Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Put on your thinking caps - I need opinions!

(to my mom and mother in law - you have to learn how to make comments on the blog - seek help!)

As many of you know, Ansley, our second daughter who is 18, has finished high school and is staying home and working this year.  Next year, she will go to Ecuador for several months, then on to college.  She has some good jobs teaching English and is working a lot and  making some good college spending money.

Bronwyn did the same thing when she graduated from high school.  However, this summer (winter for us), she is home but not working.  It would be hard to get a job for just 3 months and she really needs to be available to help out with family things as well as with Stephen and Weston who don't speak portuguese, but are here to help out (and are doing a great job of it so far, by the way).

So....  she is going to need some college spending money.  We have been thinking of ways that she could earn some money, but I thought I would ask you all to weigh in on some of our ideas and maybe add some of your own....

1.  She is going to sew a bunch of stuff for the next craft sale at the kids' school.  The last sale, I made pillows as well as the cookies.  These little owl pillows I made sold like hot cakes.  I had to go home each day and make more and they sold as soon as I got to school.  It was crazy.  So, there is a sale coming up in October, so during these months, Bronwyn is going to make a bunch of little critter pillows to sell.

2.  What about setting up an etsy shop with things from Brazil?  Like she could go to the craft fairs and buy handcrafted jewelry, etc. and resell them on etsy.  Do you think that people would buy from her?  She could also add in other things that she would make - she is pretty good with a sewing machine.  
(this is one example of the kind of thing she could buy and resell - source:

3.  She could get a job at school.  I know this is an option, but I would kind of like to avoid it if possible. Her hours are really full and she also has some other activities going on that she has to do in order to keep some of her scholarships.  She is a great student and I know she could do it, but I just thought something else might be better.  I'm all about thinking outside the box :)

OK, now let's have some of your ideas...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

How 10 people are fitting into an apartment in Brazil.....

If anyone had asked me 3 months ago if I was looking for an apartment to live in, I would have said "No, we are going to have 2 visitors for a few months this summer and with our big family, an apartment just won't work.  It has to be a house."  Actually, I think someone did ask me that and this was my answer.

It's not an unreasonable answer.  Most apartments are not very big.  Compared to the US, most houses are not very big at all either.  So I never imagined that we would find an apartment that would work for our family.

You can read here how we prayed and looked and prayed and looked for a place to live.  It was getting frustrating, then God just blessed us with this apartment, which is really nice sized.  The only 4 bedroom apartment that I have ever been in since we have lived here.

Compared to the house we moved out of, every room is the same size or larger - except the living room which was HUGE in the other house.  We also gave up the outside area which helped with a lot of storage, but I have gotten rid of a bunch of "stuff" and will continue to get rid of some more.

So, here's how it is working out......
(forgive the mess, I'm trying to accept the fact that it will probably be messy most of the time for a while...)

There is one bedroom that is a little more toward the front of the apartment.  The actual owners of the apt. were going to use it as a TV room when they were planning to live here.  This is Stephen's and Weston's room for now.  After they leave in August, it will be Garrett's room.  HIS OWN ROOM!  He can't wait.

Further down the hall on the same side as this room is a kid's bathroom and then the girls' room.  Bronwyn, Ansley and Carys are all sharing a room until August when Bronwyn goes back to college.  Then after our furlough at the end of this year, Ansley will be in Equador, so Carys will have.... HER OWN ROOM!  She can't wait....

Across the hall from the girls' room is the Master bedroom and bathroom.  It is big and has a nice view out the big window.  Our room has the most boxes to be unpacked.  It's kind of been the "dumping ground" for miscellaneous stuff so far.

Beside the master bedroom is Anderson, Giovanni and Garrett's room - until August when it will be just the two younger boys' room.  For now, Anderson is on the top bunk, Giovanni on his little bed underneath, and Garrett at the end of the room on a twin bed.

In August, we will play musical beds.  The bunk beds in Stephen and Weston's room will go the the two little boys' room.  The double bed in the girls' room will go to Garrett's room.  The beds in the little boys' room now will go to Carys's room.  She will have room to put the twin bed underneath the bunk in kind of an "L" shape and the trundle bed will fit underneath the twin.  Giovanni's little bed we will donate to someone who needs it.   Confused yet??

Obviously we have a lot of decorating to do and some boxes to unpack and put away.  But we are making it fine now.  And so far we haven't been evicted from the building because of the noise level or late night movie watching.

The apartment also has a living room with a space for a dining table and a couch/TV area, a dining room, kitchen, laundry area, "maid's room" and bathroom (which will be my craft area), and a powder room.  More pictures to come!

Monday, June 27, 2011

What have I been doing??

I bet some of you gave up on my blog - I thought about giving up on it, too.  But, I'm hanging in here and trying to get it started up again.

So, what have I been up to?

Well, we moved.  And that seemed like it took forever.  A month before the move packing up everything,  two weeks fixing up the house we moved out of,  and now who knows how long unpacking and fixing up our new apartment.

We welcomed the Aggies for Christ group on the same day that we moved.  They helped us clean up and fix up the house we moved out of and were very forgiving of our boxes and mess while they hung out in our apartment (only 2 of them stayed with us).  Bronwyn's college friends, Stephen and Weston, are also here and are fitting right in as our adopted sons for the summer.

So, I'm anxious to fix up our apartment and show it to our families - and anyone else who reads this blog!

Right now, there are still boxes everywhere, but we are making progress.

For starters, just so you know where our apartment is, here is a map that Anderson drew.

As you can see, we are super close to the school.  We are also to our club (like a YMCA) where the kids can get together with their friends and play soccer or goof off.

One day last week, it was nice and sunny and Garrett and Carys were gone all afternoon at the club or school hanging out with their friends.  They came home when it was starting to get dark.  It reminded me of when I was little and would stay out in the neighborhood til dark playing with my friends.  I was really thankful that we live in a place where they can do that, for the first time since we have lived in Brasil.

So, even though things are crazy right now and we don't have everything figured out, we are thankful for our apartment.

Pictures coming soon!