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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Lemonade stand

I think every kid should have a memory of having a lemonade stand in the summer, don't you?
We stopped by a lemonade stand the other day (because I think you have to be pretty cold-hearted to drive right by one, unless you just don't happen to have fifty cents anywhere in your car) and I had an inkling that this was going to start something with my kids.
Sure enough, we came directly home and they started working on their signs.
The next day (yesterday) the Bacak kids and a few of their friends (Feldman kids) were real life entrepreneurs in the lemonade business.
(I made the lemonade, just so it wasn't disghusting. Ever been to one of those lemonade stands? I have.)
In the morning, we set it up in front of our neighborhood pool so that none of the children would die of heat stroke. I figured when someone got near to death or combusting before our eyes, we would just send them over to jump in the pool. Good plan, hu?
I thought that surely they would give up after 30 minutes of watching people drive past them. I even called Heather and told her to go buy some lemonade just so they'd have a customer.
I was wrong.
They made nearly $20 in the two hours they spent out there.
And then they went back into business in the afternoon at the end of our street.
My little red-faced children chanted "Awesome lemonade! Awesome lemonade!" to every car that drove past.
It's hard to be rejected by the cars that don't stop, but a good life lesson.
Not everyone thinks they're as cute as we do.
They ended up making $26 for the day!
Wow! If I'd known this was a valid source of income, I would have put them out there months ago!
They had various approaches to what to do with their profits. Some noble, some not.
But Rusty decided we could use it for a patient of his who lost her job because her bike was stolen, and it was her only mode of transportation.
The dollar signs in my kids eyes faded, and some were excited about this project, while others were not thrilled.
But isn't the sin of greed and selfishness in us constantly in need of stripping away?
So now they're on a bicycle mission, and we will get to frequent all the Pawn shops in town (always interesting) for just the right bike for this woman.
So don't discount the lemonade stand if you need a little fundraiser!
Or if you're kids are asking you for money. Put them outside with a cooler and a card table.
I think a lemonade stand is awfully hard to resist.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Happy 3rd birthday Treston!

Could my baby be three?
Hard for me to believe, but today he is.
What a kid...how can I describe him...LOUD! Always loud!
He has no other volume but BLARING!
Rough! He is all-boy and has not yet refined gentleness, but he can sure be sweet sometimes.
He's funny. And he knows it.
Hair. I couldn't love his hair more. I know it's looking a little fuzzy right now, but I just adore it.
Enthusiasm. He's got it. When he's excited, there is nothing cuter than the way he talks.
We Bacaks love birthdays, so we are thrilled to celebrate three years of life for our T-Bear.
I'll be honest. His birthday is bittersweet for me. I wasn't there. I wasn't even close to there.
Treston went into a loving foster home under New Life's care when he was born for four and a half months.
I mourn that time lost for me and my baby boy.
But I quickly remind myself what a miracle he is to us.
And can I just say, I THANK GOD for New Life when I think of Treston's life.
Where would he be without New Life? God uses them in such amazing ways!
God did an amazing thing through New Life in Treston's life, and more babies than we could count.
If you are not partnering in any way with a ministry like this, I would ask you to think and pray long and hard about this.
If you are pro-life, then let me challenge you that a bumper sticker or your token pro-life vote is not going to change things. Supporting a ministry like New Life who is dealing with pregnant women in crisis EVERY SINGLE DAY, offering them free pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, financial assistance...this is how Treston came to New Life. His birthmom needed help, and New Life was there.
They had no idea when they assisted her at that time, that the result would be adoption. No one knew. But God knew, and New Life was available to minister to her. He used them to do great things with our family and our sweet baby.
So I know God's purposes are grand for our Treston. We pray salvation over him everyday. God has already done heroic things for him already, so I wait expectantly for the day He saves him for all eternity.
We are THANKFUL today for Treston Jeremiah. Happy Birthday T-Bear!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Summer of Organization

