Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Kids these days!

I don't know what is wrong with kids these days. They have no table manners and always play with their food! What are their parents teaching them at home?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Fall Giveaway

Being a mom of five girls I have become a collector of dresses. Most of these dresses
were given to our family as gifts or seconds. It's been such a blessing and very enjoyable to see my girls dressed up for church or just for fun. We have all seasons and all sizes from newborn to now size 14.

But I admit that I have been a little sentimental knowing that there will no more little girls coming to dress up. I've slowly been weeding through the smaller clothes donating them here and there or saving the ones with special memories. But then there are others that are just too precious and valuable to donate to Goodwill or the garage sale.

Knowing that dresses are getting harder to come by these days and that often the cost is unreasonable, I want to pass these sweet dresses on to you.

So if your in the market for 4 winter dresses (Old Navy black velvet Jumper with red flowers, Old Navy corduroy button down with yellow and light blue flowers, Gap light purple with pastel flower print, Little Moments velvety dark purple with pink flowers ) for your little size 2/3 princess sign in here.

I will randomly pick a winner on Saturday Nov. 3rd. Please leave a comment and tell me about your favorite dress that you wore as a little girl. If you don't have a blog please sign up anyway. I'll contact you via email. This giveaway is open to US only.

My favorite dress was a floor length pink number with pleats all the way to the ground. My grandpa (quiet farmer type) bought it for my first piano recital at a children's specialty store. It came in a big box wrapped in a ribbon and tissue paper. I never felt so confident and pretty. I hadn't seen it for years until my parents gave it to me for Mother's Day a few years ago.

The Good Shepherd

I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed this morning. Granted it is 6:20 on a Monday morning. But I've been a bit under the weather recently and since Friday night have been feeling low on energy, motivation, inspiration... I know that part of it is merely physical- my body fighting off this virus. I'd say I'm moving at about 60% which is really a bad scenerio in my mind because this place moves a lot faster than that. But more than that, I'm fighting back those feelings of being unbalanced. I've been headed this way for a few weeks now and the train is about to come into the station.

For all the physical work that I do or needs to be done around here, it is so quickly undone right before my eyes. I know its just part of this season of our family's life,I accept that. But when I look at the big mess I wonder if it is worth the effort.

I do many things for my children, but am I giving them what they need? Am I giving them time just to talk and be with me, not just be around me and talked at? Do they know that they are loved unconditionally and forever? Am I intentionally instilling in them the Truth?

Homeschooling has been going well this year thus far. For this I am thankful. But the momentum is starting to slow down for me and the kids. How can I inspire them if I am unmotivated myself?

I don't feel sorry for myself, but realize that this is what happens when I begin to rely on myself more than on the Lord. It really is so subtle at first and I don't even notice, but before I know it the Old Me is attempting to control the reins. And crash. Talk about a mess.

This has been a lifelong struggle for me. I am a master a justifying and deceiving myself. I love control and God lovingly (though not without pain) continually reminds me otherwise.

I'd like to avoid this crash which takes often the form of a very bad attitude, hurting other's feelings, being selfish, pitying myself, blaming others, loosing my patience, raising my voice...

So on my to be list this week:

In Christ, instead of being overwhelmed by my own circumstance and feelings I choose to be tended, gathered, carried and led by The Good Shepherd. That's where I want to be.

Isaiah 40:11-14

11 He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.

12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand,
or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?
Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket,
or weighed the mountains on the scales
and the hills in a balance?

13 Who has understood the mind of the LORD,
or instructed him as his counselor?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Whatcha Got Cookin'

Friday night there was some fun happening at this house! Myself and seven other homeschool moms joined together for the first Whatcha Got Cookin' party. We made 64+ meals total in about 3 hours to be stored in the freezer for a later time.

This is what we made:

Chicken Devan
Beef Stew
Wet Burritos
Stuffed Shells
Egg Rolls and Teriyaki sauce
Chicken Calzones
Macaroni Cassarole

This is how it worked:

About three weeks ago each lady submitted a 2 recipes of her choice. Each recipe serves a family of 8. From this list we narrowed it down to make a good balance and variety.

