This blog contains affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure/disclaimer HERE.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Once Upon A Time... A Trip Down Memory Lane

I am going to stray off of the familiar path of this blog and take a trip down memory lane. Come along, if you'd like! Exit now if my childhood memories don't appeal to you, I won't mind! ;)

I was born the 7th child of my parents. I was nestled nicely between two boys. My little brother and I were great friends growing up. We had our cousin friends, but in the early years, him & I were always together. Big brother sometimes played with us, too. When it was all three of us, we played with Legos and matchbox cars... setting up huge towns, roads, and farms covering the living room or family room floor. When it was just little brother & I, we played "lost kids", cowboys & Indians, or climbed trees. When we were older (10-12), we played video games and watched TV together.

We were raised on a commercial raspberry farm until I was about 9-years-old. We would pack food and walk around the berry field, down to the pond, or across the road to the clear cut. We played in the dirt, cleared tunnels through blackberry bushes (dulling our parent's pruning clippers), and built forts. We waded out too deep in the pond, threw mud balls at our older siblings who were driving the tractor or working on the "berry pickers". We shot birds and chipmunks with our bb guns, picked green plums, and ate sour sheep clover. We ran barefoot down the berry rows trying to miss the prickers, dirt squishing in between our toes, and picking fresh raspberries right off the vine. We squeezed raspberry seeds (we had a different name for them, though... ahem) at each other and picked "helicopters" from the tree. We swam for hours on end in our pool all summer, playing Marco-polo and having races across the pool. We rolled through the hay field to make "houses" and played house with our cousins. We stacked hay bales to make houses, too. We spent hours playing baseball in the "middle field", kick-the-can at our house and our cousins' house, and having picnics next to the rock pile. Sometimes, we dared to climb the rickety ladder across the driveway to get into the big boys' treehouse. We bundled up when it snowed and put bread bags over our socks inside our rubber boots to go sledding on the side hill, coming inside to change mittens every so often, and ending the day with rosy-red cheeks and sipping hot cocoa while drying off by the wood stove. We loved our dogs: Kita, Buck, and Lad. The dogs came with us everywhere and kept us safe. Mom would yell for us when it was time to eat or if she needed us to come back to the house. We would usually hear her. We were farm kids living in the country. I know now how blessed we were!

I was 7 when my little sister came along and I loved her to pieces. She was a princess and her older brothers and I carried her around on our shoulders announcing it to the world! We created paper crowns for her and made playhouses for her to play with. I wanted to be the best big sister ever, but I'm sure I failed many times.

When my baby sister was born, I was almost 11. I loved helping to care for her. Mom taught me how to give her baths and change her diaper. I rocked her in the big blue lazy boy chair, feeding her a bottle while she fell asleep. That was the first time I experienced such satisfaction as can only be found in a baby falling asleep in your arms. She was "my baby". Always, mom showed me that babies and children should be put first in life. Whoever was older was taught to look out for the younger.

I can remember the smell of fresh cookies, delicious suppers, and the woodstove. I can remember how cozy winter mornings were, with my mom standing at the cooktop in her soft blue housecoat, frying eggs and pancakes for my dad before he left for work. I remember how my mom would stand at the utility door and flash the yard lights 3 times for my dad, as he drove down the driveway to work (I Love You). He would tap his brake lights in return. I remember the excitement of daddy getting home from work. I would run out to help him carry his lunchbox. He would come in and happily greet mom as she was dishing up his supper. He praised her cooking and baking. He ate vanilla ice cream with a tall glass of cold milk every night before bed. We ended our days all tucked into bed with my parents both home. All was well with my world.

