Sunday, May 20, 2012

My Mother's Day

These days I prefer to spend my Mother's Day doing something fun but not costly. We are in a season of paying down debt and part of getting there for us is lowering our grocery bill and we do that by planting a garden. My dream garden is rather eclectic...very comfortable and a little whimsical. A place where people might love to sit and escape. It's going to take time, but little by little I think it can be achieved.

For Mother's Day my darling daughter helped me build this...
These river rocks came from our own backyard.
My husband says they grow in our yard! ;o)

...a topsy turvy clay pot garden.

We first took two rebars we bought at Lowe's.
These are about 5 feet each.

We drove them into the ground with a hammer. They are about a foot or more... until they feel relatively sturdy.

For the pots, we used one 14" pot, two 12" pots and one 10" pot. We fed the 14" pot through the hole and then took some rocks and used them to tilt the pot to one side. You might have to play with the rocks a bit and move them around until the pot feels sturdy and doesn't wiggle. Once that was done, we fed the 12" pots through the bars. Once that bottom one is tilted each pot that's fed through will naturally lean to the opposite side of the previous pot.

We loaded up the pots with potting soil and then planted our herbs. Herbs are quite expensive if you haven't noticed. You can save a ton of money just growing your own - if you're a person that enjoys cooking fresh food. And you can dry the herbs and store them for future use.

The top one has flower seeds in it and so we are waiting for them to sprout. The pot on the left is showing sprouts, but the one on the right might need a re-do of seeds.

I have been wanting one of these for a year now, and I finally got to it. Hubby has been busy with the side business and hasn't been able to get to the "Honey-Do" List. :o)

For dinner my husband bought New York steaks and let me tell you what a treat that it for us because we are mostly poultry and fish eaters for health reasons.  So we had steaks, baked sweet potatoes, a beautiful salad and we were so stuffed, we didn't have room for dessert, which would have been fresh mangos.

There was one other item that I was wishing for, but I couldn't decide if it was the wise thing to do. I agonized over it. On one hand it was expensive so the cost was frightening to me. And even though it was a once time cost, their was a monthly charge that I'd have to add to the bills. I also thought about how helpful it would be for blogging.  It took a few weeks to mull this over (I started before Mother's Day) and  there were so many ways it would be helpful to my everyday life.

After weighing everything out, I finally agreed it would be helpful and told my husband yes, I'd like it.
So he bought me this...

Yep, it's an iPhone! My favorite two apps are the icalendar and MyFitnessPal.

icalendar allows me to sink to my computer without connecting it. It syncs via iCloud. It has revolutionized my life and I am thrilled that I am not missing any appointments. I manage five calendars and that is why my life was crazy!
Missed doctor appointments can range anywhere from $20 to $40  dollars...if the spirit moves them. And it frequently moves them. I tried to manage a paper calendar on the fridge with my computer and it just wasn't working.

I am also able to take very nice pictures and they sync right up to the computer, again without having to connect it and I can blog right away! I love it!

FitnessPal is an app that tallies up your calorie intake. It has every kind of food in there, but if it's not in there, there is a barcode scanner that will scan your item and give all the nutritional info. It also lets you build your recipes in there and it calculates the calories of one serving.  And you can change the portions, for example: if a serving size is 1 cup but you've only had 1/4 cup, it allows you to change it and it does all the math for you... I've already lost 1 pound doing this for three days! I'm eating 5-6 times a day (small, healthy meals & snacks).

What's not to love? I don't care about Facebook app or the email app. I pay little mind to them. The text I's easier than my old cell phone, but it was the calendar that sold me!

What a wonderful gift! Had I not been able to get it, I would have been just as happy. Spending time with my daughter building the topsy turvy clay pot garden was fun. Weeding and fixing up the front yard with my oldest son was priceless (see my previous post) and eating steak with all of them was marvelous.

I can think of no greater gift than to be able to open my eyes every morning to see my husband's face and those of my three children that God has entrusted to us. They are the most precious gifts of all and make life as a mother the biggest blessing of all.

Forever in His debt,

Saturday, May 19, 2012

My Crazy, Busy, Wonderful Motherhood Life

It sets in about early April. It seems that it always does. I can't help myself. I try and fight it but I can't. The coming end of our school year! Spring brings in the beauty of newness, the birds and the squirrels all around seem to be just as excited as I am. They sing, scurry, and scamper around with each new day. I try not to show it, but all of my insides are doing the same thing. "The end is almost here."

The last month and a half has been crazy busy. But isn't that how life is? You expect that things should be doing one thing, mine was slowing down, but for whatever reason just the opposite happens. April brought a family gathering out in the country, an Easter celebration with friends, and my sister and our nephew(my brother's son)  for a visit from California. We did all the touristy things.. Williamsburg, Jamestown, Yorktown, Washington D.C all in seven days! Our son's and my mother-in-law's birthday.

