Monday, February 27, 2012

Day After Tomorrow!

I may be getting a tad excited about our pending trip.

Our living room is lined with suit cases and my kitchen counter has lots of snacks.  We have already purchased Mickey Mouse t-shirts.  If nothing else, I am frugal.  I figure Goodwill and Wal-mart in Kansas would be a tad cheaper than Disney World.  New t-shirts for the whole family, $34.  Not bad :)

I am seriously considering purchasing the plush Mini Mouse and Micky Mouse toys our Wal-Mart has for Easter at $9 each for the younger two and giving them to them on the trip.  They are about a foot tall and I'm sure the same plush toy in Disney would be twice that.

There was a point yesterday when I sat in my chair in my room and cried (those of you who went to the women's retreat know this a regular thing for me).  Jared and I just feel so blessed to be able to provide such an amazing memory for our brood.    I can't wait to take a picture of my Cinderella obsessed daughter with the actual Cinderella.  Anneliese's 3rd bday is in just a couple weeks and I plan to have that pic in a frame next to her Cinderella cake. 

The boys are completely ignorant of what Disney is.  Anneliese seems to be coming down with a cold and I talked briefly about what we would do if she was too sick to go.  The boys said, "We wouldn't go to Disney if she didn't come right?  We don't want to see the Princesses."

They have no idea and I have no desire to describe it.  It will be amazing just to see their reactions when we get there. 

In the grand scheme of this life and God's plan, I know trips like these are a want vs a need.  That's obvious, but I love that our God is not just a God of judgement and correction.  He is also our Abba, our Father, our Daddy.  He delights in our joys and cries in our sorrows. 

James 1:17

New Living Translation (NLT)
17 Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens.[a] He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.[b]

Thank you Father for allowing such a gift.  We are so very thankful!!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Get Your Veggie On

For all you healthy veggie eaters out there I have some deals you need to be aware of.

I went to Aldi yesterday with my Mom and they have great prices on bright beautiful veggies.

What I like to call the stop light peppers (yellow, red and green bell peppers 3 to a package) are only $1.29 a package.  My mom works at Dillon's and she said they're easily $5/package.

They have avocados for $.39 a piece!!  Holy guacamole!

I picked up two bundles of fresh asparagus for $1.29/bunch.

If you're not an Aldi fan it's time you become one.  The one in Leavenworth has great produce at great prices.  They even have fresh mozzarella in beautiful little balls of yumminess.

We started shopping there years ago and figured it easily saves us $200/month compared to only shopping Wal-Mart.  For all you couponers, every day prices at Aldi are better than double coupon days at Dillon's. 

Now go stock up!!

Monday, February 20, 2012

National Altic's Disney Vacation

It's official.  Our family is leaving this windy cold rainy weather and heading to the beaches of Florida!

We are so excited to be given this opportunity.  We are flying stand by, which allows our family of 7 to fly for the cost of one standard round trip ticket.

My husband is beside himself with the planning and organizing.  He loves to fly and travel and he's the perfect one to plan such a trip with his spreadsheets and research :)  I love my nerd, especially when he plans amazing vacations on a ridiculously tight budget.

We will be renting a van and going to visit Pat and Theresa while we're there.  I was asking the kids what they look forward to the most and Tanner said, "Seeing Pat," over Disney or the ocean.  Love that sweet boy.

Never in our wildest dreams did we think we could ever take our brood to Disney.  I've always told the kids we chose more babies over fancy vacations.  Having more children is a life long investment where fancy vacations are fleeting.  So to get to have our babies and take them on vacation too?!!  It's just such a blessing.

If anyone has those carry-ons that roll with the pull handle we would love to borrow them.  Since we're flying standby we are only taking carry-ons and one for each family member.  The ones with wheels will be so much easier for the kids handle their own.

Be prepared for a photo bomb when we get back.  I'll try and keep the pics of Jared and I in our swim suits to a minimum :)

Thank God For Mondays!

What a weekend!  I've never been so glad to see Monday.

Friday and Saturday was the Women's retreat up at Mission Lake Christian camp.  I spoke Friday night and taught three classes on basic cake decorating on Saturday.  Not sure if it was just the emotional drain of preparing and teaching or staying up til 1:30 am and not sleeping much on those amazing bunks :)  but I came home wiped OUT.

Saturday afternoon we headed to Cherie's for her surprise 50th birthday party!  It was amazing and we were so thankful to be able to celebrate with her.  We love their family so very much.

Sunday brought it's own busyness and joys.  We got up early and headed to church where we celebrated with the Jones/Miller families on the baptism of Reese!  What a blessing.  I couldn't take my eyes off of Dana while Reese went forward.  Her expression and the love oozing from every poor was just priceless.  Good job Mom and Dad!  We are so proud of Reese's decision and we promise to help guide and shape him as he grows in the Lord. 

