January Molly’s Money Saving Digest

Molly has come through again with another great digest!  The January Molly’s Money Saving Digest lives up to its name.  After all of the holiday craziness is over, it’s time to plunge head long into evaluating, prioritizing, and organizing our “time, money, and “stuff!”  To start us off, Molly has supplied a week of menus with yummy sounding recipes like Tomato Basil Chicken and Poppy Seed Fruit Salad, and a premade shopping list (in In the Kitchen with Molly), as well as five different forms to help us get organized and keep track of our “stuff.”  I am especially looking forward to using the Family Clothing Inventory Form.  With seven children, we have WAY too many clothes!  Mt. Washmore needs to be summited!


New this month is the Kid’s Corner featuring a homemade piggy bank, tips on opening a first checking account, keeping the check register, and writing checks.  Next month the theme will continue with more money tips!  Feather Your Nest Frugally teaches frugal décor ideas that are sure to be a God-pleaser, decorating with Scripture, something I love to do.  Now I have some great new ideas!


I found the monthly feature, Evaluate, Prioritize, Organize to be incredibly useful.  Realizing that I am in one “life season” in which not everything is going to be accomplished, but that writing down my priorities for each day will help me get the important ones done.  I have found myself trying to keep track of too many plans and ideas in my head, and then when I get to town, I can’t remember half of what I had planned to do or buy!  Now, armed with Molly’s forms and encouragement, I am ready to tackle this time and money waster!


I also enjoyed getting to know Amy Howard, a new writer for the Digest.  I am looking forward to reading her tips and tricks for saving money and stockpiling, to get the most out of my husband’s hard earned money!  Welcome to the Digest, Amy!


My favorite part of this Digest is Begin With the Basics.  Mrs. Martha Greene of Marmee Dear and The Homemaker’s Mentor teaches how to make an In~a~Pinch Pie Crust recipe that is awesome, with step by step pictures, for a large batch of crusts that can be put in the freezer for future needs, including use ideas for turnovers, mini-pies, a chocolate cake pie and a great tip on keeping your berry pie from being too runny!  I’m so excited about these pie crusts that I plan to make some with my daughter tomorrow!


In conclusion, I would highly recommend picking up this Digest.  As always, the money you save will far outweigh all of the information gleaned from it!


November Molly’s Moneysaving Digest

The November Molly’s Money Saving Digest’s theme is Photography.  One of the articles, Take Great Pictures of Your Family by Becky Emerick, has excellent advice for beginners wanting to save money by taking their child’s pictures at home.  As a homeschooling mom without access to “school pictures,” I started doing this myself several years back, and I still gleaned very useful information from her article.  I particularly needed her advice on taking off my “mommy hat” for the photography session.  No school or studio photographer would get visibly frustrated with their subject!  I laughed as she suggested having an extra cup of coffee, eating that stashed away Halloween candy, or wearing a silly hat to get you into the photographer mode!


All of the links that are provided, for paper and digital photography, for photo editing, for online photo storage, for digital photography lessons, and for ideas on how to display photos, are phenomenal.  I have been doing home photography for several years and many of these links were new to me!  Don’t spend your precious time researching all of this on your own when you can get them all in one place for only $4.95!


There are also many slow-cooker recipes that sound SO delicious and I can’t wait to try them as the days grow chillier and our home school days get busier.  How good does Slow-Cooker Cherry Cobbler sound after a day outside taking pictures?!


Speaking as a home photographer, you won’t want to miss this Digest. Just the money and time saved not going to a studio will more than cover the cost of this Digest.

Checking in again!

I bought myself a new laptop, and thought that would help me keep more current with my blog, but it hasn’t happened.

I am still very pregnant.  I have less than 2 weeks left.   The ultrasound indicated that the placenta is already calcifying, so she thought he would come a little early.  I have been feeling that way for a while anyway.  He is on track to be as big as his older brothers, not little like my last two.  Ben was 8lb 2oz, Aaron was 8lb 10oz, and Ivan was 8lb 11oz..  Then they got smaller from there.  Joseph was already 4.6lbs at 34 weeks!

Anyway, I have been getting ready for baby, and spring cleaning.  I can’t tell if it is nesting or spring cleaning, but I can’t seem to stop rearranging, cleaning, and getting rid of things!  I can’t find my tiny baby stuff though.  I have bought a few things from the second hand stores, but I don’t want to get too much, since I know that stuff is somewhere.  I am wondering if we took it to our storage container in Talkeetna, since we were living in the apartment when Timmy was a baby.

