The Gang

The Gang
October 2008 Sweet Potatoe Harvest

About Me

I am a busy mommy of 6, seeking to be a loving, godly helpmeet to my husband and a biblical discipler to my children. God has blessed us with a child with Autism. May the lessons that the Lord is teaching me and our family be a blessing to you and yours!

My Favorite Books

  • Bible
  • Created to be His Helpmeet by Debi Pearl
  • Four-Season Harvest by Eliot Coleman
  • Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver
  • Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carroll
  • Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
  • Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp
  • The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace
Thursday, November 29, 2007
I am so blessed to have a great network of friends in the area and far away! Today I got to spend several hours with a dear friend while we took our Autistic boys to their bi-monthly progress review with their ABA Therapy provider. We were both looking forward to our day together. It was so refreshing to spend so many hours sharing struggles, blessings, lessons, and so much more. I'm so thankful that God blesses us with human relationships that can honor Him! We had the opportunity to be a testimony to the therapists and even to the Psychologist who review the boys progress in their programs.

So for all of you who read my blog that have been great friends over the years I want to take a moment to say, "Thank you!" Thank you for being a blessing to me and for being used by God to help me grow closer to Him. I pray that we will always be Iron Friends, loving each other enough to not only encourage but to confront and challenge each other in our walks with the Lord!

Proverbs 27:17 "Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another." NASB
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Yep you guessed it, the Christmas tree has fallen! It lasted less than 24 hours. We were hoping to get one more year out of our fake tree. Last year the stand snapped when we were taking it down. Phil used the Yooper Man's favorite tool...... ducktape and tried to get the stand to work. It was fine until Thomas tried to hang an ornament as high up as he could reach. Then it came crashing down. Thankfully I only have plastic shatterproof bulbs since my younger boys still think that anything round is a ball for throwing!

Phil tried to reinforce the stand again with something stiff & ducktape but it only took a couple hours for it to fall again.

Next weekend he will take the older kids out for a real tree. Then after Christmas I'll go shopping for a nice fake tree on clearance. I got the one we've used for the past few years for about $35 on clearance and it was a $179 tree. I'm praying I'll find just as good of a deal this year. I like the advantage of getting to enjoy our tree for at least 4 weeks without having the mess of the needles falling off and being dragged through the entire house.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
When do you Decorate for Christmas? We usually try to decorate for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving. Sometimes we start on Thanksgiving evening. Usually I dread decorating only because we have so many little hands. Several years ago when I was an avid Flylady follower I changed how we decorate and prepare for the holidays. It has taken a few years for me to tweek the system but this year I think we finally did it!!

I usually try to have all my Thanksgiving meal shopping done by the beginning of November, this time it was the week before which worked out fine. I put the Turkey (24 pounds) in the fridge when I brought it home from the store (6 days before Thanksgiving). The week of Thanksgiving I prepared all my side dishes and pies with the exception of the 9 layer salad. The day of Thanksgiving was so calm as we prepared a nice "brunch" of Ham & Cheese Omlet roll, fresh hashbrowns, and Thomas's GF/CF Crunchy Coffee Cake. When we were done with brunch I stuffed the bird and got it in the oven for its 4 1/2 hours of cooking. We then enjoyed a lazy day as a family until shortly before meal time when we took out the bird & finalized the meal prep by making gravy, cooking the rolls, and carving the turkey.

We enjoyed a time of reading Psalms of thanks before praying and partaking of our Thanksgiving Dinner. It was really a lovely day.

Yesterday after my black Friday shopping and a nap we got out all the Christmas decorations and decorated the house in less than 2 hours. It was the first time ever that I was relaxed and really had fun decorating with the kids. While our leftover dinner was warming I fluffed our fake tree so we could decorate it. The kids decorated it after dinner. Phil hung Christmas lights in each of the kids rooms. We've wanted to do this each year and simply never got around to it. This year I love the way our home is decorated. I put out only the things that I loved and that are for the most part "kid safe". I have a few of my favorite breakables up very high.

So, we are all decorated for Christmas, and all the gifts are wrapped. I have to yet wrap and mail the gifts to my nieces Summer & Ashlee, shop for our Christmas Dinner meal, and do my Christmas baking. I'm primarily doing all gluten free cookies and have a couple friends who also have children alergic to wheat that I am baking for too.

If you always have a hectic holiday season I'd really encourage you to check out Click on and read her Holiday planner. I made one years ago and still pull it out each year. It helps me to keep the holidays calm which gives us the ability to focus on the true meaning of the Holidays. Thanksgiving is for the purpose of giving Thanks to GOD for all His mighty provisions. Christmas is for the purpose of celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ and the wonderful Gift He has given us.... Eternal Life.

I hope you you will enjoy Celebrating this season of our Saviors birth!
So, do any of you take advantage of the Black Friday sales? Last year was my first year of Black Friday shopping. Elizabeth & I traveled to Marinette last year to shop at Menards, WalMart & Shopko for some "deals" that I wanted to get with the Grandparents Christmas money for the kids & us. Last year was QUITE an adventure since we left for Marinette in a THICK fog at 4 in the morning to hit the stores when they opened. We stood in line for a LONG time at each store, and ended up with a counterfeit $50 that I had gotten from the credit uniion only days before shopping. Overall it was quite an adventure.

