Sunday, December 16, 2012


The life in Cali is supposed to be laid back and surfer-esque...right dudes? Well, that may be SOME mid-westerners perception...HAH!

Since moving here a month and a half ago I don't think I've yet to catch my breath! I'm reeling still from the intense 2 week training, from the 14 hour days with the ladies (and the kids and the husband and the housework and the meals, and the errands and the grocery shopping...) whew!

I don't want to complain tho'...I still believe God sent us here for a reason. To minister. Did He promise that everything would be good? Did He promise a life of ease? No trials, no stress? No, BUT He does promise that He is with matter what. Period.

It hasn't all been stress and running around like we have no concept of what we should be doing. There are days where we have fun...

Days where we actually enjoy each other....

Times where we are chilling and not worrying....and there will be more of those times. I. Believe. It.

Today, well, today was a day where I laid low. I've struggled with having a sore throat since Wednesday. Earaches and now a cough. Raw honey and cinnamon have come to my rescue...

Greg and the girls went off to church as are the girls. Dressed in what they consider their finest.....

 From head to toe: Hat, she bought at camp last summer. Sweaters, thrifted by mom. Skirt, Thrifted by mom. Mismatched socks, what she found in her drawer...uh, yeah! Shoes, school shoes bought at Paylesss. Style, all her own!!!

From head to toe: Shoes, she found them at the thrift. Dress, she found at the thrift. Sweater, mom found at the thrift. Camera, she found at the thrift (still in the package ...she passed up on a toy for that camera). Bracelet, her hair tie...she usually wears a different color each day!

I gotta say this about the girls...They are not only stylish, they are adaptable.  They have gone from family surrounding them to just us. They have gone from a quiet (well, as quiet as a family of four can be) one family home to a duplex where all manner of noise and behaviors go on all hours of the day and night. They have gone from a small private Christian school, to home now being in a public school and have even had to walk home alone from said school because mommy and daddy were busy with work related things and couldn't get them (it was preplanned). They are awesome in that respect!

I'm soon going to try and update the blog on our holiday trimmings...minus the snow this year! It's seeming and little NOT like Christmas, I gotta say!

Thanks to all you readers for sticking with me, even when I leave this place quiet for too long!!

Blessing to you and yours this holiday season!

Monday, November 5, 2012

When last you read here...

I was a normal, stay-at-home mom. I home-schooled my girls. I fixed meals for my family, I fed my chickens, the dog, the cat. I cleaned the house (when it was too bad for even the dog to stand). I went to work part time (to keep the sanity on an even keel). I went grocery shopping, thrift shopping and paid the bills. I went to the bank, visited the library. Went with the family to a small, country church....


Well, not ALL! I'm still married, still have 2 gorgeous girls, still fix meals (but don't feed the animals anymore) I clean the house. I go shopping....

Changes have occurred tho' such as...I (and the whole family, minus the animals as they weren't allowed) have moved from autumnal Michigan (nee winterish) to sunny California. Yep, you read it right!

Now, if you follow me on FB, instagram or twitter, you probably already know...about the move. That the reason we have moved is due to jobs offered to us here in Cupertino, CA, may not be known by some.  That would be plural, JOBS!

It's a long story, and I want to keep the reader's interest, so I will not go into GREAT detail. I want to share with you WHY we chose to move our family far away from anyone we know (be it family in MI or OH, or friends in WI).

The man of the Frumpy House & I have for the past 6 years in Michigan been in home health care workers. Greg has cared for 2 young gentlemen for the last 6 years, and I have helped in the care of one of these gentlemen for the last 3. We love this kind of work. Previous to moving back to my home state of MI, we lived and worked in Murfreesboro, TN doing in home (live in) care with adults that have Mental Disabilities.  Now that the girls are older (they were 2 years and new born in TN) we have wanted to get back into the the in home (live in) care with the mentally disabled, as opposed to those with physical disabilities.

