Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Breaking Free of the School Blahs

Okay, so lately school's been kind of, well, just blah. 

Nothing bad, but we've been in kind of a rut lately. 

For some that may be called a schedule or in the groove, but I like to keep things fresh and interesting so Emma wants to do school just to see what is going to happen next.  I have found that with Emma, while she enjoys the predictability of her schedule, she also likes to have fun little surprises that  she can look forward to...be they little holiday worksheets, or what not. 

This week we've had a particularly weird week.  Emma has been in some sort of funk, little thing. She seems to be a little distracted and I've had a hard time getting her to give me 100%.  After ascertaining that there was nothing seriously wrong, we've decided we need to pull back.  None of her classes seem too hard but sometimes this happens if too much information is thrown at her regarding too many things. 

This is one of the things I love and hate most about homeschooling...having to read your kid.  I can read Emma about if she is hungry or getting sick, or peeved at her brother.  But school is an entirely different matter.  It is a point where I have to look at her from an education angle (with a little dash of mommy-ing thrown in, of course!) to try to figure out her learning styles and what angles to go with her when we start having school trouble.  So frustrating, yes, but so rewarding when it pays off. I can't imagine doing this with 27 children...school teachers are amazing is all I can say!

Anyway, so today I got a unit-study from this amazing website I've found called Living Life Intentionally.  You really need to check it out!  She has such amazing things to do!  I think the material was geared more for Cal's age, but there were lots of things for Emma to do too! 

First we read this classic book, Make Way for the Ducklings. written by Robert McCloskey in 1941.  Such a cute, cute book!

    After that we did oodles of the worksheets.  Emma mapped out the routes of the cute little ducks, and we played a math game, and Cal did lots of tracing and finding the letter of the day "D".  All of these items were provided from Living Life Intentionally.  LOVED all of it!  Not loving that I completely spaced taking pictures of the fun for you all...sorry! 

This afternoon I set aside some time to read blogs and I opened up this blog from Confessions of a Homeschooler.   She discusses moving your homeschool "classroom" to a different location to shake things up a bit and to help with the blahs.

While we have gone to the library during homeschool to look things up, I've never packed up and just gone to the library...so I am looking forward to doing that this week :)  Hopefully it will help keep things interesting for Emma.

Just a tip for you homeschool newbies, Confessions of a Homeschooler is a GREAT place to start in terms of looking for materials and curriculums.  She has tons of FREE downloads and printables...things to make your life easier as a homeschooling mama :) 

Well I hope I have given you a couple of ideas to mix things up and go crazy if the mid-year blahs are setting in for you.  I'd love to hear other suggestions you all have as well. 

Have a great day :)
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Monday, October 29, 2012

A Perfect Autumn Afternoon

Isn't it nice on those rare days when the stars align and you somehow find yourself in the ideal situation: a house full of new books to explore, a quiet afternoon to relax, and a fresh pot of coffee all to yourself.  

I think that is just about the closest thing to heaven.  

 Fresh from the library, I managed to coerce the children to read quietly while I flew through the adult section, frantically throwing books into my library bags...these are what I managed to come away with.  I threw my coffee in there for effect...you want to be here with me, don't you?  Snuggling under down comforters on either end of the couch and showing each other neat-o ideas we find in the books.  So fun!  Come on over...
 I've gotta tell 'ya, I am not much of a fiction reader.  I absolutely adore The Mitford Series and read those repeatedly.  Other than that I am not too much into the stories.  I seem to find myself gravitating to books on organizing, cleaning, cooking, and all things Christmas.
 This is one of the books that I absolutely adore.  It's "The Farm Chick's Christmas".  You can check it out here.    The book has so many ideas for decorating and cooking and gift giving.  And the pictures are gorgeous.  It's just fun, ya know?
 Here are some of the pictures...
 And this one...this looks like the easiest thing in the world but so stinkin' cute.
 And an old typewriter with a festive Christmas message.  See?  It's so fun!  Go out and buy this book!  Borrow it from your local library...do something to get this book!!!!