This year was much calmer. I woke at 3:30 on Friday and left for Iron Mountain by 4:15 to get to WalMart. They had a portable DVD player for just $59 that we wanted to use in Thomas's Therapy room. He does his therapy programs with a token system. That means that he earns a token each time he complies and completes a program without fighting the therapists. Each time he earns 5 tokens he gets to pick a "prize" or fun activity from his prize box. In his prize box he has a remote control car, a slinky, candy, movies, etc. Since we do NOT want the kids watching movies all the time we need to put the full size TV under lock and key. If we don't Thomas will find a movie and turn it on. Anyone who knows "autism" knows that these kids like to watch a lot of TV/movies, I guess most kids do. Anyway, we don't want that for Thomas nor for the rest of the kids. So the portable DVD player will allow it to be kept in his Therapy box and only brought out during therapy to use if he choses it with his tokens.

The portable DVD players are usually around $100. So it was a great deal. Anyway I got to WalMart and found the spot where the DVD player was and stood in line with the other folks that were nutz enough to get up so early waiting for them to peel off the plastic at 5 a.m. I was able to get a DVD player and they were ALL gone in about 10 minutes or less so if I hadn't been there early I would have missed out.

While looking through the black Friday ad's Phil also mentioned that he wanted a digital frame to put on his desk at work so he could have pictures flashing through of me and the kids. Phil is a difficulty man to shop for so I was very glad to find out that he wanted one and was able to get one for a very good price at the Black Friday sales. Phil's folks give me the money to spend on the family since I know what everyone needs or wants and then Mom doesn't have to ship it all from Canada. So Phil's frame will be from his folks. He saw it when I came home so it wasn't a great surprise, however I did wrap it and am making him wait unitl Christmas to get it. That was tough for my techy hubby who is really excited about playing with it and trying to figure out how it works!! :-)

I only missed out on one of the Black Friday deals that I REALLY wanted. Shopko had a 250 piece set of Magnetix for only $29 which is normal almost $60. The boys love playing with these but you cannot do much with only a few. So a nice large set would've been nice. I was out of Walmart by 5:15 and off to Shopko, arriving there by about 5:25. Shopko opened at 5 and the magnetix were gone by the time I got there. I don't think they had very many which is usually the case with many of the door buster items.

Anyway, I was up at 3:30 and back home before 7 a.m. and back to bed! :-) Iron Mountain was much calmer than Marinette was last year! Last night I had fun wrapping all the Christmas presents. I only have one more gift to purchase for Phil which I will not write about since I really want it to be a surprise for him. He is very hard to shop for but I found something very fun that I know that he will like and it doesn't have ANYTHING to do with a computer! :-) '
I wanted to update everyone on our quest for a house. At this point we will not be purchasing a home nor renting. When we were going through the financing we realized by crunching the numbers that it would not be wise for us to purchase a home until we knock off some of the debt we've accumulated the past two yeras of living without much income and until we get a renter in this home that we own in Pembine. We aren't planning to sell our Pembine home right now simply because we owe more than we can sell it for because of having to use the second mortgage to live off of the past two years.

For now Phil will be renting in the Clevelane/Manitowoc area and gone Sun evening - Friday evening and we will remain in Pembine.

Some of the advantages of this arrangement:
1. We will be able to significantly reduce our debt.
2. The kids will remain in the Pembine Public school for the remainder of the year. Thomas & Sam are striving academically making this a good choice. Plus it will save us a couple thousand dollars that we would have had to spend on home schooling material.
3. Thomas will keep his current therapy team. Our Senior Therapist told us that the team of therapists that we have for Thomas is the best she has ever worked with. Thomas is really triving through his in home therapy program through WEAP (Wisconsin Early Autism Project).
4. There won't be the stress of moving to rent for a year then moving again to hopefully purchase a home.
5. It will give us more time to determine if we want to purchase this year or wait until next.
6. It will allow us to seek some counsel from a Christan Mortgage broker about the coorect price range to search for a home. A price that will allow us to reach our goal of being debt free all but the mortgage within the next 3 years.
7. More time to find a renter for the Pembine Home.
8. The opporunity to apply for Wisconsin Charter school for the fall. This option will give us all our home schooling material FREE plus we will have a school teacher available to tutor the kids in areas that they are struggling in. Yet we will have the kids at home an be able to give them a Biblical Worldview and complimentary education.

Some disadvantages of this arrangement:
1. Having to be seperate from each other for the next several months all but 2 days a week.
2. Me having to single parent the majority of the time.
3. Sam having to stay in the Public School where he is really struggling with peer pressure and His security in Christ. Please pray for him.