That brought us to a company called California Community Opportunities. They were not looking for anyone at the time that we first contacted them. Yet, in a round about way they called us back when they had an opening for what is called a Family Teaching Couple, FTC for short.  They were specifically looking to fill this opening with a family, not just a couple.

So, when all was said and done, we would find ourselves within 2 months moved to CA...getting unpacked and looking at 2 weeks of intense training to do this job.  The girls have stayed back in MI with my parents for the week that it took the Man and I to drive the rental truck out here and for this week that the company pays us to get unpacked and settled! Then one of my sisters has graciously volunteered to fly them out here on the 13th of November.

We are beyond excited to have this opportunity to serve others. It's what we like to think this life is minister to those who have less than we ourselves do!

We just got our internet set up today, so that is why I haven't been able to write on this blog of mine! You know that will pick up as we go about living out this new life!

Thanks for hanging around...please, if you have questions, ask away!! There is nothing I like better than to chat with friends...

Note: I am desperately wanting to continue homeschooling the girls. God has also placed us literally 2 roads away from one of the top rated schools in the country (here in Cupertino). So the Man and I have some real thinking (and as we always do, praying) about what would be best for the family. I selfishly want to keep my girls to myself, but I also know with this new job we will be clocking in 60 hour weeks (both G and I) and that may hinder me being able to do a good job of schooling them as before. I'm torn, as I only want what is good for my girlies....if you are so inclined, say a  prayer for my fam as we make this decision!! Thanks a BUNCH!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

In our classroom...

I have used many items from around the house. It's helped keep the cost down, while making the room inviting & fun!

I have over the past year, or so, picked up some vintage planters. They are plentiful in the thrifts....quite inexpensive. I found these two for around $1 each.

Since I'm not a green thumb when it comes to house plants, I had them sitting in the girls rooms holding crayons & pencils & pens. I decided to clean them out, but still use them for pencils. There was just one problem...the pencils wouldn't stand up unless, the opening was stuffed full. I only want 6-8 pencils (nicely sharpened & easy to grab) for each girls. I had to wrack my brain....a pantry staple came to the rescue!

I filled the planter with the dried beans & the helped the pencils stay upright! Yay me!! Sometimes I amaze myself!

This cutie holds our colored pencils...

They work wonderfully, & the girl's have something cute to look at. Better than a pencil box? I think so!!

How about you? Have you taken an item & used it for a purpose other than what it was intended?!? Tell me about your repurposed item! I love to hear about great minds working!!!

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Report Card...

for the Teacher!!

The first week of our first year of Homeschooling is complete! We have actually finished a week and a day! Yay!!

My report card for the first week is B+...I taught what I studied, I taught on the sly fly, I taught with games, pictures and music!! I had a blast! I maybe had higher expectations of what the girls would do, or how they would react to certain things. All in all, I don't have one complaint about their performance, they were on board and on top of things!

L (my oldest) has said that she loves homeschooling and that she wants to homeschool forever!! Prob'ly not going to happen...I'm thinking that she will need to move out of the house at 18 or so!!

Li, loves the schooling, doesn't like not hanging with her friends on and older sis don't cut it when it comes to playing with the "cool kids"!!

Here's a quick look at our week with pics.....

Nature Study...wasn't really happy with my art abilities. Practice, practice!! 

Math is a lot more fun with games!! This memory game is matching the parts of the number 10....(1+9, 3+7, 5+5 etc.)

Home ec is being taught in the Frumpy House! L is learning how to read a recipe and made us pizza for dinner!

Reading "living" books is a major part of our schooling! Find the definition here.

Math...she used to dread she doesn't even know she's doing addition and subtraction.

Always a lunch break...

Give a girl a chance to learn to read 30 words in one week and she thinks she can read a bunch of books!! Go Li!!

Another math game...matching dots. We are using an abacus so this is helpful in recognizing numbers quickly!

Learning about quadrilaterals! Yep, big word, easy concept!!

