Monday, February 27, 2012

Monthly Shopping

Nick, kids, and I live in a city.  One of the biggest cities in our state...yeah I'm not saying where we are :)  And we live downtown...like down, down town.  No suburbia here.  Anyway, we may live in the city but a very short drive from us puts us in the thick of the amish, and farmers growing fresh, local food. 

And I absolutely love that about where we live.  I can have the city feel and be in the country in 15 minutes.  It's kind of heavenly. 

Anyway, Nick and I have been doing something that we call our "monthly shopping jaunt"...we try at the beginning of each month to go out to small, local shops and get our food. 

We get our meat from a butcher shop where they raise their own grass fed cattle. 

We get our cheese from an amish shop where we can get cheddar for $1.49 a pound!!!  On a sidenote here, when Kraft GOES ON SALE it is $4.00 a pound. See the savings, here? 

We then go to an Amish General Store for most of our groceries. 

We stopped at a side room of an amish family's house and put money in a basket for eggs (a dozen amish, free range, organic eggs for $1.90 is cheap) hahaha, cheep, cheep!

Anyway, one of the places we went was to the hardware store for a ravioli cutter.  They have the cutest things in the world...it makes me feel like I am home! 
Look at the seed center...how cute is this?  Tons of seeds in antique glass jars. 

While we were there Nick was all too excited to find a pink red-rider bb gun...oh lord.  The guy is already excited about buying it for Emma...we are in for a world of hurt (probably quite literally) when someone gives that girl a gun!

Here is their display of soap...don't you just love this?  There is something so comforting about bringing your children to a place like this, where previous generations have bought things like this...this is they type of place where Laura Ingalls shopped...adorable! 

So I will now get off my soap box regarding where we live and how great it is.  I am just so thankful that we have these places by us.  We are trying to shop as locally as possible.  It really is what is best for our environment and believe it or not, but our kids are going to have to live here for a while so we need to take care of it.  And aside from that, it doesn't hurt us at all that the prices are crazy cheap...so much lower than regular grocery store prices. 

I encourage you to shop locally.  Expand your search and you might just be amazed at the shopping options you find around you. 
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Sunday, February 26, 2012

As Promised...Vacation Pictures

Well I did tell you yesterday that I would post some vacation pictures, so as promised, here they are!  Seriously, we didn't do anything drop-dead exciting, but we had a lot of fun and I think we sure do have some cute kids so a lot of the pictures are of them just being so gosh-darn cute!

Let's get started shall we?  These next few are from when we went to the Indianapolis Children's Museum...dubbed to be the World's Biggest Children's Museum.  If you have not been there it is definitely worth going. 
 Here are the kids at the dinosaur exhibit...here they ae happy but when we first went in, Calvin was not going to have any part of it...no way, no how.  Eventually he believed us that they aren't alive, they aren't coming alive...after that it was smooth sailing. 
Here is Emma digging for dinosaur bones.  What is it about kids in goggles that is so silly and cute?  I had to show you this picture because check out the view behind Emma...nice backside cleavage of some little girl who could use a belt :)

 Cal in goggles...again, I love me some kids in goggles!
 They have a huge Barbie Exhibit. This was Emma's second time at this exhibit so she knew her way around pretty well.  Here she is in Barbie's glasses
 Here she is before going into the Barbie Vault of all of the expensive Barbie's...she's such a ham
Here's Emma answering phones for Barbie at the reception desk...this was the part that she was the most excited about. 

 That night we went out to a pizza parlor.  The kids loved it. 
 Pizza guy :)
 I had to show you this picture because this was not planned.  Nope...this is his fancy face :)  You're all jealous, aren't you ladies?
 This always melts my heart...my whole little life walking in a row
 While on vacation Nick was driving us around and we did quite a bit of off roading...that makes Nick happy.  Anyway, we came to a dam at the bottom of the hill.  Nick wondered if it was part of a reservoir so he climbed the hill (I stayed in the car with sleeping kiddos) and I shot some pictures of him.  This is one of them and I just love it.  He just takes my breath away.  He could be standing in the moor's of Ireland in this picture or something. 

So anyway, those are some of our pictures.  There are oodles more but I won't bore you...too much :)  Hope you enjoyed getting a glimpse of our vacation.  Now it is "officially" back to reality tomorrow!


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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Vacay!

