Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Teabag Holder

My parents are coming this weekend so I made her a little gift.  I saw it posted somewhere and thought of her.  This is another sewing project I did while doing school with Addan.  It was lots of fun and I can't wait to give it to Mom.  She's a tea person,, always making a pot of tea.  This will be for her to keep in her purse so when she goes out she can make a spot of tea. 

It's just simple felt and emboidery floss.

Next I have one all cut out to make for my purse.  I'm making it alittle bigger to put my tracts in.  Right now they're in my wallet and always fall out when I need to get something from my wallet.  This will also help them not get crumbled edges.  Such fun, easy projects that keep my fingers busy and not getting chewed! (although my nails are short again!!)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Memory Verse

Even a child is known by his doings.  Proverbs 20:11

I teach the 2 and 3 year old Sunday School class at our church.  Titus is in my class for the last year this school year.  I teach the kiddos a memory verse.  It's amazing to see how quickly they learn them.  I'm not always to sure how much they understand though.

This evening I had one of the boys empty the dishwasher.  He got the task of emptying the silverware too.  Half of the ones we use go in the drawer by the sink and the other half (the plastic handled ones) go on the shelf in a basket by the dining table.  The boy I asked didn't put the plastic ones away in the proper place, he lazily stuffed them all in the drawer.  This boy is constantly doing "half" jobs and I constantly have to check his work to make sure it's complete.

I went into the kitchen to grab a fork and noticed the plastic ones and said, "________, you did a lazy job, come put these away where they go!  How come every job I give you, you do a half job and I have to correct you?  You're starting to have a horrible reputation of being lazy and doing slob-jobs!!"
Titus pipes in, "Yeah, like my verse in my class, 'Even a child is known by his doings!' "    I stood there shocked!  Not only did he remember the verse word perfect but he understoond the context in which to say it!  Wow!  I guess I need to not underestimate how much those kids are learning!!!

Friday, August 27, 2010

More Bags

This week was our first full week completed of school.  We've got 7 this year in school; kind of sad, we'll never have all eight together in school.  Unless, of course, I count Jordan doing college courses at home while Titus is in school. 

I forgot how much sitting is involved with the younger grades.  I basically am sitting all morning.  To help with my sanity, I've been doing alot of sewing.  So I can go from sitting at the "school" table to the sewing machine at short intervals.  This really helps keep me focused and not go crazy! :)

This week I started some felting projects and made two bags.  I love the bags.  I think I'll price them high so if they don't sell, I can give them as gifts :)  I loved making these!   I had the pieces all cut out for a quilt I was going to make for my bed.  I started another quilt so these pieces were just sitting next to my sewing machine. (I hadn't gotten enough fabric so I was kind of avoiding it. I didn't want to buy more fabric and then  the whim hit me to use the pieces  for a bag!  I didn't feel so badly about the time spent cutting and money spent on the fabric.)

The inside pocket

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Christ-like Servanthood

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:  Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:  And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.  Philippians 2 5-11

I started the study, Changed Into His Image this week.  Both Jordan and Brendan are doing it with me.  I don't know if they're enjoying it as much as I am!  Each day, it's like WHAM!  Just what I needed to hear. 

I love very practical, Bibical teaching.  I love to see in the BIBLE where the thoughts are coming.  That is one reason I love my husband's preaching/teaching.  I know he doesn't take verses out of context to fit what he wants them to say.  I totally trust him for that so I can trust his teaching.  When something is stated and it seems alittle "off", I know I can ask him what it meant and if that was quoted accurately.  If he doesn't know, he'll look it up to make sure what he says is accurate.  I'm so blessed to be married to him!!!    This study is VERY Bibical and so much Scripture is applied.  Plus it's very applicable.

I read the fifth page and it was so good!  The section is titled, The Goal of Change and it was all about our example-Christ.  "The result of the sanctification process is that the believer looks increasingly like Christ."    "When the nature of God is reflected fully through the nature of man, as it was in Christ, the blend produces a person who is the Father's humble servant."

Man, those quotes with the many pages that went with it, were so challenging to me!  I am to be like Christ, a servant!  How I often lack that quality.  And it wasn't just servant but HUMBLE servant.  I need to do all my tasks humbly.  I expect praise when I do my tasks instead of doing them for my Savior. 

I often whine because I don't have a daughter to help me with the house work.  A daughter would help with the clean up, cooking, meal preparing, ironing, laundry, etc.  I know the boys can and do help with these things but it's not their main priority.  A daughter would be using the time for training for her home some day so there's more of an interest in her learning.  I realized how un-Christlike it is when I whine about it (not always out loud but in my heart!) and how I need to be a humble servant to be more like Him!

