homeschooling, large family, Motherhood

Break From My White Straitjacket

img_0208-e1516065291649.jpgI meet the end of fall dreading winter and snow and endless grey days shut in with nowhere to go and a pile of kids with energy to burn. I don’t know when exactly it got really bad but it did and every winter I  start thinking about how I can escape and feel alive again. I want to feel like I’m going to make it to spring where there will  be  beautiful pops of color and warm sunshine and beach days, park picnics with friends.

Every inch of snow seems to tighten the strait jacket in my mind and it feels like weeks are endless with toddlers and myself shut inside because of freezing temperatures. Getting outside requires tremendous effort but is totally worth it if I can get outside for more than five minutes before little people scream that they’re cold and want to go back in.

I fight the urge to sell my home and run away in an RV with my kids and just live on the road. I also pray🙏 like crazy. I also take vitamin D daily thanks to my dear friend Tami from Kentucky.

God is such a good father too because he knows I need to be released and have a time of refreshment.  I am so grateful to have escaped my jacket and be blogging from Orlando!!! We enjoy long sun-drenched pool days once our schooling is complete for the day. We play and laugh and walk and swim and workout in the gym and feel so connected and amazing that going back to a home covered in snow is very hard.

For a few blessed weeks our lives are tapped into a state of living that all Floridians experience as normal. I have to admit that every time the fall season rolls around I feel completely abnormal that I will soon be living in a snow filled land that I could not survive in without the mod cons of today.

So we run. Actually,  we pack our van huge and renew passports and we drive a loooooong time for several days until we are finally in the sunshine state. We bring our school books, our sandals, and our wonder and we enjoy each other ,Gods creation and our freedom. We enjoy the American flags, the pretty palm trees, the outdoor basketball court and fire pit at a new-to-us hotel in Columbia and the friendly generous souls we have encountered here. We enjoy the pools and the beaches and the large condo with laundry machines in the garage so I can spend time sorting stinky socks in fresh air and ☀️ , and the fun food and drink chains that we don’t have in 🇨🇦.Its all such a soothing balm to my soul . Praise the Lord 🙌🏽

large family, Large Family Meals, Uncategorized

Best Taco Salad Ever🥗 (Recipe)

IMG_0210

Hey folks😋. Here is my version of a well loved classic. I made this the way I thought would blend well, using ingredients my family loves. I wanted to share it with you because sometimes it’s so hard to throw together a healthy large family meal that’s kid friendly in under 20 minutes. My main motivation today for a quick meal is that we wanted to spend as much time at the pool as possible before hand and even more quality time with our kids after supper and before bed time. If you think you need to tweak it then be my guest. My original thought was to add some salsa and chopped tomatoes but I did forget about them and in the end I realized the result was still great.

Here it is:

Spread the following into a 9 x 15 glass dish and layer each ingredient as you go

One whole head of iceberg lettuce washed and chopped into manageable pieces

A half cup of shredded cheese

One can of rinsed black beans

1/2 cup of green sliced olives with pimento inside

1 pound of fried hamburger meat seasoned with one package of taco spice

Drizzle about 3/4 of a cup of thousand Island salad dressing all over this.

Now add another half cup of Mexican  shredded cheese.

Lightly toss all together and sprinkle cheese on top and a half bag of crushed Dorito  chips all over the top concentrating on the middle.

Yum!  It’s now ready to enjoy .

 

Our Tribal Tips

Best Dish Rack Ever (My Gift💝To You)

Maybe not the weirdest post ever written by a homeschooling Mom, but definitely one with purpose. If you’ve ever been to the home of a large family you may have noticed that there is a lot of pots and dishes being used and washed all the time.  I never felt that we had the time to hand dry everything as it was being washed so I went on a quest for a large dish rack .  I wanted it to be aesthetically pleasing but super functional and as big as possible. The wimpy ones at Walmart made no sense to me. I wanted to be able to leave it on my counter and pile high the pots and pans from a days work and let them air dry.

First I called all of my friends with large families and ask them what they used. Then  I set out to all the major box stores to see what was available.  I bought one and returned several dish racks and was becoming a little depressed at the thought that no one had an idea just how important this could be to someone like me .

Then I happened to check on Amazon ( that word just makes me smile) and I found a large dish rack by Simple Human that seemed to be everthing I needed/wanted and get this….came with a 5 year warranty. I bought it and I love ❤️ it , and I need to tell you I get nothing for saying this either.  Just recently another large family mom and friend of mine came for a visit to my house and spied my dish rack. She saved up and bought one as quick as she could as she saw the same value I saw. If you have  to have something permanently on your counter, then why not a gorgeous washable functional piece like this? It’s so worth its price tag (100$).

picture will follow shortly or just google it, or if you need to see one in person🛒 you can check it out at Home Outfitters also, they just don’t always have the largest one in stock. ❌⭕️

 

large family, lifestyle, miscarriage, Motherhood

Due Dates

Due Dates come and go around here all the time, yet they mostly go by unnoticed by everyone except myself, my sweet hubby, and maybe a dear friend that I mention it to. I hurt.