I keep getting contractions.  They are doing a something (As of last Monday, I was 3cm dilated, but the cervix was still long and posterior) but not getting too serious or regular.  He is head down and very low, so I don’t think it would take much to get things started.  Naomi was almost two weeks early, and Micah and Timmy were about a week early, so hopefully Joseph follows in their footsteps and comes soon.

Craig may be going to Seattle on Wednesday (the day after tomorrow), so I am a little nervous about that.  He will leave home around midnight, and his plane is supposed to land back in Anchorage around 9pm, so he should be back home around 10:30pm.  I have an 18yo gal from church coming to stay with me, so at least I won’t have to drive myself to the midwives if he comes while Craig is gone.  In God’s perfect timing….

A couple of weeks ago, Micah cut his knee.  It was actually kind of my fault.  I set a glass down, and it obviously wasn’t secure, because it fell off and landed on the concrete floor, shattering.  Micah was right behind me when it happened, and he started crying really badly.  I thought he was just scared, but when I asked if he had gotten hurt, he said yes.  I pulled up his pants leg, and found a bloody cut that was gaping open.  All I can figure is that a piece shot up his pants leg, "like a bullet" as the PA who attended him said.  I had to take him to the Medical Clinic and he got two stitches.

The weather has been absolutely beautiful!  We actually had a few days around 70 degrees already!  Mostly it has been sunny and in the high 50’s-mid 60’s though.  The kids and I have been loving it.

I have been doing some more birdwatching, so that has been a lot of fun.  I have seen three new species already this year, as well as many of the ones I identified last year.  My zoom lens on my camera isn’t functioning though, so no pictures.  I need to get it shipped in and fixed, I just keep procrasinating!

Well, I just thought I would post the latest on here.  Probably everyone has given up on my posting, but since I am using this as a journal, at least I will have something written a little more recently!

Checking in

It has been such a busy fall/winter already!  I have been so tired with this pregnancy, and not feeling well.  Nothing sounds good to eat, especially anything with meat in it.  I crave fresh fruit and salty things.

My little four are dressing up in Christmas costumes right now!  It’s so funny to see my 2yo in a bathrobe that is 2ft. too big on him, with a little gold crown on.  My one daughter is Mary (of course!) and has a sheer curtain over her head and a blue church dress on.  They have made a little manger out of an empty tote and have one of her dolls in it.  (They don’t seem to mind that Jesus was about 2yo when the kings actually came.)  Someone told Timmy to kneel like he was praying, so he kneeled down and started praying. I got the cutest pictures!  I will have to post them soon.

We are going out of state in January for my brother’s wedding, so I don’t really want a tree this year.  We leave on Jan. 8th, and I don’t want one more thing to have to do before we leave.  We are going up to my in-laws for Christmas anyway, and then snowmachining out to their cabin for four days.  When we get back, we will have Micah’s 4th birthday, and then leave in a week.  Thus, I am really not into decorating this year.  It’s sad though….

I better get off and fix dinner for this crew.  Daddy had dinner in town with his boss, so I am being laid back tonight, but I better feed them soon, so I can get them to bed at a decent time.

Hope everyone is doing well, and enjoying this Holy-day season! 

Blessings to you and yours,  Grace

Thanks…and SURPRISE!!!!

Thank you to those of you who have prayed for me on my trip to see my grandpa.  He is doing MUCH better now, and I am hopeful he will make it to see his great-grandkids in January!  I am finally kind of getting back on my feet after my trip.  It took me a while, due to unforseen circumstances.

Now for the surprise….WE ARE EXPECTING our 7th baby to be born on May 23rd!!  I am 12 weeks pregnant!  My body fooled me in September, so I really wasn’t expecting it, but by the middle of October, I had experienced all of the lovely first trimester miseries, except for one, which is usually my tell-tale give away!  Oh well, now I just don’t have to wait so long!

We are all very excited, and of course would LOVE to have a baby sister for our one girl, but we will have to wait and see.

Anyway, now you know why I have been so quiet…I can hardly get through a school day and get dinner on the table, let alone get on the computer!!

Hope you all are doing well, and life is going good.