Can't wait to crack this book open.  Those are cake pops on the front...how adorable do those look?

So that's how I'll be spending the afternoon.  I hope you can find some time to sneak away and enjoy a yummy cup of coffee and a stack of good books.
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Friday, October 26, 2012

Tifton, Georgia

On our way to Floriday to visit Mickey Mouse, we made a stop in Tifton, Georgia.  Disney World is approximately 19 hours away from our house.  We definitely could have done the drive in one day.  But we knew if we went that route that, upon arrival, we would be completely exhausted from the driving and the kids would be all psyched up, ready to go! 

So we decided to break the drive up.  We left on a Sunday night at about midnight.  Nick had been able to sleep from about 6:00 p.m. until Midnight, so he was rested and ready to go upon departure.  While he was sleeping I packed the car, got some last minute cleaning done, and just plain old relaxed for a while, knowing in a few short hours I would be smooshed in the car with no personal space. 

We drove from midnight until about 5:00 p.m., making some shopping stops along the way, eating at every Cracker Barrel we could find (just kidding...kind of), and just plain old enjoying the drive. 

We stopped at a place called Lane Orchards.  They had pecans and peaches.  Oh my word, they also had homemade fresh peach ice cream which was to DIE for!  It really was homemade, not we bought this fake peach mix but mixed it ourselves...nope this was not too sweet and had this amazing fresh peach taste.  MMMM....I want some RIGHT NOW!!!

Eating the peach...goobers!
Life is so hard for these two :)

We chose to stay in Tifton with our travel agent.  It was about 4 hours away from Disney.  A good place to stop for the night and not have too much driving in front of of us the next day.  When we got there we discovered that it was a typical city that was getting built up around the edged.  But town's website called it the Friendly Place or something like that...so there had to be a downtown, right? 

The cutest lady at the front desk of our hotel told us in her southern drawl "oh, ya'll don't want to see the downtown.  There's nothin' there."  But I did want to see it.  I love old buildings, and Nick having City planning in his blood, made us an ideal couple to explore the downtown. 
Neatest old theatre was still there..loved it!
A bed and breakfast :)
Love Farmer's Markets...they keep neighborhoods alive and help towns to thrive!

We drove by this old Grocery Store...loved it and the media on the sides of the store :)
 For dinner we went to a place for dinner called "Charles Seafood".  When we are travelling we always try to find locally owned places that have been open for a long time..  You know, taste what the locals eat :)  This place has been opened since the '70's.  And don't you just love the decor?  Huh?  Yeah, you want some of that wallpaper for your guest bathroom, don't you??
 We sat across from these signs...it was cute!
And here was the dinner food you got.  Everything was served on paper/plastic plates.  If we wanted another plate for the kids to have  some of our food there was a 30 cent surcharge which kind of made me laugh.  Seriously?  And how many people ask for extra plates?  Tons?  So much so that you found the extra plates going out were making you go broke?  This is a hard economy, dude.  Anyway, the fried oysters were Amazing!  Like, Uh-maze-ing!  I am not a big fried seafood fan, but these were good!  Highly recommend this place if you ever find yourself in the bottom of Georgia and stumble into Tifton!

So that's our little tour of Tifton!  We enjoyed our night there.  We were gone by 5 am the next day and then we were headed for Disney!!!!  

I promise, someday I will share those pics too :)

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

DIY: Shoe Painting

Earlier this month I painted my shoes.  Weird, I know.  Nick was way skeptical of me painting shoes.  And I was too.  He called them "hobo shoes" :)  

I like to think they look better than hobo shoes.  


 So I bought these shoes last year from land's end.  They were pretty expensive.  I bought them as silver, sparkly shoes.
 But as you can see them, they are no longer silver.  Or sparkly.  Everything has rubbed off of these shoes and they were just "ek".

 I also have needed black flat or shoes I could wear with black outfits.  I had been losely looking for new shoes and just hadn't found anything I liked.

