I don't really like the summer. I'm not all about tans, sunscreen, beaches, or anything hot. I am definitely more of a winter girl. I love the snow…except in New York City. But that's a different story. I don't enjoy going to the beach, or sitting in the hot sun. But one of my favorite things about summer is all the fresh fruit and vegetables that are easily obtained. I especially enjoy honeydew melon. Last year a friend introduced me to honeydew on a whole new level – add some fresh mint!
I have some windowsill herbs that constitute the entirety of my urban garden. Peppermint is one of the plants that I haven't killed off yet, so I just snipped off a few springs. After chunking up my honeydew, I added the chopped mint. It adds a whole new dimension to the juicy melon that makes it even more of a treat! You can add a peppermint garnish, too. If you want to dress it up even more, add some chopped cucumber for a flavorful salad. If you don't grow peppermint at home, you can probably find some at your local farmer's market, along with other fresh herbs.
This is one thing about summer that I can love!
Guest post from Imperfect Homemaker contributor Andrea.
The Lord has been dealing with me lately about the words I use and the way I speak to my family members. When I get frustrated I often start to tear others down rather than build them up. I express my frustration in my words and my tone. But that is not how the virtuous woman speaks.
Proverbs 31:26 says, “She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.”
Law. Something that regulates the actions (or words) of its members. Something that always occurs if certain conditions are present. When the virtuous woman opens her mouth, it is always kindness that comes forth. When she speaks, wisdom and kindness always govern her words. There is no deviation. It is a fact, and others can observe it. Her words are kind. That is how I want to speak. I want others to know that when Andrea talks, it will always be kind and uplifting. I want my children to know, by observation, that Mommy will always speak to them with love and kindness – no matter the circumstances, and no matter the offence.
I don’t know about your kids, but my kids absolutely love to play dress-up. We have more toy bins dedicated to dress-up and role playing than any other type of toy. When I walk into my kids’ room, the floor is nearly always strewn with hats, scarves, coats, dresses, and accessories. My kids may love dressing up, but my wallet doesn’t like the cost of buying dress-up outfits at the toy store. I always get sticker shock, and then am disappointed in the quality of the items. So we have found other ways to feed their role-playing habits.
I was especially inspired to make my own dress-up items after visiting the children’s museum in Fayetteville, NC on a recent trip. The kids move from room to room and get to play farmer, supermarket, ambulance, ER, dentist, post office, banker, army man, TV weather forecaster, and more. Most of the items were “real” items from that profession, and my kids had a blast. They were willing to forfeit lunch in order to stay and play longer!
Here are some ideas for frugal role-play and dress-up:
—Use “real” clothing that is larger in size. When we get hand-me-downs, I throw some of the scarves, hats, frilly skirts, and dressy shoes into the dress-up bin. The kids love it. They are creative and turn scarves into ropes when they are braving a hurricane from the safety of the bunk-bed. Purses become shopping bags when they “walk” to the store with their doggies. They love playing with “real” items.
—Save household and kitchen items. When we empty an egg carton I give it to the kids to play with. After a few days it has usually been stepped on and smooshed a hundred times, so we toss it out. There will always be another one coming! I rinse out vitamin bottles and save Band-Aid boxes for doctor play. We have a plastic Starbucks coffee cup and old measuring cups for our “kitchen”. Dead cell phones go in the toy drawer, and all of my kids love to walk around talking on a “real” phone. (My husband wears out his phones quickly!) When I am ready to pass on a scarf or necklace, I usually take it to the dress-up box instead of Good Will.
–-Make your own. At the children’s museum, in the play Post Office, my kids loved sorting mail and handing out packages. So I saved envelopes from the mail for about a week, laminated them, taped up a couple of small boxes, and turned an old wipes box into a mail box. Put on a blue shirt from Daddy’s closet, and voilà! Instant Post Office. We play with it for a few days and then pack it away for a few days to keep things new and exciting.