As soon as the baptism ended, I loved on Dana and loaded up the family to run home to eat super quick.  Anneliese had a date with Rapunzel at 1.  She was invited to a birthday party next door.  It was quite the experience. 

They hired Princess At My Party and had all the girls dress in their favorite princess attire.  It was such a neat party.  Anneliese was mesmerized by all the girls dresses and by Rapunzel.  It's all she's talked about.  Can I just say I was a bit out of my element here.  This was a whole new world for this mom of boys.  I had no idea there were parties like this.  What a neat experience for our sweet girl.  Too fun!

Anneliese and Princess Emily the birthday girl

Rapunzel and story time

all the girls listening intently

I took this, she asked to see it, told me to take another one

this is the 2nd pic, apparently she didn't like her expression in the 1st

face painting by Rapunzel!

Princess wand with glitter

A Pile of Princesses!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Signs Of The Apocalypse

I have been on a bit of a craft kick like everyone else who is on Pinterest.

This is my most recent project.  Not only witty and fun, but completely free.  Yep, free.

I had everything on hand so it just took a bit of time and creativity.

We have deemed the downstairs living room the kids' space.  So I thought it would be fun to put some decor they would get a kick out of.

I started out with a 1x12 board scrap that is a foot long.  Gary R. routed the edges for me.  I squirted some black flat craft paint on it and used a dry brush to cover the whole surface.
Then I got on Pages (our word processor) and printed out some lettering in the size and font I wanted.  Sorry, I forgot to take pics of this process.  I laid the paper print out on the board where I wanted it and simply traced over the lettering with a ball point pin pressing hard.  It left an outline of the lettering in the wood.

I used some cream paint we had on hand and one of the kids' paint brushes and painted somewhat in the lines.  If the Zombie Apocalypse was actually upon us I doubt the person making the sign would pay much attention to details.  Just sayin.
I cleaned out the craft brush by rubbing it across the sign here and there to fill the negative space.  Once it dried, Tanner took a sanding block to it.
I took a large drill bit and drilled two holes in the back so we could hang it.  I simply measured and placed two med sized holes on the back.

They decided they wanted it over their TV.  Pretty cute, and it matches my decor.  Win Win.  Sorry about the quality of the pic.  Phone camera strikes again.

Never Say Never #2

If you and I have chatted much you know that I guard my sleep.  We have never been a "kids in the bed" kind of family.

Since I was young, I have always been extra cranky if I don't get 9+ hours.  Maybe it's my hypothyroidism or just a personality flaw, either way I need sleep or things just don't run smoothly.

We have had 5 children all of which moved into their rooms as soon as they slept through the night.  I let them cry it out sooner than most (and cried with them, I'm not impervious to their cuteness) and have insisted they sleep in their beds as toddlers or they were disciplined.

Last weekend we went to the men's retreat so I could cook and I took the kids with me.  The kids and I  plus Kelby, all slept on the women's side so as not to disturb the men.

All the boys picked a dorm room for themselves so Sis and I picked a smaller room just for us.  They had worship right below us so it was hard to get her to sleep much before 11.

I have an app on my phone that plays a fan sound and I sleep with my ear buds in every night (that's another blog entry all it's own).  I could easily drift off to sleep with the ear buds blocking out the noises but was nervous crashing out with Anneliese still awake.

So...I pulled her into bed with me and gave her an ear bud.  She laid next to me grinning and touching my face for about 30 minutes.  Then, as I've trained her, she said, "I need my bed momma."  She crawled up over my head and crawled into the bunk I had prepared for her.

I have to admit I was a little sad she didn't want to cuddle with me.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Allow me to start this journey we're about to go on with a little back story.

My mother came to visit the other day.  We went to a couple stores and I started to tell her how I apologize for our existence.  It's ridiculous and I simply must stop, we have just as much right to be where ever as the next guy.  If the kids are being unruly (which they are old enough, really isn't an issue anymore) then sure an apology is understandable, but if we are simply just being, why must I apologize?

For example, while in Wal-mart I was shopping and perusing the paper goods trying to find our paper plates a lady apparently needed desperately to walk between me and the wall of products.  She hastily made her way passed my family and I apologized for being in her way.

A few moments later we were looking for cheese and again someone else, also needing cheese, was put out by the sheer real estate we take up.  I moved aside, apologized, allowed her to get her cheese and then continued my search.

Apologizing for the space my family inhabits has become so regular that I have caught myself apologizing to inanimate objects.  I see something out of the corner of my eye, assume we must be in the way some how, and apologize without looking up.

Fast forward to today.  The kids and I headed out to Target to get a few things.  We wandered through the store and due to them marking their bulk goods on clearance, our cart was full.  The large packages of paper towels and toilet paper were struggling to stay in the cart.

