Friday, September 30, 2011

My Planner

Those who know me know that I am a very organized person...sometimes no where else but in my head, but nevertheless, I like to at least feel organized. 

I have always had a planner.  The school I went to believed in planners and supplied us with at the beginning of every school year.  I cannot tell you the joy I felt when I received that new planner every year.  It was such a thrill to have a new one to fill in with my orderly duties pertaining to homework. 

And as I have grown so has my love of all things planners.  When I was a business girl I had the ones that matched my outfits that I could put a notebook know, the big honkin' ones. 

The past few years Nick has been getting these lovely leather bound planners with the beautiful gold trimmed pages and satin ribbon placeholder.  He always writes something wildly spectacular in them at the front and then I have that to look at all through the year. 

I still have that planner and love it with all of my heart.  But for Mother's Day, Nick's cousin Jodee got me the planner you are about to see below and I love it!  It was such a breath of fresh air...which incidentally describes Jodee as well.  I love her and love being around her...she's such a godly woman who I take such joy in being around...hi Jodee!  Hi! 

Anyway back to my planner explanation...

It isn't my poor old planner's fault but I was so used to the design and layout that my eyes were just running over it and not reading  anything.  Does that may sense at all?  I would write "Nick's Birthday"  and then realize as I was writing "Nick's Birthday" under it that I had already written it.  My eyes were just skipping over everything because it all looked the same to me.  (Reading this sounds like I am totally lame, but I just.can't.delete.)

Here are some things I like about my new planner:
The days are side by side and I can look at the whole week in one glance.  The top portion is for my schedule and then you can write in everyone else's schedules.  Since we don't have enough kiddos to take up all of the spaces I have a row for "Lucy/Roscoe" (flea treatment, heart worm pills, vet appointments), and "$" (bills coming due, when Nick's paid to remember to check the bank and make sure everything's correct). 

I am one of those people that if I don't write something down I perpetually think about it.  Over and over and over and over.  It's pretty maddening.  But if I write it down it just kind of, poof, goes out of my head and I know I don't need to try to remember it anymore. 
Here's the cover of my planner.  By default, it has to be pink...of course.  Boy howdy does Jodee know me :)
Jodee was sooo excted to show me the best part of the planner...stickers!!!  There are oodles for all of the fun activities the kids do.  I just love them! 
I stick my schedule in the front of the planner.  This is my daily cleaning schedule, just so ya know.  This is how I keep myself sane and tidy. 
This one's blurry but in the back there are 3 prooferated lists per sheet that are for shopping lists...I have a perpetual shopping list going at all times.  Again, so I can get it out of my mind, onto paper, and just forget about it. 
A card holer on the back.  I haven't put a card in there yet but when someone gives you one when you are out and about it's nice to have somewhere to put them. 
I swear I tried to flip this picture 18,000 times and it still looks like this!  But anyway, this is on the cover of the planner and it helps keep me grounded.  And whose time this really is.  I can try to plan as much as I want, but ultimately He's in charge of this life. 

If you like my planner you can click here to order your own.  No one's paying me to say this...I just like the dern thing. 

Whatever you use, just remember to get organized and stay organized.  An organized mom makes for an organized home and an organized home is a peaceful, happy home. 
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Breakfast Smoothie

I love Fruit Smoothies for breakfast.  They are the ultimate go-to meal for moms.  Quick and easy to make they pack a punch of vitamins, protein, and nourishment...all in a smoothie that can be taken anywhere. 

I try to make a fruit smoothie every day.  Sometimes I just get too busy, but on the mornings I can actually REMEMBER to make the silly thing, the smoothie always seems to make my day go "smoother". 

Really, I'm horrible. 

If you're new to Smoothie's they are so super easy to make.  Here's my recipe/combo for a smoothie:
1 cup of orange juice
1 banana
1 cup of blueberries (or strawberries, raspberries, anything)
1 6 oz. carton light yogurt

Just thrown into blender and blend.  Easy peasy! 

Some of my notes are:
I think the banana and yogurt are musts.  These really help bind it all together and make it creamy. 