I'm so thankful for God's Word and how it can make me more like Him when I submit myself to it.

This study is great and I highly encourage all Christians to do it!  I'm doing the Student Edition with the boys.

Monday, August 23, 2010

First of Many

Today was the first day of the new school year!  We are off to a good start!  The boys were so excited to get their new books and plans for the year. 

I have also been prepping them for the new themes starting the first day of school.  Monday is family game night.  So after supper we have family devotions and then the fun night theme. 

Let me back up though, Mark started something new for today too.  He warned the boys that he was going to check all the bedrooms for the clean check.  If their room was clean and it passed, that room got a quarter in their jar.  The cleanest room is free from supper dish duty.  I had forgotten about the clean rooms and was wondering why the vacuum was going and so much cleaning was going on.  When Mark got home, he went and checked each room.  So right before supper, he made each group name their room.  Jordan and Titus' room is called "Solomon's Palace",  Silas and Luke's room is "the Ant Hill" and Brendan, Tim, Addan and Hunter's room is "Noah's Ark".  Solomon's Palace got a quarter but Mark had mercy since Titus had just run in and left his boot in the middle of the clean room.  Noah's Ark got a quarter and the cleanest room award!  The Ant Hill didn't win today because the vacuum was left in the middle of the room.  It was so fun hearing them pick names and laughing together.

After supper, we all sat at the dining room table for family devotions.  I found a study to use together as a family and printed all the lessons out and made notebooks for the 8 of us.  Titus and Addan sat and colored at the little table next to us.  The study takes you through the whole Bible in 4 years.  It has work sheets and verses to learn together.  What fun to do together!

After devotions, we played a round of Balderdash!  I was quite thrilled,, it was the first time I've ever won!  It's quite interesting playing with two boys who mix words up and can't read Dad's writing!  Such fun memories together! 

Tuesday is family hike night.  Should be fun :)

PS:  Our room is called the Garden of Eden and it didn't pass.   Once there is enough quarters in the jar, that team gets to eat out at the restaurant of their choice.  Food is always a great rewarder with our boys!!!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Yard Sale tips

This morning Mark and I went yard saling.  They were in Wellsburg, the little town near us.  We've gone the last few years and always find "treasures."  As we drove through the main street, we noticed there weren't near as many as there usually is.  One house usually always has great finds and it didn't appear they were doing it. Bummer!  She always has great boy's clothes for great prices.  As we headed back, we noticed she was opening up her garage and pulling tables of clothes out!  Yippee!  We filled a huge trash bag with clothes, including: 2 winter coats, 2 pairs of sneakers, 4 pairs of jeans, about 4 zip up sweatshirts, 15 long sleeve shirts, and some summer clothes.  All of the clothes were good quality clothes with little or no stains.  The mother was commenting how the boy had play clothes so these school clothes hardly got any stains on them.  As she totalled the clothes up, she commented that one of the shirt probably cost what we paid for ALL the stuff!   We found some other great finds at the other sales!  It always feels so good coming home and looking over all our bargains, knowing we saved so much.

Here are some tips we've learned along the way.

Offer half unless it already seems like a super deal.  Even if it's already a great deal, you can add one item and ask for them both for the one price.  Today I got alittle wooden school box and it was priced for $1.  I wanted one book priced for .25 so I asked if I could have both for $1 and she gladly accepted it.

Quickly pass over the knick knacks.  No one needs more of these and they end up being clutter and dust collectors in the home.  Know exactly what you like and ONLY get those special finds!

Have a list or mental list of your children's clothes needs.  Last winter I mentally wrote my list.  Tim needed a new coat, Titus needed some pants and winter shirts.  Brendan wants some size 12 ice skates.    I have never bought the boys a full priced coat.  I wait until clearance at the stores or better yet, a yard sale. 

Don't pay more than $1 for clothes.  Unless it's a real deal or a larger item, I never pay more than $1 for clothes!  Mark is the shoe-king in our home, he always finds the boys shoes at yard sales.  We go through sneakers and he always picks up pairs- always for less than $1 a pair! 

Titus in his "new" sneakers.

Always wait to buy videos/DVD's at yard sales.  What was so popular last year, will be at every yard sale this year.  Today we got 5 DVD's for $4 and one was specifically asked for this summer as a Birthday present but I wouldn't pay full price for it.  When I spotted it today, I almost cheered.  I'll pull it out tonight after baths and everyone's ready for bed and we'll watch it together.  When you hear all the shouting,, it was the boy's excitement.