Each person was responsible to provide all the meat her own family would be eating. This way they could pull from what they already had or buy on sale and hopefully save some money.

After being assigned a recipe each lady multiplied that recipe times 8 and then purchased and prepared all the non-meat ingredients for the entire group. Any prep work like dicing, boiling or chopping was done at home. This allowed us to buy in bulk and save some time and money.

That night we all brought our meat and all of our prep work together and began to assemble each recipe one by one for our individual family. It was nice to be able to control the spiciness or leave out an ingredient that our family wouldn't care for. There was nothing to actually cook, so it went fairly quickly. Each recipe cost between$4-8 depending on if it was divided into one or two meals due to family size.

More than anything it was an opportunity visit and share and we did something productive at the same time! We may see each other at homeschool group each week, but for some of us it was the first time ever that we have had a uninterrupted conversation.

The night ended in the early hours of the morning with chocolate, caffeine and great conversation.

Wanna see?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?

You Are Bert

Extremely serious and a little eccentric, people find you loveable - even if you don't love them!

You are usually feeling: Logical - you rarely let your emotions rule you

You are famous for: Being smart, a total neat freak, and maybe just a little evil

How you life your life: With passion, even if your odd passions (like bottle caps and pigeons) are baffling to others

Ugh. I wanted to be Prairie Dawn.

I categorically reject the neat freak- I'm a wanna be on that one.

I try not to be too serious. But seriously, I can't help it.

If you lived on Sesame Street who would you be?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Caring for Curls

I inherited my curls from my dad. Guys have the option of just cutting their curls as short as possible so that other people are fooled into thinking it is "thick". Girls, however, are faced with the daunting task of creating a style from what can easily become a haystack. When people see our family one of the first things they comment is, "Wow, look at all that hair!" Our drains are saying the same thing for a completely different reason!

Curly hair can not be changed, but it will behave differently depending on how it is treated. So for you moms out there with curly headed kids here's the low down.

1. Never (I repeat, "Never!") brush, pick or tease curly hair when it is dry. If you do each individual hair will leave its friends to have a party of its own. There's no going back when that happens. Your only options are to put it up or wash it. Only wet, well conditioned hair should be brushed.

2. Curly hair is by nature dry. I myself was a church camp phenomenon when I could go under the water at the pool and come up with completely dry hair. You must allow the hair to be saturated before applying shampoo. Then let the conditioner have a little extra time. You must teach your daughter (and yourself) to be patient.

3. Use a good gel product applied to the ends first, but don't over "scrunch". (Creating volume is not likely a problem). To read about my all time favorite products look here. A good rule of thumb is that the gel should be watery, not sticky in your hand.

4. Curly hair is also more porous so it sucks in whatever it comes in contact with. This means that it needs some protection before getting into chlorine. Wetting hair and applying conditioner before swimming goes a long way to keep curly hair healthy.

5. Never, never, never blow dry or apply heat to curls. It is disastrous.

6. Run quickly from any hair stylist that says, "I can thin your hair" or "Let's texturize it here". This is done with special thinning scissors that remind me of pinking shears. Or they may use regular scissors and run the blade across the hair to "shave" back certain areas. This is a tragedy that is not easily undone. (I'm speaking from experience here). When curly hair is cut in this manner the individual hairs have varying lengths. This only serves to thicken the hair from underneath and create terrible rats. Also, the next time the same technique is used there is no way to tell how the hair was thinned the last time to repeat the same layers. It's very bad and can take years to undo.

7. Find a good stylist and stick with her. Preferably she would be a curly head, too. Thankfully, curly hair can go longer without being cut, but a consistent hair stylist will be able to tell what is and is not possible with one's hair. She will learn the patterns and quirks of your child's curls and be able to teach you both how to care for it.