Blessings, Grace (and baby!)

Missing in Action

Hello to anyone who is actually reading my blog!  I just wanted to let you know (particularly the Blogger Friend School ladies) why I am not keeping up with the assignments.  My husband has graciously sent me down to visit my grandparents in Utah.  My grandpa was just diagnosed with congestive heart failure, and my grandma has Alzheimers.  They are in their late 80’s, and I hadn’t seen them in 3.5 years, so it was time for me to go.  Our whole family will be coming down in January for my brother’s wedding, but we just aren’t sure Grandpa will make it that long.

I would like to ask for prayer for them.  My grandpa is very fragile, and it is hard to see him like this.  He is probably 5’10", but is only 104lbs, and that is up from a couple of weeks ago.  Please pray that he gains strength, and that if it is God’s will, that he will be able to see all of his great-grandkids once more. 

Also, if you have time, would you pray for my family that is back in Alaska without me.  My husband is home with the two oldest boys, the three youngest are with friends, and my third child is with his grandmother.  They seem to be doing really well, but more prayer can’t hurt!  Also, I will be driving and flying home on Friday and Saturday.  I could use prayers as I will be alone the whole time.  I had a really great drive over though!  God really ministered to my heart!!!  Amazing how much you hear when you are alone!

Anyway, that is what is on my heart right now.

I was keeping up with the assignments so well too!  I ALMOST made perfect attendance!!  Bummer!

There’s a party goin’ on right now…

Let’s celebrate
It’s alright….

Ultimate Blog Party 2008

Yeah, I know, I’m weird!  What do you expect?  I grew up with four brothers, and now have FIVE boys of my own!  Yes, FIVE!!  And they are all wonderful, God-fearing, handsome young men.  (I almost wrote young me!  That would be a scary thought!)  I also have one beautiful young lady.  She is six.  She is my little shadow and my little helper.

Welcome!  We are a Reformed Christian Alaskan homeschooling family.  We live on six acres of the 23,000 square miles available in the beautiful Matanuska Valley.  My dh and I grew up looking at Mt. McKinley, the highest mountain in North America, in our "backyard’ in the little village of Talkeetna.  We also raised our family there for six years.  We are now living farther south, but still in the Valley.

We enjoy snowmachining (what you all call snowmobiling), Boy Scouts, gymnastics, playing instruments, and watching educational movies.  Recently we have watched Planet EarthJames Cameron’s Expedition: Bismarck, 2002 and To the Moon: NovaWe HIGHLY recommend Planet Earth!  It is a BBC film, and you have to overlook some of the environmentalist information that they say, but it is very little, and the cinematography is BEAUTIFUL!!  Definitely worth the watch!  I would like to purchase the set at some point!!

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this little glimpse into our lives.  Sit back and relax with a bowl of homemade tomato soup and grab some yummy Tortellini, Tomato and Salmon Salad too!

I hope you enjoy your time here!  Please let me know you stopped by, and feel free to ask anything you would like about Alaska!  Oh, and if you would like to exchange postcards with my kids, just email me your address!  We are trying to collect postcards from all over the world!

Party on, dude!!!


P.S. There are SO many prizes!  The ones I would LOVE to win are:

#48 — Story Package
Provided by: Cherish Bound
Prize details: Cherish Bound is offering a story package that will include: 1 Family Yearbook Story Starter, 1 Deck of Family Chat Cards, a coupon for a $68 hardbound 8.5 x 11 Family Yearbook and personal services and assistance to walk you through the process. A retail value of $90.

#91 — Burt’s Bees Naturally Ageless skin care line
Provided by: Geggie
Prize details: Geggie from So, What Else? What Else? What Else? is donating Burt’s Bees Naturally Ageless skin care line includes full size product of Line Diminishing Day Lotion, Skin Firming Night Crème, Line Smoothing Eye Crème and Intensive Repairing Serum valued at $100.

#100 — 3 books
Provided by: Jill Norwood
Prize details: Jill Norwood from Who Could Ask for Anything More is giving away three cooking and entertaining books bundled together in a fun striped tote bag, perfect for taking on an overnight stay or to the pool or beach. I’ll also be filling the bag with some goodies geared especially toward the winner’s taste (coffee lover, tennis player, scrapbooker, etc.) Jill’s Book Bag is a regular feature on my blog, so, if you don’t win this time, I hope you visit me regularly to enter another time.

