Monday, December 31, 2012

A New Year, New Resolutions

I can't believe that today is New Year's Eve!  Wow!  This year has truly just flown by.  It seems like just yesterday I was anticipating events that would happen for us this year and now they have flown past in the blink of an eye.  I think my mind is still stuck in June even though the calendar is at the end of December and tomorrow will be a brand new year.  It's okay, I'm ready for a new year...I think,  maybe.

A New Year means it is time to reflect and make some changes and yes, I'm going to call them resolutions.  I know some people don't like to make resolutions and I know some people say that by making them you are setting yourself up to fail, but I have always looked at them as a fresh start, a chance to get it right, and a goal to attain.  I am going to do my best to keep them and achieve my goals, but I am sure some of them will fall through the cracks because life happens and I am realistic like that.  Without further ado, here are my Resolutions for 2013...

  • Continue working on losing my 50 pounds - If you want to know how I am doing, see my Weight-loss Wednesday posts where I am blogging my weight loss journey.
  • Finish my Thomas Kinkade Cross-Stitch - This is a cross stitch I have been working on (off and on) for about 6 years.  It is a beautiful chart that I started for my Step-Dad, but my issue with it is that it has no white space or empty space in it.  I am determined to finish it before starting a new project and when I do finish it, I'll probably put the second Kinkade kit I bought to make for my step-dad on e-bay.  I have nightmares about that cross-stitch, but I am going to finish it.  
  • Follow the FLYLady System - I have fluttered and almost started FLYing completely in 2012, but I didn't get all the way on the system like I wanted to.  I know that when I follow the FLYLady system, it works for me and in 2013 I plan to get completely back on track with the system.
  • Get Organized - This one goes with getting on the FLYLady system, but I am tired of thinking I know where something is only to search and search and finally find it somewhere completely unrelated.  I am also tired of realizing I have something to do or somewhere to be the day I have to be there and not having things ready for it.  I just have to get organized so I can function better.
  • Craft More - I have a bazillion and one projects I want to do, but haven't gotten around to.  I am hoping by getting more organized and my schedule under control, I will have more time to craft.
  • Scrapbook More - I am realistic and I know that I will always be way behind in my scrapbooking, but I hope to have more time to scrapbook so I can at least feel like I am making progress.
  • Study my Bible and Pray More - I can always use more Bible and prayer time.
  • Blog Regularly - I apologize to all my readers for this year.  I started off well and then somewhere along the way I got off track and got in a funk.  Then at the end of the year I started thinking about why I started blogging in the first place and my desire to blog came back.  I blog to get my thoughts written down somewhere.  I blog to let others know what works for me and what doesn't.  I blog as my journal.  Along the way I hope someone is reading and getting something from my blog, but if not that is okay too I'll keep writing.
That is where I am starting with my Resolutions.  I want to wish you all a very HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!  I hope you all are safe and warm tonight, surrounded by those you love waiting for the ball to drop and bring us a brand new year, a new start, and a fresh chance to change those things we have been wanting to change.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Weight-loss Wednesdays

I intended to have a blog post ready for yesterday that wished you all a Very Merry Christmas, but the flu bug hit our house over the weekend and all plans went out the door.  So I hope all of you had a very Merry Christmas!!!  Like I said we had a case of the flu bug here at our house starting on Sunday.  At first I thought we weren't feeling well because we had broken our sugar and caffeine fast, but then when my son couldn't stop throwing up I knew we had gotten the flu.  Buddy Bear struggled all of Monday and then I woke up yesterday with the flu.  It was not fun for either of us and I am still praying that neither my hubby or Baby Bear get the flu.

So in weight-loss news, we broke our sugar and caffeine fast starting last Saturday and were doing well with it.  I am doing a better job of not going overboard on my sugar or caffeine intake.  I didn't even have coffee until Sunday and then I limited it to one travel mug (about 12 oz.) on both Sunday and Monday.  My sugar intake was very limited and even though we were at Christmas parties on Saturday and Sunday, I made very deliberate choices which desserts I wanted.   I was trying to make very deliberate food choices all weekend long and will continue to make deliberate food choices.  I have not been able to workout since last week due to being sick.  So I am hoping that once I am completely better I will be able to pick up my workout where I left off.  Thanks to the flu and careful eating choices before the flu, I lost 5 pounds this week.  I wish that I would have lost it without having the flu, but it is what it is.  I have lost a total of 12.5 pounds so far.


Changes implemented:
Go caffeine free starting 12/1/12
Start 30 day fitness challenge 12/3/12
Increased water intake - 12/1/12
Reduced sugar intake - 12/1/12

Weight to lose: 37.5 lbs.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Weight-loss Wednesdays

The days are flying by and Christmas is next week already.  I swear it was just June last week or at least it feel like it should have been.  How can time fly by so fast?  Anyway, it is Wednesday which means it was time for another weigh in this morning.  I was pleasantly surprised to lose another 1.5 pounds this week.  I am pretty excited about that as I kept seeing no change on the scale for quite a few days before this morning's number.  This means that I have lost a total of 7.5 pounds so far this month.  I have been continuing to eat my fruits, veggies, beans, and whole grains.  Sugar has been trying to tempt me a lot lately as there have been several events I have attended where there have been cookies and candy out as a treat for guests and helpers.  I was good though and just passed them by and ignored them.  I don't need them anyway.  I have also been regularly doing workouts.  I "play" the game EA Active Personal Trainer for my Wii.  I have the settings on medium intensity and I really enjoy doing the workouts on it.  It combines workout moves with fun activities and the workouts are about 20-25 minutes each.  The game has me on a schedule of 2 days of working out and then a rest day, then it repeats.  I set it up to do a 30 day challenge and I am a little over half-way through that challenge.  I yell at my trainer (the game) for making me do squats followed by squat jumps followed by lunges, I think it is trying to kill me, but in reality I need to do the workout and challenge myself so while I am yelling at the game, it knows I'll be back the next day.  I am looking forward to adding back in a little variety for Christmas.  I will add back in limited coffee and sugar starting on Saturday, but I am going to do a better job of controlling myself this time.  If the scale changes too drastically this time when I add stuff back in, I will strip it away again, immediately.  I am committed to losing the weight this time and committed to doing what it takes.


Changes implemented:
Go caffeine free starting 12/1/12
Start 30 day fitness challenge 12/3/12
Increased water intake - 12/1/12
Reduced sugar intake - 12/1/12

Weight to lose: 42.5 lbs.


*All the opinions of video game in this post are my own.  I was in no way compensated nor am I associated with Wii or EA Active.  This is just a game I saw at the store and bought because it sounded like a good workout and like it would be fun.  

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Weight-Loss Wednesdays

Today is 12/12/12 (pretty cool to this numbers geek - yep, I love numbers and math) and the changes just keep coming for me.  I look back to December 1 when I began making all my changes and I remember thinking how hard it was all going to be, but in reality it hasn't been so bad.  The headaches I had (and deserved) the first few days from detoxing from caffeine and sugar have went away and not came back.  The tired, sluggish lack of energy that I was experiencing has pretty much went away.  Don't get me wrong, I am still waking up tired, but it is due to our being BUSY right now and not due to the foods I am eating.  I love the foods I have been eating.  I have been eating only vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and beans, lots of beans.  We have tried quite a few new recipes and have really liked them.  We have also tried some new vegetables which we like.  I have only had a couple of times where I have craved something really sweet or ooey, gooey, and chocolatey but those cravings were due to lack of sleep and I don't know about you but when I am tired, I crave sweets.  I ignored the cravings and reached for fruit and my cup of water.  So all in all it has been a pretty good week and I was happy to see another loss on the scale this morning.  I have lost another 3 pounds making it a total of 6 pounds lost so far.  This is very exciting to me and I can't wait to see what the scale will say next week.