Bottom line was that I had these shoes and was going to have to pitch them because they didn't look good enough to wear out.  So I figured I might as well try to paint them.  If they turned out horrible I could still just throw them away and not be out anything.
 First thing, I scrubbed them down with cleaning wipes.  These were the wipes I had on hand.  I hate them, do not buy them.  They smell like funky, monkey butt.  Ugh, at least I used a few of them up on this project :)
 I then used masking tape to tape off the section I was wanting to paint.  I just eyed my tape lines and then pushed down really, really hard.
 These were the paints I used.  The blank paint was less than a dollar and the glitter paint was about $1.50.
 I used one of the kids paint pallets to paint with...it seemed to work really well.  I used a foam brush rather than a regular paintbrush.  It seemed to work pretty well as far as not leaning lines.
 I painted it this way towards the toe, then I would paint from side to side.  I used 4 coats of paint to make sure they had a nice layer of paint on them.  I did this over the course of a morning and afternoon.  I'd just come back to them every now and then and add a coat of paint.
In my last coat of paint I added the glittler black paint into the regular black paint.  I did this so it would give it a little bit of sheen and so the paint would coordinate with any remaining shimmer left on the shoes.
And ta-da!  Here is the end result of my work.  I think they look pretty good.  They have kind of a mod look  to them and paired with jeans the black and silver just peak out from the front of my pants.  I should add that     before I removed the paint I mod-podged the shoes, over the paint to seal them.

I've worn them about 5 times since I've worn them and have had absolutely no problems with them.  Last week we went to a murder mystery at a local mansion/museum and I wore them to that.  It was absolutely pouring and to tell the truth I was kind of worried. I was scared my shoes would start to run and then there would be huge black streaks behind us on these gorgeous, expensive rugs.  But they were fine, everything looked great, and I still haven't had any trouble.

These by far are not shoes I wear every day, so I have no idea of the wear they would take on a day to day basis.  But they have been great for a sometime shoe.

If you decide to paint your shoes, I'd love to see pictures of them!  It's so fun and the possibilities are endless!
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Monday, October 22, 2012

A New Week is Here!

Good Morning Blog friends! 

The dopey blogger userface is apparently doown and I can't post piictures.  So you just get me writing away here. 

Hope you all had a great weekend. 

We certainly did. 

Friday night Nick's parent's had the kids over for a sleepover. 

Nick and I went out to dinner and then went to a local museum for a murder mystery.  We had so much fun. 

The best part though was next morning:  sleeping in.  All the way until 8:30.  It was glorious.  Then we sat around in sweats watching the Food Network and eating leftovers...it was so nice. 

Saturday evening we went to some dear friends' house for dinner.  Hi Jess!  Hi Andrew!!    We had such a good time and our kiddos LOVED playing with their girls.  We went to a Harvest party together at a local church and just had an amazing time. 

Yesterday I was feeling a little under the weather.  Nick was such a trooper and took the kiddos to church on his own so I could get some rest.  He is the best man in the world!  By the time they got home I was feeling a little better and was able to get moving around again by mid afternoon.  

All in all it was a wonderfully relaxing weekend, and while we didn't get everything done that we had wanted, we had a great time.  I feel rejuvenated and ready for this week, rather than dreading it already.  As I mentioned in this post last week we have a very busy Monday.  But I feel ready for it and we are charged up to go! 

One of the things I am going to do today to make life a touch easier is make Ham n' beans in the slowcooker. 

Are you allowed to call it a Crock Pot if it isn't a Crock Pot brand?  Just wondering....

