Saturday, October 27, 2012

Rodan and Fields

 First of all, let me say I did not go looking for anything else to add to my already full plate. But a couple months back one of my closest friends, Britney Harper, got involved with this business. She is a stay-at-home mom of 6 (with 8 mth old twins) and homeschools. So I knew when she got started it had to be something that was worth it (and for her it was a specific answer to prayer). But I didn't immediately hop on board. One reason being, I am the world's worst sales person. Seriously. The only thing I can do is yard sales where I give something away for 50 cents. Add to that, I just couldn't see where any time would come from to give to any new venture. But.... a week or so ago Ed mentioned to me that he wanted me to find out more about Rodan and Fields and see if it was worth getting involved in. So that led me to believe this is a direction the Lord wanted me to take and I called her to find out more info....and that was the beginning of the end. I went to my first R&F meeting Thursday evening (Ed went with me) and we were both very impressed with the reputation of the business as well as the products they offer.  Which is.... a prescription-grade line of skin care from the creators of Proactiv, Drs Katie Rodan and Kathy Fields.  To find out their whole story go here and here.
 Almost everyone I know of, including some of my own family, has skin issues of some kind and could benefit from a trip to the dermatologist, but who can afford it?   As many of you  know, I do try to treat any health issues naturally or with alternative medicine, but sometimes it just doesn't work and you need something more effective. This is a great solution.
  Long story short I am now an independent consultant with Rodan and Fields. You can visit my website here to learn more:    and
  I'm excited to see where this is going to go. The Lord is already blessing my endeavors more than I would have imagined. If any of you want to know more, please feel free to contact me here or on facebook.

P.S. For the record, I have zero ambition to be the next millionaire(ess) or own a Lexus (hello...where would I put 8 kids ), but I would love to be able to see my husband more than 2  or 3 days in 10.( And by days I mean 24 hour periods not 9-to-5s. =))))And financially everyone can use some extra income...  right?! =)

Updates and a new business venture

 Yes, life continues to be a blur of activity most days. Even when I'm not "getting anything done" I still feel like I dont' know where the time went.
  Wyatt is 7 months now and has started on baby food besides still nursing. I think this kid is going to be the Jolly Green Giant. He eats ALL the time. He is almost crawling....he can scoot everywhere he just doesn't have his "form" down yet. =) He's also practicing being heard above the crowd. Not mad or upset just reallllllyyy loud! He especially loves doing it when we are sitting in church. So my days of sitting through a service are few and far between.
  Asher is about as rascally and bad as an almost 3yr old little boy can be. Problem is, he's just so stinking charming about it. He has been needing lots of intervention lately. Kyla is his innocent-looking partner-in-crime. She begs to do school work but I don't often have an activity ready for her to do so I'll send them to play together. I still not sure if that's a good thing or a a bad thing. It has mixed results.
  Levi is in 1st grade now and learning to read. He loves to do school and would be happy if I had stuff for him to do from morning to night. Isaac is the same way as far as school goes. I've been having to really work on the responsibility side of things though. These two would be happy to leave all chores to the oldest 3. BUT that doesn't work so well around here so I have had to come up with some creative solutions for dealing with that.
  Aaron, Lela, and Alyssa are my biggest helpers. They help with cooking, cleaning and laundry (as do the younger ones, but less so). You would think with all that we would have smooth sailing and things would go like clockwork. Ummm, nah! not really. Cause I still have a hard time keeping it all organized and if Mom's not together...well, you know.
  I would say schooling is my biggest hurdle, but really, as I was sharing with Ed, any one thing on it's own is doable. It's just trying to juggle everything and make it all fit in a small house that makes for hair pulling frustration at times. (And on that note...I did have to cut my hair recently. It was falling out really bad and was just one more thing to try to deal with. Maybe one of these days I can grow it long again, but for now. Easy is best.)

   Add to all of that a new business venture and you probably think I've lost mind. But I prayed long and hard before making any decision.....
  Stay tuned and I'll share more in the next post. =)

Friday, October 5, 2012

Flowers for Mama

They say a picture is worth a thousand words...