Changes implemented:
Go caffeine free starting 12/1/12
Start 30 day fitness challenge 12/3/12
Increased water intake - 12/1/12
Reduced sugar intake - 12/1/12

Weight to lose: 44 lbs.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Papa York

This weekend was a hard one.  It was filled with joy, but filled with grief at the same time.  This weekend my Papa York died.  Papa is my paternal grandfather.  He was an AMAZING man.  While my heart is sad and I am grieving, there is joy at the same time.  My Papa was 92 years young and going strong right up until he had a stroke at the end of last week.  It was a massive stroke, the kind that people just don't recover from.  It was hard news to hear especially since there was nothing I could do.  That side of my family is across the country from me and plane tickets are not cheap at this time of the year, plus even if I had been there with them there was nothing that I could do except wait with them.  Papa was always there even though my parents divorced when we were young and my mom moved us back to where she grew up (which means across the country).  He always stayed connected to our lives and made sure we knew that we were loved and special to him.  He wrote us letters, he called us, and every once in awhile we would receive something special in the mail from him.  He filled us in on his life just like we were right there with him.  My Papa was a wonderful storyteller and he had stories to tell.  He served in the military and was a school teacher in a small Arizona town.  He loved life and lived every moment to the fullest.  He didn't know strangers and everyone loved him.  I have lots of wonderful memories of my Papa that I will cherish.  I wish you all could have know him because you would have loved him like all of his family does.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Weight-loss Wednesday

I can't believe it is Wednesday again already.  Where is the time going?  Before we know it, it will be Christmas.  Time flies!  This week I have been busy making changes and sticking to them.  At first they were hard, but they are getting easier and easier and just a part of my normal routine now.  This past Saturday, I implemented my no coffee and no unnatural sugar (I can eat fruit, but not foods with sugar added if that makes sense to you).  At first the no coffee was difficult and even though I had been cutting back (okay, way back) on my coffee I still had horrible headaches.  The truth is that I was addicted to coffee and I was trying to use it to fuel my body, but it wasn't working.  I was drinking way more than I should have been and once I cut out coffee completely, I deserved to have the headaches to remind me that if I am going to abuse my body, I will have consequences.  Over the weekend I did feel tired and sluggish as my body got rid of all the bad stuff that was left in it, but I am happy to report that I am feeling much better now and have more energy.  I have changed my diet and loaded it with lots of fiber, whole grains, vegetables, and fruit and not only am I truly loving the foods I am eating, I know that I am now eating for a purpose which is to fuel my body not just fill my belly.  I also increased my water intake A LOT and that really helps me.  Since making these changes I am getting results.  My clothes are fitting differently and I am excited today to report that I have lost another...drumroll, please...two and a half pounds!


Changes implemented:
Go caffeine free starting 12/1/12
Start 30 day fitness challenge 12/3/12 (I started on Monday, not on Saturday like I originally planned due to headaches from coming off of caffeine and sugar.)
Increased water intake - 12/1/12
Reduced sugar intake - 12/1/12

Weight to lose: 47 lbs.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Weight-loss Wednesday

I wish I had more exciting news for this Weight-loss Wednesday post, but I really don't.  I lost 0.5 pounds which isn't as much as I wanted to, but at least I didn't gain.  The last week I ate well and have been focusing on decreasing my caffeine intake which is good, but leaving me pretty tired.  I realized by decreasing my caffeine intake (read breaking a severe coffee addiction because I gave up soda quite a few months ago) that I was really drinking a lot of coffee and relying on it to keep me going.  So making this change has been pretty big and I am going easy on myself this time in hopes that I don't wind up with major headaches when I (temporarily) give up coffee for awhile.  I have a couple more mornings of allowing myself just one cup of coffee and then on Saturday I will not have any coffee, so sad for me, a major coffee lover, but a much needed change since I was replacing water with coffee and I am hoping to flip that back around.  I am also starting to decrease my sugar intake as I am also planning on fasting from sugar for awhile.  I will still be eating natural sugars that are in fruits and vegetables, but not adding in any extra sugar in my diet.  So I am hoping next week's weigh in will have better results.  I know that this week's could have been better because I did see better numbers on my scale this week (yes I am one of those people that weighs every day even though it is not recommended), but I also know that I wasn't getting enough water and had too much carbs and salt this week.  Lesson learned and I am moving on.  The other big change I am in the process of implementing is regular exercise.  I will be doing a 30 day fitness challenge using a Wii workout game.  I am one of those people who is more likely to stick to exercise when it doesn't feel like I am exercising and Wii workout games do that for me.

Changes to implement:
Go caffeine free starting 12/1/12
Start 30 day fitness challenge 12/1/12
Increase water intake - ASAP
Reduce sugar intake - ASAP

Weight to lose: 49.5 lbs.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thankful

Since we just had Thanksgiving, I have been doing a lot of thinking about what I am thankful for.  I am thankful for many things and I have been trying to post on my Facebook page something that I am thankful for each day.  I believe that a heart of gratitude makes you a happier person and it helps to see the things to be thankful for in situations where you normally wouldn't be thankful.  For example one day recently, I had just spent 45 minutes sweeping and mopping my floors and had no sooner put the mop away when both my kids ran in from playing outside to get something to drink.  While I was mopping they had been playing through where the garden was and it had rained the day before so the garden area was muddy.  After the kids got something to drink and went back outside, I looked all around the floor to see muddy footprints.  Sure I was frustrated and my first thought was to start complaining and grumbling, but then I decided to look for something to be thankful for.  As I looked around I thought about the muddy footprints and realized how thankful I am for healthy kids who are able to play outside and who love to play outside.  As I was thinking about all the things I am thankful for I decided I would post my top five things I am thankful for here to share with you.

  1. God - I am thankful that I have accepted the gift of salvation that God has offered to me by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross.  God is always with me, always watching me, and always offering grace and mercy to me.  I am thankful that the Gospel was presented to me and that I invited Jesus Christ into my life and serve Him every day.
  2. Husband - I am so very thankful that God brought my husband into my life over 17 years ago and that we got married 14 years ago.  My husband is an amazing man who is kind, caring, thoughtful, loving, devoted, hot (yep, had to throw that one in there), and my best friend.  He has stuck with me all these years without complaint and he supports me in all I do.  I love him more than I could ever even begin to explain.
  3. Kids - I am so thankful for the 2 beautiful gifts that God has blessed my hubby and I with.  My kids are my heart and soul.  They make me laugh, cry, worry, smile, pray, get gray hair, shake my head, wonder, and I wouldn't have it any other way.  They are funny, loving, kind, smart, absolutely adorable, and gifts from God.  
  4. Family - I am thankful for my family.  We haven't always all had good relationships, but we are in a great place now and we really do owe that to God.  He has done a lot of healing in the relationships of family members and I am truly thankful for every family relationship we have.
  5. Church - I am thankful for the church we attend.  It is a wonderful, Bible teaching church that has activities and classes for all ages.  Our church works hard to make people feel welcome and to get people involved in all the activities we have going on.  I remember the first time we went there it was for my brother-in-law's wedding and the pastor made it a point to get to know us even though we had never been there.  Then 8 months later when my other brother-in-law got married there, the pastor remembered us and invited us to service there.  We started going to church there and haven't looked back.  We have made some wonderful friends and really enjoy serving in several different areas of the church.  We love our church and are so thankful for the pastors, their wives, their families, and the rest of our church staff too.
These are the top five things I am thankful for right now.  I encourage you to look around and find something that you are thankful for every day.  Start looking for things to be thankful for in the situations where it doesn't seem like there is anything to be thankful for.  What are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Weight-loss Wednesdays

This post scares me.  It makes my heart beat faster and my breathing is a little shallower.  It shakes me down to my core, but it must be done because a few weeks ago I posted about how I want to show the world the true me and how I want this blog to be a place I can put my real thoughts.  I don't know what people will think or comment, but I know that I have to be real, I have to be gut-wrenching honest, and I need to do what I need to do.  So here goes nothing...