Also, you can't be all correct and call it Ham and Beans...'ya gotta call it Ham 'n' beans.  With the 'n'.  :)   

You don't really need a recipe for beans...it's more a cooking method and you can add whatever the heck you want.  But I learned to make beans by following this recipe from Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman.  I figure if anyone can make beans, it's gotta be someone be a Pioneer Woman, right?  I mean, I read the Little House books, those people had to eat beans :)   

Anywho, throwing beans and a hamhock into the Crock Pot (excuse me...slow cooker) is super easy and then I don't have to worry about dinner after a super busy day when things are horrid.  There's no telling how today will go, but there is a pretty good chance that by dinner time I'll be rocking in a corner, pulling my hair out and crying.  And it's hard to chop things when you're sitting in a corner rocking...not easy at all. 

So that's all I've got for ya today.  Hopefully the DUMB BLOG people can get the photos working...I'm shaking my little fists at you, people inside the computer. 

Happy Monday everyone!!!
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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Happy Pretend Columbus Day!

Last Monday was Columbus Day. 

I totally missed the boat. 

Get it?  Boat? 

Oh geesh. 

Anyway, I completely spaced that it was Columbus Day.  Everyone's super cute homeschool posts around the blog-o-sphere gently reminded me of what I didn't do. 

And then I discovered the entire folder full of Columbus Day activities I had...all ready to go. 


I am not one for celebrating every little holiday or anything.  But this year we are studying Christopher Columbus in history, so I thought maybe we should celebrate the day.  Just a little. 

Yeah, Chris Columbus.  He's kind of a big deal.  They even have a day for him.  I forgot it, but it's in October.  No mom awards are being thrown at my feet. 

So today, I pretended it was Columbus Day this Monday.

Please no one take the girl to the bank. 

Or the Post. 

You'll foil my plan surely. 

Anywho, here's what we've done so far...
 For lunch Emma had a garlic bread ship afloat spaghetti.  She keeps telling me that garlic bread is much yummier when it is made to look like a ship :)
 My wonderful blogging friend (I only know her on the computer)  a video on her blog.  You can read about her Columbus Day activities and the link to the video here.
Poor Emma had to watch the movie while eating her garlic bread ship lunch because I had to whisk her away to homeschool gym.  LOVE that she's in that!

There's a fun coloring printable from Veritas Press that can be found here.

Emma also made a fun Christopher Columbus cut out craft.  It can be found on the Super Teacher Worksheet's page.

So that's how we celebrated Christopher Columbus.  I think she learned a lot and had a good time too!
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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Couponing Online

So my middle sister this week texted me with a question of "do you get coupons online?  If so where?" 

Boy did she open up a can of worms :) 

I could talk about couponing until I turn blue. 

But I won't. 

Not this time. 

It did occur to me however that not everyone is like me and has been doing this for years.  Many people are just now starting out on their couponing adventures...like my sister!  Hi Lacey!!! 

The way that I coupon has to do with two puzzle pieces and then putting them together.  Here we go:

*Piece #1

The first puzzle piece is Manufacturing Coupons. 

Smart Source This is a coupon distributor.  If you get coupons in your newspaper, a good chance is they are from Smart Source. 

Red Plum This is another coupon distributor.  They have coupons in the newspaper. 

Coupons.com  This is one of the biggest couponing sites and is a great place to start out. 


Most couponing websites will ask for your zipcode.  A tip for you is to change up the zipcode.  Usually California residents are offered more coupons than other areas in the country.  One of the zipcodes I use is "90210".  :)  Now go and watch reruns of the show and feel like your in high school.


Other good places to get coupons are directly from Manufacturer's websites.  Think of the brands you like and who makes them.  Land-o-lakes, Proctor and Gamble, Kraft, Nestle, etc, etc.  And whatever you like google search for it with the words "printable coupon"  This is a great way to expand your horizons regarding helpful sites. 


The second puzzle piece is Store Coupons. 

The second place to look for coupons is at the websites of the stores you shop.  Where do you plan to spend money and to look for bargains?  One of my favorites is Target.  Others include Meijer, Kroger (Jewel), and other grocers across the nation including Publix, IGA, etc.  Wherever you shop, make sure you get on their websites and check out what type of coupons they offer.  Not all coupons are store coupons, many are manufacturer's but regardless, there are coupons!


