Archive | Uncategorized RSS feed for this section

Weekly Photo Challenge: Split-Second Story

31 May

*Disclaimer:  This post is a complete exaggeration based on a recent conversation with a friend. Thankfully, my wonderful husband could care less if the house, the children, or myself are a complete mess when he gets home from work, or he at least has the sense not to mention it.

The kids and I had great fun staging these pictures that represent a split-second in our day, with so much change going on in between the two pictures! 

 

You know that moment of clarity when you look around at your life and realize, something must change?  You see that your life is a mess, that you are living in chaos, and there is a strange smell coming from somewhere in the room, possibly from you?  You recognize that something must be done, that you must get to work to end the wreck that your life has become?

This happens every day in my house.

I call it the 5:30 rush.  5:30 is when my husband’s office closes.  I picture him calmly getting up from his desk, gathering his things, and walking out the door, locking up behind him.  Of course, he is looking so forward to getting home to his clean, cheery children and wife, to leaving the stress and busy-ness of the day behind him.

It takes him 30 minutes to drive home, and during that time I am a mad-woman.

 

The husband rush

 

I look around, assessing the situation.  I yell at the kids to un-attach themselves from me, go up to their rooms, take off their pajamas, and get dressed in real clothes including underwear.

I begin frantically loading dirty dishes into the dishwasher and putting cereal boxes, a jar of peanut butter, and other various food items into the cabinets.  I throw the stack of paper plates and juice boxes left by the 10 kids and their mothers we had over for lunch into the recycling, then grab the Lysol Wipes container and run through the house cleaning off countertops and toilets.

I quickly make the bed and snatch up the wet bathing suits laying in the floor, running into the laundry room to start a load of laundry.

The kids and I meet up in my bathroom, washing faces and brushing hair.  Charlie finds a can of Glade and goes around the house spraying coconut-scented air freshener around while Maddie begins searching the house for our cats so she can put them outside.

I realize that I haven’t started dinner yet, so I rush into the kitchen, grabbing the glasses of melted ice left on our nightstands from the night before to put into the dishwasher.  I stick a frozen lasagna in the oven, not bothering to preheat the oven, then lay a cutting board and knife out on the counter and arrange a head of lettuce, some carrots, and a tomato artfully on top of it, creating the illusion that I am in the middle of cooking a delicious, healthy, labor-intensive dinner for my hard-working husband.

I walk quickly through the house, picking up Legos, Barbies, and Transformers and tossing them into bins and closets, strategically leaving books scattered about.  I leave a puzzle box lying on the living room sofa and some play-doh on the kitchen table.  Evidence of organized learning must remain as proof of our productivity.

Back in my bathroom, I throw some concealer under my eyes, adding some mascara, blush, and lip gloss for good measure.  I take off my old shorts and T-shirt and put on clean clothes that I would actually wear in public.

Glancing at the clock, I realize that I have 5 minutes left before the husband pulls up in the driveway.  I grab the vacuum and run it over the floors, vacuuming up little piles of sand brought home from the park and the occasional small toy that was inadvertently left out (Casualty of war, I think to myself.) while the kids scrub with some Windex wipes at the chocolate handprints on the kitchen door. As I am placing the vacuum back in the pantry, I hear the garage door opening.

I smile to the kids as they take their places at the kitchen counter, coloring quietly.  I grab a pitcher of iced tea out of the refrigerator and set it out, then stand at the island and begin chopping up the vegetables I had put out earlier.

“Hi, Honey, I’m home!” Husband calls out when he enters the house.  I press a button on my iPod and switch the music playing in the background from “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” to Beethoven’s “Symphony Number 5”.  The kids put down their crayons and run to him, screaming, “Daddy, Daddy!”

He looks at me, “Did you guys have a good day?  What did you do?”

I smile sweetly, noticing that he has on his golfing clothes, and hand him a glass of tea.  “Nothing much.  Just did some stuff around the house.”

The Big Rush After_1

 

 

 

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/split-second-story/ 

 

Advertisements

Happy International Children’s Book Day!

2 Apr

International Children's Book Day

In case you didn’t know, today is International Children’s Book Day.  In celebration of this totally random day, I have a couple of book recommendations for you.  These are books that my kids love, and I actually love reading these books to them, which is a good thing since I have to read them over and over and over…….