I am starting a new series called Weight-loss Wednesdays.  I have 50 pounds to lose.  I have spoke with my doctor about it and she agrees that I really do need to lose some weight.  You see for me my weight affects my health.  I have asthma and for me extra pounds make my asthma harder to control.  I also need to lose the weight to get my body healthy overall.  In the last few months I have had back issues, extra aches and pains, and fatigue.  All of these things are related to the extra weight I am carrying around.  I know that weight affects everyone differently and some people think that 50 extra pounds is not much, but for me and my body 50 extra pounds are too much.

I decided to weigh in today and while I will not post that number here (some things are going too far for even me or maybe I am just not that brave, I haven't figured it out yet).  Then each Wednesday I will post whether or not I lost or gained weight and how that figures in to my weight loss.  I am also going to go back to using my tried and true methods.  When I have been successful at losing weight I have used SparkPeople, it is a great website that is truly dedicated to helping people lose weight and maintain their loss.  I will also be using the app, My Fitness Pal.  It just helps me be even more accountable with my food intake and exercise.  Using both things is a little redundant, but I need extra accountability.  I will be reducing my sugar and caffeine intake and focusing on getting in more fruits and vegetables.  This is where I am starting.  My plan that my doctor and I discussed is just truly changing my eating habits and that is what I intend to focus on.  So I hope you will join me in this journey by being supportive and cheering me on.  If you would like to join me on the journey by losing weight as well, I would be glad to support you as well.

Weight to lose:  50 pounds

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Go VOTE!!!!

Today is the day!  Today is Tuesday, November 6.  Most importantly today is Election Day!  Today is the day to get out there and VOTE!  Please, please go out and vote if you are a registered voter.  If you have never registered to vote, it is too late to do so for today's election, but make it a priority to get registered as soon as possible so that you can vote in the next primaries and election.  Many people have fought and even given their lives for our right to vote so please don't take it for granted.  Go out and VOTE!!!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Reflection and A Glimpse of What Will Come

I have been doing a lot of reflecting lately which is only natural when you are about to turn another year older.  I've been thinking about me - the things I like, the things I would like to change, the things I need to let go of, how to move forward and what stops me from doing it.  I came to the conclusion that I can't move forward hanging on to the past and fears.  I have to let things go and move on.  Its time to finally make the changes I want to see within myself and stop letting fear hold me down and start living my life fully.  So before my birthday, before the end of another day, and before fear can grip me anymore, I am declaring the changes I will make in my life.

I am letting go of fear.  I am tired of it holding me down, stopping me in my tracks, and making me quit before I ever begin things.  I am tired of the devil using fear against me to keep me away from being closer to God.  I am tired of fear making me feel unworthy, unpretty, and stuck.  Fear is a weapon from the devil that he uses against you to make you feel like you can't do anything.  I have let the devil use this against me for far too long.  I've been afraid to try things, afraid to be myself, afraid to be bold for Christ, and afraid to live life fully.  No more though!  I won't let the devil hold fear over my head.  I am going to try new things, try to do the things I have been wanting to try for awhile, be myself no matter what - quirks and all, speak out for Christ because I am forever grateful that He was willing to die on the cross for this sinner, and live my life fully being present in every moment and enjoying the little things because they pass by way too quick.  I'm done with fear and I know that my God is bigger than any fear that the devil can try and hold over me.

I am letting go of the 45 extra pounds that I have been carrying around for the last 3 years.  I wish just letting go of them made them literally fall off your body, but sadly it doesn't.  I accept responsibility for every one of those 45 pounds.  I made the decisions that lead me to put on the weight, keep it on, and be lazy about exercising and eating right to get rid of them.  They didn't hop on to my body overnight and they won't fall off overnight.  I will have to work hard to get rid of them and make good choices to show myself that I do love myself and I do want to take care of myself.  I need to face the truth that I am a foodie and I love cooking, baking, and recipes, but I can make wise decisions concerning these areas and lose weight while being a foodie.  I also have to start exercising regularly to make my body healthier, stronger, and tone it up.  I know it will hurt for a little while, but it won't kill me and they say what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger.

Lastly, I am giving some of my relationships over to God.  I don't know what to do about these few relationships anymore and I have cried enough tears over them.  I have tried many different things with these relationships, but nothing has changed in them.  So now I am giving them over to God.  Only He knows what is supposed to happen with them and I can't sit around feeling hurt, wounded, and abandoned by these relationships anymore.  I have so many people that love me and want to have a relationship with me that I can't keep hanging on to and chasing relationships that aren't there.  I have a husband who loves me, kids that love me, family that loves me, and friends who love me.  I can't keep waiting for people to have a relationship with me that have made it clear they don't want to work on the relationship.  It hurts, but no wound is too big for God.

These are the things I am working on.  I am going to embrace them and embrace myself.  I'm tired of being stuck so I am clinging to God and moving on.  In Exodus, God told Moses "I AM WHO I AM."  He then went on to explain to Moses that He knew every single thing that would happen to the Israelites and what would happen as they left Egypt.  He told Moses that His hand was in it all.  Wow, to think that God has His hand in everything I do.  That is a huge promise.  God has everything planned out for me and He has His hand in it all.  That is all the comfort I need to reach out and grab on to that hand and let it hold me.  Nothing is too big for my God, nothing.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

MIA - The Truth

I know, I know it has been way too long since I sat down and blogged last.  We have been a B-U-S-Y family and the truth is that I have sat down many times to blog, but I have gotten sidetracked.  I think I should blog about something and then I think, no, no one would care about that.  I make excuses about how it is too hard to get blogger to cooperate with my Ipad and I will just take care of it later.  I think I don't really have the time to sit down in the basement on the big, old dinosaur computer and put together something resembling a post.  The truth is I was avoiding blogging because of fear.  Fear that I had nothing good to say, fear that no one would read what I wrote, and fear that my little ol' blog just doesn't matter.  Then it hit me and this will sound rude, but I don't blog for anyone else.  I blog for me to clear the clutter rolling around in my head.  I blog to share something cool I have seen, heard, or learned and although I hope people do read my blog, I usually blog expecting that no one will read it.  When I sat down and thought about it, my fear seemed silly because I had been putting my expectations on everyone else's opinions and thoughts and not remembering that I blog first and foremost for me.  So I am sorry if that all sounded rude, but I have to remember the reason I blog in the first place.

Now that you know the truth, let me also explain what we have been busy with.  First we are starting our 10th week of school this week.  We love our new curriculum, Sonlight.  It has been a blessing to just be able to open my teacher's manual and know exactly what we will be doing on any given day.  It has also been a blessing to sit down and work with Buddy Bear through his day.  He is really enjoying our new curriculum and has been doing very well at it.  He still has his days that he grumbles about school, but who doesn't have that?

The other big project we have been busy with is our new Homeschool Group at our church.  Last year at the end of the school year, one of the private schools that several of our church children attended ended up having to close down.  It was sad because it was a school that served all grades and its closing meant that parents had to make a decision about school all over again.  While we were praying about this my hubby had an idea to broaden our homeschool group that met at the church for gym and some field trips.  His idea that he started praying about was a group that met for all the homeschool families in our church to have classes, field trips, gym, and more much like a co-op.  The response to starting a group like this was outstanding and the ideas just flowed in.  So far we have had 2 meetings.  We gather for at least one day a month and then we have some field trips planned too.  The parents have suggested classes and we volunteer to teach the classes that we decided will be taught at the gatherings.  The possibilities are endless for a group like this and we are so excited that it has come together so well.  Our group is so much fun and while it is a lot of work behind the scenes planning and preparing, it is well worth it and I am happy that our church has embraced our Homeschool Group.