While at the store's website, be sure to look at their coupon policy.  Some stores have a very specific policy and others are more lenient.  I know a lot of couponers go so far as to print off the stores coupon policy in case there is a discrepency in using their coupons.  While I think this is a good idea, I personally have never printed any off and I've never had a need to. 


Now the next step is to put the puzzle pieces together.  Most stores that offer store coupons will allow you to use both a store coupon and a manufacturer coupon together, making for a lot of money to be saved on your end! For maximum savings, pairing the coupons with sale events, makes for some pretty cheap items.  Sometimes even free people! 

 For example:

You love the Pantene. 

Sunday in your slippies you get the ad and notice that the 'ol Pantene is on sale for $4.00, down from $6.99! 
You go to Proctor and Gamble's website and find $1.00 manufacturer coupon. 
You then go to Target.com and find $1.00 store coupon. 

You can use them both for a total of $2.00 off of the $4.00 sale price making the price $2.00 for a total savings of $4.99!  You can use that nice 5 bucks in your pocket for a Starbucks latte or something :) 

Anyway, piecing store and manufacturer coupons together is a lot of work! 

And there are some amazing ladies with some pretty, darn amazing websites that match coupons and let you know the deals...it's amazing! 

Here are some of my absolute fave's:


Money Saving Mom

Krazy Coupon Lady

Totally Target

There are thousands and thousands of these websites.  This isn't a comprehensive list by any means, these are just a few of my absolutel favorites.  And if you have any more questions, most of these websites has a beginner's handbook of sorts, which explains couponing for beginners. 

So there ya go.  A few pointers on how to get started with couponing.  Just a warning though...it can become highly addictive!  No matter how much money you have, it's nice to keep that money in your pocket.  And to me, that's what couponing does.  A $1.00 coupon means I get to keep a $1.00 of mine and not give it to the store. 


Please let me know if you have any questions or if I can help at all!  And if you are a couponer already feel free to leave comments regarding where you like to get your online coupons!!!  :)  So newbies make sure you read the comments too to see where else to look! 

Good luck and happy couponing!  :)

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Monday, October 15, 2012

Can't Do It All Myself...

Mondays are horrible here. 

Just horrible, I tell ya. 

Ugh...just thinking about yesterday exhausts me...that's how bad Mondays stink. 

Here's the schedule...

Take Cal to preschool
Come back home for homeschool
Pack Emma's lunch, pack her swimming bag, throw her in car
Pick Cal up from Preschool
Rush across town to Homeschool Gym while Emma eats her lunch in the car
Drop Emma off
Take Cal home
Make a super quick lunch
Rush Cal to Speech Therapy
Come home for Cal's nap
Usually I have to wake Cal up to go pick up Emma
Pick up Emma and come home
20 minutes later we leave for Emma's gymnastics
Drop Emma off at Gymnastics
Go to the bank to do the Girl Scout banking
Go home to start dinner
Go pick up Emma from gymnastics
Come home and meet my parents there
Feed childen, leave them with my parents and leave for grocery shopping

Whew!  It's a busy day indeed!

Last Monday after we got the children to bed I basically collapsed on the couch with Nick as I sobbed about what a failure I am at all of this. 

As a mother. 
As a wife.
As a homemaker.
As a teacher. 
As a Christian. 

Perhaps it's that perfectionism that always seems to creep up, or perhaps it's something else, but I cannot seem to see what I've accomplished, rather I only see what has not been done...

the dishes that are still on the dining room table from the night before (yikes!)
I am a day behind in my laundry schedule. 
I didn't fill the workboxes for school the night before.
I am way behind in ebaying.
I haven't showered in two days (sad but true). 

Last week I didn't blog.  I thought about it a million times but somehow Monday threw me off track and the rest of the week snowballed out of control.  It's hard for me when that happens because as you can see I focus on what I am doing wrong and suddenly instead of one whole day going wrong, it is an entire blasted week. 


