a "been-there" mom of six offers encouragement
to wives, young mothers, and those not so young,
and simple common-sense approaches to
the "ings" of life:
child-rearing (hints and helps), homemaking (all areas),
cooking (simple, cheap, and do-it-yourself)
making (toys and gifts), preparing (for the unexpected),
maintaining (sanity and peace in this increasingly crazy world) and more---
all aspects of making the most of making do on little---
and having fun in the process.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The "world" would have us believe differently but. . .

the truth is no other work reaches so close to divinity as does the nurturing of the sons and daughters of God.  

The media and Society (whoever they are or whatever that is) would have us believe that being a homemaker and raising children is demeaning --- that we are not reaching our full potential unless we are making something of ourselves in the workplace.

They are
Trying to make bad good and good bad-----
Trying to denigrate morality as a thing of the past----
Trying to delude the vast majority into believing they are the disillusioned minority----

We must turn away from everything that is leading us in those directions. We must realize that human nature is such that:
First we abhor. . .
Next we endure . . .
Then we embrace . . .

We must be conscious of the many subtle ways we are constantly being lured toward lowering our standards.

The most secure way to escape this increasingly entangling web is to follow the words of Joshua in the Old Testament:

Joshua 24:15

This simple and priceless reminder can be created at almost no cost with very little time, effort or talent.

 This one was done with embroidery floss on a piece of counted cross stitch fabric.  It was "framed"  in a used wooden embroidery hoop. You can also use a piece of small-squared gingham as the background guide.  It can also be hand-printed or computer-printed on paper or card stock.

May God Bless you and your family.

Simply, Gail

I'm Simply Gail and. . .I'm Repeating Myself

At the beginning of this week,  I posted a request for simple help for Simply, Gail. In case you missed it, I am repeating it and asking again. It you did read it but haven't responded, please do. Your input would really be helpful to me.

The stats tell me something but I am not sure what.  They show me that many of you, all over the world, are checking out, or is it checking into, thecreativecheapskate. And I thank you for that and . . asking for a little more.

I know you are busy --- so I want to keep this short and easy. Would you please jot a quick e-mail and let me know what you think. . .

Am I providing helpful/useful information?

Are five posts a week too many? Would three be better? 

Do you have a favorite among the categories I post?


Thanks in advance.  

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Other Side of Yesterday's Post

We always knew that our ultimate
job was to raise our children so they
would be ready to leave home...
and to prepare ourselves so
we could handle it when they did
On a happy note! 
A positive note! 
After yesterday's negatives! 

Hopefully you will be able to glean something from the things we somehow managed to do right. 


  • Taught them about Heavenly Father and Jesus
  • Taught them about the importance of families
  • Taught them about making choices and the consequences of their choices
  • Taught them about prayer and repentance
  • Taught them to see and appreciate the beauty of nature---even bugs and weeds
  • Apologized to them when we made a mistake, because we did (and do) make mistakes
  • Corrected a decision we made if we over-reacted or reacted too quickly and made the wrong decision (like grounding them for life)
  • Tried to be consistently consistent
  • Established rules and enforced them
  • Respected, taught respect, and expected respect
  • Attended 78 back-to-school nights and every other school function 
  • Supported their games and activities
  • Did not have double standards
  • Did not bribe
  • Expected obedience
  • Had them pay for their own auto insurance and gasoline when they started to drive
  • Had them pay the extra expense if they wanted a higher priced item than we were going to provide for them (for example: we provided enough money for decent, functional "tennis" shoes as they were called in those days----If they wanted a nicer, fancier pair they used their own money to make up the difference
  • Assigned chores to be done as their contribution to the family unit
  • Provided "jobs" they could do for pay when they needed extra money
  • Never asked them to lie for us for any reason (including "tell them I'm not home" types)
  • Gave them permission to say "My parent's would kill me if I did that" in any situation they were uncomfortable with, for an easier way out (It wasn't a lie since we had given blanket permission; we just became the "bad guys")
  • Set limits and curfews as necessary
  • Had a plaque hanging on the inside of the front door with the reminder Return With Honor 
  • Always let our babysitter or children know where we were going and when to expect us home, and left a contact phone number when possible.
  • Called our babysitter or kids if our location/plans changed or we were going to be home later than expected
  • Said I love you frequently
  • Tried to criticize the act and not the child
  • Never withheld love when angry
  • Realized that our kids were not perfect, and did not take their side when they were wrong
  • Went to bat for our kids when they had been wrongly accused or taken advantage of
  • Encouraged them to discuss problems and concerns with us
  • Tried to be forthright and fair when they did come to us
  • Worked very hard to not compare one with another nor discuss one with another. We can honestly say that we never said "Why can't you be like your..." or "act like your..."
  • Kept promises 
  • Tried very hard to never make a threat we weren't willing to follow through with
  • Downplayed the monetary aspects of gift-giving occasions
  • On occasion, when we didn't feel good about a gift they wanted even if it was in line price-wise, we gave them money so they could purchase it themselves. Sometimes, with money in hand, they decided the original want was not worth it...and other times it was really what they wanted and they bought it
  • Never made demands on them for visits or holidays, etc. when they married
  • Encouraged them as newlyweds to start their lives a distance from their parents so they would learn to be a couple who relied on each other----and were a couple distinct from being viewed as "such and such's child and their spouse"
As they were growing up, we never forgot, not let them forget, that we were the parents. We never tried to be peers. We were not afraid to be disliked for our decisions. 

We strive, however, to live so they will never be disappointed by our actions. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Few of Gail's Child-Raising Regrets

There are many things I never should have done; and looking back, can't believe I did . . .