Other things going on around here have been pretty minor but time consuming.  I am trying really hard to get back into my FLYLady Routines.  If you haven't heard of the FLYLady or don't use her routines, I highly recommend them and they are definitely worth "googling."  I hurt my back at the end of summer and have had to nurse that back to health with the help of many chiropractor appointments.  I believe that was all God getting my attention and showing me some things I really needed to work on.  Maybe I will post about it one day.  Baby Bear had a birthday or two or three.  Okay, she didn't have three birthdays, but she did have three parties.  My kids tend to luck out that way and it always seems that we plan a party for them and someone can't make it so they throw a party too.  This year Baby Bear lucked out and my sister-in-law's family loves her too and they decided she needed another party just for her and threw her an absolutely wonderful, magical, and precious Princess Tea Party.  I will have to post about that for sure because it was really special.  Other than all that we have been busy with church events, House Party parties (I'll post how I got to party and become the proud owner of Keurig Vue Brewer), and hanging out with family and friends.  Our life has been pretty busy, but it is always good because God is in control.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Chalkboard Window

I love the blogs I read and Pinterest.  They are great places for getting inspiration in my crafting.  Something I kept seeing pop up over and over was chalkboard paint and it looked like so much fun.  So shortly before our trip to Ikea, I was telling my hubby that I wanted to find an old window that I could convert to a chalkboard to put in our dining room.  We agreed that it would be pretty cool and he said he would keep his eyes peeled for what I was looking forward.  Then we went to Ikea and I found my favorite section that I seem to find in every store...CLEARANCE (or in Ikea it was labeled As Is, but we all know that is just another name for clearance).  I was looking through all their "As Is" items and started looking through their "As Is" counter tops just to dream and drool a little when I found the perfect window I was looking for.  It was just the right size, had just the right number of panes, and the instant I picked it up I could picture it as a chalkboard.  I flipped it over looking for the price and I about dropped it because it was only $3.00.  I couldn't believe that I found the exact window I was looking for and it was only $3.00.  When we got back home I picked up a pint of chalkboard paint at my local home improvement store for about $9.00.  So I read the paint instructions and painted my window.  My hubby hung it for me the other week and it works perfectly.  Currently I use it for our menu plans, memory verse of the week, upcoming events, quick grocery list, and goals I am working on.  One day when I paint the wall it is hung on, I will add more decorations to my chalkboard window, but until I paint that wall, I haven't decided what decorations to add....all in due time, right?

The window after just one coat of chalkboard paint.

My chalkboard window on the wall that needs paint :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Buddy Bear's Bedroom Makeover (Part 2)

Yesterday I posted about Buddy Bear's bedroom makeover.  You can see the before pictures here.  Once I got the idea to turn his room into a lodge and I bought the sign that I found the ideas just started flowing.  We decided that we wanted to get rid of his big, bulky, heavy dresser and replace it with something different.  We knew where to head...one of my favorite places...IKEA!  I spent some time before our adventure to IKEA on their website scoping out the products we wanted and making a detailed list.  We purchased his bed with built in drawers underneath, his rug, his Lego cart,  and his bedding at IKEA.  We debated back and forth about putting carpet back in his bedroom or replacing it with something different.  Ultimately we decided to do wood flooring because Buddy does have allergies and we were curious to see if removing the carpet would help him (so far it has).  Buddy Bear picked the paint color himself and I found many of the decorations at one of my other favorite stores, Hobby Lobby.  We still have one big open wall and I am in search of something for it, but when I see it, I will know what should go there.  So here is Buddy Bear's new room (excuse the mess, I didn't warn him I was taking pictures)....
A new to us door from the Habitat Restore, it still needs to be stained the right color.

Looking in from the door.

The new bed with drawers underneath that replaced the dresser.

The corner where the loft bed used to be.

The new bed again.

Looking out into the hallway.

The sign above the door was my inspiration for the room.

This is the wall that needs more decorations...in due time.

Monday, August 20, 2012

A New Room For Buddy Bear (Part 1)

This summer we finally got around to re-doing Buddy Bear's bedroom.  I think part of me put off this project because I personally wasn't quite ready to let go of the little boy room because letting go of his little boy room signifies that he is truly growing up.  I'm just not ready for that yet, but I guess no Mom is ever ready to let go even just a little bit.  :)  So I just did it anyway because it was time.  I had to suck it up and deal, be we  Moms are pretty good at that right?  Anyway, earlier this year we planned that we would have Buddy Bear's room done by his birthday.  That meant I really started to think about what furniture I wanted in there and what theme to have.  Buddy Bear is a HUGE nature and animal lover.  He has an amazing love for wolves, Alaska  (even though he has never been there), and the outdoors.  This is the theme I chose to work with.  When I started looking around, Nature was too big of a theme and I had a really hard time narrowing things down.  So I just let the idea sit there and roll around in my brain.  One night when shopping with a friend, I found the perfect sign for Buddy Bear's room.  It totally reminded me of a hunting lodge and that is when the idea hit me to turn his room into a lodge.  It was going to be a big change.  We painted his room when we moved into this house which was just before he turned 2.  So here are the before pictures of his room...

Looking into the (messy) room from the door.

Another view from the door showing the loft bed.

Ay yi yi, this place is a disaster

The loftbed with desk (we didn't work at the desk so much).

The bookcase by the door.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

I've Done More Summer Reading

I actually managed to fit in some more reading this summer in addition to what I have already told you about in previous posts.  I am sure this is in part because of our IPad and the Kindle app I downloaded.  I check for free books every day and have acquired quite a few.  I really do love reading.  So here is an updated list of the books I have read.


Chronicles of the Kings Series by Lynn Austin
-Gods and Kings -  READ  It took me a little while to get into, but once I did I couldn't stop reading.
-Song of Redemption
-The Strength of His Hand
-Faith of My Fathers
-Among the Gods

Made to Crave by Lisa Terkeurst - currently READING - This book is wonderful and exactly what I have needed to help me towards my health goals for a long time.

Stuck in the Middle by Virginia Smith - currently READING

The Money Saving Mom's Budget by Crystal Paine

Creative Chaos by Kate O Lynch - READ  Loved this novel about my favorite hobby.  I even did a review of it to help promote a new, self-published author.

Just the Way You Are by Barbara Freethy - READ  A good romance story, could have done without the handful of curse words in the book, but that is a personal preference I guess.

Refiner's Fire Series by Lynn Austin - READ - excellent fiction series set in the Civil War
-Candle in the Darkness
-Fire by Night
-A Light to My Path

The Resolution for Women by Priscilla Shirer - READ This is an absolute must read in my opinion.  It is life changing if you let it be and definitely something I will be re-reading again.


Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks - READ I love Nicholas Sparks and the sappy, always makes me cry love stories he writes.


 Sophie Trace Trilogy by Kathy Herman - READ - excellent fiction mystery series
-The Real Enemy
-The Last Word
-The Right Call

Midnight (A Novel)  by Steven Wise - READ - a little slow to get into, but a great overall read

Let me know if you read any of these books and what your opinion is of them.

Friday, August 17, 2012

My Craft Room

So I am sure that I have talked about my craft room several times on this blog, but I don't think that I have ever shared pictures of it.  Now before I post the pictures of my craft room, I must tell you that it is sort of a multi-function room because we keep part of our office stuff in there and it is where I store our school stuff too.  I must also tell you that it is really, really unorganized at the moment because I haven't been able to spend much time down there putting things away and reorganizing.  I will also warn you that I have a lot A LOT of craft supplies, but please don't think that I bought them all.  I got a lot of supplies from my mom when she started digi-scrapping plus I have gotten lots of supplies from friends or when they have been on clearance.  A couple of times a year, I go through my room and take out stuff I am not using or stuff I don't have plans for and either give it away to friends, schools, or try to sell it.  So without further ado here is my craft room...
My work bench (it is pretty much always this messy)  :)

My storage shelving system.  I love having my supplies in the open.