I read a mom blog this week that really convited my heart.  It talked about how I will never ever have the strength to do all of this on my own.  I just can't.  Some days I am doing the work of what feels like 5 moms. 

But Christ has the strength. 

And it penetrated my heart so much that I can't find the blog to save my life.  Pathetic, right?

I was directed to 1 peter this week.  As I was reading the last part, I felt like God was hugging me as I read 1 Peter 5....

1 Peter 5:6,7 (NIV)
 "6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."

Well duh.  I know this.  I mean, I KNOW this.  Really well.  So many times I have felt like I couldn't do it anymore.  And I've cried out to God to help me. 

I'd like to use a lifeline...

And of course the Lord helps me.  But for some reason I've forgotten to actually ask God for help.  I've complained to him.  I've ranted to him.  But I've never boldly approached the throne to ask for some of His strength. 

Again, you may now call me an idiot :)

And of course God continued to reassure me that He's got my back...

 1 Peter 5:10, 11 says...

"10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen."

Help is on it's way. 

And it really was.  Wednesday night I relied on God and was able to hack away at organizing the classroom into a useable area, I got school papers ready for the next day and was able to rock school Thursday and Friday.  I also managed to not forget any other obligations like I had been before. 

So hopefully this week will be awesome.  I'm going to rely on God and ask him for His strength to sustain and lead me. 

If you have more on your plate today, I encourage you to read 1 Peter 5 and to go before God and ask him for his strength and grace.  He's waiting to be asked and He is crazy in love with you!!!

Happy Monday!
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Monday, October 8, 2012

My Thoughts on the President...

I have none. 

Honestly, people are way too wrapped up in the Presidential elections. 

It's been kind of sickening to see and listen to people talk about the president relentlessly.

Here's the truth about my life...

I am a busy mom. 

A Super Busy Mom as you may have picked up from the title of my blog. 

I have too many things to worry about during the day to spend an exhausting amount of time arguing about the president.  Or what I like about the current president.  Or don't.  Or like about the future president.  Or don't.

I am too worried wondering if I remembered to get the porkchops out of the freezer for dinner.  Or if I paid the electric bill.  Or trying to remember where the drycleaning bag is.  Or who put silly putty in the dishwasher...again.  Sanctuary!!!

The truth is I am neither a demorcrat or a republican.  I spend time praying about who I should vote for, who has Jesus in their heart and then I choose.

The peon elections (the local people I have no clue who they are)  I close my eyes, put my hand on my eyes, wave my pencil around and stab the paper to choose.  It's a complicated system I've got going on here, folks :)

You know see why Nick doesn't like to go to the polls with me :) 

Here's my confession in this blog (which it always seems that I am putting some type of confession in here, doesn't it?)  I used to care about elections but I had to stop.  My personality is one that I care too much and then have an anxiety attack about things I cannot change and then obsess over things I cannot change and am upset about. 

Basically my self help for this has been to just swing in the opposite direction and just not care.  It's worked marvelously with having kid as I am so busy now anyway.  I used to care about dishes too but had to stop that too.  And laundry.  Boy I wish.

This is the most political junk you will ever hear me talk about.  I just don't like it.  Let's talk about something fun.  Like purses.  Or diet soda. 

So there you have it, lessons we've learned today:  I honestly can't say I am a democrat or a republican...this drives my husband crazy.  And I am insane.   Lesson over!
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Friday, October 5, 2012

It's a Cozy Little House

When we left our family in South Carolina we were faced with a 15 hour car ride. 


The entire time we were in the car we all kind of bickered and kept to ourselves and much as we could.  The truth being, enough was enough and we all wanted to be out of the car and away from one another.

We wanted to be home. 

I know I really wanted to be home.  I was a little worried though. Had I idolized it a little too much?  What if it smelled weird from being gone so long?  What if something needed cleaned?

My evidently insane fears were put to rest when we got home. 

