Category Archives: Family Life

101Reasons I Love My Husband

There is nothing quite as romantic as spending  a portion  of your weekend taking apart and deep cleaning your kitchen with your husband.   A little goofy sounding, I know, but it was a lot of fun and yet another reason I love my husband.

While pulling out the stove and giving everything a good scrubbing,  we laughed as we shared the antics of our little children and their adventures over the week.

While cleaning out and disinfecting the fridge, we marveled that seemingly out of nowhere our oldest daughter’s upcoming graduation from high school has snuck up on us.

While cleaning out and reorganizing the kitchen cabinets, we put great thought into plans for our upcoming 20th anniversary and enjoying the honeymoon we never had.

There were sly looks and grins while scrubbing the vent hood and degreasing underneath it.

There was a little pinch on the tush here and little pinch there while whitening the porcelain sink.

There were jokes and hilarious comments zinging that had us laughing so hard we were leaning on the counters to keep from falling over.
All of this and more while deep cleaning the kitchen!

My favorite moments come in our every day life enjoying the husband that God has blessed me with and the children that He has given us to raise.

Awesomeness.

All for God’s glory,

~Rhen

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Scripture Stickies ~A Review and Giveaway~

THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED!

As a mom who has been educating her kids around the dining room table for more than 12 years now, I have learned the value of teaching through constant small reminders.  Some time ago, I began using the little sticky note method to help them learn different subjects and concepts easier.

I have found great success in being able to teach foreign language, spelling, and vocabulary using sticky notes that I write either the word, definition, or translation on the sticky note and put them around the house.  Constantly seeing the little lessons throughout the day helps our children to remember and really learn each lesson.

When Scripture Stickies, who follows that same concept by putting verses on little sticky notes that you then place throughout the house, asked me to review their product, I knew they would be a huge blessing for our family.

What a great idea!  Every time the kids see one of the Scripture Stickies, not only is it encouraging to their hearts, but it helps them to learn and memorize God’s word.  It is wonderful to hear the kids quoting the scriptures that are on the Scripture Stickies.

I have experienced numerous times when the first scripture that I read in the morning ends up being a theme for my whole day or God uses it as an encouraging word that I need during a difficult moment.

With so many girls in the house, the first place that I put the stickies was around the bathroom mirrors.  Those are the most often read and remembered Scripture Stickies of all of them!  *grin*

They are also in the kitchen, by the front and back doors, and on the door to the pantry.  Where else would you put them when you have teenagers?!

Scripture Stickies make a great gift, and they are a wonderful way of encouraging and sharing the word of God with someone who needs it!  They even have a Scripture of the Month Club that blesses you with a new pack of Scripture Stickies each month all year long.  (Also an awesome gift idea!!)

Enter in to win your own set of Scripture Stickies to keep or share!

How?  You know I like to make this easy!

Initial Entry:

Additional Entries:

  • “Like” Scripture Stickies on Facebook and leave a comment here telling me you did.  1 entry
  • “Like” Yes, They Are All Mine on Facebook and leave a comment here telling me you did/ do.  1 entry
  • Share this giveaway on your FB page (preferably tagging Yes, They Are All Mine and Scripture Stickies FB pages in the post).   Leave a comment here telling me you did.  1 entry per day
  • Tweet about this giveaway with a link to the giveaway (preferably mentioning @ContentedRhen)  Leave a link to the tweet in the comments.  1 entry per day
  • Pin this giveaway on Pinterest.  Leave a link in the comments to the pin.  1 entry per day

Rules:

  • You must do the initial entry before you can earn additional entries.
  • Some additional entries can be done once each day for the length of the giveaway.
  • Winner will be chosen via Random.org
  • Winner will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen
  • Giveaway closes Monday (Dec 16th) at midnight (12 am CST)

Thank you for entering this giveaway and helping out a small business!

All for God’s glory,

~Rhen

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Homeschool Classroom ~Christian Studies

One area of our older kids’ high school curriculum is their Christian Studies.

Some of what Christian Studies includes studying is God’s word and taking opportunities to serve in our community.  I have previously shared one of their assignments, and you can check it out here.  Today, I want to share one of my absolutely favorite assignments for this class.

Once a month each one of our oldest four students presents a teaching (aka sermon) on a topic they choose.  This gives them a different method of studying God’s word than the verse by verse method we use for our morning Bible study.

The requirements for this assignment:

  • minimum of 5 minutes in length
  • must contain 3 different verse references
  • 1 Greek definition
  • 1 Hebrew definition
  • 1 story to illustrate the teaching

How I score this assignment:

  • time length of teaching- 10 points
  • 3 verses- 5 points each
  • definitions- 5 points each
  • story- 10 points
  • overall presentation- 5 points
  • = 50 point assignment.