Writing down all the words that she has learned to read and spell.
The end of our first week! 
The beginning of our second week...late Sunday night means extra cups of coffee for the teacher!!!


 I hope that some snippets of what we have done in the past week isn't boring to you! We had a very exciting week!! There were so many things, that I didn't even get to share with you!!!

Hope that your first week of school (wether homeschooling or sending your sweeties off to school) and that you are all looking forward to what you can learn this school year!!

                                    Today I'm linking up with another great blog Sophia's Ideas

Check her blog out here:

Friday, August 31, 2012

Don't Leave it Hanging...

I have learned the hard way that talking to a child mid-temper tantrum is tantamount to trying to talk a lion out of attacking mid leap...yeah, it doesn't stop anything and only ends in tears and a heap of hurt!!!!

So, we have already gone through the "1-2-3 Magic" magic with you. The time out is rated by the age of the child; one minute in their room, or another doable place, for each year old they are. You as the parent are in charge of how long they stay in there too. Don't think that L can come back out stomping her feet and a "death stare" on her face and do her chores....haha! Not in the Frumpy House!! If in 8 minutes she hasn't come to the conclusion that a pleasant temperament will give her freedom, well dear readers, she gets another 5 in solitary confinement!! You see, I am the parent, I will be the one responsible for her behavior out in this world...some day her employer will call and rain blessings upon my head for her being such a willing and happy worker  **shaking head, waking up from this daydream**.....

Oh! When the child comes out with a willing spirit, life is so joyful and blessed!! She may not feel that, but as long as she is displaying that spirit I'm good with hurdle at a time! The fun thing is, her chore or whatnot is still waiting for her.

The Man of the Frumpy House and I are doing our best to be intentional in our parenting. Not just the disciplining as this small series has shown, but in parenting! We are spending more time talking (not debating, it's not up for debate) about behavior, character, morals, standards, expectations. Talking to the girls at teachable times..."Hey L, see that young boy over there with his mom screaming and crying because she wouldn't buy him the candy? That's not a very pleasant person to be around is it? What do you think he could do, or how do you think he should behave? Do you think his mom would be more willing to listen to his request?" Yeah, you get the idea right?!

Daily, grabbing the opportunity to teach and explain the right and the wrong of interpersonal relationships! to make your way in this world, creating as few waves as you possibly can!

I'm really pleased to tell you....L has taken very well to this type of discipline. Does she like being sent to her room? NO! Number one reason, she has no one to argue with there. Number 2 reason, she is taken away from her audience and she has no reason to carry on! Does she like it when we start the counting....H*ll no!! She starts stating her "case" as it may be. I don't even let it register! If she isn't complying with my direction...I just get up to "2"!!! That is about the time it clicks in her brain..."oh, this isn't going to work like it used to. I guess I'll just do what I need to do and move on with my day"

This DVD has been a blessing! A Godsend...I kid you not...a life/marriage/family saver!

It has enabled me to teach better, to have a talk, a discussion with L. Where before it was always her will against my will, it is now a matter of her opening herself to being more teachable. Not perfectly teachable, not overnight malleable, not even close to being a "Stepford Child", but oh so much better than what it was!!!

That is how, after years of saying that I would never homeschool my child[ren], I am going to be teaching this year. That is why I'm excited about teaching them! That is how I'm going to be ABLE to teach them!! We are all I've said before! I'm looking forward to teaching, training, exploring and learning with my family!

Everyday I'm Learning....

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

It all ended...

when the Man of the Frumpy House and I sat one evening and watched "1-2-3 Magic" video. This is a book and a 2 part video series by Dr. Thomas Phelan (find out more here). We found only the first "1-2-3 Magic" dvd to watch. BUT OH!! The difference watching that video made!

It's been about a month now, a month where the temper tantrums are few and far between. A month where momma wants to go home and spend time with her family (yes all of them). A month where I can finally give hugs, give kisses, snuggle with (although she isn't a very big snuggler) and even eat at the same table with EVERYONE in the family and enjoy it!