Summer is a time to organize.
Okay, mainly it's a time to sweat.
But for me, it's also a time to organize.
I recently read Carolyn Mahaney's book "Feminine Appeal." It has so much take-home! I highly recommend it!
But one area she points out, along with many others, that I want to continually grow in is planning and organization.
I feel like we are pretty well structured and organized. We love schedules. Okay, maybe I love schedules, but the kids like knowing what's happenning when too.
But I'm also finding the more kids I have, the more grades I teach, I am having to step up my organization game, big time!
I will be homeschooling three grades this year. This is a little scary for me, so I'm getting a head start on my yearly planning.
This week I actually got all my lesson plans for my older kids' unit lessons printed out, hole punched, and organized in a calendar for the fall and spring semester, all put together in a pretty notebook.
Whew. What an amazing feeling.
And that's the thing.
Planning and organization make our lives a little easier.
Carolyn Mahaney points out that we can reduce the stress level in our home and for our husbands by being good planners and organizers.
So true! How stressed are we when we can't find something? Losing stuff is going to happen. But my job is to make sure we have a place for everything, and that place is made known to my family.
Planning ahead for this school year is already taking some of the fear and stress out of my year. I can breathe a little easier and sleep a little better at night knowing lesson plans are tucked away in the pretty notebook.
And the summer is also for all of the projects in my house that I don't attend to during the school year when I'm teaching.
Like cleaning out closets. Cabinets. Drawers.
I try to re-think some of our systems that need updating.
Perfect example, our shoe cubbies.
Those little cubbies have served us well. The rule is you take your shoes off and put them in the cubbies AS SOON as we get in the door. I think I say "Go in, take your shoes off, and put them in the cubbies" 99% of the time that we pull the van into the garage.
A one millionth reminder is really not superfluous with my children.
But something strange has happened. My children have grown. And so have their feet. And those cute little cubbies just wouldn't hold Jax's tennis shoes and Crocs anymore! So shoes were always mismatched, always falling out, always on the floor in the hallway, and it was driving me crazy.
(I'm literally thinking right now- is anyone interested in this? I may be typing in vain. This seems silly to write about...but here I am.)
So Rusty and I spent a date night at Target finding a new shoe system.

This makes me so happy!!! Each child has their own shoe drawer, hidden from sight. How neat and organized does that look? And I was always piling my purse and stuff on top of the cubbies, but now I have my own crate for that stuff. What an improvement! And this really removes one of the most irritating things to me in our house.
It just makes life easier.
I also have a new cleaning schedule for me and the kids. I do certain chores on certain days, I wash certain bed sheets each day, and since I noticed my kids are growing, I gave them extra chores for each day.
We have a leader for the day around here.
The leader gets to do the extra stuff, but also gets the extra priveleges, as they arise. The leader sets the table, helps with gathering laundry, etc. But the leader also chooses the TV show if they're watching something, gets to carry the pool key, etc. This eliminates bickering over the little things.
So now there are leader jobs. I bought all the cleaning wipes: disinfectant wipes, Windex wipes, and dusting wipes. (Because the kids are quite wasteful and spray happy when they clean.) So they do bathrooms now each day as a part of their leader job.
That's also a new system in place around here that I am loving!
So that's what I'm doing.
If you haven't noticed, I'm not blogging. I'm cleaning things out. I'm trying. I don't want to make my plans the mini-god of my life EVER, don't misunderstand me!
But I do think good planning and order in this house makes life nice.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Moustache Mania

This is the new thing around this house...if you fall asleep, you might wake-up with a marker moustache.
It started last Friday when Emma and Jax were reading together during our nap/quiet time in the afternoon. Jax fell asleep, and Emma's direct quote was "I just couldn't stand it, Mom. So I drew a moustache on him."
She giggled.
She just couldn't stand it.
She had a marker, and an unconscious brother.
What makes this pop into her head?
Ever since, it's been ON in the Bacak house.
Emma and her friend Emma stayed up super late the night of the fourth and did a number on Jax and Justus while they were sleeping. Full face beauty treatment via washable marker, plus baby dolls in the bed, and more.
The boys didn't take it lying down.
It's been a prank war since.
We are learning a lot about taking things like a good sport, paying back pranks in a fun way, not a vengeful, angry way, and trying not to cross the line into hurting feelings.
This is a delicate balance with a house full of male egos.
But nonetheless, the moustache war has been fun.
Emma woke up this morning, sleepy eyed, and came right to me and said "Good morning Mom. Do I have a moustache?"
This is our new way to wake up!
We are loving the summer of 2009!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Layered Potato Salad recipe for the 4th

Every holiday is somewhat about food for me. Just being honest.
So here is my recipe for Layered Potato Salad that I often make on the 4th, and am making today!
Let me preface this by saying I usually care very little for potato salad.
Especially store bought potato salad. Are you kidding me? That stuff is gross.
This barely resembles traditional potato salad. In fact, I think the only thing it has in common is potatoes.
I think it's amazing, and worth the trouble on the 4th of July!

Here we go!
The recipe calls for 4lbs of cooked potatoes, specifically red potatoes, but you can choose. *You can also adjust the amount of sauce to your amount of potatoes. That's easy to do.
8 oz. sour cream
3/4 c mayo
2 T spicy/ creole mustard
1/4 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1 bunch of green onions, chopped
3/4 c Italian parsley, chopped or dried (I'm positive I omit this ingredient usually. My kids get spooked at green stuff, and it doesn't add much flavor wise, if you ask me)
4-5 slices cooked bacon, crumbled

Boil and mash or cube your cooked potatoes. Let cool.
Then mix up your sauce: mayo, sour cream, mustard, salt and pepper. (Adjust this to your liking. I think I like extra spicy mustard.)
Layer 1/3 of potatoes, then sour cream mixture, then green onions and parsley.
Repeat twice more. Chill for at least an hour, covered. Sprinkle bacon on top just before serving.

I am making this along with baked beans, and our hamburgers today. I think we might grill some corn and make corn paint too. I love holidays!