Thursday, October 24, 2013

{Bread, Anyone?}

We go through between 9-10 loaves of bread (just bread, not buns) in a month and I pay about $.97/loaf. That's a great deal but I am always looking for something better. About a month ago or so, a friend of mine shared with me an article about buying "feed trays" from bread outlets. I inquired a couple of weeks ago at my local store and to my delight, they took my information and said they would contact me when they had extras. Today they called and said they had 10 extra trays, and I agreed to purchase one tray.

I loaded up the kids and we went to the store. I went in and paid for my purchase, not really sure of how much bread I was buying. The cashier told another employee in the back of the store that I was there to pick up my tray. She told me to drive around to the first bay door and I could load it up from there. I was beginning to get nervous, still quite unsure of what I had bought.

I couldn't open both doors on the truck or the bread would have dumped all over the driveway.

This is what I bought!! It is a mix of white bread, wheat bread, hamburger and hot dog buns, bagels, and sandwich rounds. It is called a "feed tray" because the bread, all of which is still fresh and within the date stamp, is smashed and deemed "unsaleable" by store standards. The bread outlet won't even put it on their shelves and instead sell it to people to use as feed for their animals. As the boys and I were loading up, one of the employees came over and asked what type of animals we were feeding. I smiled and kindly answered, "9 humans, 5 chickens, and 2 dogs." The look on her face was priceless!

I plan to freeze as much as I can. The loaves that are really smashed we can keep in a Rubbermaid container outside to supplement the feed for the chickens and dogs. The cool weather will help keep the bread from molding, and the animals won't care about it's freshness. I also foresee lots of bread puddings, homemade croutons, and stuffing mixes. I also plan to share with others (so if you need a loaf or two of bread, let me know).

The best part- I paid a whopping $10 for everything!!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

{On Higher Ground}

The title of this post is the name of a CD put out by one of my favorite evangelist groups, The Pettit Team. It is also the name of a song on that CD. (You can listen here). The song reminds Christians to keep a heavenly focus, that one day our troubles will be gone as we sit in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. I thought the meaning of the song was a wonderful parallel to my present "season" of life.

A few years ago, in the midst of one of my children throwing a temper tantrum, someone told me that my life as a mother was eventually going to get easier. My children would grow, and the older ones would be a help to the younger ones. I wasn't going to be in this "season" of having young children forever. I remember taking the encouragement at face value; the stress of my present situation was so emotionally draining that it was difficult to imagine my life any different. As the years have passed, I have obviously added more children to my family, but that person was correct. My life as a mother has become easier. In spite of having a newborn, I am seeing that I am entering a new "season" of motherhood.

My older children are great helps with the younger ones, allowing me time to get done with the things that I am responsible for doing around the house. For instance, Taryn was sitting at my feet in the kitchen while I was trying to cook supper. Thomas came into the kitchen to talk to me, and when he saw Taryn whining and literally hanging off of my leg, he picked her up and brought her into the other room and started to play with her. I didn't even have to open my mouth; he did it on his own, and it was a huge help! Tristin-Grace will pick up and hold Ruthie whenever she's fussy and I can't get to her. She will also change diapers or dress the little girls if I need help. I have also taught my children to go to their siblings if they need help with something (i.e. tying shoes, zipping jackets, getting a drink, etc) instead of coming to me.

Playing at the park is also an enjoyable activity for me now. When my kids were little, it was difficult to enjoy the park because I seemed to always have a baby in a stroller, a toddler who wanted to explore, or an energetic preschooler who didn't understand the importance of not climbing on the outside of the play structures. Simply put, I couldn't supervise my children because they were all doing different things and it was really difficult. I would meet friends and their children for play dates at the park, but instead of getting some "adult time", I usually ended up chasing my kids around while they enjoyed the park. It was tough. It was isolating. It was frustrating. I missed having "adult time" during the day. Now I can enjoy going to the park with friends because my older kids can play with and supervise the younger ones.

I can honestly say that in some ways adding another child has not really made a difference in terms of the ways our family functions; Ruthie just sort of fit right in and we never skipped a beat. I'm not saying we don't have our stressful moments or that life is "easy". But, what I am saying, and the point of this entry, is that it does get easier. So, to encourage all you moms of young(er) children, in a few short years you, too, will be looking back on this season of life with fond memories. Hang in there, keep your chin up, and your feet will one day be on higher ground.