Juggling the Job and Home

There are days where I struggle a lot, especially right now when all I want to do is just lay around and happily get fat. Hey I’m allowed I am growing another human being. However having 3 other children 1 of which I homeschool on top of running my Etsy shop and a home, some times there is just not enough hours in the day. It doesn’t help either that I gave up my only source of caffeine 4 1/2 months ago before I ever became pregnant, so when 3 o’clock rolls around my head starts bobbing.

So how does one do it all?

Easy I don’t, there are days when my shop is ignored and there are days the house is ignored. I try to balance work and home and think I have finally figured out what works for me. I try to spend only an hour a day on my shop on my computer, not that doesn’t sound like a lot that doesn’t count in the hours of time I spend measuring and handwriting my listings, repairing if needed and if  I can do it, steaming, photographing, editing photographs, researching etc. Many times I’ll measure and write my listing out while I am sitting with my daughter while she does her school work, while she is doing work that needed minimal amount of help from me. This isn’t a perfect system and there are times it doesn’t get done but I do the best I can.

I have also decided after Thursday that I am taking a much needed month off from working in my studio, the heat doesn’t work real well upstairs yet and the fact I just need a break. I feel like I am running all over the place and not getting a darn thing done isn’t helpful to my family or I. Hopefully after a much needed break I can more forward and get my studio done in a timely manner since all I have to finish is priming and painting and I can move my stock up there.

I am planning on turning the smallest bedroom of the apartment into a playroom for my kids, so I can take them with me to work and they have their own space to do so. I will have to paint that room as well but that will be fairly simple as it is small room and should only take two days to prime and paint it. I am going to ask my daughter to pick out the color for that room as it is right now it is a pistachio green.

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This isn’t the greatest picture of what will be a playroom as my racks take up a large portion of the room as do the photography lights that belong to the business below.

So one day before spring my studio will be finished and I will enjoy having a couple of rooms back in my house.

Until next time,

Kristen

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Christmas Guest Post: Cassi from KeepingTheKidsAlive Blog

I met Cassi through a Mom’s group and have enjoyed getting to know her and reading her blog. ~Kristen
Christmas Time
Christmas is an extremely big deal in our home. My husband is CRAZY about Christmas. Our house is covered in decorations, we read Christmas stories daily, watch Christmas movies a few times a week and are constantly focused on the true meaning of the holiday- the birth of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.
My husband and I come from very different backgrounds. I didn’t grow up with much money in our household. I never had my own bedroom until after I moved out and got a roommate (and even then we almost always slept in the same room, we just slept easier that way). My mom wrapped up everything to make Christmas appear even bigger than it was. Those little Christmas story books with lifesavers inside? Yup, my mom wrapped those and put them under the tree. I am the oldest of six children on each side (my parents divorced when I was young, so my mom had six under her roof and my dad’s home also has/had six) so the combination of so many children and every little thing being wrapped under the tree made Christmas appear enormous. Our tree was overflowing!
My husband on the other hand, grew up in an upper middle class home. His family owns a 4 bedroom home on 3 acres of land. His father owns his own business and his mother is a nurse. They make decent money and they make responsible decisions which allow them to provide well for their children. His grandfather, who passed away in 2008, also spoiled them with gifts for Christmas. In fact, I sometimes think that he set a standard in my husband’s mind that we may never live up to regarding Christmas.
Because of these things, we REALLY do gifts. We spend more money than we probably should on Christmas and we really try to make giving a huge priority. We crave that “OH MY GOSH! SANTA CAME!” reaction from our children on Christmas morning and we love picking gifts for the people in our lives that are specific to them.
Last year my mother in law got a necklace with the birthstones of all 4 of her boys with a pendant reading “my boys” and I wrote and framed a poem for my grandmother specifically noting that she is the most selfless woman that I know- when I need an earthly example of what Jesus desires our selflessness to look like in action I ALWAYS look to her.
Spending time with my husband’s family is always special and we cherish that time. However, it is our trips to visit my family for Christmas that really remind me of what Christmas is all about. You see, my husband and I do fairly well. We pay our bills, we own two vehicles and we recently sold one home and are building a new one after relocating for his job. Sure, we worry about money sometimes. We get stressed when bills pile up, but compared to the rest of the world (not compared to my husband’s family though) we do well.
My family back home still doesn’t have a lot of money. In fact, I have numerous members of my family who do not work and whose only source of income is from government programs.  We do not spend a ton of money for gifts for our family members there- there are over a dozen children alone that we end up buying for- but we make an effort to buy gifts for them. Most of them don’t for us. They can’t. Many of them are lucky to be able to provide a Christmas morning for the children in their own homes. That isn’t what matters. It’s so exciting to arrive in town with literally a box full of gifts, feeling like Santa came to town.  When we go to see them for Christmas, we are able to give. It doesn’t seem like much- not when we have grown accustomed to the lifestyle that we live and experience with his family, but we give. It brings us such joy to provide gifts, love, support, encouragement and time to the people we love who don’t really have a lot.
I mean, when you really think about it, isn’t that what Christmas gifts are about? It’s not about what you get. When I think about Christmas (or am asked to make a list) it’s so difficult for me because I no longer have to live in a state of need. I no longer need to get socks for Christmas because if I need socks, we buy them. Or a scarf. Gloves. Shoes.
Christ came to earth to give us a gift- the gift being the opportunity to be redeemed and spend eternity with God. He didn’t GET anything in return. His gift was completely selfless. His gift wasn’t based on a spending limit, or the fact that last year he didn’t get as much as he thought. His gift was pure, and true and good.
As Christians, that is what we are called to. It’s about what we can give. It’s about how, when and why we choose to give. That’s why those trips back home are so special for me. It’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle- the lists, spending limits, parties, budgets and travel of Christmas that we lose sight of why we celebrate. Going home reminds me that we celebrate a gift- the gift of Christ.
That’s a gift that  can’t ever be topped.
Cassi