8. Consider it a blessing. Once your curly haired girl learns to care for it herself she will be a low maintenance gal.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Little Steps

Tonight at water aerobics (my favorite form of exercise these days) the Billy Joel song It's Still Rock and Roll To Me was playing as I was jumping like a frog and then pretending to shoot an imaginary basketball. Anyway, in a way only songs can, I was right back to a muggy dorm room in August of 1990 unpacking my bags. My roommate and lifelong best friend, Carrie, and I pulled our first all-nighter unpacking and arranging and rearranging our 12 X 10 room that night. Part of it was probably adrenaline related but the other part (at least for me) was trying to work off that feeling of impending doom. The next morning my Dad would be driving back home 8 hours away and leaving me to live my new life.

Thinking about all of this made me a little teary eyed. I don't think anyone could tell because of the water splattered all over my glasses. My oldest daughter, Hannah, left yesterday for a week with her best friend to Chicago. I'm completely comfortable with her going, but I can't believe that she did. She and her friend have planned this trip for months. I am so excited that she will experience a wonderful city and share those memories with one of her favorite people. I went on vacations with Carrie's family for as many years as I can remember. These trips expanded my world. They became a part of who I grew up to be.

I know that this is just a little step with many more to come.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Good Times

Here's some of the funny happenings of this past week:

Ariel (Elizabeth) dressed in a white gown, petting her stuffed Nemo, combing her hair with a fork, singing from the heart, "AHHH,AHHHH...."

Putting Joseph to bed (who was crying because he was scared of monsters in his closet) singing our favorite Karen Henley song:
"I am your God, I am your God, I am your God who holds your right hand. I say to you, 'Do not be afraid. For I will help you.'"

Mommy, I'm still afraid.

Joseph, God is always watching over you all the time. He always sees you.

But (starting to sob), I think God already went to bed tonight.

Lying in the dark with Sean and trying to sing every 80's rollerskating song that we could remember.
"Because your kiss, your kiss, is on my list..."

Lydia made two Lego airplanes exactly the same except one was colorful and the other white. "Look mom, this one writes in the clouds. This one is the eraser."

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Lifted Up

Mary at Not before 7 nominated me for my first award. It is always such a joy to read about Mary's home and her daily decision to love her children for God's glory. In many ways she reminds me of myself about 6 years ago. I can't really remember those days clearly as I would like (due to sleep deprivation) so reading her blog is like a trip down memory lane for me.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows."

God is so gracious to use his Word and His people to meet us where we are today. Anything that we are able to give to each other comes directly from His Hand. He is the encourager and the comforter and the ultimate friend. Isn't it good to be His?

There are some special people whose blogs have encouraged me recently to laugh, love my family better, trust in God and live life with a little more gusto, so I pass this award on to you.

My dear friend Cindy at Still His Girl (besides being the one who introduced me to blogging in the first place) encourages me to love life and love being with others in practical ways. Her energy is contagious. She is down to earth and yet not afraid to dream big and see it through.

Mindy at The Hectic Years is a mom of three beautiful children who is learning to lean on the Lord while her husband has been deployed. She communicates beautifully her struggles as well as her victories. Seeing God answer her prayers increases mine. Besides that, she is a gifted photographer.

Alaina at Reflective Ponderings encourages me to continue developing my gifts and abilities while embracing a busy family life. She is a new mom to 2 beautiful boys and has managed to continue to express herself through creative cooking and hospitality.

I know that the words you share are a reflection of God's work and comfort in your own lives. Thank you ladies for your encouragement, not just by the words you write, but by the ways you live each day!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Basket

In my quest to disguise my home as one well ordered and not ruled by seven children, I have devised yet another handy tool. Meet my friend, the Diaper Basket.

For the past 11 years I have been changing diapers. I quickly realized that diaper changing tables are unrealistic in my world for several reasons. One being that I am too lazy to go all the way upstairs to get a diaper, let alone carry the baby with me. Besides, I prefer to change my children on the floor where they are easier to wrestle and will not fall to the ground.