DSC_0004

Maddie got Part-Time Princess by Deborah Underwood for her birthday this year, and it is one of my favorite books of all-time.  It is about a little girl who becomes a princess in her dreams, but not an ordinary princess-a princess who fights fires started by fire-breathing dragons then takes the dragons to tea to see why they are upset.  She saves her kingdom from many disasters throughout the book, while also enjoying bubble baths and pink cake.  Her mother also appears in her dreams as a queen from a faraway land, which I think is really cool.

I also love all of the Buzz Boy and Fly Guy books, written by Tedd Arnold.

DSC_0006

 

These were Charlie’s first series of books, which he started collecting last year.  He doesn’t have all of them yet, but he’s not far off!  The Buzz Boy books are about a boy and his pet fly and their crazy adventures.  They are really short and fun and have taught Charlie a lot of sounds, especially ZZZZZZZZZZ….

So how are you going to celebrate International Children’s Book day? I would love to hear about your favorite children’s books!

31 Days Unplugged – Day 31

30 Mar

images

 

When I came up with the idea of 31 Days Unplugged, I thought it would be useful for other women like me: stay-at-home moms who were spending too much time online during the day.  God had been speaking to me for awhile about the issue, so I began unplugging and paying attention to my use of technology on the first day of February.

I had more than half of my posts ready for the month of March before the first post was made public, and even though I wasn’t completely unplugged, I was already beginning to see the positive effects of less time spent online in my home.  I found that I had more time to do what I was supposed  to be doing, to be what God has called me to be: a wife and mother.  I was less stressed-out, and in turn my entire family was more peaceful.

Here are some things I learned from my month (well, 2) of unplugging:

1-Facebook is a great way to keep in touch with friends and family, but I have been using it too much.  I can check Facebook once a day for a few minutes and keep in touch with friends and family, but checking Facebook constantly throughout the day is a waste of my time and energy.  I have found that my home and life runs more smoothly without Facebook.

2-Facebook makes me stressed.  People post things on there that make me angry or anxious, and I don’t have room in my day for time wasted on those things.  Facebook causes gossip, which I don’t like and would rather not be a part of. God tells us in Phillipians 4 to “fill your minds with those things that are good and that deserve praise: things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and honorable.”  I’m just going to put this out there, guys: these things are not on Facebook.

3-I have been kinder to my children since I have been unplugged.  I’m not sure if that is because I am not as anxious or stressed or if I have more time for them or what, but it has been great for the 3 of us.  One of my goals for 2014 was to stop yelling, and unplugging this month helped me with that tremendously.

4-I do have enough time to do all that I want to do, and I have time to do it well.  I just needed to stop wasting my time.

Do I feel like I missed out on anything this month?

I can honestly say that I don’t miss Facebook.  I think that checking it for a few minutes each day will be enough for me to feel in-touch. I am pretty ambivalent about Twitter.  Some people really love it, but I mainly use it only for blog updates. TV is also something that I don’t care too much for.  When I have the TV on, it is usually on cartoons or Pawn Stars (Jason loves that show).  These things aren’t hard for me to give up.

What I do miss, though, is Instagram.  I LOVE taking pictures of the kids, and I get a lot of inspiration from other people’s pictures. I am seriously looking forward to using Instagram again, so if you follow me on Instagram expect A LOT of pictures from me tomorrow!

So, what has changed?

Everything has changed for me.  My morning routine begins with God instead of status updates, I clean or play a game with my kids instead of checking Facebook, and I have more time for my husband when he gets home from work at night.  Everything has changed.  I am not going back (well, except for the Instagram thing:)).

What did you learn this month?  If you would like to share, please join my link-up.  I haven’t hosted a link-up before, so if there are some initial hiccups please bear with me!

If you aren’t a blogger, please e-mail your story to me at mommyinbonlee@hotmail.com.  I would really love to hear from you, and maybe share your testimony on my blog.

 

 

 

31 Days Unplugged – Day 25 – Working for God’s Glory

24 Mar

images

If you know anything about me at all, you know that I am a stay-at-home-mom.  Since that is my life and it is what I know, that is the viewpoint with which I have approached this month of unplugging.  My sister pointed out to me that maybe I needed to keep people who work outside the home in mind, and then my Sunday school lesson last week directly addressed this problem, so I felt this post was meant to be!

According to Forbes, 64% of people spend time on non-work related websites while they are being paid to work.  That is almost unbelievable, isn’t it?

There are so many Bible verses that tell us that this is wrong:

Colossians 3:23 instructs is to “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.”