How can you pray for our family during this time:
1. That we will stay close and focused on God's goodness during this time of seperation.
2. That God would provide a renter for the Pembine Home.
3. That God would prepare the home he wants us to rent or buy for Fall 2008.
4. That our hearts & lives would remain pure, righteous, and tender during these months.
5. That the Lord will teach me how to be a balanced parent as I fill two roles during the weekdays.
Friday, November 9, 2007
This past week has gone really well for our first week away from Phil! We are all REALLY excited about seeing him tonight though! He is getting off a little early today and hopes to be home when the kids get home from school. They will be so surprised to see him!

We have put an offer on a home in Kiel Wisconsin that is a 6 bedroom 2 1/2 bath home with 2500 square feet and a 4 car garage all on 4 acres of agriculteral land! We hope to find out next week if it will be ours. There is a primary offer that has to remove the contingency of selling their home and come up with financing. If they cannot then we will become the primary offer with hopes of closing on the house by December 7th. There are so many things to work through that we are simply praying that if this is the house God wants us to have that everything will come together smoothly!

We've looked at 35 homes in the area down there and this one is the only one that would really work well for our family. I have a stack of about 12 more for Phil to look at if the one in Kiel falls through.

Saturday we will be celebrating Samuel & Calebs' birthdays with a pool party at a place called the Four Seasons in our town. They are very exciting about getting to swim with their friends! Samuel will be 10 on Nov 16th and Caleb just turned 8 on Nov 3rd. This is the first time we've done a combined party for them and I think it will be really fun! We've decided to buy each of the kids a cool car instead of donig a junk filled goodie bag. I hope it will go over well with the boys!

I only packed a few boxes this week. I'll focus more on packing next week. This week I just wanted the kids and I to find a new routine with Phil being gone. Mornings are still the most difficult time. It didn't help that a couple mornings ago we had a bit of snow on the ground so we had "fun" digging for snow pants & boots for everyone! I'm so looking forward to having calm mornings before our home schooling begins each day. No more mad dashes, looking for the GLOVE that has legs, finding the coat that never made it to it proper place, or signing papers that should have been signed the night before!!!

I know it probably sounds insaine but I am really looking forward to home schooling! We will take it slow this winter and do some modified schooling over the summer so the kids stay up on their skills and we complete the required home schooling hours for Wisconsin. If all goes well I hope to have our family join the local YMCA by March so we can start on regular gym & swimming times throughout the week. Plus it will give the kids the opportunity to be involved in some sports with kids in the community.

I'm off now to get the house all tidied up for Phil's return, and get our supper ready so we can have a fun family night together!
Saturday, November 3, 2007
Today is the second full day of no daddy for us. We are praying that we will be able to find a home soon close to Phil's new job so we will be together again. Phil will be gone Mon - Fri each week. It will be a big adjustment for me and the kids. I think it will be really good for Phil to have his first couple of months at work without the pressure of coming home to family each night. It will allow him to spend all the time he needs learning what his company requires of him. BUT I'm not looking forward to being away from him 5 days a week.

I know our time apart is nothing compared to the military wives/families who are without daddy for months and sometimes years. I have a good friends who's husband is in Iraq and she is here taking care of her three little ones. I am thankful that the Lord is my strength and not my hubby. For with God all things are possible!! I sure will miss him though.

I'm in good company with other Reese woman who have had a be a super mom! My dear sis-in- law is often separated from Phil's brother while he travels for his company. And my dear mom-in-law for years was on her own while Dad traveled with an evangelistic team. I pray that God will use this time to draw me even close to the kids and prepare us for the move and home schooling. I'd covet your prayers for me that I will be selfless and tender to the needs of the kids even more now that Phil is not here daily. Phil is such a great father!

We'll I'm off to finish dinner and have a birthday cake with the kids to celebrate Caleb's Birthday. We are having his "real" party next week. Sam & Caleb will celebrate their birthdays together by having a swimming party at one of our local hotels.
It has been a very busy and tiring week! Phil and I were in the Manitowoc area Monday through Wednesday looking at houses. We saw one on Wednesday that might be a possibility but had many things that didn't meet our needs with 6 kids, home schooling and a need for a room designated for therapy. We looked at 20 homes, went into 8 of them and none really met our needs.

We came home and spent hours more looking through homes online. We found another 12 to drive by/look at. Phil left Thursday early afternoon to head back down to look at those homes. He found one that looked like it would be perfect for our family. When he called the realtor he found out that it already has a offer on it. We were so disappointed. We decided to pray and see if there were any holes in the offer or clauses that may allow us to put in a secondary offer that might have a chance.

Phil heard from our Realtor this morning. He told Phil that the current offer has a "bump clause" that states they have to sell their home within a couple weeks or they loose the opportunity to keep the home that we are looking at. Phil is seeing the house this morning and plans to put an offer in on it this afternoon. If the other person who put in the offer cannot sell their home within the next couple weeks we might be able to get the house! It seems awfull to pray that the other people won't sell their house.... so we will pray that God will make His will evident. We will pray that if this is the home God wants for us that He will allow our offer to be accepted as a secondary offer and that within the next couple of weeks it will be accepted as the primary offer.
The two weeks waiting will give us the opportunity to continue to look as well as to make all the necessary preparations for our financing to go through quickly.

Pray with us that God will make it evident if this is to be our home, or that He will guide us to the house he wants us to have.