It's a month where she's taking care of her chores without having warfare. A month of oral and physical hygiene has been done without threats and wasted time...yep! even that!

A month where the extremely picky eater has finally sat down at the table and tried a bite of "unliked" foods without a NUCLEAR meltdown! Ummm...yesterday at the dinner table she even said, "I'm going to try mashed potatoes". Put a spoonful on her plate and ate a hello? this is my child right?!? (I will give her this...mashed taters were the only food she ever spit out as a if she never eats them I won't care)

The past 30 days has had more fun, more laughter, more family time. Well, more enjoyable family time (as she really has made quite a few family excursions quite horrid) the last month!

So, what is it? You ask...I shall do my best to answer!

The basics of the "1-2-3 Magic" is for the parents to not get emotional about the bad behaviors. Not to become entangled in arguing or explaining themselves to their child. Ummm, ok, so basically I've been doing most everything wrong...well, sorry, I've never had to deal with this extreme behavior (and to just give you a background I have worked in a Children's Home taking care of emotionally and physically abused children, I have also been a nanny to a number of children).

It's an amped up version of putting your child in time out (which we have done & it didn't work, probably because we were doing it all wrong). It's giving them the opportunity to take the wrong behavior that they are in and giving them till the count of 3 to change the behavior and move on when asked to.

Let me give you a personal example (please, take it, I have plenty):

Mornings at the Frumpy House....
     L is expected (and has been for the past 4 years) to get up, eat breakfast, get dressed and brush teeth and hair. She does the getting up really well, most days, it's the other items where it gets a bit tricky! She doesn't want to get dressed, she wants to wander around and pester someone first. She doesn't want to brush her teeth and hair ("I like it this way" has been thrown at me many, MANY days when it comes to hair). So throughout the morning, you can imagine the stress and the amount of time it takes just to get her out the door to school!

Because, of the 1-2-3 program it now takes her about 1/2 an hour to get herself ready for the day. She has also been doing some of her chores without having to be told, reminded somedays....but mostly just told once and she gets it done! I. KID. NOT!!!!!

After watching the DVD Greg and I sat down with the girls for dinner one night and we explained what was going to happen in the Frumpy House from now on....

We were not going to tolerate disobedience, talking back, whining or defiant behavior or looks (yep, rolling your eyes at your momma is not floating my boat!).

Let's continue our little scenario...
     L is done with breakfast. She has been told to go brush her teeth and hair. I find her in the living room, picking on her sister most likely. I step into the living room where she can see me and I can see her.  "L, you were told to get your hair and teeth brushed. You best go do that before we have to walk out the door."  BRACE's about to start!

"Mom, I can't right now. I don't want to. I like my hair this way..." all said in a very loud voice with a tinge of whine and a scowl creeping across her brow (you got that mental picture now right?)

----In the past this was a red flag, and the momma would charge voice would rise to meet her decibel, I would set my jaw cause I was determined that I was gonna make her get the jobs done and out the door on time.--- NOW....

     "L that's 1" UMMMMM yes, that is ALL I say...NOT KIDDING!

This quietly spoken, emotionless phrase at times makes her dig her heels in and start crankin' it up, "I will do it, just not now!" as she throws down a foot stomp for added dramatic measure!!

     "L that's 2"....yep, still spoken without emotion or raising my voice.

Now, this has usually been the highest I have needed to count (once or twice I have counted 3 and she has been sent to her room to cool off, calm down, chill out (whatever you want to call it)). She has changed her attitude and gone on to do as asked....whew, drama averted! She goes on to take care of her business and I go on to take care of mine, all is quiet and all are at peace!

Our greatest problem is she wants an explanation of why she must do what she is told to do, why she can't do what she wants to do, what she did wrong....etc. basically we have found she wants to engage us is a debate of you say, I say. EVERY SINGLE TIME!!
This magic formula has enabled us to leave the debate out of the process, she knows we aren't going to go into describing why we want her to brush her teeth each morning. She just knows that we are going to expect her to be obedient, without debate.