You'll have to excuse me. I've been gone for the week because I've been on VACATION!!!

It wasn't really anything earth shattering.  But it was a whole lot of family time, camping, museum visiting, shopping, junk food eating, waterslide riding, giggling all of the time, good ole' time. 

Yee-haw. 

I bet you want pictures, right? 

Are you tellin' me that you want some pictures? 

Well you are going to have to wait until tomorrow because I am getting my boooo-tay in bed :)

See you tomorrow :)
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Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Sensational Saturday

Friday night my parents had the children over for a slumber party.  Which meant that Saturday I had all to myself since Nick had to work. 

I've got to tell you, it was pretty nice. 

No, no, nix that...it was really, really nice. 

I was able to sleep in until 9 a.m.  I love when you are able to get so much sleep that your day doesn't have to start with a gimundo-sized cup of coffee. 

I was then able to get started with some meany cleany.  I was able to get Emma's closet organized, the kitchen completely cleaned, the floors totally squeeky clean, the children's toys organized, and so much stuff just put away in general.  The clutter is what always gets me...in every day life the clutter just always has a habit of sneaking up on us, and it was nice to be able to get some control over it. 

After the cleaning was done, I took Lucy on a huge long walk.  It was amazing and transcendent.

We went down one of my favorite streets in the neighborhood, all the way down.  And then all the way back and then headed home. 

After that I even had time to take a shower, get ready, and then head out shopping at a couple of stores. 

Finally I grabbed a Mocha, went through the Carwash and headed to my mom and dad's. 

It was so nice to feel well rested and accomplished.  I felt invincable...which God must have known I needed because when I picked the kids up Cal was a hot mess.  Screaming and kicking ALL the way home...it's at least a half hour ride, people. 

But I never lost my cool and I was really proud of myself.  I think I needd that win to feel better about my mothering abilities. 

After we got home we had the same business as usual that we normally do.  But now I sit here at 11:00 at night feeling like a cool cat because I'm not that tired and I am working on school planning. 

It was heavenly to have a day which was, well, heavenly.  Here's hoping to tomorrow faring well too! 

Have a great weekend!
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A Sizable Jumble of Randomness

This morning it seems like I have a lot on my mind.  Nothing in particular, just here and there.  Here are some of the things rattling around:

*Sometimes when I hear of things on Big Bang Theory I think of ways I can slip those quotes into every day conversation...today I am working on using "gravel monkeys"

* I am so thankful for our tax refund.  This year it was even bigger than expected.  We are able to pay off so many things, take a small homeschooling trip, and still have a sizeable amount of it left for our Disney trip...God is good all of the time!

* Last night Emma and I got a pizza from Domino's...it was a cheese pizza for only $3.99!  What value :)

* I love the Pioneer Woman and it makes me feel so warm and nice watching her on On Demand early in the morning when Nick's away...it's like being at home.  You can read The Pioneer Woman's blog by clicking here.

* I try not to be a complainer when it comes to the weather.  As a girl living in the Midwest, I know what we are in for...it's no shocker.  Plus I don't see what can come of complaining as nothing can be done to change the situation.  I am not sick of Winter but I am getting tired of having to go outside and start the car before we leave so it can warm up.  That's my only factor of complaining about the weather.

* My husband and I have been "exclusive" for 11 years now and married for 8 and a half years and I STILL have no idea what he sees in me...that's normal....right?

* I am on the board for a non-for profit children's sale where mom's can sell their stuff and other moms can buy things.  I am so blessed by the group of women that I work with.  God definitely had his hand in placing me in this spot because I so needed them and the work we do. 
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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Emma-Kazoo Update

Since I haven't talked much about Emma either I thought I would update you on her now. 

She is such a light in our lives. 

She is hilarious with dancing and is so talented with playing the piano and the guitar, and making up silly songs and lyrics. 

Emma is such a people pleaser.  She's always trying to do whatever she can to make us laugh, trying to give us a good joke one way or another and just all around be cute. 

Emma is going to be turning 6 on May 1st and I just can't believe how fast the time has flown by!  Fortunately she is still letting me put her in bows and dress her, so I am relishing that as long as it lasts!

Emma is a lover of all things girly.  She loves her Kit dolls and has been reading the American Girl books during her quiet time in the afternoons.  She loves Calico Critters, Barbies, and her Dollhouse. 

