Monday, March 31, 2014

Vacationing with a large family

The return to reality... after a much anticipated, lots of planning, long, fun, hard, and real family vacation at the beach... please be kind reality.

Lot's of thoughts in my head today.  Lots of ways my writing could go.

Let's narrow this down to some points of interest and see which ones I write about this week.

  • How to plan a vacation with a very large family
  • How to surprise your family with the arrival of their oldest grandson, nephew, brother on vacation
  • How to vacation with a special needs child
  • My idea to design a t-shirt for invisible disability children to wear in public
  • Photographing your family on vacation.  
  • 10 step treatment plan for photographers who can't stop clicking
  • How to return to reality after a long vacation.
  • How to travel with a special needs child & why would you melt down over a popsicle and not over 2 delayed flights and all that waiting at the airport?

We took this family photo last weekend on the beach.  My youngest sister, Allison and her family are missing from this trip.  My sister Sally and her family were there the week before our Spring break and some of us spent the last half of their week with them.  

When vacationing with a family of this size, you can imagine we eat a lot of food.  Eating out is not a reality for us.  Not only would it be expensive, but it would be stressful with this many people and the waiting would be long and the little kids would be impatient.  

We have this down to a pretty good science.  Which foods go well, how much of each food to make for this size of a group, what can be prepared ahead of time and frozen to bring along.

I will say that food prices have definitely went up since the last time we vacationed in Florida two years ago.  My sister Lana and I have done this with our family's quite a few years, and the amounts and the prices went up substantially.

And some credit card companies don't like you going on vacation in other states and using their cards.  They especially don't like it when you spend over $400 at the grocery store.  I had to call them twice to tell them I was on vacation and yes it was me trying to use the card.  Came home to two messages on my answering machine from them asking if I had used the card in Florida.  Hum.  If I had, would I be in Indiana to answer their calls.  Kind of annoying, but I guess I am glad they are cautious.   Never mind the reality that I used their rewards program points to purchase a plane ticket to Florida.  But, they probably can't see that detail on their records.

Lana and I met a couple of weeks before our vacation.  Went over our detailed notes from our past vacations.  Split up the list and decided who would purchase & prepare what before we left.  We had all the meat prepared, marinaded, cut & ready to be thawed and grilled when we were there.  We had some side dishes prepared.  Like cheese sauce for macaroni and cheese and cheesy potatoes so they could be slipped into the oven or crock pot with no amount of prep time for anyone in the kitchen.

We made salads, and grilled lots of vegetables.  Ice cream was our main dessert, we made some brownies a few nights and I purchased some cheesecake once.

Overall I guess we try to eat a little more extravagant than we would at home, we try to make it simple and keep anyone from being stuck in the kitchen.  We have a rotation of kids who do the dishes each meal.  It goes pretty well for the most part.

Our lake vacation in the summer goes about the same.  We split it between all of us though and prepare one night's meal for everyone once and then split up the rest of the meals between us.  

Most of the kids get along really well, my youngest 2 have probably the most difficulty blending.  That can be pretty hard sometimes.

Well, I am off to get some things done today!  

Happy back to reality day to all of us!!

In His Grip,


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Kitchen is completed!

My kitchen project is finished!  Outside of a brief moment of frustration that the new handles I ordered didn't all fit without my dad coming over and drilling the holes a little larger... done in just a week!  I couldn't be more pleased with my old cabinets looking so fresh and new!!

They are incredibly awful cabinets, make the painting of them easier, they really couldn't get worse!  Glad to share my experiences and let anyone come see who would want to see these!  My honest opinion is that I am not a perfectionist by any means and If you are you might not like this look, but I am pleased with the results!!

Now... if only it would stay this clean... ya... I know.

Did some shopping yesterday!  Looked all over for a tie for Jadon to wear to James & Brooke's wedding.  Got him a nice teal shirt, came home and found this on Etsy!!  SOOOO Excited!  Love it and he does too!!  

Spent some time trying to coordinate our outfits for our beach family photo... not sure why Lucas' new shirt looks orange in this photo, hope it doesn't look orange in the final one!!  Leah needs to decide what she's wearing, I put her striped up to it to see how it went, she didn't make that choice.

Time change woes... she is usually up by 6 on her own... she was up at 4:15 today telling me that she wasn't tired.  She got in my bed & I never did fall back asleep.  At 7:10 she was still out hard.