2 Thessalonians 3: 6-9 really lays it out for believers, saying “And now, dear brothers and sisters, we give you this command in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: Stay away from all believers who live idle lives and don’t follow the tradition they received from us. For you know that you ought to imitate us. We were not idle when we were with you.  We never accepted food from anyone without paying for it. We worked hard day and night so we would not be a burden to any of you.  We certainly had the right to ask you to feed us, but we wanted to give you an example to follow.”

It is not right to waste our time at work, guys, for a couple of reasons. First, it is a bad example to unbelievers.  God has placed us in whatever position we are in at the moment for a specific reason, and we need to always be aware of that. We need to always work for God’s glory.

Secondly, when we are at work, we are being paid to work.  Even if you aren’t being held accountable to the person who is paying you, you will be held accountable by God.

Challenge #19 – When you are on the clock at work, do not look at any websites that are not work-related.  Don’t do any online shopping, return a Facebook message, or quickly check your Twitter feed.  

While I won’t be personally completing this challenge (since I obviously don’t work outside of the home) I know that this will be really difficult, especially if you are in the habit of spending a lot of time online at your job.  I know that you will find it beneficial in the end, though.

Let me know how it goes!

 

31 Days Unplugged – Day 17 – Four Books to Change Your Mind, Marriage, Time and Faith

16 Mar

images

We are well into our 31 Days Unplugged Challenge, and if you are anything like me you are finding that, as you spend less time in front of your computer or with your phone in your hand, you have time to do other things.  

Amy Bennett is guest-posting for Mommy in Bonlee today, offering us a wonderful alternative to spending our time online: reading an actual book!  Amy is a working mom of 2 daughters from South Carolina.  You can read more from her on her blog, Amy J. Bennett.

fourbooks

I believe books to be life-changing.

I’ve always been an avid reader, but for years I only read novels.  I’d watch my parents read non-fiction books and it never looked appealing.  Perhaps because I was in school for so long and then had young children, the last thing I wanted to do in my free time was learn.

Somewhere in my 20’s I started picking up Christian non-fiction and I got absolutely hooked.  Even though I try to read a novel every once in awhile, there’s nothing I love more than gaining new knowledge and new perspective to help me grow.

I put together a list of four of my favorite books that have significantly impacted my life in different areas.  Reading a book a week, in just a month you could change your mind, marriage, time and faith.

Change Your Mind

I don’t know about you, but I struggle a lot with insecurities and self-doubt.  Renee Swope’s book A Confident Heart was such an encouragement.  She helped me stop the negative talk and build confidence in who God made me. So much of our struggle is in our minds and this book definitely helped strengthen my mind and heart muscles.

Change Your Marriage

I’ve read quite a few marriage books.  Some older favorites are the 5 Love Languages and Love & Respect.  A more recent, but less known book, that absolutely helped in my marriage is Beyond Ordinary.  After surviving an affair, Justin and Trisha Davis have solid advice on how to resist keeping your marriage ordinary.

Change Your Time

You may know Crystal Paine as Money Saving Mom, the blogger behind the uber popular home finance site MoneySavingMom.com.  Her latest book is Say Goodbye to Survival Mode where she’s gathered up all her best advice for the “super busy, the stressed out, and the overtired.”  She talks about everything from laundry to finances.  Crystal always challenges me on how to be intentional with my time. I’m really not sure where I’d be without her!

Change Your Faith

Christian fiction is my favorite type of non-fiction and there have been so many books that have shaped my faith.  One book that I like to recommend because it’s an older book is A Shepherd Looks at the Good Shepherd.  As an actual shepherd, Phillip Keller gives us insight to Jesus that very few of us, if any, in America can provide.  I walked away with a new appreciation for God’s love for us and a compassionate heart towards those without a shepherd.

I hope you’ve found some new books that might encourage you and would love to hear what books you might recommend!

31 Days Unplugged – Day 15 – Unstructured Time

14 Mar

images

A big part of the 31 Days Unplugged challenge has, for me, been about time management.  I have found that when I am unplugged, I have  a lot of time to do other things.  How do I spend that time for the glory of God and the good of my family? I have grown a lot this month in that area, and found that several new and exciting opportunities have arisen due to my new focus.  I hope that is true for you, too!