—An old box can become anything you can imagine. My kids love to pretend it’s a boat. We usually keep the boxes from our diaper shipment around the house for a few days. Turn the box upside down and glue on some red construction paper circles for a stove. Cut a hole for a mailbox. Make a baby cradle. The possibilities are endless (and free!). Two liter bottles become a jet pack. A towel and clothespin becomes a super hero cape. An empty toilet paper tube or paper towel tube can become binoculars or a pirate spyglass. We cut necktie shapes out of fabric scraps and added a ribbon for instant dress-up.
—Play store by setting out some toys on the coffee table. Print out some paper money and give them a purse. One child gets to be the shop keeper and one child can be the customer. We use my daughter's baby stroller to be the shopping cart. I love spending $5 and getting $20 in change! (We will work on math skills in Kindergarten this year 🙂
—My daughter loves to play Mommy, Little Girl, and Baby. She usually gets to be the Mommy and my husband or I is the little girl. I gave her a couple of real baby bottles, some newborn size onesies, cloth wipes from my diaper stash, and an old receiving blanket. She uses the tray from one of the twins’ highchair, and we set up a little meal, change some diapers, put the baby to sleep, and have a good time. No expensive baby doll accessories needed!
–If there is a particular role-playing adventure that you would like to have with your child, you can scour garage sales and thrift stores for needed items. You could find army items like canteens and binoculars. Old hats, gloves, purses, etc. can usually be purchased very inexpensively. I recently found some tiny tin muffin trays at a garage sale for 25 cents. Perfect addition to the kitchen set!
If you really need some inspiration, Pinterest offers just about every DIY imaginable! I have a Pinterest idea board with some frugal options, as well as ideas that may take a little more time or money. They make great gifts! Now get off the computer and go have some role-playing fun!
The Lord has really been working in my heart recently about one specific area of motherhood: sacrifice. I don’t even feel qualified to write about it because many days I kick against the sacrifice involved in rearing my little people. But as the Lord has continued drawing my heart, I am realizing the incredible privilege and reward involved in being a sacrificial mother.
Most moms are self-sacrificing for their children. I was blessed with a godly mother who sacrificed day in and day out to stay home with her three children, homeschooling all of us from kindergarten to graduation, cooking for us, cleaning up after us, and much more that I am sure I will never fully realize. And while I knew that being a mom involved these kinds of sacrifices, I didn’t truly understand the full extent of it until I was knee deep in the trenches of motherhood myself.
Especially if you have little people in your home, I’m sure the sacrifice seems very real. I know – I have four kids, ages four and under. Sometimes I think they wait for my head to hit the pillow and then they start crying. I am usually the last one to sit down to eat, and often my meal is cold by the time I get to it. Just when I finished the breakfast dishes there is a pile of lunch dishes to wash. I can change bed sheets pretty quickly – I do it nearly every morning right now on at least one bed/crib. Some days I feel like I discipline for the same thing all day long. The laundry and floors are two things that are never clean! Yes – motherhood is sacrifice.
Many times I have struggled with all that I have to do, all that I need to do, and how fast the time seems to fly away. I have lamented to my husband that I never get to scrapbook anymore, or that I just spent all day cleaning the house only to have it messy again at bedtime, or that I am so tired from being up several times in the night with sick children. Sometimes I just want a little time for myself. Sometimes I just wish I could stop and take a vacation from mothering. But then the Lord reminds me: motherhood is sacrifice.
This point was really brought home to me when I came face to face with these facts. Did you ever stop to consider that your child is an eternal soul? That one day – he/she will spend all of eternity in either heaven or hell? If that is not sobering enough, consider that your child is entrusted to you for the first 20-ish years of this eternal existence. And then consider the fact that we only get one chance at this mothering thing. We can’t put it off until later or a more convenient time, we can’t start in when they are a teenager and hope to fix all the problems, and we can’t go back and do it over a different way.