Though this is a part of our high school curriculum, Emily Grace (13- 8th grade) and Hannah (11- 6th grade) also participate to expand their knowledge of God’s word and be better prepared for the more difficult topics and higher expectations of their high school years.

Each of them get to choose their own topic, but they have to clear it with me before they get started.  Sometimes the topics they choose can be too broad and need to be a little more focused.

A few of the chosen topics so far:

  • Biblical Courtship vs. Worldly Dating
  • Drawing Strength from God
  • Intentionally Be An Encouraging Person
  • Having a Thankful Heart

I greatly enjoy listening to their presentations and hearing what they have discovered.

What are some other topics do you suggest?

All for God’s glory,

~Rhen

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Natural Linens ~A Review and Giveaway~

THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED!

Our family, like so many other families today, is always looking for ways to reduce our spending and give a little more wiggle room to our budget.  We also take great pride in producing less garbage than a family half our size, and I encourage our children to get creative and find new ways of further reducing our family’s garbage output.  (These are great lessons in stewardship for Mark and I and our children!)

When the wonderful family at Natural Linens contacted me, I saw this as a great opportunity to take another step in the direction of saving money, reducing waste, and I get to give a great organic product!

When looking over their store, I was intrigued by the thought of unpaper towels.  We go through a good bit of paper towels in this house, much to my aggravation.

Unpaper Towels

Being the retired cloth diaper pro that I am, the moment I opened up the lovely hand-wrapped package of unpaper towels I soaked them in a container of water for a few days.  (This greatly increases their absorbancy)

So, what did we use the unpaper towels to do?

  • They are awesome for cleaning glass and windows without leaving streaks or fuzz.
  • They worked beautifully when disinfecting the kitchen counters.
  • I was able to clean all of our doorknobs, door frames, and light switches with only one unpaper towel as opposed to 7 or 8 paper towels.
  • They make quick work of bathroom sinks and counters with only one unpaper towel for three bathrooms.

I love how thin, yet absorbent they are.  I much prefer them to wash cloths when cleaning the bathrooms and kitchen, and they are perfect southern napkins!

Next, I would love to make the switch to cloth coffee filters and tea bags!

Reusable Coffee Filters

Reusable Tea Bags

Now YOU get the chance to win a set of their fantastic unpaper towels!

You know me, I like to make entering giveaways and getting additional entries easy.

How do you enter?  Simple!

Pop over and visit Natural Linens Etsy store and choose a product they offer that you are not already using.  Post a comment below telling me what that product is.  That’s it!

Earning additional entries:

  • Subscribe to Natural Linens newsletter (post a comment telling me that you did)
  • Like Natural Linens on Facebook (post a comment telling me that you did)
  • Share this giveaway on Facebook (you can do this once per day ~leave a comment each time telling me that you did)
  • Tweet about this giveaway (you can do this once per day ~leave a link in a comment)
  • Like Yes, They Are All Mine on Facebook (leave a comment telling me you did)
  • Share this Giveaway on Pinterest (you can do this once per day ~leave a link in the comments)
  • Share Natural Linens (Etsy store or FB page) on Pinterest (leave a link in comments)
  • Follow Natural Linens on Twitter (leave a comment telling me you did)

This giveaway will end at Midnight (12:00 am) on Sunday December 8th.  One winner will  be chosen via Random.org.  The winner will be announced here on the blog and emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Any questions?

Thank you for joining in this giveaway and supporting a small family owned business.  Every time you share them with someone or make a purchase, you make a difference for their family!  Thank you!

All for God’s glory,

~Rhen

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A Collar to Properly Represent

In honor of Samson’s upcoming 5 month birthday on the 8th, I found the perfect collar for our sweet puppy.

Hannah (10) scratching Samson’s favorite spot.

After growing out of everything under the 26″ collar size, we had to step it up a notch and find a collar that not only shows just who Samson is, but it would also  grow with him far longer than just a few inches and a couple of months.

My favorite feature?  The latch!  While expressing his inner superdog is great, I love just how strong and secure the latch.

See this look on his face.  This is the look of contentment knowing that everyone who sees his new collar will fully understand just how super he is!

There, now you have had your daily dose of cuteness.  Just stare into these sweet eyes if you need an extra dash of sweetness!  :)

All for God’s glory,

~Rhen

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In the homeschool classroom- scavenger hunt!

Our family’s favorite classroom:  God’s great big world!