Christmas Guest Post by Mama C: Christmas Memories Are Made Of This

The pine trees, the Christmas carols, the snow and cold. Yep, it’s that time of the year. Christmas! Or the holiday
season if you started on November 1st (or October in some cases…). I am a holiday person. I love preparing
food and candies for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. Since getting married, it’s been a joyous ride for
Big C and I to create our own traditions, and now incorporating Little C into them.
Some of my favorite memories are those of spending time with family and friends. Hosting or participating in
candy making parties. Ugly Sweater Contests, Stingy Santa, Office parites, wrapping gifts, baking cookies, and
decorating the tree. I love all of it, and love creating those memories with the family I have made.

Starting on Black Friday Big C and I break out the Christmas tree to put up and decorate. Then comes my favorite part….
CANDY MAKING!!!
Over the next six weeks, I will make enough candy to build a bridge to the Mississippi River. But, I love it! I
love coming up with new recipes, putting my own twists on old favorites, and honoring the legacy that my great-grandmother passed onto us.
My list this year includes:
Truffles
Fudge
Cookies
Pie
Hard Candy/Tack
Potato Candy
After all the baking and cooking, I still want to incorporate Little C. This is where crafts come in. As much as
we are able to do with a semi-cooperating 13 month old. I am a crafty type person, and enjoy giving, and
receiving handmade gifts. I feel that it shows you care about the reciever. Our goal is year involves paint, and A
LOT of it. Little C still doesn’t like to cooperate, so we do the best that can in that situation. I want my son to
look back as he’s growing up and see that the ornaments on the Christmas tree are the ones that him and his
siblings made.
As Christmas gets closer, so do other activities.My favorite is the reading of The Birth of Christ. It reaffirms
that Christmas isn’t about who got the biggest gift, or had the prettiest paper, or best decorations. It’s about
loving and caring so much that you can give anything, and Christmas represents the best gift anyone can ever
receive.
How do you and yours celebrate the holidays?
XO
–Mama C
*thank you to Kristen at Kris’s Vintage Clothing for allowing me to guest blog!

Top 10 Reasons Why I Homeschool

I live in a county where homeschooling isn’t well known, which has been interesting to say the least about the social stigma’s that has come our way. So I am going to give you my top 10 reason why I homeschool.