Maybe/hopefully there is something you can glean from my mistakes.

In order of recollection, I 

  • Made very time-consuming, detailed skeleton  Halloween costumes for Heidi, Romm and Josh when they were little (I've admitted this before). But then made them, and their younger brothers, wear the same costumes year after year, even when the foot bones only came to their knees instead of their ankles.
  • Asked Heidi to sing quieter in Church
  • Made the boys wear the junior high school PE shirt one after another --- with each name crossed out and the next one added. Same with the pro duke.
  • Sometimes forgot they were sitting in the hall for "time out" and left them longer than I had planned. (Heidi told me years later they tried hard to be quiet and go to sleep because I felt so guilty later!)
  • Downplayed Halloween (obviously), Fourth of July, and some other holidays. They had fun but not as much fun as they could have if I made some extra effort.  
  • Occasionally gave in when I said I wouldn't (and I shouldn't have!)
  • When unhappy about one thing, I brought up all sorts of little past grievances I had harbored (didn't even realize this until it was pointed out by our fourth son. . . when he was 24!)
  • Strongly encouraged Heidi to wear dresses when pants became the "in" thing to do (although I still strongly believe 'we act how we dress.')
  • Overly subjected the kids to my will (see item just above!)
  • Ostensibly gave them a say, but had my mind already made up.
  • Didn't save a scrap from each outfit I made Heidi to later piece into a quilt.
  • Didn't give them enough credit for their own intelligence and maturity in what I considered questionable situations (hopefully I've improved on this one).
  • Bought five pair of make-believe-leather, really-plastic "dress" shoes with huge garish gold buckles for all the boys to wear to Church because they were only $1 per pair.
  • Didn't let Heidi shave her legs in junior high school.
  • Got upset when things got noisy and hectic.
  • Didn't let the kids climb trees or do other "dangerous" things when their dad wasn't home.
  • Was too much of a "fraidy cat" myself and attempted to hold back the kids because of my fears.
  • Ran admonitions and directions into the ground (and boy, I can really run things into the ground, even when I think I am doing it cleverly i.e. "Oh, did I remember to mention..." instead of "Remember to..." or worse yet, "Don't forget to...)
I want to tell you a little story about one of those times when I was overdoing the obvious. Heidi and Mike and their children were moving to California for his orthodontic school. I had done my usual "do you have his...and do you have that..." and they were all enduring me quite patiently. 

Finally they were all in the crew cab (needed so it would hold the two adults, two toddlers, and the parakeet); the car was on a trailer behind the van; tears were streaming down my face and Heidi's face; uncles and Papa were suddenly clearing their throats, and the little ones didn't quite understand the 2400 miles ahead of them and why we were crying when they got to take this great trip "riding way up high in the big truck."

Then, I just had to say something. . ."Is the back door (of the truck) closed?" All but Mike groaned. Mike got out of the driver's side, in what everyone thought was one final effort to humor his mother-in-law, and walked to the back of the truck. 

He sheepishly closed the back gate and locked it. My over doing it was finally, after all these years, vindicated and the tears of sadness changed to tears of laughter as they pulled away from the curb. Yes!!!

In spite of all of these things all six kids survived, and still even talk to me.

Tomorrow I'll tell you about a few of the things (I think) we somehow managed to do right.  In the meantime, please check out this past Monday's post and help me out. Pleeeze.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Important Notice to ALL Spouses

  Is that proverbial grass really greener?

If you are the stay-at-home spouse and find yourself resenting your routine, pause a moment and really think about it. Is the breadwinner's role more rewarding?

Their job is usually routine and often mundane, their efforts not immediately recognized, and their conversations not usually enlightening or stimulating. You may deal with little people. They often deal with petty people. 

A bell may tell them when they can eat, get a drink of water, or even when they can go to the bathroom. The "stay-at-home-er" may not have a lot of self time, but there is a good chance the breadwinner has less.

And now to those who are employed outside of the home while the spouse works at home, especially if you have young children or several children: Please do not think that your job is done when you leave your place of business. Even when the hours are very long, employment requires an established amount of time. Homework is on-going and never-ending ---not even weekends, holidays, nor sick days off.

And finally, to the increasing number of families (both employed outside the home) that juggle kids, home responsibilities, and employment. . .your homes will be happier and there will be much less frustration and resentment if you divide the labor and share the loads. 

I read about a wise couple who first made a list of all the ongoing things that had to be done and then separated the list in three ways: 1&2) they each selected the chores they preferred to do, and 3) divided the remaining items.

If you have kids, be sure to assign them responsibilities. Match the chores to their abilities but you probably don't want to let them choose only the ones they prefer; they need to learn how to do them all!

Reminder: If you missed yesterday's (Monday)  post please check it out and then respond.  Thanks, 
                            I am Simply, Gail

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Simply Gail asks for Simple Help

This is my 164th post! Wow! Up until July of last year I hardly knew what a blog was --- and now "I are one!"

The stats tell me something but I am not sure what.  They show me that many of you, all over the world, are checking out, or is it checking into, thecreativecheapskate. And I thank you for that and . . asking for a little more.

I know you are busy --- so I want to keep this short and easy. Would you please jot a quick e-mail and let me know what you think. . .

Am I providing helpful/useful information?

Are five posts a week too many? Would three be better?

Do you have a favorite among the categories I post?

I really do know you are all busy and ---- I know what happens with my "good intentions" if I put them off, so please, could you take a couple of minutes right now (or as soon as you can) and zap one off to me.

I am Simply, Gail at davengail@infowest.com.

Thanks muchly.