Now, for those of you readers (and I love you) who are thinking, "this is all good, but it doesn't take care of the core of the problem. Her defiance and disobedience". You're quite right, it is just taking care of the moment, the mouth, the whining....etc. I have no question that L goes to her room mumbling a few questionable things about the unfairness of her mom or dad.  But, I cannot address this with her at this time, she isn't in a frame of mind to listen and say, "You're right mom! How could I be so mistaken! I will jump to obey!"

That comes later friends....

Monday, August 27, 2012

It all started...

On November 6th, almost 9 years ago....

We welcomed a beautiful, big headed (I don't mean inflated ego here, I mean LITERALLY a big head) bald, blue eyed 8 lb 3 oz little girl into our family. Well, she basically made us a family, instead of just a couple.

The "troubles" didn't start until about 8 months...I kid you not! She was wanting to walk so badly, she would toddle around the furniture and such, but she just couldn't quite GO! So, being the great mom and dad that we were we would hold her little hands and just walk her all over the apartment. For what seemed HOURS! The back-breaking effort was taking it's toll, so we bought a push toy...that would give us some relief...or so we thought.

The beautiful, little girl did NOT want to push the toy around and toddle on her way around the apartment...oh no! That, dear readers, would've been the end of the story if our darling daughter didn't take this opportune time to display....her stubborn side! She laid herself down right on the floor behind that push toy and kicked her chubby little legs, and pounded her round little fists and cried her big head off!! NOT JOKING FOLKS!! At 8 months old, my darling, giggling, smiling little daughter threw a temper tantrum!

I looked at this demon darling child, took one large step over her body and walked away, shaking my head and mumbling something about "Oh, Lord, this is not going to be fun is it?!".....

Fast forward to this time and oldest is still beautiful, big headed (more so ego now), blonde curled and the biggest blue eyes.  She has spent the first 8 years of her life teaching us that we do have the strength, with God's blessed help, to do this parenting thing! We haven't always done it willingly (I think I've threatened the Mister with running away more than she's threatened us), or well...but we have done it!

We have read, listened to, researched online and questioned other parents about how to deal with strong willed, defiant, intelligent (oh, yes she is) & mouthy children. We have cried, grumbled, yelled, punished & disciplined our brains out....nothing has worked. For those of you who have laid back, easy going have NO idea the thoughts that go through a parents head when all they have done, FAILS!

Yes, you feel like you are a failure...a FAILURE!! The thought of going through 18 years of this kind of life is enough to send you to the loony bin (WILLINGLY)!!

So, I will tell you this....I have said over and over to others and to my child (because she has asked) that I would NOT homeschool her!! I struggled just to get her to do her homework on nights that she came home with that!! I struggled to get her to brush her teeth, get dressed, do simple chores...heck, I struggled to get her to eat a meal @ the table without pitching such a big fit that no one actually wanted to sit and eat with her! By struggled I mean DAILY...telling her, talking to her, coaxing her, grounding her, yelling at her...anything I could think of (short of bribing her) to do the things that she needed to do/learn as a toddler/child! DAILY!!!!

So, as you may be able to imagine, when she was out of the house at school the home was a lot more peaceful. There wasn't this constant feeling of anger (hers and ours) floating around. There wasn't the stress, there wasn't the turmoil...until it was time for her to come home. I would then find myself tensing up...almost like I was putting on my armor to deal with the arguments, the whining, the fights, the talking back.  It does not make for a pleasant house/home when you feel you have to gird yourself with armor, just to make it through a day!

The Man of the Frumpy House and I were at our wits end...we had no more to give. We thought we'd just move out and let her be her own boss...heheh! Then he found a video at our local library! It was checked out and brought home, hoping that we would be able to watch it and find some help...please, Lord any help!! Because, boarding school was sounding quite doable about that time....they do have a work exchange program for elementary boarders don't they?!?!

To be Continued.....