Corner between the work bench and storage shelves.

Homeschooling totes

Another view of my chaotic work bench

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Back in School

I can't believe how fast our summer flew by this year.  It seems like just yesterday we were on our last day of 3rd grade and now we are already a week into 4th grade and Preschool.  That's right, we have officially started our school year.  I was all prepared to start school last Wednesday (okay, you got me, almost all prepared), but last Monday morning as I was sitting drinking my coffee and checking email, Buddy Bear came out of his room with groggy eyes and asked to start school that morning.  I told him that we had plans for the afternoon, fun plans even, but he still wanted to start his school day.  So I said okay and sent him off to shower with tears in my eyes.   I was shocked that Buddy Bear was the one asking to start school because this was just so unlike him.  Last year he dreaded school every day and kept asking why school mattered (I admit that we had a pieced together curriculum that even I didn't care for).  Even earlier this summer anytime anything was said about school, Buddy Bear just groaned.  One day though, J, my hubby, had a chat with Buddy Bear about what his new curriculum was like and what our school days would look like and since then Buddy Bear started getting excited for school.  He was excited to switch to Sonlight which meant that we would be working side by side a lot of the time and that we spend a lot of our day reading from books that are interesting and exciting for him.  It was such a huge blessing and answer to prayer to have him ask to start school and really, truly it meant that I dropped my plans for last week and started school.  Buddy Bear is really loving his new curriculum and is pretty excited about it still.  He is excited that we work together to learn and excited for the projects he gets to do.  Although J was pretty excited last week that he got to come home from work and help with our first science experiment.  It was pretty cool.  J volunteered to do all the science experiments with Buddy Bear if he can and I was pretty geeked about that because I have never been super excited about science.  J came in the door this Monday after work asking "Do we get to do a science experiment today?"  I had to let him down gently and tell him that there wasn't an experiment planned until this Thursday, he was a little bummed, but J will survive.  We are a family that loves learning and that is a good thing.  We are only a little more than a week into school, but we are loving it and excited about what else this year will bring.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Concert that Blew Me Away

This summer I mentioned that my sister-in-law, JQ, and I went to a Christian concert. One of our local Christian radio station put together a 2 day music and worship festival. They brought in 16 major Christian recording artists and they had speakers, worship sessions, and workshops for youth leaders and music leaders. It was really nice because you could get tickets for exactly what you wanted, the whole weekend, just one day, VIP tickets, etc. As soon as they started advertising it on the radio and telling who would be there, I knew that I really wanted to go and JQ had been mentioning it too. I would have loved to see all of the artists, but the second day was the one I really, really wanted to see. The Saturday evening lineup featured Mandisa, 10th Avenue North, and Casting Crowns. JQ loves, loves, loves Mandisa and almost every time we talk about music she is mentioning her. I happen to love Mandisa as well. I find her music motivating and uplifting. I also love Casting Crowns, really who doesn't? So, insert really long story of how I decided to buy tickets that is boring to everyone else, but means jumping up and down joy to JQ and I here and let's just say I decided to buy tickets and that we couldn't wait to go to save time and me boring you. Anyway, the day finally came for the festival and we were super excited, but didn't quite know what to expect. We got there and saw Clayton King speak. He was an amazing speaker. He was funny but very clear about his message for Jesus. At the end of his message he gave an invitation and hundreds of people responded. Later in the evening they said that over 400 people chose to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior that day - Praise the Lord! After that Mandisa came on the stage. Let me just say WOW!!! She has an energy that is contagious and she is just on fire for God. She sang every song we hoped she would sing and she presented a message that felt like she was talking just to me. JQ said the same thing. Mandisa's message was about removing the masks and being real, accepting who you are because God accepts who you are, and that the only thing that matters when we look in the mirror is that we see a child of God. I can tell you this message still lingers in my thoughts because it was so clearly what I needed to hear and it was truly like God was using Mandisa to speak directly to me. I love Mandisa and her music even more now and if you ever get the chance to see her in concert, GO! The next band that came on was 10th Avenue North. I have to admit that I didn't really know much about them other than the handful of songs I had heard from them on the radio so I truly didn't know what to expect from them. I didn't know if I would know any of their music or (being completely honest) if I would like them. They took the stage and they ROCKED! I recognized most of the songs they sang and then felt silly for not knowing if I would like them. I loved them, they were great - a little loud but great. They also had a wonderful message about forgiveness and grace. Who doesn't need reminders about those topics? I certainly do. God spoke through 10th Avenue North that day too. They spoke about how we need to have grace to forgive others and forgive them even when we don't think that we can because Jesus gave us grace by dying on the cross for us. They also spoke about it doesn't matter who we are (successful business person, stay at home mom, singer, actor, etc.) in life, it truly only matters that we are children of God and have a deep personal relationship with Him. One song they sang that still is in my head said something to the fact of "Father help me have the grace to forgive them even when I feel like the one losing." I don't believe that is the exact line (it is a new song for them from their album that will come out this fall), but it was the message of it and it really just touched my heart because sometimes I do struggle to forgive because I don't want to lose or be hurt, but if we ask God can help us work through it. The closing act for the evening was Casting Crowns. WOW, WOW, WOW!!! I love so many of their songs and I think they sang every one I loved. They were fantastic! Their message they shared was that everyone is messed up and has issues, but it doesn't matter to God because He can help you and change you if you just let Him into your life. The festival was a true blessing. I felt God speaking to me through the entire evening and really used the messages to renew my commitment to God. I opened my heart and let God speak to me about the things I need to change and how I can serve Him. I walked away from the evening renewed and refreshed in God and I am so happy that we ended up going to the festival since it was such a blessing.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Still a Slacker Part 2

Yesterday I started a really long post about how I am a slacker here. So here is the continuation of my rambling about what we have done so far this summer.
(6.) WFRN Friend Fest - One of our local Christian Music Radio Stations held their first annual Friend Fest this summer. It was a 2 day concert venue with speakers. My sister-in-law (JQ) and I went for the second day. We got to see (16 rows from the stage) Mandisa, 10th Avenue North, and Casting Crowns. Talk about an AWESOME concert!!! I will be writing a post about the concert, but let me tell you, it was the revival my heart needed. I can't wait until next year's concert and I don't even know who they are bringing in.
(7.) Crafts, crafts, crafts - I haven't gotten to do as much crafting as I planned on so far this summer, but I have been steadily working away. I am almost finished with the kids' cruise autograph albums from our Disney cruise last year. I am about 3/4 of the way finished with my Thomas Kinkaide cross stitch. I have scrapped a little. I am in the process of finishing my first project with chalkboard paint. I have Baby Bear's dress that I started about 3/4 of the way done.
(8.) Summer Reading - I have finished a couple of more books and finished up my summer reading for the library that I participated in. I even won a prize in our summer reading, a free pizza from one of the local pizza restaurants, which is awesome because now I have an excuse to go out to eat sometime.
(9.) Games - This summer we have played lots of board games. The main one is Monopoly. Even though the game takes a while it is fun. There is even a documentary about Monopoly that is pretty interesting (at least it was interesting to geeky me).
(10.) Pinterest - I decided it was time to start trying the things I have been pinning. So far we have tried about 4 of the recipes I have found on there and we have really loved them. They will definitely be made again at this house and go into our menu rotation. I also made a marshmallow fondant recipe from Pinterest and it was easy to make and tasted fantastic. Now if I can get myself in gear so I can try some of the crafts I have pinned.
Well, that pretty much sums up our summer so far. We have a few more things planned and then it will be time for school to start. I am pretty excited for school so we can try out our new curriculum and I even sat down yesterday and planned out our school calendar. I promise to try to stop slacking and start posting. I guess my brain was on summer vacation too, but I will try to do better. Thanks to my loyal readers who put up with my slacking. :)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Still a Slacker