I hurt because of my child gone, a dream interrupted, a vision altered by yet another miscarriage. 9 miscarriages have left me scarred a little. 8 in the last 8 years alone. It’s mostly a silent, lonely place to be as I have tried to let people in but few understand especially because I have children. I shouldn’t hurt because I am blessed. I get it, I am blessed. 7 kids total, 6 in 10 years given as gifts to me from the Lord above. Did it happen to you at this very second? Did you lose your empathy for me as most do? Well I’m here for the hurting souls that don’t have anyone that gets it.

Two years ago and a few miscarriages ago my husband and I had just found out that I was carrying another dead baby but my body had not figured it out yet. My womb was not letting go of the pregnancy and so I walked around dreadfully anticipating when my body would purge everything it has been growing  for almost 3 months.  We decided to take our children to a peaceful place on the water and walk around on the paths surrounding the lake and just enjoy some peace. However, a couple approached us with a young girl  and started to chat  with us about the size of our family. (Really Lord? Am I strong enough?) They spoke about their loss of 4 babies in a row since they’re only child was born. They had given up  hope and were so upset over their losses they didn’t know what to do. It was such a painful moment for me holding my belly and telling them that there could still be hope.  My four-year-old is a rainbow baby so is my seven-year-old and my two-year-old . My four year old was  a gift to me after four miscarriages in a row. I had just about lost hope too but not enough to not try again and then there he was.  I didn’t realize how scarred  I was at the time , until we walked out of the hospital with him snuggled in  his car seat, and at the very moment that I heard his seat click into the holder my soul jolted to attention  and I started to cry because I realized it was all real and he was going  home with me.

I get it friend , you losses and mine are soooo REAL. Those babies were real, and it just sucks that most of us have nothing more than a date on our calendar or in our journals to remind us that they were alive once within us.  Some ladies wear special necklaces with charms symbolizing their babies, some people named their babies. My dream is to one day have a piece of jewellery with a stone for each baby I carried. Each stone symbolizing the love my husband and I share for each other and for each soul that has gone on to be with the Lord until we get there.

Let only select people in. The ones who understand your heart and your loss. I believe that I’ve been given a gift from the losses. The gift of being able to cry and mourn with a stranger in a Walmart who has also lost. The gift of empathy. The gift of being able to say I understand. image

 

large family, Large Family Logistics, Motherhood

Do you have kids?Lose Yourself.

IMG_8526 (2)Lets get REAL.

Over the course of the Holidays I found myself in stores more than usual, which is pretty understandable. While buying gifts for my kids and husband, certain topics seemed to arise between myself and whoever the sales clerk happened  to be that day. They would often ask leading questions to see if they could better understand my needs as  a buyer such as “who is this for ….and how old are they, etc. I was asked if I had children and how many etc. So I asked the question back. The sales clerk looked me in the eye and said” no, I never want kids.”  I asked her if she didn’t want them because she didn’t like kids. She said “My reason is bigger than that. I feel like I would lose myself” She seemed pretty proud of herself in the way she responded . In a way she is right , you do lose yourself some what.

I spoke the truth that day. I’m not always so bold but  I replied ” yes, you will lose yourself but you will find a new self”. She was shocked and said nothing further so neither did I.

I am not my old self , I am a person called Mama who loves with a mama bear love I never knew before I had a child. I put my little tribe before myself and their needs before mine continuously. I care deeply that they feel loved and secure and that they  have all their needs met by a Mama and Daddy that love them sacrificially. I am a better person than I was because I learned what it takes to be a Mom, and what it takes to have to stay up all night with sick kids, how to be by their side as they learn how to read, how to plead with God as they have an emergency operation, how to comfort a teen that’s really down on himself, teach them about the Jesus and countless other things. Lose yourself dear Mother and be glad that you are not lost but changed into somethIng beautiful.

large family, Our Tribal Tips

The Last Laugh

IMG_0127 This is a quick tip for large families who are looking for a tangible way to save money and frustration.  Please read :

I got away from using plastic  cups years ago and I switched to glass because I liked the way my drinks tasted and stay colder . I also didn’t like the way plastic cleaned,  and with all the chemicals going to plastic ya just never knew what was safe anymore.  I even went back to using glass baby bottles. However, when baby number six was old enough to understand the joy in the sound of smashing glass my days became challenging. Not a day would  go by  without something broken. We bought plastic dishes just for him yet any chance he could he would go for someone else’s cup or take his glass bottle out of the insulator and smash it.