I hate light yogurt.  Bleh.  I bought some and hated it but had so much left I had to find something to do with it.  So I used it in this.  And I promise you can't taste the light-ness of it.  Just trust me on this one. 

Sometimes I add powdered flax or adds extra nutrients and protein and you really can't taste it.  In that too comes spinach.  If I have spinach on hand I throw some in.  I know it sounds disgusting...that's what I thought too but I PROMISE you can't taste it.  It does give it a funky cool green color though.  Just be warned. 

So there you have it.  Now we can be smoothie buddies and drink our smoothie's together. 

One of the things I love about the smoothie is that it packs so much stuff together.  Seriously, it would take me FOREVER to eat everything on its own.  Yogurt, then 2 servings of fruit, then a glass of orange juice.  With the smoothie I just pour it into a glass and carry it with me through the house as I'm tidying and getting the kiddos ready.  On mornings I take Cal to preschool I just throw it into a travel mug and go.

As Emma says that's Easy-Peasy-Lemon-Squeezy :)
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Decorating for Fall

This year I thought I was being pretty good about the decorating.  The week after Labor Day Nick schlepped the bins down for us and Emma and I got to it. 

But as life sometimes does, it got crazy, and for the past few weeks the two bins have been stacked together and the end of the couch, making for some weird collegy concoction of a coffee table. 

Today however I am vowing to get the Fall decorations put out once and for all.  I have so much stuff and a blank mantle right now, so there is no reason to do some decorating, there, if no where else. 

I browsed the internet this morning for some inspiration. Isn't that just the best thing?  So many creative ladies at the simple move of my fingertips...heavenly! 

Some of my favorites are below.  And I am making this promise to you...I will post pictures of my fall decor tomorrow...and it will be around the house, not just in a bin! 
I love the banner...not sure if I have enough creativity in me to make one but I have the "drive" to make it to Hobby Lobby :) 
I am in love with the twinkly lights!  We have twinkly lights for Christmas time outside but I am in love with this...What is that plant?  Wisteria?  Some neighbors down the way have wisteria like that with twinkly lights and I LOVE it!

Nothing is better than big, huge mums inviting you into someone's home. 

Happy Friday ya'll!  Have a great last day of the week!
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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Free Fall Printables

A Huge, Pumpkiny Spiced thank you to Myra at My Blessed Life for posting 12 free Fall Printables!  I LOVE printables!  Mainly because I can't design anything to save my life.  Period.  I mean, if you were to put a gun to my head and make me come up with something it would look like something off of Windows 95 and would have the creativity of a four year old. 

But anyway, I also love printables because I am a stay at home mom who doesn't have a lot of money to refresh my home decor as often as I would like.  The printables allow me to swap out frames with cute, seasony things from time to time.  They make me smile and so grateful for them. 

Anyway, you can click here to go and print some of your own. 
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Nick took the kids to the park by our house to teach them to golf.  The kids have been begging him to teach them for, like, totally forever. He didn't want to have them hogging the golf course somewhere so I suggested the park. 

Like, duh dude. 

The kids both seemed to really enjoy it. 

Cal liked it but had a hard time positioning his hands (gee, like he doesn't do that with every other thing he does).   It will be good for him to practice.  Well, the hands and how to NOT try to hit everyone in the face with the club/stick thingy. 

I love her little foot... :)

We made her carry the bag home...isn't she just so cute?

Nick really wants to get Cal into sports of SOME TYPE so he suggested other people you are trying to watch out of the corner of your eye while your brains telling you to intercept something, something and block, and grab and...We thought that was just too much for him right now.

So like I said the kids really enjoyed it.  And seeing how Nick is crazy good at golf, he enjoyed teaching them as well.  This is something we will definitely be doing more of. 

That is, if it ever stops raining here.  It's been a werid rain in that it has been raining pretty consistently for the past 4 days but there are no puddles anywhere.  We must have needed the rain. 

Well, pray for us.   Cal starts soccer tomorrow :)
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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Marilou and The Joy of Cooking

Hi there.  This is Marilou.  I worked with Marilou in college at a museum where I was a docent.  Later I worked at the same museum after college and again got to work with her.  She was a wonderful lady and I loved talking with her.  She was from the city where I went to college.  It was amazing to here her stories. 