I completely and totally apologize for being a blogging bum this summer. I admit that I had great expectations to post a couple of times a week, put up some great tutorials, and just be an awesome blogger. See, I had great things planned for you? Then I went and let you down. Okay, some of it is just me and my lack to completing my to do list each week because blogging is on that list (EVERY single week) and the other part is due to my lack of techie knowledge. You see we upgraded to an IPad2 and Safari (the Apple browser) doesn't want to play nicely with Blogger (my blog host). I have tried figuring it out a little bit, but not enough, I really need to do some more reseach on this whole topic. Then our big dinosaur computer (the big, giant, old desktop) decided to crash and not turn on anymore. So while we work on fixing that, I have to either not post pictures or have access to a different computer (other than my Ipad) which I have not had lately. I hope that and my laziness explains some of my absence. The other part of my absence is that my brain is on overload. Here is my proof or a list of great things we have done so far this summer (in no particular order even though they are numbered)....
(1.) A road trip to Ikea - so well worth the long drive in the ol' mini-van. The nearest Ikea is about 2 1/2 hours away. We planned our shopping (for weeks...okay, okay, months), made the list, checked it twice, and only purchased a couple of unplanned items. They were unplanned as far as the list goes, but they were planned for eventually. It turns out that eventually ended up being that day. My very loving and very patient hubby thought I had set up the sets in our mini van right and that we could move them around once we got there and had the van all loaded (including the kids), but turns out that our seats are as interchangeable as I thought. So we had to unload everything, do a lot of praying, and start reloading the van. I am positive God helped everything fit just with only inches to spare, but we made it back home safe and sound and with one extremely packed mini-van.
 (2.) We finally got around to re-doing Buddy Bear's bedroom. I admit I had a hard time choking back the tears as I saw my step-dad trimming out room with the new paint color. I had one of those flash back moments where you can see everything so clearly. As I stood and watched my step-dad paint for a few moments, I could see him and I painting that room 7 years ago and preparing it for an almost 2 year old. I could see the look on Buddy Bear's little toddler face as he walked in and saw his very own room for the first time. So yeah, this really sentimental Mama had a hard time seeing the new brown color being put on the walls. We tore off the wallpaper border, painted the room, removed the carpet, installed a floating floor (hardwood floor overlay), put in a new bed, and put up decorations. It took about a week, but Buddy Bear finally has a brand new room that has a hunting lodge theme. I am really happy with how it came out and when I can post pictures, I will.
 (3.) Helped with Vacation Bible School at church - This year our church did something different and had family fun nights every Wednesday in June instead of having a week-long VBS. The Wednesday nights were pretty sucessful and we ended up having a lot of salvation and assurance decisions over the month of June.
(4.) Hosted Buddy Bear's birthday party - A lot of fun with friends and family.
(5.) Heat wave - we have been having a seriously HOT summer here in the Mid-west. A couple of weeks ago it was in the hundred's (straight temperature) for several days in a row. That meant the heat index was well over 100. I believe the one day it was as high as 110. We haven't had a summer that hot for awhile now. It was 100 degrees by 10:00 in the morning and didn't cool down each night until well after midnight. It made for a really long couple of weeks and a lot of time hiding in the cool of our basement. We don't have air conditioning (by choice) and we spent our days playing in the basement, hanging out at the library, going to the pool, and shopping. Our basement stays nice and cool in the summer and that is where you can find us when it is too hot out. This week is threatening to be another hot one, but this time we are prepared. Some friends gave us a little above ground pool and while it isn't huge, it is plenty big to cool off in and hopefully teach Baby Bear to swim in. Along with the heat wave, we are in the middle of a drought. It hasn't rained here since before the 4th of July and then it was only for a couple of hours. Some places in this area saw rain on Saturday, but we just watched the clouds roll through. It was pretty cool because we could see the storm front and got to watch it develop as it moved to the north of us. I could keep going, but that would make this post even longer, so I think I will create a part 2....stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Creative Chaos (A Book Review)

It is no secret that I LOVE to read. I have posted quite a few times about my love of reading. I also love scrap booking. It is one of my favorite creative outlets. I have been scrapping for almost 15 years. So imagine my delight when I was checking out e-books on Amazon one day and found a book called Creative Chaos by Kate O Lynch that features scrap booking. I couldn't download this book fast enough because I couldn't believe that I finally found a book that featured one of my favorite hobbies. The book's main character is Jill Wilson and it opens with her attending a job interview. She is out of college and entering the real world. Jill's life is already pretty good as she is blessed with wonderful friends, family nearby, and a hobby she loves, but she is still looking for Mr. Right. Through the book we get to experience Jill's life from day to day as she goes through the joy and frustrations life brings. Throughout the book, Jill shares her love of scrap booking, from carrying a camera around with here at all times (what scrapper isn't guilty of that) to attending crop nights, to spending free afternoons scrapping and reading scrap book magazines, and even doing some scrap book retail therapy, just as any real scrapper does. Jill's life gets pretty interesting when she starts dating an office co-worker, runs into her college boyfriend, and re-connects with a high school friend. What will she do and who will she choose? Creative Chaos is a fun book to read. Just when I thought I could find a stopping point, I would turn the page and find I had to keep reading to see what would happen next. Kate O Lynch, the author, does a fantastic job of describing the characters, scenes, and situations so that the reader feels like they are right there with Jill. She does such a wonderful job of describing Jill's scrap booking (from planning layouts, to reading magazines, to taking pictures, to crop nights, to shopping for supplies) that the reader (if you are a scrapper) feels like they are right there with Jill as she creates her layouts. I really, truly enjoyed this book. I was so happy to finally find a book that featured scrap booking that was so well written. It was very evident that the author is very familiar with scrapping, which I learned from her bio in the back of the book that she has a major scrapbooking background. I was also super impressed that the author, Kate O Lynch, self published her book. Kudos to her for setting a goal and accomplishing it. I can't wait for her next book. You can find Creative Chaos over at Amazon by pasting this link into your browser http://www.amazon.com/Creative-Chaos-ebook/dp/B007GGAAL0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1341317279&sr=8-1&keywords=kate+o+lynch. You can learn more about the author, Kate O Lynch, by checking out her website by pasting this link http://kateolynch.com/home into your browser. **I was in no way compensated for this post. I read a book I enjoyed, read the author's bio and saw that she was self published, and decided to support her by writing a review of her book and getting the word out to others. I also sincerely apologize for not being able to put live links into this post for you. Blogger does not want to cooperate with my Ipad so it will not let me put in live links. As soon as I am able to, I will fix them so you don't have to copy and paste.** Thank you Kate O Lynch for a great book and I can't wait for your next one!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

An Updated Summer Reading List


I posted about my summer reading list a few weeks ago here.  I have been reading a lot lately and thought I would post an update about what I have read.  I have a lot more to read since I have been adding a lot of free books to my reader too so this list will be updated again I am positive.