Today we took advantage of the gorgeous weather and headed outside with our science.  The scavenger hunt assignment in Hannah’s (10) Exploring Creation with Zoology 1:  Flying Creatures by Apologia was the perfect activity.  I had Emily Grace (13) join in.  It really accents her science studies, Botany by Apologia.

First find:  a huge bird’s nest.  Now, normally we would not collect a bird’s nest, but this one was in one of my feed buckets that is stored with our tools and equipment used on our homestead.

We took our little adventure down to the pond.  We passed a gnarly looking tree that offered up one of the other items on the list, a hole in the trunk of a tree.  As you can see, Emily Grace was fully prepared for any surprise attacks from whatever could be lurking in there.  I was so tempted to scream and run just to freak her out.  I didn’t.  This time.

Another item on the list was to find a bird, other than a duck or goose, around the water.  What did we find?  Our chickens.  That works!  Often we will find cranes, but there were none today.

How cool is this prickly looking caterpillar?!  Another item marked off the list!

We spent about half an hour trekking around our property to find everything that we could.  We will continue the hunt after the sun has retired for the day, so that we may have the opportunity to spot a few other items on the list, like bats.  :)

Being a part of their education is far more than book work.  It is also the joy of getting them out and encouraging them to be hands-on.  Listening to their conversations and bad jokes while on the scavenger hunt was all gravy!

Next up on the science front: bird watching 101.

What is happening in your classroom?

All for God’s glory,

~Rhen 

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Menu Planning- Stepping up our game

If you are like me and look for every great idea to trim your grocery budget, then you have already discovered the awesome grocery budget fat buster of menu planning.

Menu planning alone has not only helped reduce our costs, but is has also reduced food waste and given us far better meal options.  When you know what is being prepared and you have all of the necessary ingredients, then it is not a crapshoot to try and pull a healthy, filling meal together.

Up until a few weeks ago, I was the menu planner.  I checked our pantry and freezer stock to create a menu for the week as well as a grocery list.

Then it it hit me.  I have THREE teenagers and at least 4 of our children can cook!  Why am I the only one making these decisions and getting everything lined up for the week?

Enter in operation FAMILY Meal Planning.

After a little powwow, we came up with a new strategy, not only for meal planning but also for meal preparation.

No longer is it a toss up as to who is going to cook, what they are going to prepare, and on what night will they be doing so.

Here’s how we do it.

Our oldest three, Renee (16), Noah (14), and Emily Grace (13), and the team of Hannah (10) and Dad each take a night to fully plan and prepare dinner for the family.  I take the three nights that they do not claim.

Each one of our chefs-in-training puts together all aspects of the meal and makes sure that we either have the ingredients or they are written on the grocery list.

When I head out to Costco with my list, I know that we will have exactly what need for the week’s breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners.

One of the great, yet unexpected, blessings of having our oldest children plan and prepare meals, they are getting inspired to try new dishes, new veggies, new spices, and new combinations.  Their creative juices are flowing!  {pun intended}

It does my momma heart good to see them researching new dinners to create.  Thank, you Pinterest!

Other blessings we noticed:

  • they are learning that planning ahead to ensure they have everything they need makes the job much easier and faster
  • they are widening their culinary scope and experimenting with new flavors
  • the new recipes are introducing new veggies and fruits
  • they are learning timing and time management to get all parts of the meal ready and on the table at the same time.
  • there has been finally come about a realization that they cannot “graze” in the pantry and fridge all of the time and still have what they need to prepare their meals.
  • bonus, this has worked so well, that they have also taken over lunches.

I love that my older kids will not be dependent on a microwave or takeout to eat in those beginning adult years that are in the very near future.  You never know, this may bring out a passion for cooking and a direction in life one of them never thought about.

Next, I need to get one of them interested in being a chocolatier.  *wink*

In your home, do the parents do all of the cooking?  Do you have teenagers who cook?  If not, now is a great time to start something new and get them interested in preparing fantastic meals and stretching themselves as chefs!

When you were a teenager, what were some of your favorite things to cook?

Mine, steak bites with onion and peppers.  Yum!

All for the glory of God,

~Rhen

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Around the Homestead

I enjoy the chores around our little homestead far too much to label them as “work”!  Feeding and watering the animals, watering and checking on the gardens, and walking our property to make sure that everything is in order is a perfect opportunity to talk with God and soak up His creation.

Some mornings I have a helper or two.

This morning Susannah (6) helped to put fresh hay in the nesting box and check for eggs.

Our chickens free-range during the day and are doing a great job of keeping the bugs down.  They are constantly scratching and pecking throughout the yard and woods.

