Archive for the ‘Marriage’ Category

Why “Pockets of Change”?

Those who have followed my private blog for the past five years may be wondering about the reason behind this new blog and its unusual name.  The easy answer about why I have started this blog is that I wanted a blog that could be more public.  The name “pockets of change” refers to three types of change.  There is actual pocket change of course.  To this end, I will try to share the tips I have found for saving money.  With such a large family, finding ways to stretch a dollar is always handy.  I will also be trying new budgeting ideas and sharing how they work for us.

The second meaning of the pockets of change idea is that there are changes that I am trying to make and keep myself accountable about.  I know that if I am writing publicly about these attempted changes, it will increase my chances of success.  Some of these changes include cooking healthier and more creative meals for my family, being more structured and scheduled in my homeschooling, living on a set budget, creating time to spend with Mark and each of the kids individually, making fun family theme nights, pursuing my writing, finding time to scrapbook, nurturing friendships, and being open to the life God has planned for me.

The third meaning of pockets of change is looking for opportunities that I can, as an individual, create positive change in the world.  What can I do to help the orphans in the world?  How can I support hurting people in my own community?  How can I promote awareness about the blessing of adoption?  How can I raise money for projects in Africa that I am passionate about?  If all of us are looking for little pockets of opportunities where we can make a difference, together, we can!

So there you have it…a new blog is born!  My plan is to have Fridays be Food Fridays where I share great recipes or warn about not-so-great culinary attempts.  I am also going to participate in Weekly Wrap-Up where on Saturdays, I will do a recap of our homschooling week.  I will also share my successful and less than successful ideas to incorporate more fun into our life while cutting expenses.  So welcome to the new blog!  Have a look around and please be sure to leave a comment as going into a more public format makes me a bit nervous and I’m not used to the silence!

P.S.  my sister-in-law C. actually came up with the name after the three million or so that I thought of were already taken!

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With a little creativity…

Mark and I have been trying to think of ideas to have fun, spend time with other adults, spend time with each other, and laugh more.  As you can imagine, with seven children, our social life is not that exciting!  One of the changes we are trying to make is to increase these opportunities for ourselves while sticking to our new budget.

One of the ideas we have come up with is to host once or twice a month small dinner parties here.  This will give me the chance to try out new recipes that do not have to be kid-friendly and Mark and I the chance to talk to other adults.  Most of our kids go to bed early so it is easy enough to feed them something easy, put them to bed, and then have our adult meal.

Friday was our first attempt and it went so well!  My only regret is not taking more pictures.  The one photo that Mark did take does not do justice to the food, the fun, or the decor.  We had two couples over, Mark’s brother E. and his wife C. and our good friends T. and B.

I planned a Thai theme because I had always wanted to learn to make salad rolls.    The decorating was easy and very inexpensive.  I bought a straw beach mat for $0.57 at an end of season summer sale and used it as our tablecloth.  I placed three tea lights on the table along with an ornamental pepper plant that was less than $3.  We already had some Asian dishes and I bought more on sale (less than $30 for six sets of plates, sauce dishes, chopsticks, and chopstick holders – we will use them again).  I also bought six Asian soup spoons for a few dollars in total.

The food was excellent!  B. brought a nutty chicken curry and a thai sweet rice dessert with mango.  I made a hot and sour soup that was not authentically thai but was a great kick-off anyway.  The salad rolls were spectacular, as was the satay sauce I made to go with them.  I cheated on the Thai Sweet Chili dipping sauce though and poured it right out of a jar!  For the main course, I made fragrant rice, green curry with peas, red curry with chicken and peppers, and a shrimp and vegetable stir fry with fresh basil from our garden.

The one area we did splurge on was drinks.  I made a strawberry lemonade with fresh lemons and berries and we bought Singha (thai) beer and wine.  We are not big drinkers, so this was an unusual treat.

The evening was full of lively conversation and laughter.  I was able to eat delicious spicy food and share in the company of great people.  All told, the evening cost less than it would have cost Mark and I to get a babysitter and go out for dinner by ourselves.  We are already planning the next dinner party and tossing around theme ideas!