Chronicles of the Kings Series by Lynn Austin
-Gods and Kings
-Song of Redemption
-The Strength of His Hand
-Faith of My Fathers
-Among the Gods

The Resolution for Women by Priscilla Shirer - currently READING 

Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks - currently READING

Made to Crave by Lisa Terkeurst

The Money Saving Mom's Budget by Crystal Paine



Refiner's Fire Series by Lynn Austin - READ - excellent fiction series set in the Civil War
-Candle in the Darkness
-Fire by Night
-A Light to My Path


 Sophie Trace Trilogy by Kathy Herman - READ - excellent fiction mystery series
-The Real Enemy
-The Last Word
-The Right Call

Midnight (A Novel)  by Steven Wise - READ - a little slow to get into, but a great overall read

Monday, June 25, 2012

A Craft Bucket List

I've seen some pretty cool Bucket Lists and Summer Bucket Lists floating around the blogging world recently and was trying to figure out what I would put on my lists. I started coming up with a Summer Bucket List, but quickly realized that it included a lot A LOT of crafts. So instead of coming up with the summer list, I decided to create a Craft Bucket List and give myself at least until the end of the year to complete it (I would love to complete all of the things on it by the end of summer, but let's be realistic - I don't have that kind of attention span..LOL). Here is my... Craft Bucket List
  • Make a dress for Baby Bear
  • Make a skirt for me
  • Scrapbook 50 Layouts
  • Make Marshmallow Fondant
  • Make a craft with chalkboard paint
  • Finish the (forever and a day long) Thomas Kinkaid Cross Stitch I have been working on
  • Decoupage my T.V. Trays
  • Decorate letters for Buddy's Room
  • Make decorations for my craft room
  • Make at least 5 of my Pinterest Pins
This is just the start of my Craft Bucket List.  I am sure I will be adding to it and taking away from it, but before it gets too long, I better get this posted and get crafting!  Do you have a craft list a mile long?  What is on it?

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Buddy Bear's Birthday Cake

It is birthday time again already and I am just not ready for it, emotionally.  It seems just yesterday that we were patiently awaiting the arrival of Buddy Bear.  Now he is quickly approaching double digits, but not this year.  Enough sappy, on to Buddy Bear's cake.  It is tradition in our house for me to make the birthday cakes for the kids.  I have made every cake except for Buddy Bear's cake last year.  I ran out of time and had no less than 17 things going on and I had a friend make the cake for me, but it just didn't feel right having someone make the cake for me.  So this year it was back to making the cake myself.  Buddy asked for a Mickey Mouse themed cake and that got the wheels turning.  Just before he asked for a Mickey cake I had been scrap booking the pictures of our Disney trip so the idea for his cake came pretty quickly.  I don't know if you have ever seen a Disney parade, but there is nothing like it.  They are AWESOME.  So I decided I would make a parade of cake floats.  It all started with baking my cakes in bread pans along with making mini cupcakes.  I also made marshmallow fondant to cover the cakes for the first time.  Here are the before and after pictures...
Before
Crumb Coating
The cakes started off looking like Lego's
Ratatouille and Mickey and the Gang
Dalmatians and Toy Story
Ratatouille
Mickey and the Gang
101 Dalmatians
Toy Story

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

You Have to Earn It

You have to earn it seems to be the theme in our house lately. Buddy Bear is at a really good age for learning and understanding that everyone in our household has to work to make sure that certain jobs get done. So we have been teaching him that you have to work in order to earn things. In the case of chores, he works to earn his weekly allowance. In the case of video games, he has to read or do some sort of "school" work to earn playing time. This summer we have been doing a little bit of review work for school just to keep our skills sharp and also for the tutoring I do with the boys I watch during the summer. (Don't worry they have to earn their video game time too.) Buddy Bear is pretty excited to earn money for doing chores and it is nice to have someone helping me out with little things. The chores he does saves me a few minutes here and there, but the minutes do add up. Also there is no more fighting and asking him to do the same thing over and over, now he knows he has the choice of doing his chores, but if he chooses not to do them he doesn't get paid at the end of the week. Buddy Bear is pretty good about saving money so he does the chores without complaining. Along with earning money for his chores, we have been teaching Buddy Bear to use the envelope system. He has 3 envelopes - one for tithes, one for saving, and one for spending. He has to put 10% of his earnings in tithes and at least 10% into savings, the rest he gets as spending money. He can choose to put some of his spending money into savings or tithes, but that is up to him. Hopefully by teaching him to manage his money now at this age, it will set a pattern for him for later in life of managing his money properly. In the case of the video games, the boys have learned that if they want to play on the Wii, they are going to have to do some reading, spelling, or math. We enrolled in the summer reading program at our library and that helps encourage them to read, but really they know that if they want to play the Wii they will have to earn it. I give them one minute of Wii time for each minute of "school" time they do. So if they decide they don't feel like reading or participating in "school" activities they understand that they are also choosing to not be able to play the Wii that day. This has worked really well for me so far and everyone is okay with the arrangement. I like the fact that this also limits their video game time so they can't play it all day, not that they ever would be allowed to play it all day anyway. The whole "You have to earn it" theme started because it is important to us to teach our kids that everyone in the family has to help out to make the family run. We all have jobs to do each day and we want to be sure we are teaching our kids that these jobs don't just magically get done (oh, how I wish there was a super, duper housework fairy), but that someone has to do each job so that it is completed. We are also teaching our kids that when we work together to help each other out we end up with more family time where we can play together, go exploring together, or work together on something fun. I guess it is all about balancing it all out. Everyone wants to have fun, but we have to make sure we don't ignore the work just for the fun.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Cluttered

Do you ever feel like your head is just so cluttered that it is going to explode? Your brain is on complete overload and there are a bazillion and one thoughts floating through so fast that you just can't comprehend them all. That is how I have been feeling lately. My brain is on overload. The thoughts are fluttering through my head so fast that I just don't know which one to deal with first. So I come here and write them down. Writing the thoughts down helps me process them, categorize them, and file them in the appropriate category. Some of my thoughts lately have to do with projects I need to work on or finish up (so that way I can start new projects). Other thoughts have been about things I need to get done around the house. Why is it that our homes go so quickly from being clean to a total disaster area in about 5 minutes when it took an entire day to clean it all? I guess that it is a sign that my home is well loved and that people are having fun in it, but sometimes the quick turn around time from clean to disaster zone just overwhelms me. Anyway... Many of the other thoughts fluttering through my brain are related to situations that don't involve me directly, but rather indirectly. Great coded sentence, eh? Anyway the situations are things that I am an outsider looking in on and I have opinions about them, but there is really, truly nothing I can do, should do, or say about the situation. Guess they are kind of situations where I know what I would do if it were happening to me type of things (or at least I like to think I would know what to do if it were my situation). These situations and thoughts about them sit in my brain while I wait to see what will happen and what the people directly involved in them will choose to do. I guess that all the thoughts running through my head feel like a list that just keeps constantly scrolling over and over until I deal with each item on the list (or lie awake in the middle of the night processing each item on the list). Ultimately, it is up to me what I choose to do with each item on my thought list/scroll. I have to decide what to do with it - is it something I need to complete, is it an idea that I need/want to develop, is it someone else's issue that I don't need to be involved in, etc. I can choose what I want to do with the thought list and how I want to approach it. I can do something about each item or I can ignore them and just let the thoughts continue to build until I get completely overwhelmed. Let me tell you, me overwhelmed is just not pretty or who I want to be. Me overwhelmed makes me irritable, crabby, unhappy, unpleasant, and just not a nice person. I would rather deal with the items on the fluttering thought list but I know that by myself I am not a match for the list. It will definitely win at overwhelming me. So lately before I start tackling the thought list and helping it work its way from my head to real paper so that I know what to work on without forgetting something, I start praying. I know that by myself, I will never get everything done that I need to get done and I will never not be able to not worry about my loved ones and friends, but with God ALL things are possible and He will take my fears and worries away while strengthening me and giving me the energy I need to tackle the list I can do something about. I find myself praying much of the day when I am working on tasks, ideas, and projects. I pray for the people in my life and the situations they are in. I pray for wisdom and guidance for when to open my mouth and when to just keep it shut. I pray for God to lead me through my day and for Him to help me be a light to the world around me. All the praying helps me keep my head focused on God, rather than the run away train of random, fleeting thoughts. It helps me keep it all in perspective and know that while the list of thoughts threatends to overwhelm me and overtake me, God is in control and for me that is a beautiful thing.
 "I can do all things through Christ which strengthen me." Phillippians 4:13 
 "So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:34

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Summer Reading

One thing I have always loved about summer is that I tend to have more uninterrupted time to read. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, love to read. It is one of my very favorite things to do because books offer so many things. Books can take you away to a different time or place, books can teach you, books can help you, books can motivate you, and books can show you how others have lived. I stated before in other posts that the library is one of my favorite places to go and that it is like a black hole for me that sucks me in and I can spend hours at a time in there. I love the fact that during the summer while the kids are having reading time (I try to have them read every single day), that I have the time to sit down and read to as opposed to the school year where I spend that chunk of time grading, lesson planning, or doing housework. So while I do read for fun during the school year, it is more interrupted and intermittent. This summer I am looking forward to reading a mix of fiction and non-fiction. So far this is my list....