I clearly remember walking through Home Depot with  five children under eight years old at the time, and my husband , trying desperately to concentrate on new ceramic tile choices and trying to make sure we took his bottle away from our toddler as soon as he was finished drinking.  We were unsuccessful, and as we turned our back’s on him to discuss choices we heard a smash and whipped around to see this huge smile on his face. It was getting depressing.  We knew something had to be done  , something needed to change,and yet I refused  to go back to plastic. So I brainstormed and thought about some cups that we used  while we were camping. They were steel and they were unbreakable. I jumped on Amazon.ca and found stackable stainless steel cups and we have never turned back.  True story… When the cups first arrived we washed them and let everyone have one to try. The ” Glass smasher” took his cup and threw it on the ceramic kitchen floor. You should have seen the shocked look on his face  when that cup bounced and did not break.  I burst out laughing and so did the other children, I finally had the last laugh . But seriously, they save so much room in the cupboard, are washable , droppable and  maybe somewhat unbreakable. Yes , I left one on the back bumper of my van and drove away one day. When I found the cup  it had a big dent in it but was still serviceable and might I say it looks pretty cool like as if it stopped a bullet. My boys like to take turns using that cup. Check them out they are worth every penny🍹.

Fox Outfitters Stainless Steel Pint Cups, 16 Ounce. Check out the amazon lmk below….

https://www.amazon.ca/Fox-Outfitters-Stainless-Steel-Ounce/dp/B00GXUQ2QM/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1514953250&sr=8-3&keywords=Fox+stainless+steel+cups

 

 

 

homeschooling

How WEIRD Are US Homeschoolers?

IMG_8717 (2)I must admit that I was completely ignorant to the term homeschooling when I first heard it. I am originally a city kid, born and raised in  Montreal, Canada and I still love that city.  Its such a diverse and multicultural place to live. The best foods, parks, fashion, service,and night life are all in Montreal. I will not be convinced otherwise.

I grew up going to public school, being bullied ferociously from grade 2 on , until I eventually learned how to defend myself (in grade 9 by kicking butt) and fell in with a horrible crowd of imbeciles which perpetuated my down spiral into imbecile kingdom. My parents divorced which made matters 100 x worse and I made many wrong choices.

Fast Forward about a decade and a half later:

I find Jesus, marry an exceptional husband and I am pregnant with my second child. I am sitting at a Christian Minor hockey league game when I meet a really cool lady who tells me she has “8 kids”. My mind does a little wobble and I respond with , “How do you get them all to school in the morning?” Cool lady laughs at me.

“I homeschool” she says.

I am stunned.

I had never heard the term “homeschooling” and immediately picture  lots of kids lounging around, chaos abounding, couch surfing, lots of goofing off, a t.v blaring 24/7 and a huge mess of a house. “Why on earth would you do that ?”, I demand.

She fills me in with a lot of her own reasons such as more family time, discipleship, character training , more diversified interests, curriculum control, etc. ,and I am super intrigued. I ask if I can visit her house (don’t even know her), and she graciously says YES!!

I was hooked after that first visit. When I met her children and watched their family dynamics and how they interacted with one another and with us I knew that I needed to try something so out of my world different and see if I could do a better job than what I saw was done with my 16 year old through a public education.

I never thought she was “weird”. I thought she was cool, different, lovely, sweet and kind. She oozed Jesus and was an amazing mother. I never thought her children were weird either. They were sweet, fun,  adorable, athletic, beautiful, well spoken and so completely involved in our conversation with their parents. They were so different than the kids I had been meeting over the years in the public schools that my son was attending.

I started attending homeschool conferences so I could gather lots of info and be fully prepared for the adventure my family was about to embark on. I met a lot of opposition from people who thought I was going to do something weird. Goodness people, do you see what is going on the world?

When I finally told my Mom (at 35 yrs old) just a little about my days of being bullied she asked me why I never told her. My response…. ” Most kids don’t tell their parents what goes on in school”. Hence, news articles of children, sweet young children bullied for their looks…..bullied to the point of suicide….without their parents ever knowing.

I find people get homemaking and homeschooling a little confused. If I mention that I make bread….”its because we are homeschoolers”.If I mention I can foods….”its because we are homeschoolers”. If I mention I make soap, knit hats, drive a large van etc, then I am a “typical homeschooler”

Yo, I dont care if you think we are weird because the results are in. Homeschool kids are great, fun, and cool !! They are very well educated and well rounded individuals. Post secondary schools and employers are seeing the benefits to homeschooling along with the rest of the world.

7 years later we are thriving in our homeschool and we are loving the results. I have met people along the way that some would consider weird but who cares? There was a lot more weirder people when I was in school and I hear its the same way now.