Years ago my mother-in-law purchased a beautiful Longerberger picnic basket for me. Since I had never owned something so expensive, I naturally wanted to display it. However, what good is a basket if you are not using it? Placed conveniently in the living room it became the Diaper Basket. Stored inside is a package of diapers, wipes, ointment and a hand towel to protect the carpet. Everyone (even guests) has full access to the diaper basket and, being at kid level, little ones are eager to help.

Someday (in possibly the next 18 months) the Diaper Basket will be retired. It truly is hard to imagine not hearing the wooden lid slammed shut 6 or more times a day. Maybe then we'll go on a picnic.

Find great Works for Me Wednesday ideas at Rocks in My Dryer

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Shakedown

Years ago my friend, Cindy, and I were behind a semi that rolled on a country road. There wasn't another car in sight. It was a nerve racking and horrible experience to say the least. Thankfully, both the driver and the hitchhiker were okay. All of that aside, the picture that has stuck in my head is one of the large amount of trash that rolled out of this semi's cab all over the road. It looked like a dumpster had been turned over.

We have a 15 passenger van now which is just beyond wonderful. Everyone has plenty of room and air conditioning. Knowing that these vehicles are prone to roll when in accidents we carefully researched to find the best option. We settled on the Chevy Express.

We clean out our van every other Monday and I am astounded by the amount of trash and clutter that we remove each time. If someone took our van, held it upside down and shook it this is what would have fallen out this week:

1. 2 Basketballs
2. 4 pairs of shoes
3. A box of crayons (not all in box)
4. 8 library books
5. banana peel (disgusting)
6. 4 empty cups
7. 1 bottle
8. 5 pens
9. 10+ pieces of paper
10. 3 church bulletins
11. a pineapple
12. 2 handfuls of cheerios
13. portable CD player and headphones
14. 3 empty water bottles
15. 4 jackets
16. half an English Muffin (reminded me of a crouton)
17. pair of roller blades with smelly socks

Can't you see the headlines now?
Family Survives Rollover but Interstate Closed 3 Hours for Clean Up

Monday, October 15, 2007

"D" is for Dad

Joseph, lover of all things Robin Hood, has taken an interest in writing these days. Yesterday I was quizzing him.

"Joseph, how do you spell your name?"


"How do you write Mom?"


"How would you spell Daddy's name?"

"Bow.A.Bow. There are no arrows in Daddy's name."

Friday, October 12, 2007

The point of no return

The chill is in the air. The leaves are just beginning to change and fall. And I'm quickly loosing it.

People often comment, "You are so calm. You never seemed rattled by anything."
I tell them that it is just a matter of time, really. I can take a lot coming my way until one day I reach the point of no return.

Yesterday was that day. Rather than recount the whole event, I'm simply going to make a list and leave it at that. As you will find half of the problem here is my own doing and reactions. Guilty as charged.

1. Skipped school and took 7 children to Children's Museum for 6 hours.

2. 4 screaming meltdowns by 3 year old at the Museum. Wondering if this is all a mistake.

3. The museum's food court is now remodeled which means Burger King's Value Menu is gone. Pay $21.69 for a measly amount of lunch.

3. Baby has a screaming fit (for no known reason) during movie for those "8 and older". I have to leave 5 of the children (we were split up) in the theater and exit quickly. Come to find that the 30 minute presentation is on the "Big Bang Theory". Not pleased.

4. Discovered a lie told by one of the older children which must be dealt with. She is sorry, but won't take the consequence until Dad "takes care of it" in the way only Dads can. Just want to yell, but remember my own "to be list".

5. Nothing thawed for dinner. I serve chicken noodle soup, tortilla shells and lunch meat. Nobody likes it.

6. Milk and smoothy spilled on kitchen floor during dinner. I was really hoping I would not have to mop the floor until next week. Not now.

7. Four year old bites older sister. I wish I could bite, too.

8. Dad comes home. We sit down to eat our "organic tomato" soup together. It's like eating pizza sauce with a spoon. Yuck.