Nick had proposed to a place called Minnetrista, which was a cultural center comprised of the old Ball Brother Mansions (the Canning Company, Ball).  Well when we were there they were just museums and things of the like, but Marilou remembered attending Daughters of the American Revolution Teas at the Ball mansions...with the Ball ladies. 

She met her husband at Ball State (just like me!) and was one of the ones who made me want to elope with Nick...a lifetime together was what I wanted, not a big fancy wedding. 

A couple of days before I left with Nick on a big plane to go to a small island and marry the love of my life, Marilou gave me a wedding was "The Joy of Cooking".  As a former teacher and librarian, it was so Marilou to give me a book. 

Anyway, Marilou passed away in May.  She was a wonderful lady with a wonderful family.  She taught me how to properly make tea.  Sometimes her yogurt used to spew yogurt in my direction.   And everytime I open up my Joy of Cooking book, I think of her and smile. 

Thanks Marilou...I love you!
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Well the good thing about complaining is that sometimes on the very rare occassion, someone actually does something about it. 

Yesterday as mentioned I was frustrated with our park.  It just seems crazy to me that our park is inadequate and we have to drive to other parks when there is one just a couple of blocks away!  Well I called the director of the parks and she actually called me back this morning!

She told me it was such a "minor issue" to them that it had fallen through the cracks.  She said that she was having a staff meeting later this week and would address the problem then.  She even told me she would call me back! 

I guess I was happy she was honest with me and admitted to me that it had fallen through the cracks, but that also kind of peeved me off!  I mean, us moms in the neighborhood have taken survey's and meetings regarding changes that could happen to that playground.  We spent time thinking of it before giving her suggestions in the spring about what could be done to improve it.  All of this by the way, she had asked us to do. 

So then saying it had fallen through the cracks because it wasn't a big deal just seems silly.  It's a big deal to us!  We want to use that park every day! 

Anyway, it pays to make your voice known sometimes, see? 

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Serving in the Home

Photo courtesy of Beth Mann

Who doesn't feel this way sometimes?  I know I do.  Sometimes it feels as if there really is a chance my precious angelic children are out to sabatoge me.  In fact just this morning I discovered that there's either a barbie head or a peach pit in the drain of the downstairs bathroom sink.  I'm not finding out...I'll let Nick :)

I came across this verse this morning in my devotions:
"If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen." 1 Peter 4:11b

Now, I've read this verse before but it spoke differently to me this time. Don't you just love that about the word of God?  It speaks to us differently and shows itself new and in different ways. 

Anywho, this morning I read this verse in regards to serving my children and family.  In regards to serving in the home. 

Rather than complain about the piles of clothes I sometimes muddle through or the beds I find with toys shoved under them, I should take care of the mess in a godly way and do it with a serving heart. 

I want everything I do to bring glory to God.  Whether anyone else can see it is irrelevant...because God can see it.  He knows my heart behind things. 

I also love the part of the verse that talks about the strength God provides because honestly there are a lot of times when I am just sick and tired of cleaning the same things over and over and over and in and day out.  But I know that it is God who gives me the strength to do it.  And I know that He's there that I can reach out in times when I feel desperation and anxiety creeping in. 

Mildew doesn't take care of itself you know :) 

Let God be your strength today.  Lean on him and He'll stand you upright :)  And if things seem HORRIBLE and you just can't go on, try looking at things with new are taking care of your little blessings and your home which God has given...take care of things for Him. 
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Nick's Jeans

Yesterday I thought I had linked up to Lands' End so you could buy some jeans for yourself and I didn' sorry about that!  The link is below...and the link to the uber cute shoes I bought for myself!   I'm hoping they are comfy as my flats are about on their last legs...the poor dears!

Here are the shoes I bought too :)
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Monday, September 26, 2011

Random Thoughts that a Monday Afternoon Produces...

Homeschooling is done, the children are napping, and I find myself with the devil and angel on my shoulders...


Get to work! 

So I did...kind of. 
I ordered these jeans from Lands' End for Nick...cute right?  They are 14.99 on clearance and if you use the promotion code "Discover" with the number 6956 you'll get an additional 25% off and free shipping (no minimum required)!  Awesome, huh?  Thanks Money Saving Mom for, well, saving this Mom some Money!