So excited for our family trip to Florida coming up soooooooonnnnnn!!  

Oh, and this snow lover is jumping over to the other side.  I HAVE HAD ENOUGH!!!  COME SPRING AND BRING YOUR WARMNESS AND NO SNOW!!!  

Ahhhh... please be wrong on that storm that's coming tomorrow.


In His Grip,


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Writing this week:

Ah, the "write" reminder I added to my phone goes off.  Reminding me that I need to keep my thoughts in order.  Keep my mind in focus.  Writing does that for me like nothing else does.

It's been good.  I am definitely feeling the prayer coverage of my friends & family.  We seem to have emerged from the darkness of winter into a new burst of hope & energy... with the promise of spring right around the corner... under those few inches of snow we just got again.  But, the calendar says March, and there are plane tickets south, and the days are getting longer & the promises hold true each year.

I had my first experience in chalk paint last fall.  I had some antique furniture I chose from my Grandma's house after she passed away & I really wanted to experiment in the new fad called chalk paint... these are last falls' projects:

This table was in my grandma's basement covered in dirt:



These night stands were my grandparents:

Now they are mine, after:

I have been itching to do something like this with my kitchen cabinets.  I distressed & refinished them  years ago, and they were in need of some tlc.  They were so bad when I began the refinishing years ago that they were down to raw wood in places.  They are solid wood & they are old, but they paint up nice & I am happy with the results so far.  Not done, ran out of paint & I ordered new handles online (amazon sells everything don't that!?)  thanks Leah Gerber for the tip!

Before and after of my kitchen windows, not waxed yet.

These are kind of before, I was in process already when I thought about a photo:  

During the process:

Jadon taking off all the hardware (he is begging to let him put them back on, twist my arm!!)

First coat on:

Ran out of paint:  (all the doors, they aren't that exciting, plain flat doors, wish they had some detail, but they don't)

Two coats and out of paint so waiting:

The wax:

There are tons of you tube videos and blogs to tell how to do this process, so I won't go there.  I will just say that I LOVE that I don't have to prep the surface & I love the vintage look when I am done!!!

So, on to some other topic:

Kiahna has been doing better.  Not as bad as it was.  At least the scratches on my arms have healed & I don't 'think that she is outbursting as bad.  She still has most of her things in my room, and I had to remove them all from her last weekend again when she got mad & threw a fit.  (which makes my room a mess and hers not, arhg, we need a new plan and I need to clean out a BUNCH of her stuff so there isn't as much to choose from and clutter my room!)  

She is doing great at school & on the bus, she is doing much better at church.  Now, if she could only do as well when she is with cousins.  (cousins will be with us on spring break, which is a BIG concern for me)

Z has also been doing better.  Imagine my surprise (and probably his), when I drove in the lane on Thursday to find an undercover police car running in front of my garage.  Went in the house to find the probation officer & a sherif deputy in my basement talking to Z.  They were on a routine check and had searched his room & done a mouth swab.  VERY glad to see this happen.  He needs to know this is serious stuff and he is being checked on.

Probably a stem of my phone call to her that I finally made the week before that.  

Seeing progress, not as much as I would like, but some progress.  He got his evaluation back from counseling and he has been ordered to go to AA for 16 weeks.  That starts next week.  Just praying that he continues to grow, change, mature, and learn.  He needs to start spending more free time with friends that are good, instead of just sitting here in front of the TV waiting for this time to be over so he can go back to driving to the friends who aren't doing good??  Seems that way.  

Muscial is coming up next week!  Leah & Lucas are both in it and practices are long and hard.

Our school decided to add an hour to the end of 18 school days to make up 3 of the days that we had missed because of snow.  (don't ask how I feel about this decision)  Kiahna doesn't go to that school though so she still gets off regular time and she will go 3 days longer than the rest.  So, that's making for some long days for these kids.

Lucas has school til 4, track practice til 5:30 and then musical from 7-9?  Crazy.  

James is in Florida for his last college spring break ever... looks warm down there for them!

Looking forward to Spring Break here, went over meals with my sister last weekend.  She had her notes from 2 years ago, we have a plan and will do much of the cooking before we go so it won't be such a burden when we are down there to cook for 17 people!  

Be blessed, thanks for reading & praying,

In His Grip,