Emma has been doing so, so well in school.  I am amazed at how much she can retain and learn.  She is in the middle of memorizing the Gettysburg Address and each week we memorize a new verse.  It is a rare occurance if she misses a spelling word, and she loves math and history.  We are even into second grade grammar books and the peeny thing is only 5! 

Emma is definitely our "easy" child.  We're working on patience though as she is definitely short tempered sometimes (she definitely got that from me, but don't tell...I'm denying that one to the end!) 

I just love her so much and we have so much fun together. 
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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Calvin Update

Have you ever seen the commercial of the Operertic Vikings singing about cashing out your annuity?  I think its for JG Wentworth or something but they sing "I have an annuity but I need cash now".  Well for some reason this weasel sings "You smell like a bottom and you need cash now".  Ha!  What a weirdo!  He cracks me up!

Anyway, since I hadn't written in a coon's age (ya like that, huh?) I thought I would write a little about what's been going on with Cal. 

Well Cal is still in Speech Therapy and is on the waiting list for Occupational Therapy. 

We've been introduced and have been seeing a Developmental Pediatrician.  She has diagnosed Calvin with ADD (definitely NOT ADHD, just ADD) and we are waiting until he gets older to rule out whether or not we are looking at Autism, more specifically Aspergers. 

The Pediatrician and his therapy team is pretty sure he has Sensory Processing Disorder.

We have really good days and have really, really bad days. 

The weeks when we have bad days are the toughest.  I just wish I bigger support system.  Sometimes it feels really lonely and frustrating.  Sometimes I have to call Nick at work crying telling him I can make no promises that the kids won't be locked out of the house freezing to death when he gets home. 

When Cal started talking I had a therapist tell me that it was seemingly an act of God that got him to talk.  And back then I prayed over his crib every night.  I remember crying out to God that if he would just help him to talk that he could make so many people laugh and smile.  And he does!  It's amazing...the kids waves and talks to everyone.  And Calvin is the funniest person I've ever met.  He's funnier than Nick, and that's saying something. 

Cal is in preschool now and is doing really well.  He's making friends, he's learning things.  But sometimes we get bad reports from the teacher...not cool, Cal, not cool. 

He has a Valentine's Party soon and I am so excited for him.  He loves these events and his face just lights up when he sees us come to his school to celebrate with him. 

Recently Cal has discovered a growing love of Lego's!  He plays with them all of the time and loves creating things.  He also loves the Star Wars movies and has begun watching them all with Nick and Emma.  He also has Star Wars Lego's which is a little piece of heaven on Earth for him. 

His favorite show is Caillou.  I have come to love Caillou with Nick...it helps him talk about things and pretend things around the house so I am all for that. 

So that's some of what Cal is all about right now.  Tomorrow comes Emma-Kazoo!
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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Heart Day!

Our kids apparently do not like getting kisses!  Here's Emma getting one from Cal...

And here's her payback to Cal! 

We hope you are having a Happy Valentine's Day!  Things here have been lots of fun and have been full of Heart coloring sheets, making Valentines, Strawberries, a nice and heart-y breakfast, with more surprises to come! 

I love the monochramatic colors of this...love strawberries!
I made the kids cinnamon muffins for breakfast...they were over the moon for them!  I can't believe how easy they are to please!  Anyway we are having a wonderful day and hope you are too!

I wanted to share the bible verse we are memorizing this week...it is simply ideal for our Valentine-y week:

Psalm 13:5
"But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation."
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Monday, February 13, 2012

Tweaking our Homeschooling Routine

To be honest, homeschooling has not been going well lately.  Not to the point that I am ready to throw in the towel or that Emma isn't excelling, but it's just been rather, shall we say, grating. 

Every day it seems as if we get a late start.  This was solved by me simply changing my expectations of the day.  When we began school in September I had this lofty goal that we would start our day by 8 and would breeze through the day.  However starting at 8 meant that I was waking the children up way earlier than they were ready for and then I was teaching little grumpuses all day long. It wasn't fun for them and it wasn't fun for me. 

Another struggle we've had is getting ALL of our school work done.  We get the basics done: reading, writing and arithmetic, but things like history were sometimes getting skipped over or not getting done at all on some days (yikes!) due to other things coming up. 

I had to find a solution...I just had to. 