I was the baby girl for 7 years and my little brother was the baby of the family for 5 years before numbers 9 & 10 came along. Usually little brother would sit on mom's lap and I would sit on dad's during church. I remember leaning back against his chest and hearing his heartbeat, reaching up to play with his beard, and holding his calloused work hands. He would bring big vitamin C chewables to church in his breast pocket and take one out to break in half for little brother and me. They were warm and a little sticky, but we loved them. Sometimes, I would put my head on my mom's lap during church. She was soft and warm and LOVE. I loved her church dresses, high (but not too high) heels, curled hair, and vanilla scented perfume. I can still see her in the downstairs bathroom, quickly taking 5-minutes to put on a little makeup before rushing out the door to church: mascara, concealer, and blush. She was beautiful.  

I remember how when my mom cleaned in the spring and summer, the doors and windows would be open, letting in a fresh breeze. She would put the kitchen chairs out on the back porch while she swept and scrubbed the floors. She sang hymns and was so cheerful. She was always busy and hardworking. The kitchen seemed so bright in its white and blue. She would stop her work to make us tuna sandwiches for a picnic, or grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup. Cold milk or water were the only drinks we had.

I remember when my mom's family would come over to visit... big gatherings of many cousins. Mom would make a big bowl of popcorn smothered in butter & salt, platters of sliced cheese and venison summer sausage, brownies or cookies, and homemade raspberry juice (sometimes with sprite/7-up added). And always vanilla ice cream for dessert. The house would be bustling with kids running & being loud, adults visiting, laughing, and singing. I would fall asleep on a couch cozied up to my mom, listening to the adults visit late into the night.

Most of these memories are from before I was 10-12-years-old... before the confusion of puberty and emotions reared their head. I had an amazing, carefree childhood filled with so many beautiful memories. I knew I was safe and cared for. My home was comforting, stable, and full of love for us 10 children. I'm so thankful for my Christian parents and all they gave to me. They taught me that what God thought of us mattered more than what anyone else thought of us. I always knew that living for Jesus was the most important goal. My mom was firm about Jesus being our Master and the Bible holding the answers to life's questions. I pray I can be like them in so many ways! By God's grace, they gave me a wonderful life!

Here's to loving parents devoted to raising up godly men & women, nothing more and nothing less! I was given a firm foundation on which to build my faith. The seeds of faith were planted in my childhood and were watered and nurtured into my adulthood until it was time to leave home and begin my own family. Though I did not have my mom here on earth as an adult, I cling fast to the wisdom she bestowed on me as a child. And praise God for the Christian parents He has blessed me with now.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Keeping Christ In Easter (celebrating with kids)

Every Christmas, we are reminded to keep "Christ in Christmas". What about keeping Christ in Easter? It is true that the words don't flow quite as smoothly, but the message is just as important!

Easter weekend, from Good Friday to Easter Sunday, should be a celebration! In fact, why not include the Last Supper in the celebration, too? The entire week before Easter Sunday could be filled with fun activities, with homeschool centered around Christ, His death, and Resurrection!

http://www.clarissarwest.com/2015/03/keeping-christ-in-easter-celebrating.html

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Kid's Arts & Crafts

Love finding new art and crafts resources and ideas to do with your kids?
Here is a huge list of arts & crafts ideas for kids!
 
Click the photo at the bottom of this post and it will bring you to a list of blogs sharing about arts and crafts! Enjoy!

http://www.clarissarwest.com/2015/03/kids-arts-crafts.html

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Beyond The Mask - The Movie

http://www.clarissarwest.com/2015/03/beyond-mask-movie.html
Behind The Film
I got to watch this movie before it releases in theaters, so that I could tell you all of the reasons why you should go watch it! Christian homeschool graduates and their families have come together to produce an amazing action-packed adventure that will impress any history lover! Beyond the Mask is a film from Burns Family Studios and will be in theaters April 6th... but only if YOU buy tickets online NOW.

You see, they have over 700 theaters lined up, but the theaters will only play the movie if they get a set number of tickets pre-sold for the movie! Each theater needs to sell about 65 tickets so that this Christian movie will be played across the nation.

With all of the less-than-godly films in theaters and coming out of Hollywood, we need to support the efforts of those who put their God-given talents to work producing quality Christian films. The story behind this film is inspiring and such a breath of fresh air.