Our youngest chickens are now beginning to lay eggs.  Can you spot the egg from one of the “new” girls?  *grin*

Unfortunately we had to move the geese up from the pond and into the goat yard.  They kept wandering off of our property and onto our neighbor’s porch where they kept making a mess.  Once we finish the fencing in the final side, they will get to move back to the pond.

All of the gardens are in bloom again.  With fall quickly approaching, everything seems to be trying to send off summer in style!

Just thought I would share my newest garden decorations.  A fantastic buy at Hobby Lobby for 80% off.  I spent only $4.50 for both of them.  Booyah!

While we feed most of the horned tomato worms to the chickens, we do allow the ones covered in wasp eggs to stay on the plants.  They don’t eat the plant and the wasps that hatch out hunt these kinds of pests.

Susannah is a huge help and distracts the goats with a little hay while I get their feed in their dish.  If they are anywhere near their feeding dish while I am trying to fill it, I can’t get to it and end up pouring the feed on their heads.  Silly goats!

Score one for the frugal homesteader in me.  I made this hay rack from left over fencing.   Mark’s Kleins and about fifteen minutes and the girls had a new rack to keep the hay clean and easily accessible for nibbling.

My next homestead projects:  clean out the chicken house and put down a fresh layer of hay,  build a double compost bin with pallets, and move the goose house up from the pond to the goat yard.

What’s happening around your home?  Any new outside projects?

All for God’s glory,

~Rhen

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101 Reasons I Love My Husband

I love adding to my 101 Reasons I Love My Husband posts.

Each time I go back and read my previous posts, I am reminded of just how blessed I am.

Today’s blessing:  God has given my strong, sweet man the ability to know when I need a hug.

I don’t mean one of those quick squeezes.  I am talking about one of those long, tight hugs that makes the rest of the world and it’s troubles fade away. The kind where you disappear into his chest and feel safe.

There are times when I am feeling beaten down by my day or times when I am a little overwhelmed, and he will stop everything we are working on and grab hold of me.  In that hug God speaks to me and I feel loved and safe and re-energized.  I can once again take on the world.

Have you hugged your sweetie today?

All for God’s glory,

~Rhen

Don’t forget to enter in my latest giveaway- Baltic Amber jewelry from Spark of Amber!

The Almost Overwhelming Urge to Purge and Organize

Recently, I have been overcome with an almost overwhelming urge to purge. I am not talking about that moment when you are stepping over the toys in your living room and you think to yourself, I have got to get rid of a few of these trip hazards.
I am referring to that feeling where you have to control yourself so that you do not end up tossing everything from the house into the back of the truck to go donate.
It is not that the kids have huge amounts of toys or that every room in our house is filled with toys. This desire to purge isn’t even about the toys. It is about everything. It is about boxes of home decor I will never use. It is about books I have no interest in reading (we are not taking about my favorites!). It is about the clothes I know full well I cannot stand and will never wear. It is about kitchen items that do not get used even once a year.

While I would love to simplify the cleaning process and make maintaining that organized kind of clean even easier, there are certain aspects to my life that hinder my ability to purge to that degree.  *wink*

We have chosen to educate our brood at home. There is no way I am getting rid of curriculum with a line of children who will be moving up and using it. In the past year I have donated about half of the curriculum that once filled boxes and tubs. I had to make some hard decisions about what I do or will really use.

We have a large family that ranges from toddlers to teens. Having toys, games, art supplies, and activities for that variety of people does not take up a small amount of space!

We are a homesteading family. There are things that we need and use on a daily basis that are necessary for taking care of our animals, managing our property, and planting and growing large gardens of fruits and vegetables.

I am a soaper.  Specifically, I am a handcrafted goat milk soaper!  I buy my supplies in bulk quantities and I make large batches of soap.  There is always soap in some part of the creating/ drying/ labeling process.

So, what is a girl to do?  Purge AND organize with a plan and a very helpful Hubs!!   Hubs and I have broken each one of these areas (and more) down into a list of “needs”, “wants”, and “donates”.  As we tackle,  we look at the items in front of us and decide which category it goes in.   Once the purge has been completed, it is then time to organize.

That is where I am at now.  Organizing.  It is my favorite part, but it also seems to be the most expensive.  Going to the store to check out their organizing section when you have a huge list of organizing ideas is like going to the grocery store hungry.  It is so hard to control myself!!   To make matters worse, I have been searching Pinterest.  That place feeds my project and organizing addictions!  Good gracious.

So, that is where I am.  Trying to make decisions, come up with ingenious ways to organize materials, and make everything streamlined and hidden.  This would be so much easier with three or four more of me to tackle this list, oh, and winning a shopping spree to a container store would be nice, too!

How about you?  What area would you like to be able to purge and organize to perfection?

All for the glory of God,

~Rhen