Refiner's Fire Series by Lynn Austin - READ - excellent fiction series set in the Civil War
-Candle in the Darkness
-Fire by Night
-A Light to My Path

Chronicles of the Kings Series by Lynn Austin
-Gods and Kings
-Song of Redemption
-The Strength of His Hand
-Faith of My Fathers
-Among the Gods

 Sophie Trace Trilogy by Kathy Herman - READ/Reading the last book currently - excellent fiction mystery series
-The Real Enemy
-The Last Word
-The Right Call

The Resolution for Women by Priscilla Shirer - partially READ (I'm just at a stuck spot that I have to work through, but I want to finish it this summer)

Made to Crave by Lisa Terkeurst

The Money Saving Mom's Budget by Crystal Paine

This is just the start to my summer reading list. I am sure I will find more books along the way to read. Are you doing any summer reading? What is on your list?

(Sorry for the issues with formatting for those of you who may have read an earlier version of this post.  I am still getting use to my new computer and how blogger shows up in it.)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Ripping Out the Seams

My latest project that I have undertaken is making some dresses for Baby Bear. I originally learned to sew on a sewing machine a bazillion years ago as a project in elementary school. I have always been intrigued by sewing my own clothes and when we had a little girl I knew that someday I would sew something for her too. My issue is that it has been FOREVER since I sewed on a machine from a pattern and it makes me really nervous because of course I want my project to be perfect. So this week I have spent time reading my pattern, figuring it out, and preparing to make a (what should be simple) dress for Baby Bear. I cut apart the pattern pieces, laid them out on the fabric, pinned them down, and cut out my pattern. I even learned how to use interfacing (that was a new one for me). Then it was time for the part I had to psych myself up for...the actual sewing. It isn't that I don't think that I can sew the dress, it is the fact that it may not be perfect. You see in my head I can see the finished dress and it is perfect without any flaws, but I know that in reality the dress won't be perfect, it will have a flaw or two. As I started sewing today, I quickly realized that I was going to need my seam ripper (I might have a lead foot). I sat there ripping out the stitches that didn't go exactly as I had planned and I realized that I could either sit there taking the stitches out being mad or I could sit there taking the stitches out being glad. I chose to be glad. No it wasn't fun to take out the stitches, but as I was ripping out the wrong stitches, I was glad to get a chance to fix my mistakes. I was glad to have the opportunity to right my wrongs and have a second (or even third) chance to get my sewing right. The more I thought about the mistakes I made sewing the more God showed me ripping out the stitches and fixing my mistakes is like the work He does in our life. When we do something wrong, God lovingly corrects us and reguides our path to help us get back on track. He rips out the wrong stitches and prepares the material to be sewed on again. He corrects us hoping we have learned from our mistakes, but He knows that sometimes we will make the same mistake several times. He doesn't give up when we don't get it right the first time, instead He continues to lovingly correct us until we do get it right. Realizing this is what made me glad about ripping out the stitches I messed up on. I am so glad that God doesn't give us just one chance to get it right and that He doesn't give up on us when we don't get it right the second time or the third time. He just waits patiently while continuing to guide us in the right direction and for that I am thankful.

Monday, May 21, 2012

A New Curriculum

I promised to let everyone know what curriculum I picked after I went to the Home School Expo last weekend. My friend and I ended up not being able to attend the expo due to some things not working out in the schedule at the very last minute. I was a little bummed, but it was really okay because I had pretty much made my decision already. I just wanted to go to the expo to see the materials in person from my second choice because what I could see online was not quite enough for me. I wanted to see just a little more, but after talking to a couple of people about my first choice of curriculum and their experience with it, I know that it is the right choice. (Confusing sentence right...guess it goes with the territory when you talk about curriculum.) Anyway, without any further delay I will tell you our choice for curriculum next year...drumroll, please....Sonlight. I am looking forward to switching to the Sonlight Curriculum and all that it has to offer. I know that Sonlight is not right for every home school family, but I truly feel that it is the best fit for our family and it offers exactly what I have been looking for in our home school. I am excited to get it ordered and have it arrive so that we can check it out in detail. I am also excited to see how it will work for us and to see how it will change and improve our school. We will be using Sonlight for both of our kids at their appropriate grade levels and I can't wait to see what results we get by switching to our new curriculum.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Let the Summer Begin

Woo Hoo!  I am excited to tell you that as of today our school year is officially over.  We finished our work last Friday, but I still had grading, calculating, and recording to do.  Remember I had about 3/4 of our grades in the computer and then it puked and died, so I had to go back and put everything done on paper.  I finished up all of my grading and recording this morning before doing anything else.  I had set the goal of finishing up all of the recording this week.  I was super excited to finish it up this morning a day earlier than I had planned.  I was even more excited to see how well Buddy Bear had done on his work and his grades for the year.  They were good, very good.  I am happy that we can officially close out this school year and I can go to the home school expo this weekend with next year's work on my mind.  It is a big weight off my shoulders.  So....without further ado...Let the Summer Begin!!!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Friday Randomness

Today I am pretty excited.  It is our last day of school and my brain just can't concentrate completely.  So here are some random things I am thinking this morning....

  • My ears are so happy because I don't have to hear any more complaints about doing school for a few months (while my son loves home school, he loves playing more so every day we have to go through the whole battle - Go get your school...I don't want to start yet...Let's get going...Focus....Get back to work....I'm almost done....Why do I have to do school every day? - blah, blah, blah)
  • I can't wait to start working on a new project I have lined up...I bought fabric on clearance and some patterns, can you see the blog post coming?
  • I am in the search for a new laptop or Ipad or something similar so I can have my own machine to work on again and not have to borrow my mom's.  (Thanks mom for letting me borrow your laptop every day, guess that is one advantage to having her stay here right now.)
  • We will finish planting our garden this weekend.  This makes me very happy because it means I will be eventually dining on wonderful fruits and veggies that I know exactly where they came from and how they were grown.  A garden is a lot of work, but well worth it in my opinion.
  • I've been trying to work out a little every day.  I am sure I will be able to feel my legs again one day.  :)
  • Next Saturday I am going with some friends to a home school expo so I will be able to look through the curriculum I have been checking out online and make the final, FINAL decision about a curriculum for next year.  I am 99% sure right now and just have a couple of final questions to get answered.  As soon I as I purchase one I will share my decision with anyone who cares to read it.  
  • I am finally getting caught up on my housework and maybe getting ahead...don't tell my to-do list.
  • I am hoping that once I get all of Buddy Bear's grades figured (remember my computer died with all the grades on it and I have to go back and figure them by hand), I will have time to do some of the little crafts that I have been planning on doing and make some tutorials/blog posts out of them.
  • You can finally find me on Google Plus, Twitter, and Pinterest.  You can follow me on any of them by clicking the links on the side of my blog.  I know I said I wasn't going to do it, but it became necessary to join Google + and I really just wanted to join Pinterest.  :)
That is about all that is rolling around in the brain today.  One more thing before I go.  We have a busy weekend and I am not sure I will get around to posting again this weekend so to all the Mom's out there...

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!!!