I always go to my comparative Bible to get a deeper meaning, so you get that benefit today, too.

This particular verse reminded me of how important my job is as a mother and home educator. It would be easy for me to selfishly continue puttering around my household, however I am called to another purpose which is much more important ---> to instruct my children with words of knowledge. If I don't purposely do that, they will easily stop listening and will stray away from knowledge. It's not that it doesn't happen throughout the summer, it just doesn't happen as purposefully. And it's just as important that *I* continue to seek words of knowledge through God's Word as I lead and guide my children.

Today is the day. A new day. A new school year officially beginning. A new season of learning words of knowledge. And with that I say, "AMEN!"

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Saturday, September 6

throw a tomato

A confession of murmuring and complaining ahead.....

Yesterday I picked up my tomatoes from a local farm market after getting a call they had reached me on their list of names. I've been waiting to get started on canning tomatoes and was anxious to get going.

Tomatoes are my very favorite thing to can. They are so easy and so fast which is good because our family uses a lot of them through the fall, winter, and spring.

I opened up the box when I got home and let out a slight sigh. The box didn't look as full as last year - although cost more - but maybe I was wrong because they sell them by weight. So, I began the canning process and would soon see that it did take me less time to do them and I only had ten quarts. Fortunately I had some of my own tomatoes to fill out the second canner to end up with fourteen quarts.

After cleaning up my kitchen, I made a phone call to another source of tomatoes which has a much better deal selling them in half bushel lots. It isn't just a quick run into town, but 35 miles away which is where an older son is headed next week to take care of some business and he will be able to pick them up for me. I feel much better.

But for a moment I was missing my mom who would often can tomatoes with me. And I can just imagine what our conversation would have been......."remember when you'd get such a great deal on a whole bushel basket overflowing with tomatoes AND you got to KEEP the bushel basket!"

Times....they are a'changin'! And it isn't just with tomatoes. I'm noticing it in many grocery and dry good supplies. Smaller packaging....higher prices. And as our family is sensing the economic downturn through my husband's business, my choices need to become wiser all the time as I feed and take care of my family. Just part of living and learning as a Proverbs 31 wife, isn't it?

So, it's tempting to throw a tomato at the way things seem to be going, but on second thought, hold onto it....I may need it for my next canner!

Enjoy this Saturday in your garden! I'm off on this gloomy damp day for a morning of soccer with my girls :-)

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

little feet

Seldom do I surf enough to run into sites offering giveaways, but bumped into one the other day which was worth mentioning since I have readers who have little feet in their household.

Christina over at Mustard Seeds is offering a giveaway of shoes by the company See Kai Run. Take some time to browse through the main site as well as their Smaller line and delight yourself in picking out a pair of their cute and comfortable looking shoes for a little one. Just follow this LINK to get started!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Friday, September 5

goin' fishin'

There was much excitement for my little grand as she couldn't wait to come up for a visit. The only thing dampening her joy was that last time she was here, the fishing pole she was using went to the bottom of the lake. So, she was sad that she wouldn't be able to go fishing with her grandpa.

Once she arrived, she opened her birthday present from grandpa and it was a new fishing pole - YAY! And it was a *Barbie* fishing pole - YAY! And it had a flower shaped tackle box - YAY! She was also blessed with her very own pink life jacket as a birthday present from one of her aunties.

What really made me smile though was as soon as her eyes popped open in the morning, she'd jump out of bed and want to immediately go fishing! We would put on her life jacket over her jammies, grab her fishing pole, do the same for her youngest auntie, and barefooted we'd wander down to the dock to dip their lines in the water. No, there isn't actually a hook on her pole. Only a plastic purple butterfly.

Just a couple of ragamuffin fishin' bums enjoying a warm end of the summer morning doin' a little fishin' before breakfast.....