9. Decide to go to WalMart at 8pm to get some fresh air and avoid going with all the children in the morning. People at WalMart are crazy- yelling at their kids, each other, their cell phones, the workers... Everyone is unhappy and scary, quite frankly. I realize that they are acting how I have been feeling today. Ahh!


As I sat down to get this started someone called up the stairs, "Rebekah's diaper exploded! Help!"

Giggling, smiling Rebekah greets me and holds up her PJ's to reveal that she did not in fact wear a diaper to bed, but has soaked herself up into even her hair. Nice.

Well, nothing like starting the day nice and clean from a big bubble bath.

We're going skating today. Should be fun!

I am the screaming Banshee. Check these hilarious Hallmark ecards and see what I mean. I'm particularly fond on the Baby card.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Trials and Glory

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.

See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 139:23,24

I memorized this verse when I was about twelve at a church retreat and God uses it even today to call out to Him. When I am stressed out it runs like a recorder through my head.

The pressures of this world are many. Relationships can be difficult. Unanswered questions remain. Financial strains squeeze. The anxiety is overwhelming. It's easy get into the mentality that there is no end in sight.

I was reminded last night that even these trials, difficulties, and pressures are in God's hands. He is the Redeemer. He is using what the world would call "disasters" to sanctify us, to make us more like Christ.

Only He is able to cause such trials to bear fruit for His glory and our good.

Consider this, my friends:

When hurt by another person's sin, God is working in you harmoniousness, sympathy, brotherliness, kindheartedness, humility.

1 Peter 3:8-9
Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

When facing unanswered questions and trials, God is working in you joy and endurance.

James 1:2,3,12
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

When under financial pressures, God is working in you contentment and gratitude.

Philippians 4:11,12
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

Only because of who He is may we believe these words in the midst of pain:

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 1 Peter 4:12, 13

For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. Job 19: 25

Praying for you today, my friends.

Monday, October 8, 2007

The Amazing Screen

Don't ask me why, it must be a law of the universe of something, but my kid's toys always end up all over the living room floor. No matter that they have their own designated box. Never mind that they may have a whole room dedicated to their existence. If my children are playing, the toys must be in front of the door and all over the living room.

It is my goal that anyone coming in our home (assuming, of course, that I knew that they were coming) would be shocked that so many children and their toys inhabit the building. The carpet stains might be a clue, but we're working on that.

Introducing, the amazing screen. It was purchased by my sister at an auction and passed on to me a few years ago. I stretched fabric over the back to match our decor and placed it in a corner out of the way.

Behind ours we store: two bouncy balls, a riding tractor and car, Lego's, Lincoln Logs, a kid guitar and Kinnex.

Come to think of it, I don't want any of these things out of my sight anyway or I'd have kids tumbling down stairs and tiny toy pieces who knows where. Besides, I'd miss them running over my toes while I fix dinner.

Check out other Works for me Wednesday ideas here.

Friday, October 5, 2007

An unexpected gift

When I was a preschooler my parents converted their garage into an apartment for my father's parents, Marvin and Lois. It had a bedroom, living room, kitchen and bathroom custom designed to meet the needs of my grandma's disability. I loved it that everything in her house was scaled down. I always felt like a big girl at the kitchen sink or stove.

She contracted polio during the epidemic of the 50's. I'd often ask her how it happened. "I went swimming in a creek. Went out to hang out the laundry. I felt weak and never walked again." My understanding is that she (in typical mother fashion) got her children immunized but failed to do so herself.

Polio landed her in an iron lung and in and out of hospitals for the majority of my father's childhood. She did overcome, however, and spent the remainder of her life in a wheelchair. She became a master with her hands at all variety of crafts- cross stitch, embroidery, quilting, knitting, crocheting, beading- and she taught Sunday School and VBS faithfully. In my mind she was a wonderful friend who always had time for me. She never told me I was too young to try and I never felt too old to ask for help.

My parents brought Grandma and Grandpa into our home with no strings attached. They lived independently for the most part. I think that my Dad probably enjoyed a relationship with them then that he had missed during the years of illness and recovery.