Recently, my husband and I had to decide whether or not to sign Charlie up to play T-Ball this Spring.  I really wanted him to start playing, but Jason wasn’t so sure.  I thought it would be good for Charlie to meet some more kids his own age and start getting some baseball skills.  Jason thought he was too young and unfocused, and he also knew that we would have to sacrifice a lot of our free time (which we really value) to take Charlie to practice and games.

In the end, we decided to wait a while longer to begin playing organized sports, and even though I was disappointed at the time, I am now relieved that we don’t have to spend our Saturdays this spring at the ballpark, especially after talking with some friends who are stressing out, trying to figure out how to add ball practice into their already busy schedules.

Having too little unstructured time is a problem for a lot of people, whether you have children or not.  We run from one activity to another, spending hours a day in our vehicles (with the kids watching movies or playing on the phone).  We spend our Saturdays rushing from one game to another, then from birthday party to birthday party.  What are we trying to accomplish, exactly?

According to the National Wildlife Federation, today’s children in America spend less than 30 minutes a day in unstructured play and 7 hours or more in front of some sort of electronic device!  That just sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? 

No wonder so many of our children are obese, diagnosed with ADHD and depression, and simply stressed-out!

Today’s post is an extension of yesterday’s challenge to cut down on your family’s time in front of the TV.

Challenge #12 – This weekend, structure at least one hour a day of unstructured time into your schedule. (That sounds ironic, doesn’t it?) In my opinion, that isn’t enough unstructured time, but that’s a good start.  Spend this time doing WHATEVER you want to do, and let your kids do WHATEVER they want to do (except watch TV, of course:)).  

I am a big believer in unstructured time, and a large portion of our days are spent with the kids simply playing.  I have always believed strongly that that is how kids learn and make memories, not by being shuttled from one activity to the next.  We’ve got to give ourselves and our families time to just be.

Spreading weeds

31 Days Unplugged – Day 8 – Take Care of Yourself

7 Mar

images

Welcome back to my 31 Days Unplugged challenge.  As you are spending less time online and more time living abundantly, I am sure you are finding more time in your day, time that was previously being wasted.  For today’s challenge, I am going to give you something to fill up a little of that time!

1 Corinthians 6: 19-20 says, “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.”

Do you take care of the body that God has blessed you with? For some of you, the answer may be yes.  If so, that is great!  If the answer is no, this challenge is for you!

Challenge #7-Spend at least 20 minutes doing some sort of physical activity.  Take time that you used to waste online and use it to be a healthier person.  Take a walk outside, stretch, do some jumping jacks and sit-ups.  Whatever you want to do!

If you don’t know exactly what to do, here are some short YouTube workouts that I like:

This is an easy and short (seriously 5 minutes) yoga video that I enjoy.  It will get you stretched out and you can do it anytime.  My kids love doing it with me:

This video will get you some killer abs:

Here’s a good video if you’re trying to get ready for bikini season.  The instructor has a little dog sitting in the background, and now every time I do a workout Charlie asks, “Where’s the cat?” He thinks there should be a pet in the background of every workout video!  I really like this workout:

And, lastly, this is a short cardio workout.  Fitness Blender is a great resource on YouTube for workout videos:

You can mix and match these to make a pretty effective workout, or you can just go to YouTube and search for short workouts.

If you want to REALLY unplug, just go outside and play with the kids-a game of tag or hide and seek is a wonderful workout (or some sledding for my northern friends)!  Or, take this a step further and sign up for a 5K-there are tons around all spring and summer, and you’ll be helping out a worthy cause in addition to getting in shape!

31 Days Unplugged – Day 5 – What to do with all that time?

4 Mar

images

Welcome back!  We are on day 5 of the 31 Days Unplugged challenge.  At this point, we have unplugged from all forms of social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) during the day.  We are still using these things after the sun goes down, but we are dedicating our days to God and enjoying the abundant life he has promised to us.

If you’re like me, you are finding yourself with some extra time on your hands.  By cutting down on time in front of the computer or staring mindlessly at my cell phone, I have lots of time to do other things, even some things I have been putting off by saying I just didn’t have time to get to it.

Throughout the month, I (and some great guest-bloggers) am going to be giving you some inspiration for things to do to fill up the time that you will inevitably find throughout your day.

Challenge #4-Do something you have been putting off for awhile.  This could be cleaning or organizing, calling someone, writing thank you notes, ironing clothes, whatever it is you have been procrastinating.  You know, the thing you think about every day, but never seem to get done?