May you have some warm end of the summer memories, too!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Thursday, September 4

sock weather

We had the most beautiful weather over the past long weekend while we were away. Sunny every day. Temps in the upper 80's. A wonderful breeze off the lake. Perfect.

The day after we came home, it clouded up and probably became the most humid day of the entire summer. A bit of rain. A bit of wind. And the next morning we woke up to weather considerably cooler. Our highs are now in the 60's. Yup, you heard it right! The house feels VERY chilly and I'm back to my sweatshirts and digging out socks.

Socks.

Aren't these just the prettiest socks?! :-) They arrived in perfect timing in my mailbox the day the weather changed. Handknit to perfection and a blessing to my heart! I quickly ran outside barefoot, slipped them on, took a picture, ran back into the house barefoot, then put them back on my feet. But as you can see, I'm not much of a foot model and put them on a little off kilter which I noticed when I downloaded the pictures onto my computer at night and wasn't going to go back outside in the cold dark to take another picture in the grass!

The creator of these socks is someone whose knitting I've admired for a long time as I've witnessed her many pictures of knitting projects as well as the beautiful yarns that she finds. Simply amazing projects she's tackled with her gift for knitting. I've never progressed past the knit one pearl two stage of the craft and couldn't read a pattern for the life of me. So, yes, I love to go and visit her blog to drool.....

Besides being a knitting genius, she's also a fellow homeschool mom of five boys whose antics often resemble those of my sons. AND we share the same name! What a blessing cyberfriends can be :-)

So please take a moment to visit Tammy at Tammy Knits and scroll through her many beautiful knitting creations!

And in the meantime, I'm going to hope that whenever she knits a pair of too small socks, she sends them to her cold weather friend who will treasure these special handknit socks on her feet!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, September 3

healthy words

As I've been going through the book of Proverbs in my devotional book this year, I recently had this verse come up:

"Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones." ~ Proverbs 16:24

How often do we associate our words with our health? Are our words which are spoken into the lives of others known to be words of pure honey? Kind, sweet, healing, and good for the spirit? Do we use our words to encourage others along the way? Are our words like a wonderful gift to others? And primarily, do our words reflect the love of our Heavenly Father?

Recently at church someone came up to me during our greeting time and said that I looked young enough to be one of my children! LOL is more than just an internet acronym for I honestly did LAUGH OUT LOUD! It was a sincere compliment which humors the heart of an almost fifty year old mother every time I think about it :-)

So, do take time to think about it today....what words will YOU be known for speaking into the lives of others? Will they be words that are sweet to another's soul? Will they bring good health to those who come along your garden path?

To follow the journey of other Living Well women, please go and read HERE

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, September 2

a touch of fall

A new month - September - ushers in a new season - autumn. You can feel it in the air with the cooler evenings and mornings as well as shorter daylight hours. Spots of color here and there are starting to jump out of the yellowing greenery. The flowers which have bloomed so brilliantly all summer are beginning to fade. It is perhaps just as well that all this is changing to lead us indoors more to begin a new season of schooling.

But we will linger a day or two yet with play as we've been schooling lightly the last two weeks to take time off this week while the older ones are still here with their families. We will linger outdoors a bit enjoying some warm temperatures, lake swimming, late night game playing all the while noting the touches of fall here and there.

Soon...soon...we'll have to get serious again. But not today!

Enjoy the touches of fall in your garden!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Monday, September 1

no labor today

"How beautiful, how buoyant, and glad is morning!"
~ L.E. Landon

Even more beautiful, more buoyant, and more glad is waking up to a morning which is a holiday, don't you think? Unfortunately the days of many businesses being closed on Labor Day are long gone, but I am thankful that my older ones have jobs that do allow them the day off. So, this will NOT be a day of labor within our household, but rather a day of rest and relaxation with most of our family together. The only labor allowed today will be in the *labor of love* department! :-)

Enjoy this day *off* and if you have someone in your family who must labor on this day, bless them with your appreciation for their hard work as soon as they get home!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~
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