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Laundry Soap Revisited

I posted back in May about making my own laundry soap, but haven't had a chance to write any reviews until now.
  I'm thinking about it today because I am halfway through my batch. I had stored it in two ice cream buckets and it had started to harden before I was completely done with my first bucket. Not really a big deal as it dissolved easily in the water, but not quite as convenient for measuring accurately. So I got the brilliant idea to try to convert the rest of it to liquid. Hmmm. I have hit some snags with that, but long story short, if you want to make it into a liquid you need to follow a different process. I can fix it but it's taking a while.
 Anyway...back to actual review of the soap:
   1. I love the way it smells, so fresh!
   2. It cleans super good (even for my little mud monsters =). No odor and pretty effective at stain removal.
  3. It is super cost effective. To be honest, the usage is a little off as I have had some liquid detergent that I already had on hand and wanted to finish up. So it has not been used exclusively...BUT, from what I can tell, using it exclusively, an entire batch should last me about 9 months. That's for a family of 10.

 So, to sum it all up. Yes, I would totally do this again. I'm hoping to order more ingredients in about a week or so and try storing it in glass jars this time. And I'll be using all the same ingredients I did last time. I really do love how this stuff smells and cleans! (You can see my original post here including the recipe.)

Monday, October 1, 2012

13 Things I Didn't Know 13 Years Ago

1. that I would learn to love seafood and sushi

2. that we would move 7 times and 2 states

3. that we would have gone through 10 pregnancies, 5 miscarriages, and 8 live births together

4. that parenting would be so hard, and yet so rewarding

5. that I would never get used to having you gone

6. that you could make everything better just by being there

7. that our children would be completely amazing

8. that I would learn the ins and outs of raising chickens (and it wouldn't be as easy as I thought)

9. that the things I thought I would do, I wouldn't... and the things I thought I would never do, I would (like eating raw oysters and making deer sausage)

10. that every day would be an adventure

11. that we would be entrepreneurs

12. that I would learn to handle a gun, and

13. that I could possibly love you more than I did then. But I do!

  Happy Anniversary, Baby! It's been a wonderful 13 years and I look forward to a lifetime of more!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Drag races and a photo shoot

  Life since Wyatt has really felt like a series of drag-races....dragging myself from one event to the next as I race against chaos and a clock.  And the prize? Hmmm. Finishing the race? Yeah. That. all of that, I have not taken pictures the way I should have, nor have I updated my blog. Soooo. Today I did a photo shoot with Wyatt and couple of the other kids who were hanging around to try out my new camera. (I think I may have mentioned something in a previous post about my other camera getting a "dirt bath".) May I just say....I LOVE IT! It's Canon 10d. An older model than Ed's, but with almost identical features and perfect for my amateur self as I try to improve my photography skills. And in so doing, taking one more step towards getting our business off the ground. So happy. =)
  Therefore, with out further ado...

Friday, August 10, 2012

Speaking their language

Talking to your kids...sounds easy doesn't it? But I have found it's not as easy as I first thought. I might be talking (aka: saying words), but they may or may not be hearing what I'm saying.
   I was trying to communicate to Aaron today the importance of good handwriting (yet again) and how his more closely resembles the scribbling of a 3 year old than a 12 year old. (And, yes, I've seen him do beautiful work before, so I'm kind of wondering what happened.) And I could tell I just wasn't getting through. Then I realized, oh yeah, I need to relate it to something he is into right now. Computers. So I asked him, "Can you program a computer any old which way and still have it work?"
  " Oh, no ma'am you have to do it a certain way or it won't work at all. It won't process. "
"Exactly. And this (pointing to my brain) computer won't process what you are doing. You need to upgrade. This was good for an older computer, but now you need a Mac. "
 (I'm getting smiles now.)
"Yes, ma'am"
And we went on to discuss how his Capital and small letters should NOT be the same size and one sentence should not take up half a page. But I was getting through now.

If only I can remember more often to really communicate instead of just talking. I can accomplish more in 10 minutes of calm rational discussion where I take the time to point out "why" and "How this will affect this", than I can in weeks of  preaching and fussing.