Pray before you go.  The Lord is so sweet with the little finds He gives us.  We needed a twin mattress and today we got one that was clean and in great shape.  I looked at it and told Mark to do the "sniff test" and as we were walking over to it,, the owner said, "Are you interested in that?"  I answered we were and she said because it was so late in the day (it was only 9:30am) and she didn't want to have to cart it back inside, we could have it for $2!  Luke was so excited to have a "new" mattress!  We made his bed up all cozy with clean sheets and he was happy as a clam!  I know it's the Lord blessings to us!  He's so good!

Do you have any tips you want to share?  Comment your tips too!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Chirping Crickets

I was just finishing up the last of the pillowcases for today (yippee!  I reached my goal today.  Each day I give myself a goal and today was 5 pillowcases and bake bread and I just finished the 5th pillowcase and put the bread in bags!  I love the feeling that brings), and I could hear the boys playing ball outside but could also hear the constant chirp of the crickets.  What  a pleasant sound.  It's so neat how sounds and smells can instantly bring back memories and feelings.   What a neat thing our senses are!  God is so awesome with His creation!!!

Just the sound of the crickets brings back two distinct memories.  It reminds me of fall.  My parents live at a inner city camp (the camp is in the country but city kids come out to it every week of the summer and every weekend of the school year).  Fall was the sad ending of summer camp and switching gears from having weekends free to them being filled again with camp.  School started.  On Mondays (Dad's day off) we always took day trips.  I can remember many going to Amish country together and stopping at the Amish stands and getting fall produce.  We'd come home,  Mom would cook some of the veges and we'd watch movies together.  Such fun fall memories!

The other feeling the crickets brought was when Mark and I were newly weds.  We rented the first floor of a town house.  You had to go under a little entry way to get into our home.  The fall brought tons of crickets!  They would always make it into the house as we rushed in.  I can remember many a night, laying in bed, hearing a cricket out in the kitchen.   Life was such a fun adventure (I think life will always be an adventure being married to Mark!!!) and just the sound of the crickets brings back those cozy memories!  It brings a smile to my face and a warmth to my heart!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tim's coop

Last night,  Mark finished Timothy's coop.  His birds were in the two moveable coops and the peep meat birds were in a fenced corner of the garden.  The peeps were getting too big for the area and Tim's needed to go into a coop with a nesting box as they were starting to lay.

Mark was working on this coop every spare chance he got before we went to camp and after.  Yeah, it's done!  He just has to add a nesting box but that can wait til he gets a chance.

Hunter stepped right up and helped Mark finish it up.  Silas also enjoyed helping his Dad.  Such good team workers!

They seemed to enjoy the space but couldn't figure out how to get into the little coop part.  That part had their nesting poles but because it was getting dark when we put them in, they didn't seem to know to go inside.  We'll see if they figure it out tonight..

 These are the meat birds in their new homes.    Only a few more weeks and their home will be the freezer :)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Potatoes part 1

I know this is the second post in one day, but I got most of the school preparations done and had to see how the potatoes did.  We had an extremely dry season so I wasn't sure how they'd do.  So Silas, Luke, Tim, Addan and Titus helped me dig them up.

They named these tiny ones marbles.

It was kind of tricky because our ground is so rocky and dry.  I didn't want to dig into the potatoes and cut them.  (The ones I accidentally did that to, the boys named the "jipped" ones.  They were all put into a separate box to eat right away. 

I dug up 4 rows and was totally covered in sweat!  But it was so exciting to see how big each one was! 

We also filled up a 5 gallon bucket with rocks.  In the fall I want to cover the entire garden with a foot of leaves and then mulch.  I want the ground to be more loose and less hard and rocky. 

My last helper disappeared, I found him here so cozy!

His foot is red and swollen from a bee sting.  He obviously still didn't learn to keep his shoes on while outside. 

Here's the ones we dug up so far.  This is probably half of what we'll get!  I'm so happy!  Next year I want to plant double this and not have to buy any potatoes and grow all our own!  What a blessing!

Getting ready for school

I started the task of scheduling the boy's school work.  I usually have it done by the end of May.  I'm not quite sure why this year I got so far behind.  This spring when the books came in (they're on sale in April so I order the biggest heft of them then), I neatly tucked the boxes on the school shelf, not even opening them up.  Bad girl! 

After moving all my fabric aside,  I took all the books out, sorted them by boy and wrote out my plans.  This first plan is a very vague one, basically just a list of each boy's book and how many pages he's to do each day.  Then I look over the work load and determine if it's too much or not enough. 

I'm so excited to get started!  Jordan and Brendan are going to be doing the Changed Into His Image series for their Bible.  I also ordered a book and work book for myself to do with them.  Just briefly skimming through this, I can see it's going to be fun learning with them!  My Mom took a counceling course (by the author)  at their church's Bible institute this past year and spoke highly of this series. 