The story behind this film accurately portrays Christian homeschooling families and their desire to allow their children to grow up to be hardworking and creative adults. It is a message of hope and encouragement to the young families striving to raise their children in the way of the Lord, while believing in their children's talents and strengths. This is proof that allowing your children to study and learn according to their interests is truly beneficial and can lead to strong, confident adults.

Monday, March 16, 2015

5 Ways To Fight A Virus

My family of nine got hit with a horrible virus recently. Though we try to live a healthy lifestyle, we admittedly had been slacking when it came to using our tried & true natural ways to keep the sickies away.

My husband was exposed to a virus at work and it hit us hard! It was 'the works'... including a head cold, chest cold, sore throat, fevers, body aches, and stomach bug! It took almost 2 weeks for it to run its course through our family, with each family member being sick for about 2 days each (those of us with weak immune systems were sick longer).

http://www.clarissarwest.com/2015/03/5-ways-to-fight-virus.html

We turned to our natural remedies. These 5 ways to fight a virus are things we rely on to keep the sicknesses away when used intermittently. It is always a good idea to give your body a break so that you do not build an immunity to the products and have them lose their boosting powers! And, when you have been slacking like we had been, you can easily start them up again when a sickness hits to help your body fight a virus.

I have an autoimmune disorder, so I do not take immune system boosters, like elderberry. I do try to eat foods that are nutrient-rich and take probiotics, since I believe in maintaining a healthy gut to stay healthy and/or fight a virus! I also love diffusing beneficial essential oils to clear the air of impurities and harmful bacteria.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Cultivating a Love of Babies

My mom loved babies and children. I think she is remembered for her love of babies and for protecting the innocent! She taught us that a baby/child is precious and should be put first before adults. She cultivated a love of babies in us and encouraged pretend play of mothering and homemaking. This was one reason she invested in dolls and accessories like the American Girl products!
http://www.clarissarwest.com/2015/03/cultivating-love-of-babies.html

Monday, March 9, 2015

What is Homemaking?

The word homemaking may mean different things to different people.

To me it means "making a home".

It doesn't mean decorating with the latest trends, buying the newest furniture, or keeping the cleanest house.
What Is Homemaking?

Friday, March 6, 2015

Home Education Update

This year I have 3 full-time students and a few preschoolers. My oldest preschooler (3) is certain that she must also do "school" every day that the big kids are. My middle preschooler (21-months) is busy, busy getting into all sorts of things while I am distracted teaching the big kids. The youngest preschooler (9-months) is mostly content, thankfully! Having started our new school year in January, we are still finding our groove.

http://www.clarissarwest.com/2015/03/home-education-update.html

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Keep Baby's Wipes and Diapers Organized!

After 10 years of having children, always with 2 or more babies in diapers, I've changed hundreds (if not thousands!) of diapers in my lifetime. Since Abigail is severely disabled and delayed and will be in diapers for the rest of her life, I will be changing diapers for many more years, even after I am done having babies.

I currently have 4 kids in diapers! I guess you could say I'm an expert diaper-changer. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

A Promise From God ~ 1 John 4:15 & 16

1 John 4:15 & 16
Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.

Disclaimer/Disclosure

I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. This blog accepts cash compensation through affiliate links and product compensations through reviews. Often links in my blog posts will be affiliate links. I am a member of the Amazon Associates Affiliate Program. If you make a purchase using one of my affiliate links, I will receive a small compensation at no additional cost to you. When I recommend health related products/lifestyles, I do so based off of my own unique experience and opinion. I am not a medical professional and nothing on my website is intended to diagnose, treat, or cure anything and does not replace professional medical advice. Please do your own research before attempting to use any of my recommendations. If you make a donation through my "donate" button at the bottom of the page, the money will go towards paying bills or having fun with my family! Please donate knowing this. Thank you! Please read my full Disclaimer/Disclosure HERE.
v