Friday, July 6, 2012

Everybody reads


" Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen"
   I think I'm going to make this verse my "go-to" verse for the next year.  I have to admit to being completely overwhelmed lately ( part or all of the reason I haven't blogged). Since Wyatt's birth it has just seemed like I can't recoup very well. Physically I'm still struggling  to feel "normal" again. Domestically speaking,...well I dont' even want to go there. Let's just say it hasn't happened. And homeschool is non existent. I'm going to sacrifice my pride and tell you I have gotten ONE day of math (only math) done in the last 3 months.
So I was discussing this with a close friend the other day... and feeling so discouraged, and the question we were asking ourselves is "How?" If this (life, homeschool, mothering kids) is something I'm supposed to do, how come I can't get it all done?
  And, yes, I know there are plenty of people with answers to that : schedules, get up earlier, go to bed earlier, be perfect, blah blah blah....but I need answers for ME. That I can realistically apply to my life.
  So all of that to say,....In reading this morning, I ran across this verse and it just spoke hope and encouragement to my heart. This verse and several of the ones before and after in Ephesians chapters 3 and 4.
  If the power that does all that is working in me then I need to tap into it more. My worst problem is in trying to figure it out on my own for way too long before I take it all to the Lord. You know that verse "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me for I am meek and lowly in heart and ye shall find rest unto your souls." For years I 've taken that at face value....tell the Lord your burdens and He will make them easier...or something to that effect. But lately I've been really re-thinking my interpretation of that. What if it really means "Look at Me, your Lord and Master and see the meekness and lowliness of my heart and learn that for yourself, and then your SOUL will have rest." I know at least half of my burdens come from my own mental attitude, my perspective on whatever is happening at that moment. And if I'm feeling sorry for myself and all I have to deal with, etc, etc. my soul if not rested at all. At all. So I'm thinking maybe the Lord was maybe talking about me taking Him my expectations and, yes, the burdens I have to face daily, and asking Him to show me what my attitude should be for the day. And then do it again. And again. Every day.
 You would think at 33 years old that I would have already learned this lesson. Yeah, well, that's what life if keep teaching us the things we should already know. True? Of course, true.
 Well, that is my meditations for this morning.
 Hoping and praying that maybe I'll learn something at 33 that I didn't know at 32.

P.S. My kids are doing great! Wyatt is growing like a weed as are all my sweet babies...even one who is 12 years old already! I'll try to post pics soon but my baby that is 2 just gave my camera a dirt bath and it hasn't recovered yet. =(  Love and hugs.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Laundry soap

So I finally got around to making my own laundry detergent today (via this recipe)...and am so enjoying the process and the fresh clean smell. I'm actually still in the process.
  I've heard about it for some time and just been hesitant to try as I wasn't sure it would clean as well as what I use or smell as good. BUT the reviews on this have been fantastic, and the savings are significant, which is crucial to me right now.... therefore I'm giving it a shot.
 I'm going to list the things I used in mine and what I paid so I have a record for myself (and anyone else who is interested), and I can come back in a few months and review how it cleans and how long it lasts, etc.
 1 box of Borax - $2.06 (salvage store)
1 3 lb tub of Oxiclean - $7.54 (target)
1 bottle of Purex crystals (lavender blossom) - $4.49 (target)
2 bars of Fels Naftha soap - $5.72 (2 pack) (
1 13 lb bag of baking soda - $ 6.68 (Sam's club)

 The recipe says to use 4 lbs of baking soda and 3.5 lbs of washing soda (apparently there is a chemical difference), so I did a little research and found you can make the washing soda by "baking" baking soda in an oven for a couple hours at 200 degrees or more. I'm waiting on the soda to finish as I type this so I guess we will see how it works. By buying the huge bag from Sam's I have enough for two batches of laundry soap ( so I used half and will save the rest for next time). All together  it cost me $24.77 for this batch of laundry soap. According to reviews it should last 6-9 months. As of now I spend about $20 for 6-8 weeks worth of detergent so this should be huge savings. And I'm only supposed to use a couple TBS per load. Wow! Can't wait to see how this stuff works...

Friday, March 30, 2012

Keeping "busy" =)

No, I'm not up and around yet...I'm keeping myself occupied (a.k.a. :  feeling productive) by chasing links online today.=) And...I just found this one that I thought some of you might like. I was excited as it's a recipe for naturally tinted lipgloss. I've been wondering how to naturally tint some and... voila', here it is.

 We ( Aaron, Asher, Wyatt and Mommy) just had a picnic in my bed for lunch. The other 5 children are still at Silla's and Ed is at work. Soooo. Quiet day.
 Well, that's all for now. =)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Our chicks

Our chickies when we first got them!
Our chickies now.