A side note is, if you don't shop at Lands' End then I really recommend that you do.  They are always having super great bargains!  And they stand behind the quality of their products which is something I love and respect about them.  I buy almost all of my clothes from there and I love them!  I also love that they are sold at Sears so I can find some super great bargains there and I can return something there if it doesn't work out...none of the having to mail it back business! 

I also spent a lot of time on the phone which I hate doing but sometimes it just can't be helped.  Nick and I's debit cards expired in August but weren't replaced. Weird, we haven't had debit cards.  Well we got them...we got 4 cards total...all with different numbers.  So now which ones are we to use?  I was a little frustrated that the girl told me to take them ALL to the ATM and try to use our old pin numbers as they should be  the same.  At that point I was so frustrated I just said "okay".  Okay not meaning okay but rather meaning, I'm making my husband call about this...

My final call was to the Parks Department of our City.  Again, frustrated with them.  I have spoken numerous times with the lady in charge there about getting our neighborhood's park playground equipment updated.  She assured me in the Spring that something would be done, but now it is officially Autumn and nothing has been done.  I try to think that it would be nice to have it done, but it's nothing that I'm owed or something. But then when I think that we pay taxes and should be able to ENJOY our park, then I get a little torked off.  Is that how you spell torked???   I also spoke to someone about the tennis courts in our neighborhood.  We have some wicked nice tennis courts, let me tell you.  No exagerating people come from all over the country to play on our courts.  But for us common folk they are hardly ever open.  And I have a couple of kiddos who just want their Daddy to teach them how to play.  So I was on the phone with them for that.  Apparently you have to ask about 7.25 people before you find someone who knows about tennis courts.  Weird, wild stuff going on around here. 

My final question/random thought here as I ramble on has to do with homeschooling.  I've been printing off things for Emma and things are either too hard or too easy.  So here's my question for all of you, and you don't have to be a homeschooling mom to answer...if your child can breeze through things do you give them MORE of that to practice (oh say, addition worksheets?) or do you make them try to get something harder (multiplication? Fractions?) Emma's only a Kindergartener but I've been using first grade curriculum and she's finishing everything in about half the time they say to work with her on it.  I don't know if that means I should give her more practice or if she's ready for 2nd grade material.  And yes, I do feel kind of stupid asking this.  Just so ya know...

Happy Monday!  Make some coffee and perk yourself over that midday slump we're in now :)
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Thank you!

I just wanted to say thanks to you all for reading this blog.  A lot of times, when things are awry in the day and I have no one to "vent" to, I take solace that come naptime I can sit down and type my feelings out.  It helps. 

It gives me something to do that's not covered in dried playdoh or other ucks. 

It always touches my heart and spirit when someone pulls me aside at church or the grocery store and tells me how much they enjoy my blog. 

Seriously, sometimes I wonder if anyone reads this thing. 

And it's not about readers, its about just sharing what's on my heart.  But I can see numbers and I do see that you all are reading, so I thank you. 

If we were in person right now I would sing you the "Golden Girls" theme song, but we aren't, so I won't :)
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Our Humble Home

"Thank God, O women, for the quietude of your home, and that you are queen it it.
Men come at eventide to the home; but all day long you are there, beautifying it, sanctifying it, adorning it, blessing it.
Better be there than wear a queen's coronet. Better be there than carry the purse of a princess.
It may be a very humble home.
There may be no carpet on the floor. There may be no pictures on the wall.
There may be no silks in the wardrobe; but, by your faith in God, and your cheerful demeanor, you may garniture that place with more splendor than the upholsterer's hand ever kindled." 
--Reverend T. DeWitt Talmage, D.D

I love this little snippet of inspiration that was spoken by Reverend Talmage (1832-1902).  Last week and the week before I was feeling a little blue.  I wouldn't say it was a full-blown depression, but I just was feeling mopey and uninterested in anything for no good reason.  Does anyone else ever feel this way?  Ugh, sometimes there's just no good reason for it.

