What if...

Thirteen days of Christmas break, three days of school, two weekend days, two snow days, and today back to school, and where does that leave me?  Totally missing my kids and finding myself wondering based on the last two days at home, "Is this what homeschooling is like?"  Now, I'm sure that if I homeschooled, I would at times long for the routine that comes with the kids going to school outside our home.  And realistically?  I'm sure that a typical homeschool day would NOT include baking, playing the Wii, curling up on the couch watching movies, and sleeping in until 8:30.  OK, maybe we would sleep in, but in the last three weeks, I have not prepared lessons or even executed much more than coloring pages, so I'm positive that I'm overlooking the big details.

It's an emotional morning, which by the way, tends to happen often it seems.  I don't know if it is age, hormones after seven babies, the particular time of the month, overwhelming love for my family, or the combination of all of them.  Probably the latter! 

We enjoyed a second snow day yesterday, and Tim worked from home in his newly put together office.  (Pictures and details of all the furniture shifting, painting, bargain furniture shopping and home improvement projects coming soon.)  I couldn't ask for a more picture-perfect situation.  Coffee brewing, breakfast together at 8 am in pjs (instead of 6:45, dressed for the day), small tasks completed due to the promise of playing football on the Wii, baking, lunch as a family, etc, etc, etc.  When Tim went out in his insulated bibbers to clear the driveway with the tractor, his response to the look on my face was, "I'm not a farmer, and if every day was like this, we wouldn't live here."  Meaning that as much as I was enjoying this scenario, it is not realistic that we would enjoy this type of lifestyle if he didn't go to work every day at the job that he has in the profession that he knows, and I would most certainly find challenges and struggles, and our schedule would still be full if the kids were all home every day.  "I know", I silently replied with a smirk and a nod.  "But I can enjoy it today", my smile indicated. 

Now...don't be disillusioned into thinking that our day went without children fighting and beverages spilling, and messes made.  Those things all happened.  There is just something delightful about not HAVING to get something specific done, and while I know that this type of day isn't realistic on a regular basis, I'll continue to do my best to just embrace them while I can.

As a mom, I am a nurturer.  It's part of my job, but it is natural.  Revisiting the five love languages that author Gary Chapman writes about, I am reminded that my primary love language is acts of service.  Yep, that is accurate.  It brings me great joy to take care of my family by doing for them.  I feel like I can make up for the lack of other things in this way most times.  It probably sounds crazy that I get little butterflies in my stomach when I sit down to organize something or make a shopping list, or plan a meal.  I can accomplish these things most of the time with a fair amount of success, resulting in feeling like I'm doing a good job providing for my family.  Don't get me wrong...there's more...much more, but this is one of my strengths that I don't have to try really hard on. 

Things like this really make me smile:
 Feeding my family healthy foods...especially when they're homemade...AND from raw/natural sources...raw honey right from the honeycomb, raw milk right from the cow, wheat that thanks to my grandma I can grind into flour and eggs right from the chickens.  Have I mentioned how happy I am that our chickens are laying eggs again????  Happy.  :)  **Disclaimer:  This does not happen consistantly, for it is far easier to throw a frozen pizza in the oven, or drive through Runza, or open a box of cereal!  And it is certainly more convenient and more cost effective to cook and bake with processed ingredients!  Someday, maybe I'll get to the point where I can do ALL of it ALL of the time...I'm not holding my breath!  :)

Teaching my kids life skills...  (see the pile of pacifiers?  Can't have just one.)  :)

Some call it child labor...call it what you want.  LOL!! 

My grandma and my mom have baked bread regularly for as long as I can remember, and I have tried sporadically for as long as I can remember without success!!  I decided to give up, and then, because it's really NOT my nature to let anything get the best of me, I decided that I must do it over and over again until I get it right.  So...for the last couple of months, I have made bread weekly, and I must say, it is finally getting there!!  Yay!

Making memories is important to me.  I have so many good ones in my own life and I want my children to have them too.  Maybe they'll remember making snow ice cream on snow days over remembering that they had to pick up the clean clothes off their floor twenty two times in one day and the tears that were shed because of it!  :)

Seriously...if you got to see this face every day (even when it is this dirty), wouldn't it make you smile too and want to take a picture???

Fresh white snow...no yellow stuff.  Oh, and it is important that it comes from a pile that hasn't been made from scooping the driveway.  LOL!  Good lesson learned here. 

The result:  yummy, really fast ice cream.  (OK, it's not as great as the real thing, but considering that it is gone, I think it is safe to assume that it was thoroughly enjoyed!)

Snow ice cream
16 cups of CLEAN snow
2 cans sweetened condensed milk
1T vanilla
4 eggs

Whisk eggs, milk and vanilla together.  Stir in snow.  Eat. 
Pretty easy huh?

It is even better after it has been frozen for a while...

Happy Wednesday.  All is back to "normal" here, as indicated by the three year old slurping brown-sugary oatmeal from the three different bowls he has divided it into because I am blogging instead of monitoring the quantity of brown sugar that was dumped into his bowl.  Just for the record though...it started out as a healthy bowl of wholesome, hot oatmeal with a touch of brown sugar.  That was at 7:30...this is the second go-round.  Oh, and the one-year-old that has a black Sharpie in her hand...Gotta go!  :)