Oh and may I say....  Ed made both the brooder box in the top photo as well as the coop they are in now. =)))) Hoping to add pics of the garden soon too!

Wyatt at one week old

Wyatt is doing so great at one week! We just weighed him and he is 10 lbs 2 oz, so he has barely lost anything at all! He eats like a horse and is just a calm, sweet little guy. The children are loving him, of course and Asher always comes to check on him first thing every morning!
  Aaron got to spend 2 days with a close friend the first part of the week and Priscilla came last night and got my middle 5 children to spend a couple days with her. I'm not sure what to do with my house being so quiet, but I'm glad for the kids' sake. They have all worked so hard these last several weeks to keep the house running (esp. the older ones) and are now getting a little fun time. Ed has been tireless in   everything he has been doing since baby was born. Not only has he been seeing to the cooking and laundry, but he has been building a coop for our chickens and tending our seedlings and building our garden beds.
  Oh, yeah....about that. Lol. So much has been happening I forgot to tell you all that we have 9 chickies. We got them one week before Wyatt was born and they are now ready to move to the back yard. All 9 are going to be laying hens and I believe we have 3 different breeds: 3 Americana, 3 Buff Orpington, and 3 Bard Rock. The kids have loved tending to them! Between the chickens and the garden I can't wait to see what our harvest will be! Anyway...chicken pictures will be in the next post. =)

P.S. I've had several request for more details on Wyatt's birth so I guess I'll be writing his birth story soon. You'll have to forgive me for delaying it....I need a little more time to recover before I can be very objective about it. ;) 
Thanks for checking in!

Saturday, March 24, 2012


                                                      Wyatt Randolph Blakeman
                                                        Born March 22, 5:35 am
                                                 Weight : 10 lbs 15 oz (aka 11 lbs!)
                                                         Length: 21.5 inches

 So happy to announce the arrival of this big little man at looooong last! He is doing super great and I am getting there. =) I'll spare you the details as far as labor went, but will say "His grace is sufficient...". There were thankfully no complications, it was just very long. And may I is so great to be able to breathe and not have heartburn anymore!!!!!
 Here are a few more pics of the little man. I'm hoping we can do a photo shoot with all the kids before long!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

38 weeks and counting...