I'm so glad that I have a loving Heavenly Father who makes sure to snap me out of it before it spirals out of control.  And I have a husband who is on me to talk about it and do whatever it takes to feel like myself again. 

So I talked to Nick about it.  A lot.  I remember him telling me that I am the little heart of this family.  Isn't that just the most precious thing???  He went on to explain himself: that when I am sad and mopey that is the general feel of the whole house.  Everyone waits to see how I am reacting.  Our home's warmth and feeling reflects my own.

And I guess that is somewhat true.  So when I read this quote above the other day, it really hit home. 

I desire a home that is quiet and peaceful, and no maybe we don't have the most stuff or the nicest things in the world but the job God gave me is to work with what I have to make our home welcoming, and inviting, and my family's safe haven. 

So my prayer is that in the coming months I may offer my family a place of warmth, and refuge, physically and spiritually.  This goal has brought me out of my slump, and when I think of it, I take the time and make the effort to stay up a little later than normal to get the kitchen completely clean, or wake up earlier than I prefer to fold laundry and tidy our little home. 

My prayer:
May all who enter our home leave feeling better than before.

God bless you and your home today...
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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Apples to Apples

Apple picking is one of the highlights of the year for us.

This girl is ready to go!  She grabbed the wagon on her own and hightailed it out of there.
Here we are!  Aren't they cute?
Bucket heads!
They are so cute...I just can't get over how cute they are!

Here's Emma's first apple
Here's Cal's first apple

Okay this is so cute!  I love these series of photos...while Nick and I were picking apples, you know, the actual work, they kids took the wagon up the hill in the background and then would come back down...

They would go up....push and pull, push and pull.
And then they would come tumbling down the hill like Jack and Jill...sometimes quite literally! Nick and I just held one another and listened to their squeals and watched them.  I praise God that they are able to live perfect childhoods...what a gift He has given them.
Here's Emma's basket!

Here we are almost reado to go.  We had one more basket too but we couldn't get it to fit...50 pounds of apples folks makes for one happy Mommy :)
Check out the size of these apples!  They are huge!
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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Fall Party

 Homemade Snickerdoodle cookies...perfect Autumn food :)
 Here's our picnic.  I love our life
 This sweet little boy loves bread.  There is nothing he loves more than a good piece of bread.  And that's one of the things I love most about him...the simple things in life are the ones that bring him such joy.
 Apple cider of course
 Aren't they so precious?  Don't you love the little waterfall behind them?
 This is what usually happens at the end of a photo's how I know they are fed up with having their pictures taken
 Here's my big guy.  It amazes me how big he is getting.  4T?  Are you kidding me?  What happened to 18 months clothing?
 My little girl.  She looks so big to me!  I know that someday I will look at her someday and think "my little girl!" but right now she looks so grown up to me!
 I love this series of photos... "hey where's Cal?" "hey where's Em?"
 "There you are!  Get over here!"
 Pure bliss!
 I love these Dahlias!  So cute!  The kids called them apple flowers which is so true...they really do look like apples!
Here are the two of us...we are usually just in the background of the fun, watching to see what the kiddos are doing.  How they will surprise us with their magnificence.  Watching them running around and chasing one another, and laughing, and laughing, I couldn't help but notice tears in my eyes.  The time will be gone before we know it and I cherish the days where the sun is shining, the weather has a bite of cool in the air, and we have the time to watch, to laugh, and to cherish our family. 

Yesterday was the first day of Fall.  We celebrated with our picnic of Panera, cider, and Snickerdoodles.  Afterwards Momma got some pictures and then we toured the mill in the background of the picture above.  We do this every year and it is one of my favorite things to do!  The children were fascinated with it and every year we notice something different about it.  I may have forgotten to mention this but it is actually a working mill!  We buy our stuff from there.  Today I needed cornmeal so that's what we got.  There's something really special about the millstone's grinding the wheat into flour right in front of your eyes, placing your order, then the man gets a bag out, scoops it up out of the freshly ground bin right next to the millstone, weighing it on the ancient scale, and then tying it closed with a piece of twine. The kids really understand where things come from when we watch it being made! 

After this we went to pick apples.  But those pictures are for another post... :)
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