The lady behind me in line refused to make eye contact with me and stood with her hand on her hip and her back to us.  I noticed, but didn't really care or feel we were why at first.

Brennan took Anneliese to the bathroom while we were checking and he apparently flushed the toilet without asking the Princess.  She freaked out and was wailing  as he brought her to me.  I just picked her up and continued.

We wandered out to the car and the pesky paper towels fell off the cart.  We were in the walk way between the two sets of doors so I had to stop and pick them up.  Obviously we filled up the space for all of 5 seconds.

The woman that had been behind us in line says to me with a big smile on her face, "You should plan your Target trips when they're in school!"

She looked at my crew like they were a cancer or a freak show and chuckled awkwardly.  I just said, "we homeschool, this is everyday."  To which she replied in shock and horror, "WOW, REALLY??  I admire you." 

No she doesn't.  She does not admire me.  She thinks I'm nuts.  She thinks children are a burden.  She thought I was nuts for having 5 in the first place let alone keeping them with me all the time.

Psalm 127

1 Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. 2 In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat— for he grants sleep to [a] those he loves. 3 Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. 4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth. 5 Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate.

I sleep great and my quiver is full Praise the Lord.

To our critics that say stupid stuff and probably think worse than we'll ever know:  Your fancy car and expensive jeans will not hug you back when you're 80.  Talk to older generations.  Ask them what their biggest regrets are.  I promise it won't be, I wish I worked more, had less children, and lived a more selfish life. 

These children of mine are a gift.  They are a treasure that I prayed for, begged for, and promised my God that I would do my very best by them.  They are kind, smart, extremely funny, and because of our hard work and dedication they will be a blessing to others.

Now follow this link and read what every mom of a large family wants you to know.  It's super funny and so very true.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Never Say Never

I have decided to start a new blog series entitled "Never Say Never."

As I age and grow I am finding myself on a regular basis saying, "You know how I used to say I would NEVER (fill in the blank), well..." I have decided to start blogging my "nevers."

This blog is specifically going to address the task of making your own laundry detergent.

First and fore most, I would like to apologize to my sweet Alisa.  I dismissed her years ago when she raved about the cost effectiveness of making your own laundry detergent.

In my defense (Jared always tells the kids the best apology is one that stands on it's own with no qualifiers...sorry Alisa :)), I have been having babies on a pretty constant schedule for 11 years and adding a task, any task, made my head explode.  Now that things have settled down I have begun to review my stand on making laundry detergent.

Pinterest making it not only popular, but almost an initiation to the cool cyber club has everything nothing to do with it.

First of all there's the issue with smells.  I'm smell sensitive.  I want my laundry to smell like fresh laundry.  Not like...nothing.  The biggest complaint I've heard about making your own soap is that it has no scent.  So I purchased some essential oils from Amazon.  My scent of choice is Clean Cotton.  I was hoping it would smell like the Yankee Candle, it does not but it is a very clean fresh smell.

The biggest kicker for me was cost.  I figured out that I spend around $.50/load with the Gain laundry detergent and fabric softener.  After doing the math on the homemade laundry I was sold.  As a family of 7 we average 3 loads a day.  The homemade soap is less than 1 cent per load.  

I can't stress this enough, that was not a typo.


That my friends is a savings of $1.49 a day for this household.  In the link I'm about to share she also suggests using vinegar as your fabric softener.  It does not change the smell of your laundry at all and it does work.  I was super impressed and it's great for your machine and your clothes.  Not to mention  the debate over the safety of fabric softeners (read here).

So, I said I would NEVER make my own soap.  That was ridiculous!

What was ridiculous was not looking into how incredibly simple it was let alone cost effective.  The second biggest issue I hear is whether it works or not.  In my experience so far it works better to remove yellowing and smells from our clothes.  I am super impressed.

So there you have it.  If you want to be cool, loved, liked, allowed into the elite Pinterest group frugal and smell clean you simply must click:

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Fri and Saturday were the Men's Retreat up at Mission Lake and my spouse asked that I cook again.

It was good and the food was well received but I'm exhausted!

Paired with Superbowl and I'm ready to order take out for the next week.  No more baking/cooking for this momma.

I made:

18 loaves of wheat bread for French Toast Saturday morning.

45 homemade rolls/buns

20 lbs pulled pork

10 lbs potato salad

75 chocolate chip cookies

45 cinnamon rolls plus icing

1 large breakfast casserole consisting of 2 dozen eggs, 4lbs of sausage, a loaf of bread, and 8 cups of cheddar cheese.

22 men (5 little Altic men, mine plus Kelby, and 2 Altic girls) consumed almost every ounce of food.  There was some French toast and pulled pork but not much.

Jared and I really enjoy serving and ministering together.  I pray that the men that attended were blessed by a night/morning off to focus on their roles as fathers, husbands, and leaders.

We are so thankful for all of you and your willingness to serve and teach.