I have been wanting to organize my jewelry box for weeks, ever since I got a wonderful new (to me) jewelry box that was my grandma’s.  I have been keeping my jewelry stuffed in a drawer in our bedroom, and it was so messy that I could hardly open the drawer, and a lot of my jewelry was turning into a tangled mess.  I didn’t even want to wear any of my jewelry because it was such a hassle to get to it!

This is my messy drawer full of jewelry...

This is my messy drawer full of jewelry…

...and my beautiful, organized jewelry box!

…and my beautiful, organized jewelry box!

I feel so great having this done, and all I had to do was take 15 minutes I would have otherwise wasted scrolling through Facebook.

Ephesians 5: 15-16 says “So be careful how you live.  Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise.  Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.”

So let’s spend our new found-time wisely!

31 Days Unplugged – Day 4 – A Reflection

3 Mar

images

I have most of my posts for the month already written and scheduled so that I won’t be stressing about writing something every day, but I decided to change things around a bit and actually write tonight.  Today was difficult for me and I felt like I should share it with you. My goal, after all, is to help someone who may be struggling, and to do that I feel the need to talk about my own struggles.

For those who have been participating since the beginning, this was our 3rd day unplugged.  I have only been on social media at nighttime, and not for very long then.  Saturday and Sunday were pieces of cake, but we were really busy and were surrounded by people.

Today, however, was a different story.  Everyone went to work, leaving the kids and myself at home.  I am a stay-at-home-mom, so of course I don’t have a problem with that, but we were kind of stranded at the house today.  We were all tired from a busy weekend and the weather has been horrible, so we couldn’t even have anyone over.

Our day began really early, and I had a feeling it was going to be a tough one…and it was.  I had the urge SO many times to check on Facebook or Instagram really quickly, but I didn’t.  I was bored, tired of talking to the kids, and just…grumpy.  Normally when I am feeling like this, I would zone out online for a little while, but I couldn’t do that today.  When the sun finally set and I could log onto Facebook, I realized something-I had missed nothing.  Facebook really is a waste of time for me.

Instead of spending precious time on the Internet today, I got so much done around the house that I had been putting off.  The kids and I went through their toy boxes and cleaned out Maddie’s closet.  I ironed clothes for Jason, and the kids and I even watched a movie in the middle of the day.  It feels so good to have those things done, and I honestly wouldn’t have done them if I had been online.

Our nighttime routine has run much more smoothly tonight, and I don’t fell stressed out at all right now.

I see the point of unplugging, and I hope you do, too.  We need to pay attention to how we are spending our time. I am sharing this not to brag about what I accomplished today, but to tell you that it was hard for me today. Now I see that it was worth it, and I know that tomorrow will be easier.

No additional challenge today-just continue on with what we have started.

31 Days Unplugged Day 3

2 Mar

images

I have a new challenge for you today. It is a tough one, but totally worth it.  I think you will find that it will add so much meaning to your entire day!

At this point, we have cut out social media during our day and replaced it with prayer time.  Now, we are going to take it to another level. If you’re like me, you are rushing to check Facebook and Instagram before the sun rises in the morning!

Challenge #3-Do not use any form of social media (Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter) in the morning.  Instead, establish a routine of spending your mornings with God by completing a daily devotion of some sort.

When I cut social media out of my morning routine, I found that my days began much more peacefully, and the entire household ran more smoothly.  I am no longer trying to scroll through my news feeds while brushing my teeth, fixing coffee and juice, getting morning cartoons going, etc.

I now treasure my mornings, and actually look forward to getting up early to spend some quiet time with God then watch the news with my husband.

I have some great suggestions for you if you are looking for a good resource for devotions.  My favorite is She Reads Truth.  This is a wonderful community of women offering daily devotions and conversation.  They dig deep into the word, which I appreciate.

Another wonderful resource is You Version.  You can choose from hundreds of different devotions to complete, so you can find one that is just right for you.

I have recently discovered Biblia, a great online Bible.  I love it because it accesses a good online commentary.

If you would rather have a book to hold in your hand (or if it’s too tempting to have your cell phone or computer out), you can head to any bookstore or even Wal-Mart and pick something up.  Your local library probably has something, as well.  The amount of Christian resources available is almost overwhelming!

1 John 5:21 warns, “…keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.”  What better way to follow this instruction than to begin our days in fellowship with God, instead of with something that has no meaning whatsoever?

See you tomorrow!