All this knowing that my garden boxes need much attention and me with little to no time. Now, rather than rejoicing at the entering of spring, I'm now chompin' at the bit over the garden boxes. They are our food in the summer. As I'm going over the calendar trying to figure out when I could start, I receive a cry for help from a sweet friend. She needs help. This won't be an easy journey, but she's my friend. I've walked in her shoes and someone walked with me.  I can walk with her. I'd have to figure out the garden boxes later.

When I turned the calendar to May, I stood there in disbelief and panic. The garden boxes! Determined to not get further behind, I was very intentional about the first weekend. I said no to everyone who wanted me to do anything other than let me work in my garden. My darling daughter and I scurried off to our favorite nursery that is only open from mid-February to late June. They have the best prices ever and a great deal of heirloom products. Our garden plans begin. We got home very excited! We unloaded the car and each time we set a flat of starter plants down, our excitement slowly started to sink like the mercury in a thermometer. There they were...those pesky weeds in the boxes. Okay, so we wouldn't get to plant today. That weekend we weeded and planted our first flat..spinach, Swiss Chard, onions, Basil and a squash. Progress.

On Friday, May 11th I come home to find our beautiful daughter weeding a garden bed in the front yard! It was her Mother's Day present to me since she was low on funds. It was the best present ever!! I was so encouraged that Saturday I woke up and started finishing it. She had to leave for work. She's sad that she can't finish her gift, but I tell her that's okay. I am happy she did most of it.

And what to my wondering eyes should appear? My teenaged son coming out to help in his gardening gear! He blew my socks off! I didn't even ask him. He just came out on his own. Whoa!

 He weeded and as we finished the big bed my daughter started he asked, "Do we have flowers to plant?"
I looked at him, "Uuuhh, no."
He looked shocked. "Well, can we get some?"
"Right now?"
"Yeah, why not?"

I sigh. I know what's happing here. You see, my son is entering that time of his life when weeding or working in the garden is a minus ten (-10) on the scale of "satisfying things to do." But he knows his Mom's love language. Acts of Service!  Yes, acts of service fill my "love bucket." I tell my husband that I don't need jewelry. A romantic cup of coffee in the morning and quiet time to read just fills my love bucket! Clean the kitchen and I am in heaven for the rest of the day! I understand this stage of a teenagers life. You see at this stage in his life, this act of service needs to see an I.R.O.I (INSTANT Return on Investment). So off we go. As we arrive he says, "This is going to be quick, right?" 

I say nothing but all the while I'm thinking, Great! Here it son's Martian. The 'Mars' found in every male species rearing its head. That anti-shopping gene. I smile at him, "I'll go as fast I can. Luckily, I know what we came for...and as we're picking four-packs, he starts "shopping." But it's short lived. He snaps himself out of it like a dog shaking the water off from an unwanted bath. "We're done now, right?" he confirms nodding his head. 
I look at him. 
"Mom, I want to finish so I can start studying for finals."
"Well, this was your idea!" He's wearing a blank look. He pretends he doesn't hear and starts for the register. Here comes the best part. We're at the register when we discover we are short one four-pack for the price of a full flat. He holds out his arm like a school crossing guard, "Don't move, I'll get it. You continue paying."
"Well, I can go...I know exactly..."
 "No, stay right there, I'll get it." He runs to get a four-pack. I haven't seen him move that fast since his last soccer game! I am thoroughly enjoying watching his "man" evolve. We pay and we're on our way home. Silence for ten minutes.
"I'm hungry."
"I thought you were in a hurry?"
"I am, but I'm hungry. I need food." He turns to me, smiles that smile that my heart has a hard time resisting and says, "But mom, I love you!"And then that big cheshire grin. I feed the starved boy and he's happy the rest of the way home. 

Once at home, he brings all the flowers and starts planting them. I get to plant a couple (literally). 
I get stuck with the weeding and he's planting right behind me. As fast as I'm plucking out, he's plopping in. Deciding I'm not going fast enough, he goes AROUND me, and starts plucking and plopping. Ah, ha! There it is! Now he's in conquer mode. I thought this was supposed to be my mother's day present?  I giggle. "What's so funny?"
"Oh, nothin'." I smile at him.

 I'm happy having his company and I'm completely amused watching this young man become that man that God created. He puts in the last flower, stands up, "Looks good!" he admires. He dusts himself off. "Okay well, since there are no more flowers, I'm going to go inside and study." 
"But there's more weeding," I protest knowing full well where this is going to go. He opens his mouth to speak but I say it for him, "I know, I know, you have to study for finals. Go on with you!"
Well, he's not going to have to be told twice so off he goes like Jack Sparrow.  "I had fun, Mom!" He yells.  "Me too!" I yell back.

 I wonder what his Venus wife will be like?I hope he develops a little more patience. He probably will... although I highly doubt it will be for shopping. Oh, dear.  I still have time to work on him. I wonder if Dads have the same experience with their daughters? I'll have to ask my husband. 

Heavenly Father, thank you for blessing me with Motherhood.

Forever in His debt,

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