I had never seen parenting from that perspective before. I get to be the one to influence and raise my children for the first 20-ish years of their eternal existence. My children are really the only thing I can take with me when I die. The house? It stays here. The money? It will be left to someone else. The scrapbooks/hobbies? They will probably end up in the garbage one day. But my kids – I can take them with me for eternity…If I am willing to sacrifice what I want now for what I want my kids to be someday. Because motherhood is sacrifice.
It really comes down to what is most important to me. I could put my kids in day care so that I could pursue a career which will ultimately be of no lasting value. I could be selfish with my time and energy, insisting upon “me time” instead of pouring the Gospel into my children’s lives and living it before them. I can fuss over having a clean house instead of playing with my kids and building life-changing relationships with them. Motherhood is sacrifice.
Now I am not saying you can’t ever have any “me time.” Or that you can’t ever leave your children with someone else. But I am saying we should be willing to sacrifice some of the temporal pleasures and entertainment in order to be the right kind of mother to our children. My scrapbooking can be picked up again when my kids are bigger or on their own. Eventually I will not have a living room full of toys. There will be time for hobbies or pursuits later.
If I neglect my children now for other things which I deem to be more valuable, then one day I will be left with empty arms and fading accomplishments. But if I sacrifice temporal things now in order to influence my children in their foundational years, then when my kids are grown I will have a full heart and rewards in heaven. Proverbs 22:6 promises, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” When my kids grow up to serve the Lord, I will get to share in that reward because I will have poured my life into discipling them. That is something that is worth the sacrifice in my book.
Mothering is a hard job. It is not for the faint of heart! Many days I earnestly desire to be done with diapers and discipline. But until then I am trying to remind myself that this sacrifice now will bring rewards and benefits far into the future that I cannot even begin to imagine. So be encouraged to keep giving, to keep teaching, to keep sacrificing because your rewards are eternal!
“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”
Guest post from Imperfect Homemaker contributor, Andrea.
Did you know that there was a holiday for missing socks? Neither did I! But let me tell you – I have lots of experience with missing socks! My family does not have a washer and dryer in our urban apartment, so we utilize the laundry mat. And nearly without fail, we come home with at least one mate-less sock. I think this quote sums it up for me:
“I have come to the conclusion that dryer lint is the cremated remains of all my missing socks.”
Or perhaps you can relate to this one:
Whatever the reason, I’m sure we all have some missing socks in our homes! I always hate to throw away those perfectly good socks, just because their mate is M.I.A.. So what can we do to put lonely socks to useful purposes? A quick search on Pinterest revealed many ideas. Here is a list of the best ideas I found, and a few of my own ideas too!
You can make all kinds of crafts with lonely socks! Here are a few ideas to get you started (and there are many variations on Pinterest!)
My last tip comes from personal experience. These are ideas are great for using those lonely socks. But it may be better to prevent the missing sock epidemic from happening in the first place. I throw all of my kids’ socks into a mesh laundry bag prior to heading to the laundry mat.
I wash and dry them in the bag. They are usually still damp after going through a dry cycle this way. When I get home I spread them all over the dining room table to air dry overnight, and then I mate them and put them away in the morning. It has been mostly successful for me thus far!
So go out and celebrate Lost Sock Day. Make a craft. Dust your house. But if you can't find any of these ideas useful, then please throw away those mate-less socks and and at least be clutter free!
Last year a friend gave me a framed picture for Mother's Day that had this quote on it:
“Good moms have sticky floors, dirty ovens, and happy kids.”
I put that little picture frame on the back of my oven. I had just had the twins, and life was really in a big transition period. Many times I would be standing there at the stove cooking supper, frustrated and overwhelmed with the piles of dishes, the dirty bathroom, and the volume of laundry. I would see that quote and be reminded about what is truly important – how I am raising my children. It helped me not to feel so guilty during those months when I simply didn't have enough time or enough hands!
I was very sad when my picture accidentally fell into the pot of french fry oil and was ruined! I made another one, and I thought you might enjoy it too! I created several different colors so hopefully you can find one that works for you! (Each one is an 8×10 jpg file).
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