Goodness I love our house.  I love the grace and charm it exudes for us.  But most of all I love that it is a tapestry of our lives.  It's something Nicholas and I have pieced together and it reflects us and the love of our family. 

It feels so good to be back in this safe haven of ours.  It's amazing how I was so excited to go on vacation and now I never want to leave. 
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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

As I've blogged about before, I am a big proponent of the smoothie.  As a busy mom it is a rare treat for me to have time to sit down with an egg and a piece of toast for breakfast, so I often run out the door or go up to the classroom with a smoothie in tow. 

You can read about a fruit smoothie I make here.

The thing I love about smoothie's is that there is no hard and fast way of how to make them.  You just throw in whatever the heck you want and go to town. 

Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy folks. 

I started the South Beach diet back in August and in phase one of it you can't have any sugar.  Zilch, nada, none.  Being a lover of all things chocolate this was a huge problem. :)  When I made it to phase two and was able to have fruit (yee-haw) I started making this smoothie. 

LOVE IT!  Here's the recipe...I'll give you my taste's tolerable recipe with side notes on how to make it better (I've really sold you on this thing, haven't I?)

Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Smoothie

1 cup milk (you can use anything here!  Yogurt, soy milk, almond milk, icecream...if you use icecream don't tell me...I will want to kill you in my jealous rage :) )

1 cup-ish ice

1/4 cup natural peanut butter (the obvious yummier choice would be to use peanut butter with sugar in it :) )

2 tbsp. dark cocoa powder (if I am really naughty I will use the light chocolate syrup instead and if I am REALLY naughty I throw in a couple tiny squares of dark chocolate for some chunks)

2 bananas

Whirl and enjoy.  If you want to pare this down you can. this will make you an entire blender of smoothie so it's perfect to throw in the fridge and enjoy through the day (as I do because Cal has the dumb peanut allergy) or you can share with friends and family. 

Okay now that I'm on my smoothie box I have to tell you some things that I have smuggled into smoothies. 

Back in the day when Cal wasn't talking I was DESPERATE to try anything!  My mother-in-law told me about Salba (which you know also as Chia seeds, you know from Chia pets...Obama hair???) and Kelp.  Both of these things are packed with nutrients but seriously how was I supposed to get those into Cal?  My solution was the smoothie.  I would take kelp (which comes in pill form by the way) and Salba, grind them up in an old coffee grinder and then keep that in an air-tight container.  I then would sprinkle about a teaspoon into a smoothie.  You cannot taste it at all, promise!!!  I was especially leary of grinding pills of kelp but they are tasteless (at least in smoothie form). 

My other go-to secret is spinach.  You can thrown TONS of the junk into the blender and you cannot taste it.  I was a little scared of the BRIGHT NEON GLOWING GREEN color it produced but the kids actually found it to be awesome so it was a win-win.  They get the nutrients of spinach and a fun color. 

If your kids won't try smoothie (the recipe above is brown from the chocolate) I recommend putting it in a sippie cup or travel mug.  I do this a lot with Emma and Calvin.  A lot of times if they can't see it, they'll drink it willingly (boy are we in trouble when those two hit college!)

So there are some of my tips for smoothie making.  Please let me know if you have any recipes to try or tips...I love new things! 
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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Enough is Enough

Sometimes I think I am becoming obsessed with the computer...does anyone else ever feel this way?  Surely it can't just be me.

In this day and age (gosh I sound like old people) with the computer such a part of our lives, it becomes so easy to just wile a day away in front of the laptop. 

I am lowering my head in shame and raising my hand to tell you, I am guilty of this. 

Well, not a whole day. 

But some of it. 

I was the woman/wife/mother/girl who would sit down on the couch with the computer to "check facebook/yahoo/blog/plan lessons" do something and before I knew it the entire afternoon would be gone.  An entire naptime of the children's had suddenly disappeared and I had nothing to show for it. 

Before we went on vacation I was doing this a lot. 