#113 — Arbonne Pampering Basket
Provided by: The Truest Thing
Prize Details: Get ready to enjoy a Mommy-version Easter basket filled with lots of pampering goodies from Arbonne International!

#103 — 7 Pink Brick Box Play Sets (for my one daughter out of six children!)
Provided by: LEGO
Prize details: LEGO will give away 7 Pink Brick Box play sets, in honor of the 7 day long Ultimate Blog Party!

Thrift stores and Clearance racks

We love thrift store shopping.  We don’t get to go too often as we don’t spend a lot of time in town, but we usually get good deals when we do.  One of the second hand stores is kind of pricey, and it’s hard to get just what you want, so I frequent the clearance racks too.  Just the other day, Fred Meyer had additional 70% off the already marked down clearance price.  I bought my daughter several tops for less then I usually pay at the second hand shop.  They were about $4-5/item.  They were modest long tops too which are getting more difficult to find since they aren’t as in-style.  I guess that’s why they wound up on the clearance rack!

I also bought several long sleeve OshKosh shirts for the little boys.  I don’t have to buy too much for my 2nd and 3rd boys, as all of my oldest’s clothes just get handed down, but by the time they have gone through three boys, things are getting a little worn and stained.  So, when I can find good brand name clothing on big clearance sales, I pick them up.

I do find pants at a large used-stuff store in Anchorage, but I so rarely get in there anymore.  I tend to buy my boys pants at Sears, because they have the Kid Vantage program that allows you to exchange the pants if when the knees blow out.  That way, they last all of the way through all of my boys!  I have a rubbermaid tote full of jeans, just waiting for the next one in line.  The only problem I have run into is that my oldest fits a regular size, and my next two boys are more on the slim side.  Guess that’s what belts are for, eh?

Off to get school started for the day.  We have violin lessons and Boy Scouts today.  Fortunately, the violin lessons are now here at home!  I tell ya, that’s the way to do music lessons!  I LOVE not having to go out!

Jury Duty

I have jury duty this month.  Most people don’t want jury duty.  They will try everything to get out of it.  Many people have told me that they were sure I could get out of it because I am a homeschooling mom, but I told my dh that I thought someone with a conscience should be on the jury sometime!  I got called in the first day.  I had to be there at 8am.  You have to go through security, like at the airport.  Several people had nail files thrown away.  I had taken one of the kids’ backpacks so I inadvertantly took a fork in with me.  She didn’t make me throw it away, but told me to leave it home next time.  I had to tear that backpack apart to find it!

Anyway, after you check in with the jury clerk, you have to fill out a juror questionairre.  It aske questions like your occupation, associations/groups you are a part of, how many kids you have, what ages they are, have you ever been part of a lawsuit, your list of employment, and lastly if you think police officers are more likely to tell the truth.  I thought that last question was interesting.  I answered it "Generally."

They also give you an "Alaska Trial Jury Handbook," which is a 25 page booklet which tries to answer any question you could possibly have about being a Juror.  There are five parts; General Information, Selecting Juries for Trials, The Trial, Deciding on a Verdict, and a Glossary.  It is very interesting!  I asked the jury clerk if I could take it home to my kids, and she said I could take as many as I wanted.  She also said that if they had any questions, they could call and ask her anything.  She also recommended that I bring the older ones in to watch a trial!  She suggested bringing them in for a DUI trial.  Her reason was, "They will never drink and drive if they sit through one of these!"  The judge also reiterated to us later that he likes it when people come watch the trials because it is so educational.  I am hoping to find a unit study that covers the court or justice system as my kids were very fascinated about it.  If anyone can recommend one, please let me know!

To make a long story short, I was selected to be on the jury, but the first morning before we were able to hear anything, the defendants pleaded to a lesser charge, thereby canceling the trial.  I learned so much through this experience, so I am hoping to post more of my experience in the next few days.  I have to be on-call all month though, so I could get called in again!

Oh, and things went great at home!  Dh was able to work from home, but the kids got their school done and did their chores before I got home!  The next day, I got home around noon, and they were already almost done with their school!  I told dh that maybe I should get a job, since they seem to do so much better when I am not there.  LOL!  He said emphatically, "No."  My second son said he liked it when I was gone, because he liked the responsibility.  That is just like him!

Off to try to find a unit study….