So here's what I've done:
I started this "our day" board.  I called it this rather than a schedule because it isn't something that we strictly follow in a particular order.  To clarify we do have a specific order for some things but if Emma needs a break from one thing or wants to do something else before the other, then we can adjust accordingly and make do.  When we're done with an activity we stick the item in the bottom pocket. 

This has helped me to make sure we get everything done as I am now accountable to the children to get everything done.  They can see what we still have to get done and what's to come in the rest of the day (I do not perform the Piano Lessons or Therapy but it helps them to know what we have to do throughout our day).

This has also helped with some of the grating on my nerves because Emma was always and forever asking (some days, whining) "are we done yet?" Now she can see for herself what all needs done and how much we've accomplished. 
As Cal's matured through this year he's now more willing to sit and do some lessons with us.  I have a designated play area for him with lots of puzzles and educational toys.  Earlier in the year he ended up just wandering around, throwing a ball at Emma, and seemed to eventually find his way downstairs where he would scream up to us what he was doing...what a nice time.  :) 

Now he has his own things to do and we are working on fun things like cutting, folding, writing, and reading.  You can see here who keeps their desk tidy and who doesn't :). 
Trying not to complain too much but I'm still waiting on shelving.  So I've had to make do.  I had these chairs just sitting in a corner so I decided to try to use them as shelves.  I think the idea ended up being just darling, don't you?  Each chair is for a subject or two.  Before all of those workbooks and materials were just sitting in piles against the wall and anytime I needed to find anything (say a grammar book) I had to go through everything!  It was so frustrating.  This is much better and now I can send the children over to get their materials they need for certain projects. 

The Sun!  Just wanted to show you this because it is much nicer to do school with sunlight streaming in through the window.  Just weeks ago it was still dark and gloomy in the morning hours when we were starting school.  Here's Cal smiling his tiny smile.  He's experimenting with magnets to see what "sticks" and what doesn't. 
This is Emma doing a math speed test.  For some reason every day her math times are vastly, vastly, different.  She varies everyday between 2 minutes and 10 minutes.  Frustrating that little peanut is...I think I said that like Yoda :)  In a topic that's unrelated to school, check out Emma's bow.  I've had a little goal for myself to make a bow for each of Emma's outfits...love it :) 

So that's what we've been up to.  As you can see we are still at the drywall phase of our room.  But we are getting ready for mudding (which will probably have to take place during Spring Break.  :)
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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Our Lord's Day

Greetings everyone!  I know I have been but a distant memory to ya'll lately.  Life has been so crazy busy.  So crazy busy that I've neglected to even be taking pictures of my kiddos. 

Do you ever get into one of those slumps? 

It all just seems so boring and mundane that I think "there's nothing to even take a picture of" and "boring, people, this is all so boring". 

But then it hit me one day that I am simply letting life pass me by, for it is in the small and simple moments that our life is formed and created.  And I know that one of these soft days I will look back and wish I had cared more about what was going on...that I would have stopped and breathed it in, and memorized every aspect.  For one day it will be gone. 

Today is one of those days I hope I never, ever forget.  Not that it was anything special or anything particulary momentous occured.  But rather it was a simple Sunday.  A day to rest and rejunvenate our souls as the Lord commands us to do. 

So here are some of the things that happened here during our Lord's day:
Napping.  Lots and lots of napping.  Isn't the feeling you have when you wake up from a nap transplendent?  I just don't think there's anything better than a good ole' Sunday afternoon nap. 

This little guy insisted he didn't need a nap.  Apparently he surrendered in a losing battle.  This picture will always and forever make me want to scoop him up and cuddle him.  And then tuck him in. 

Here I am...Happy in the Lord!  Sunday afternoons when we come home from church we change into our sweaties and I put my hair into a ponytail.  There's nothing better than changing out of Sunday morning pantyhose into nice warm sweat pants and thick socks...except maybe a nap.  :)

I always try to make a big dinner for our Sunday Supper.  Something that has to cook a long time in a big pot.  Tonight it was Chicken Cacciatore with crusty bread.  I was worried the kiddos wouldn't like it...

But it was a hit!


 Our Lord's Day also involved making a lot of Star Wars Lego creations and just spending time as a family.  I hope you are rested and rejuvenated after this Sunday as well.  May the Lord fill your hearts and spirits with new energy for the coming week. 

God Bless You All!

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