I didn't realize it until during vacation when I was unplugged.  I remember I saw the laptop in the hotel room and instantly thought "I HAVE to check facebook".  But then I stopped. 

No I don't.  There is no earthly reason why I HAD to check it.  No one was trying to get a hold of me.  I was not a part of anything that needed tending. 

And so I didn't.  It felt Mauvelous! 

The week and a half that we were gone really helped me get over me dependency on the computer.  Today I am sitting down to write this, keeping an eye on the clock to see when the 15 minutes I've alloted myself is over. 

And I am going to try to keep this up.  Because truth be told, no matter how lonely and without adult interaction I may feel during the day, facebook checking isn't going to solve anything.  Neither will pinteresting. 

If anything it was making me kind of jealous of people.  And not in a way of "oh I wish I had those shoes" kind of way.  But in a weird, back door way.  Like, if someone posted something they did with their kids that was fun, I would suddenly be envious of so-and-so that she always comes up with the most creative ways to spend time with her family while I always have to copy people.  Ugh, I want to be like that I moan, and then I look some more.  And then so and so is talking about how their husband is amazing and then I secretly wish MY husband was amazing (which he already is, duh!)

If I see someone on Pinterest posting things, I secretly wonder how they even FIND the neat things to post on pinterest and then I wish that I had that much time to search for things and wish my brain would think of the right search words to type in that generated those things to re-pin. 

In short, I completely understand if you now think I am out of my mind nuts, but I am guessing there are a few of you who completely understand what I am saying here. 

Over our time away I realized that I don't need to want someone else's creativity or cute boots or dorky awesome husband, or anything else anyone has.  Because I have what God gave me.  He's pretty great you know, and looking around I see that I have it pretty great too. 

So I guess what I am trying to say is that I am going to try to stop living up to the expectations I put on myself by idolizing what everyone else has or does on the computer.  I am going to do that by not spending so much time on the computer.  Which in turn will help me to have more time around the house and get things done and use my brain to be crafty awesome in my own right which will in turn help me to be happy with myself. 

It's a full circle around here, folks.  Full Circle. 
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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Signing Time

Sign language.

Our good old friend has managed to stick around.

When Emma was little, little we began teaching her signs.  Not that I had any idea what I was doing...it was more through looking at books and watching Baby Einstein videos together.

She learned milk, more, done, and of course as displayed above, I love you.

When Cal came around and refused to talk it became very clear why God had led us down the path of signing.  We had to sign everything with that kid.  And suddenly instead of signing just for the fun of it and learning new things, we were signing out of necessity.

When Cal was two I was learning how to sign complete sentences...researching signs for emotions and how to sign what he needed to do.  My dear sister in law had taken sign language in color and was there to offer signing text books to me and help me with questions.

It was a hard, hard time in our life.

And then Cal started talking.  Then he stopped talking in favor of signing so we basically stopped signing all together.

Today we hardly sign at all.  We have discussed teaching the kids sign language as a language, but haven't completely decided.

And even though we hardly sign around here, the good old "I love you" has stuck around...I think that one's here to stay.

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Monday, October 1, 2012

Road Trip

Well we are home from our vacation!  We had such a great time!  We spent over a week and a half  going to Disney and South Carolina.  Over the last few days weeks I am sure I will be filling you in on the time we had.  With the new camera we have found that taking pictures is so much easier...so much so that we took over 4000 pictures!  That's a lot of editing and narrowing down! Whew! 
 We left on a Sunday night at midnight.  We drove through the day and then stayed in a small town named Tifton, Georgia.  It was so fun!  Here are how the kids end up when the sleep together...children sandwich!
 This is Calvin excited as we are nearing Disney...it took us about four hours to get there from Tifton Tuesday morning and he was definitely ready to get there!
Here's Emma's "we just got to Disney!" face.  How cute is this girl?

We all had so much fun!  Nick is officially back into his work routine and today we are starting school again.

As hard as it is to get back into our routine, one thing if for sure...we are glad to be out of the car!
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