This year Addan will be doing K and 1st grade. (I have found waiting until the child is alittle older than "normal" kindergarten is much easier! It seems to click much quicker than all the drilling when they just don't seem to get it.  Of course, each child is different, but this is just what we do.  I have heard so many parents bragging their child can read by age 3, my feelings... let the child be 3 and play and when they "have" to learn and are ready, we start.  This also prevents so many years of school or graduating so young).  This year is always so much work but always SO rewarding too!  We go from learning/reviewing the letters to reading words and writing words.  What a great feeling listening to all 6 of the older boys read (especially reading God's Word), knowing it's from the time spent teaching them letters and their sounds.

Now that my daily schedule is done, I can neatly stack the boy's books back onto their spot on the school shelf and leave out their first book for each subject.  I can print out all their lessons and do the tedious paper work for records.  By the end of the day, I'll feel so relieved to have it all done and then we can dig up all the potatoes in the garden.  Maybe I'll just dig up a few and do the paperwork tomorrow :)

Monday, August 16, 2010


This year we decided to take the teens from church and our three teens to teen camp.  It's a camp that's run by a local church.  The church rents out the campground and runs the program.  Some of our teens from church went last year and loved it so we thought we'd go to see what it was like.  Mark wasn't too thrilled about going.  He knew he'd have to work double the week before and double the week after camp to catch up.  School for him also starts next week, so his heart wasn't totally into going but he's such a good father.  He knew he wouldn't have them go without him!

Hunter, Matt Miller, Brendan, Mark and Jordan

Hunter also didn't want to go.  He's a home body and would rather stay home.  Both Mark and I felt the week before that he needed to go with us.  Hunter wasn't too thrilled about it but came willingly. (He also didn't "want" to go to the Wellsboro camping trip and had lots of fun once he went.)
Hunter is 13 and seems to be at the stage of letting go of boyhood and stepping into more of a helpful teen.  At times,  I struggle with how to handle him.  So my heart was so heavy and prayful that God would work on his heart through all the teaching at camp.

The camp had 3 preaching sessions, one in the morning and 2 back to back in the evenings.  They were VERY challenging and full of good life lessons.  God laid on my heart to pray especially for Hunter and one teen girl.  After the first session, I got to pray with the girl.  I asked her if she wanted to pray and she said no, to just have me pray with her.  So I prayed with her and talked some with her.  I mentally prepared myself that I would try and talk with a different girl after each meeting.  The next meeting (Tuesday night), after the message the same girl came right up to me and asked me to go up with her and pray with her.  I asked her why she came forward.  She replied, "I know I need to be saved.  I went forward before because of peer pressure and I know I need to be saved!"  I showed her verses from I John how she could KNOW she's saved.  She sweetly trusted Jesus as her Savior!  My heart was so happy to be able to share with her.  I prayed again with her Thursday night after a meeting and asked her the same question, do you want to pray and she replied this time, "yes!"  My heart was so happy again!  This girl has a battle in front of her with her home and public school system so I'll be praying for her daily!  So sweet to see the Lord work!

I prayed and prayed during the meetings for the Lord so work on Hunter.  Each time I'd see him during the day, I pray for the Lord to work.  I know it's nothing I can do to change his heart, it has to be the Word and his heart to be yielded to what he hears.  God's Word and principles were so clearly (all things we also teach at home!) emphasized.  It was WONDERFUL!  I was so happy!  I could begin to see Hunter's spirit change and him become more open.  Mark shared with me how Hunter also seemed more open to him.

Today at home,  Hunter has taken good leadership with his brothers, he answers me sweetly, he cleaned up the whole kitchen, he's helped me without me asking but mostly, his whole countenace seemed sweet and happy!  My heart has felt nothing but joy all day today!  God is SO faithful!  I know our training is not over but am so encouraged to see Him so specifically answer prayer.

The camp we went to is called Commonground Baptist Camp.  Mark and I never thought we'd ever find a camp that was so like-minded.  The camp director is the most liked man we've ever met in real life!  It was so neat to see that.  Our boys were so encouraged to see another family teaching the same things we teach and their children were our boys ages so it was so encouraging for them to see other teens in homes like theirs.   It was a such a good time in our lives with our boys and see them encouraged by the Lord!  I'm SO thankful for His goodness and blessings!