While fully aware that I have been putting off updating my blog, I will say that I have tried a couple time lately and been distracted every time.
  However that may I am now. I'm am just about to wrap up the most necessary of my sewing projects. Not that I will ever "be done" but at least what I have done should last if the baby decides to come at any time now. =) We can't wait! Ed gets off in the morning so I have been "suggesting" to baby that would be an ideal time. =)
  My latest project, is a bedding set for the sister of a dear friend. She couldn't find anything she liked so Monday evening they all invited me to go along while we shopped for fabric and nursery decor. Ed was home that evening so I had a long-overdue, and very-much-enjoyed shopping trip with Britney Harper and two of her sisters. We left about 6 and didn't get home until 10, but surprisingly even then I wasn't tired. Must have still been running on adrenaline. =) It was such a fun outing! So then, yesterday, I got all of it sewn up and was so thankful that it came together as easily as it did. The Lord blessed so much!
 I will be posting a bunch of pics (computer allowing) to my "projects" page instead of here, so you will be able to click over there and see them.
 I guess today my goal will be (besides updating my blog) to get the kids on some more school, as well as more stuff printed out.  As far as the kids are concerned....we are finally coming out of a "colds and flu" spell. I do still have a couple sniffing and coughing, but thankfully looks like everyone is on the mend. I have been prepping all the kids to take on more responsibilities around the house for when the baby comes. I can't have everything falling apart while Ed is at work. And the kids are plenty big enough to help too. I'm so thankful for how responsible they are getting to be and how willing. Aaron, Lela and Alyssa take turns helping get meals ( I don't know if I mentioned getting a ton of freezer cooking done so it's easier for them). Aaron pretty much takes care of changing and bathing Asher all the time now.( I'm hoping to start potty training as soon as the weather is consistently warm.) A couple weeks ago I realized I needed to come up with a good solution for keeping up with that little whirlwind of ours so I created a harness system. He wears the harness and I ( or whoever is in charge of keeping an eye on him) wear the belt with a long ribbon that clips on the back of his harness. It really works to keep him from wandering off with out us noticing. (i.e. while I'm sewing or teaching) We only use this at home but it has greatly reduced the chaos and I feel better knowing that when I can't get up and chase him he will still be safe. He had gotten to the point of being able to open locks and doors and would go out on the front porch and greet the neighbors. !!!!!!! Thankfully we have really good neighbors, but that still scares me to death, so....hence the "Asher Harness". But...the upside to that is he is with me most of the time and helps with whatever I'm doing, which he really loves. And I do too.  Oh, and his latest thing is obsessing over his shoes. He LOVES shoes and gets soooo frustrated when he can't put them on right. To the point I've had to make it a discipline issue. If he can't get them with out pitching a fit he can't wear them. =/
  Ky is going through a phase where she goes between being super helpful and super whiny... but I'm still always surprised at how much she can do well. It is now her and Levi's job to fold all the towels and put away all the ones they can reach. She is so excited about this baby coming (as are all the kids)...she has lately been bringing me her favorite stuffed animals and putting them in the baby's cubbies "for the baby to play with when she comes".  Too sweet!
  Levi is a great little helper when he's not pretending to be a cowboy. He goes everywhere with a gun strapped on. (Just like Papa does. =) He is moving along well in Kindergarten and I'm hoping to have him reading before long. He is more than ready, Mama just hasn't taken as much time with him as he needs. (ahem)
 Isaac has now entered the ranks of the dishwashers. We had realized he wasn't getting nearly enough responsibility compared to the older ones so I decided to increase his work load. It's slow going  some days, but once he realizes there is no getting out of it or running off to play, he can get his chores done
with surprisingly good results. I have to keep remembering to dish out chores and errands to all the younger ones as well as the older ones, even though the older ones do it better. They all have to learn even if it is inconvenient for me at times.
  Lyssa, Lela and Aaron are all doing well in school, as is Isaac. The girls have been making progress and experimenting with their sewing and Aaron has just been given a computer programming book. And ALL my kids can be found at any given moment of the day with their nose in a book.
  School seems to be a constant re-evaluation process on my part, but I guess that is all of life, when you think about it. My tendency is to try do things they way they have always been done and to feel badly when I don't get everything done (which is most of the time). But I've realized that for our family, some things are not going to change anytime soon and that it's not a bad thing. We will just plan to school year round and if we don't get "school" done every day I'm not going to fret. They have tons of life lessons to learn.
   On that note.....we have recently become the proud owners of about 2 1/2 acres of land and are hoping to build this year as the Lord provides the money. We already have our cabin it could be sooner than we think or it could be longer. We plan to start with a smaller cabin that we can build quickly and inexpensively, and then once we are on the property we will add on and build a barn, get animals, etc. We are all so excited about "moving to the country" as the kids like to say. It will definitely be a change, but a welcome one. It's probably the main topic of conversation at our house these days. That and baby. =) Sooooo, as I was saying about life lessons..there are loads of them to learn, both now and as we make plans to move in the future.
  I got my seeds planted today...the ones that need to be started indoors. I'm hoping I'm not too late. We have more to plant outside as soon as Ed gets my "containers" built. We tried planting without them last year and got poor/no results so we thought maybe we can control the soil and water better in some box gardens. So far I have tomatoes (2 kinds), onions (2 kinds), red sweet peppers, and red cabbage started and hope to add 2 kinds of corn, lettuce, broccolli, melons, carrots, and green beans outside. I'm looking forward to seeing what comes of our endeavors! We are also making plans to visit Charlie's U-pik again as soon as they have produce.
 Well, before I go into labor and this gets filed under drafts...I guess I better quit writing and start uploading some pictures.
 Hoping to blog again soon!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


 Due to some comments I got on FB about my article I thought I might need to make a few clarifications! First, it has never offended me for people to tell me to enjoy my kids. I know they are right...and I DO. I love parenting and I love each one of my precious children. My appreciation for this article was her point that it's OK to admit that it's tough. And not every single second is always joy inducing in the moment. I know down the road I will look back and see how fast it all went by. In fact there are moments when I feel that way now. (Maybe some of those "Kairos" moments?) But for me it was refreshing to think that I don't have to feel guilty for not always loving every single second. And just because you feel like it's tough doesn't mean you don't enjoy being a parent. I still love my children and am so grateful for the privilege of being a parent. And I'm thankful for the tough times too.
   Anyway, hope no one takes this the wrong way.