So why do I homeschool?

1. I disagree with the common core teaching styles and refuse to put any of my children through that.

2. The school district I live in has very few good teachers that actually (gasp!) teach, many of them are teaching their students how to pass standardized testing they must take at the end of the school year. I have talked with many parents and students alike about it, one student moved to another school district through open enrollment and as a Junior was behind in her math not because she is bad student because she was never taught something that most schools teach in 7th grade. She had to have a tutor to get her up to her grade level in math, that took one whole semester to do so. Thankfully her new school was able to do that so she will graduate in the spring.

3. I want God to a part of our school day, Oh my goodness did I just say God. Why yes I did. Christ centered learning is what we do here, from our daily devotional to our unit study God is a part of our day.

Now to the most dreaded question any homeschooling family gets: “What about the social aspect of public school?”

5. Most homeschool families are fairly active in group activities like homeschool groups, 4-H, Girl/Boy Scouts, Youth Group, Play dates, etc. My children learn to interact with not just children in their grade level but people of all ages, I would love for you to have a conversation with my 8 year old. She loves to talk to anyone and everyone regardless of their age or social standing.

6. Don’t push your all unsocialized kids are shy thing at me either, I’ll point out that there are public school, private school and charter school students who are shy to yet I don’t see you talking about them.

7. School starts when I say it does, which is usually between 8:30 and 10 am, I am not a morning person so getting up and getting kids dress and off to school complete with a lunch box is totally not my thing.

8. What is this get dressed thing do you speak of? We have been known to wear pajamas all day if the mood strikes and we are on a roll with school, who wants to stop to get dressed raise your hand?? Anyone?

9. School is fun, yes I said it. Learning should be fun and interactive, when you make learning fun that is the stuff your child will remember.

10. I want to be in charge of what my children are learning, not what is just taught in the classroom but about every day life. I want my kids to be kids and keep them naive until they are ready to handle grown up situations.

A day of shopping

Every couple of weeks I have to go grocery shopping and per my usual I take all 3 of my children who are 8 years old, 2 1/2 years old and 18 months old. It can be a struggle some days if they are all having a bad day which has happened in the past, however during this trip they were awesome.

Even when just running errand in my small town I come across that one person that always says “You really have your hands full!” What compels these strangers to say things like that? They do not know me nor my children or how I run a tight ship. Both toddlers must ride in the cart while the 8 year old gets to walk and be my helper, they don’t know if my children have had their naps yet or not, they do not know how long we have been out shopping or if this was our first stop of the day.

I have finally come up with a solution to such questions, depending on who is saying it. To the older woman who said she had 7 children, you know I’m right that having 3 children does keep me busy but it doesn’t mean my hands are full.

To the cashier on who said I had my hands full “Grocery shopping is an necessity that I must do regardless of how many children I have because we have to eat.”

Going out on grocery shopping is part of parenting, my children are learning how to act in public, how to shop within a budget, how to find good deals, simple math skills. These kind of things are what being a homeschool family is about. A shopping trip isn’t just about filling our cupboards yet more of a field trip in our house.

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Creative Challenge: Week 2 Beach

Who doesn’t love the beach? With sand between your toes, the wind in your hair and perhaps a drink in your hand if you are lucky enough.

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I have found there are times when the beach is not fun.

Last year my family attended a wedding on a beach, we of course had the only kids with us due to using it as a vacation as well. Why? Well we live in Ohio and the wedding was in Florida in April of last year and I for one was in need of the sun and family time as were our children.

The wedding was beautiful, the bride and groom were darling in their wedding attire. The backdrop of the Golf side of Florida was spectacular. The down side to a beach wedding is the frickin sand, it was everywhere. I am still trying to get the sand out of my stroller and it was over year ago. I believe that beach weddings while good in theory are not good in practice, because of all the sand. Honestly I wouldn’t want to go to my marriage bed covered in sand, I’m just saying it isn’t my cup of tea.

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Even I didn’t like the sand my children had a blast playing in the sand during all of that other boring stuff like the toasts and speeches.

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