When Grandpa died it was a blow to the family to say the least. It was an unexpected death and mourned by all of us deeply and in different ways. Grandma suffered a few strokes in the following years which eventually left her paralyzed on the right side and in bed most of the time. She remained in our home for 7 more years.

These were years of sacrifice, especially for my mom. Grandma required complete care physically, but also needed social and spiritual interaction as well. Knowing what I know now about all the energy that it takes to manage a home and family, I am amazed at the gift of time and love that was given. I don't know of many women that would willingly do this for their invalid mother-in-law. Nursing home care was not even a question.

My mom was in her 30s at the time. When her friends were going on vacation or out of town for the weekend, my mom just did not go. When all the children were off to school, she stayed home. Her days were not filled with socializing or "time to herself". Yet, I have never heard her voice a regret.

Grandma eventually decided, surprisingly, on her own that she wanted to live in a nursing home where she could have more social interaction with peers. She lived there healthy and happy for 12 years before she passed away.

God has used the sacrifice of my parents and the service of my mother, in particular, to teach me what it means to be a family- patience, pain, nurturing, giving, disabilities, responsibility, integrity, sacrifice, love. These things don't happen on great family vacations or reunions. They happen over time and in every day service to one another.

My parents probably never had all of this in mind when they built on that garage apartment, but to me it is a precious gift that I will forever cherish.

I often think about how I am going to instill into my five daughters what it means to nurture and care for others. How am I going to teach value of giving to a person who can not give back equally or at all? These things just are not seen in today's world.

The answer I know lies in this question: "How am I modeling sacrifice and service to those God has placed in our family and life?"

Read other articles hosted by this blog carnival at http://wendydelmo.typepad.com/one_day_at_a_time/

My "To Be" List

I'm naturally not an organizer. Sure, I like to get things done and for my my life to be neat and clean. But I don't wake up every morning intuitively excited about my routine. I'm always looking for some small opportunity to arise to let me run off into the land of spontaneity.

But I've learned to make lists out of necessity. I realize that our home would probably cave in (literally) and our lives would be an undisciplined mess if there weren't some semblance of order. Though it's still not natural for me, I do appreciate the way it works and don't fight it any more.

But, I'm getting grumpy. We are seven weeks into the school year and I feel as though I am being ruled by the "List". Though I'm smiling, inside I'm beginning to feel the crunch of all the things that have to get done. And if they don't get completed I'll be even grumpier because the list will be even longer. Arg.

Currently, I'm going through a study with my youngest sister called, "The Excellent Wife", by Martha Peace. Marriage is in her near future.

Last night we studied a chapter which challenged us not to just take off sin but to put on godliness. On the way home as I was thinking about today and my mental "To Do" list I found myself getting grumpy yet again. It never goes away.

I've decided that I will start keeping a "To Be" list. I really want my life to count not because of what I do (or don't do), but because of who I am regardless.

So for today these are the things that I need to do:
-Prepare for my mother-in-law's birthday
-school with 4 children
-clean the bathrooms
-5 loads of laundry
-pay bills
-go to bed at a decent hour because I'm working at 6am

But today, In Christ, this is who I choose to be:

Not angry in my words or actions, but gentle.

Ephesians 4:26-27
"In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold."

2 Samuel 22:35-37

He trains my hands for war,
so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
You have given me the shield of your salvation,
and your gentleness made me great.
You gave a wide place for my steps under me,
and my feet did not slip;

How about you? What's on your list today?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Carpet stains and solutions

Here's my issue.

My carpet is about 5 years old and is admittedly not the highest grade, but not the lowest, either.

We clean our carpets ourselves twice a year but the same (and new) spots keep showing up and never seem to go away.

These spots are not serious stains like juice or blood. I think they are likely drips from sippy cups or just dirty feet.

Any ideas of how or what to use to clean away these spots for good? Or better yet, anyone want to make a donation towards some new carpet:)?