My Mom came up here to stay with our younger 5.  She's such a giving, serving, loving Grandmother!  God has blessed us with such wonderful Grandparents on both sides!  I didn't worry about my Mom doing something against our wishes but knew she'd be another good influence in their lives!  I love my Mom!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Addan's 6

October,  2004 I took a pregnancy test and it was positive!  Yippee,, another Philbrick to add to our home.  We had just moved to PA so this would be our first baby here.  This pregnancy was after two home births so we thought we could do another home birth.  Everything seemed great with the pregnancy.  Toward the end of the 8th month, Mark and some of the boys got a terrible cold and cough.  We didn't think much of it but it did seem like a hum-dinger cough!  Our family got together with another family while one of the boys had the cough and we "shared" our cough with them.  Only they got it bad!  So badly, one of their daughters had to be hospitalized and we found out this little cough was whooping cough.  Mark got the bug from kids at school and shared it with our boys. 

At the end of my pregnancy, when I was my normal 2 1/2 weeks late, my Mom came to wait for the baby to help me.  This visit became much longer than we expected!  Little did we realize, our couple week visit became a couple month visit! What a LONG time this was.  I felt so much pressure but knew it was totally out of my control! 

We figured my due dates (I had one of those wheel charts my doctors always used and it was always accurate with the dates the doctors always gave me) were the end of May/early June.  So we figured the LATEST with my normal 2-3 week late was mid June.  June passed and then July passed!  Ugh, I couldn't believe it!  It was horrible, everyone was calling, people were concerned, every week in church I was quizzed about it being "normal" and ok!  Ugh!  In the back of my mind I remember how big Tim was too and that worried ME!  Would I be able to get a 20 lb baby out!?!?!? 

Finally, on Aug. 5, the midwife came over and checked the heart beat and other things and everything seemed fine.  She suggested I go get a stress test done on Monday (this was Friday night).   The Lord was so good, that very night/early morning, I went into labor.  It was rather quick.  Mark called the hospital and told them we were on the way (we chickened out from the home birth) and Addan came SO quickly (for me).  I went in at around 6am and he was snuggled in my arms at around 8am.  And he only weighed 9lbs.  God was so good!

Our friends who we shared the cough with, called and asked all about the baby.  The lady said to me, "Tammy, you know why you were late, don't you?"  I wasn't quite sure yet!  The memory was too fresh!  "Our daughter had whooping cough and that's what Mark and your boys all have.  The safest place for a newborn would be in your womb until the 6 week period of healing passed."  We figured out that 6 weeks was to the time of me having Addan.  God was protecting our sweet baby.  While we waited and tried everything to get him out, God knew what was best for him!

There's been so many times in my life that I try and manipulate circumstances to what I think is better only to see later, the different plan was God's best and for my best!  This lesson was SUCH a vivid picture of that for me!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Squash and Peaches

I was in the kitchen and something moving outside caught my eye.  I saw a stick moving up and down into a tree.  It brought a HUGE smile to my face.  Addan found a stick and was wacking down a peach from the tree.  What pleasure to see them eating yummy fruit right from our yard. 

We planted the peach trees a few years back and are now totally enjoying the sweet peaches!  I love seeing the boys playing a game of ball and run over to the tree and grab their snack.

This is the peach he knocked down.

I sent Tim to the squash garden to gather the summer squash for lunch.  He loves to garden with me so I give him those jobs.  What a wonderful time of year!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

"Camp Clothes"

Next Monday Mark, Jordan, Brendan, Hunter and I are going to teen camp with the teens from church.  This will be our first time to camp together.  I think I'm alittle more excited to go than Mark is.  :)

The camp has very good dress standards.  I'm thankful for this.  Things are SO different when you're trying to rear boys who keep themselves pure in action and in thought.  I've seen our older boys put in situations where they HAVE to look at immodestly dressed girls and they either turn their heads or try not to look.   I feel badly for them when it's an older woman and they are caught between being respectful and talking  to the woman but also not trying to look too much.   Low tops are terrible,, how do you look at a woman and look her in the eyes when her top is so immodest? 

God's Word is clear how a woman's body affects a man.  But this is meant to be between a man and wife.  How hard we make it for men when they can see what only her husband should see!  This has become so much more visible to me seeing our boys (who are normal boys with hormones!) turn their heads so not to look.  I pray they stay that sensitive and are blessed with a godly woman as their wife!  What a sweet blessing it is!

I've been frantically sewing skirts with "shorts" built right into them.  This is to make outdoor sports more doable and also modest.  Too bad, I've had to tear out many times the errors I've made!  Guess this will build my patience! :)  I am on the last pair right now, then I can start packing and cleaning the house.  My Mom is coming to stay with the younger boys while we're at camp.

This is the first pair I did.  They came out ok with no real mistakes,, now the second pair!!  That one was a challenge getting the zipper in right!  But alas, I conquered it!!