Saturday, June 29, 2013

Pardon Our Mess...

Monday night is when we take the kids to my mom and dad's and then we go out for grocery shopping/date time.  Monday night we went to a little local burger joint on the river.  We sat outside, had our meal and a beer, then went on our way.  It seemed so peaceful.  We then went to Target.  We had heard during the drive there about some rain coming.  No biggie it seemed.  When we were in Target we could hear the thunder and the rain and it did seem to be raining pretty hard but by the time we got out (I got some killer clearance curtains by the way!) it was barely drizzling.  We went to get the kiddos at my parents house.  As it turned out my parents had had a power surge and the fire department was checking it out as a precaution.  

If only that had been the only excitement that night...

A couple blocks from our house I noticed it seemed awfully dark.  Then we came to an intersection where the light wasn't working so we knew there was no power.  When we came to turn on our street police tape stopped us.  

Uh-oh.  

It was terrifying knowing something had gone on but it was so dark we couldn't see what it was.  All we could really do was pray.   In the morning this is what we saw.  You'll forgive me if some of these pictures are hard to make out...

Here's a tree lying over our street.  Squashed two cars.  Our neighbors house is on the right hand side of the picture.  The tree was 4 feet from his windows.  
 There's a squashed Mercedes in there somewhere...
 Here's my 6 foot 4 inch husband next to the root system of the upheaved tree.  He's not yelling by the way :)
 This branch is lying on our roof which you can partially see in the right corner.  The power lines look all helter skelter because the branch basically scooped them up in two different places and twisted them all around.
Here's our tree in the back of the house snapped in half.  Yikes.  
 We don't know the progression but we think our tree snapped this electric pole in half.  When our tree came down it grabbed up everyone's wires and then ripped everyone's meter boxes off of their houses.  Just lovely.

We live in a Nationally Registered Historic district which means everything is really old and really close together.  Our block is a triangle block where all of our backyards touch.  To have these huge trees come down and have no one hurt is just amazing to me.  God's hand was definitely on our house.  Nick was just shaking his head saying the tree behind our house defied gravity and defied physics by not falling into our house.  But that's how God rolls.

All of this happened Monday and it is now Sunday.  We were without power until Thursday when it came back on (thank the Lord!).  We still have some huge chunks of wood to get rid of but other than that we are business as usual here.

Now I just have piles of laundry to catch up on.  I'll take that any day though :)

Hope you all survived the storms safely!  God is good, all of the time!

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Sunday, June 23, 2013

This past week...

This past week we didn't have anything really planned but somehow all of our days were suddenly taken up with being busy.  Busy, busy, busy to be exact!  

We are in the thick of things with T-ball and I will not be shy telling you that I CANNOT wait until it is over.  Thankfully we have one more week and then we are done!  Praise the Lord we have made it! Both of the children are on the same team with my hottie of a husband as their coach.  So when I say we are doing t-ball, we are DOING t-ball.  Something fierce :) 
 Here's Emma in her infamous dress jersey!  I promise the girlie is wearing shorts :)
  I don't know what it is and it's fine if  you think I'm nuts, but there is something really sexy about watching your husband as a coach.  It's that fathering thing but with other people's kids.  Very handsome :)
 Poor Nick.  One of the only kids he has trouble with is his own.  It's hard for him I know but I'm also glad he's there to give him direction.  This is how the two of them look most of the time on the field...
 Emma is really starting to enjoy the game and has been busy practicing her skills.


And in other news we started painting the house.  By we I mean Nick.  Do you think he planned to wear underpants that match the new paint?  Ooh,lalala!

I love the paint color and we've had neighbors tell us they like it too, which we are so glad about!  Last year the neighbors behind us painted their house a color that can only be compared to the color of dried vomit.  And while I've somewhat gotten used to it, still It's just gross.  We didn't want our color to be to the likeness of that for people :)

You'll have to forgive me for not writing often.  It's summer and a lot of time we are away from the computer trying to get ourselves into trouble!  We are still doing school (supposedly) which is really hard when all you want to do is be on summer break.  Still, we are persevering and trying to finish up.

Hope you all had a great week this past week!  Can't wait to see what fun things this week has in store for us!

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Part 8: Disney World! : Putting the Night to Sleep at Epcot

Welcome back to my Disney Series!  In this series I recount our vacation days and everything we did.  It's part scrapbooky so I'll remember the details and part helpful hints for my friends who have asked me things about my planning.  We're on Part 8 of the series and I'm still only talking about Day 2 at Disney, ha!  I'm having a blast though remembering and recounting everything that happened.  Come on, read on... :)

I've gotten into somewhat of a pattern with our posts where one post covers the first half of the day and the next post covers the afternoon and on.  I'm doing that simply because we did so much each day that it would be hard to cover everything in one post!

And to us the day did seem like two parts.  We would go to the park in the morning, leave in the afternoon and return later on in the evening.

 When we left Epcot in the morning we were getting this from Cal...basically done with Epcot and I would have to agree.  A lot of Epcot in the front of it at least seemed to me like those exhibit buildings at  a county fair.  You know the ones, where companies set up a booth and try to give you free pencils and caps?

So after our lunch at the Coral Reef (fantastic atmosphere, pretty good food!) we left to check out Downtown Disney.
 Truth be told we hadn't really wanted to go to Downtown Disney until our reservations but we had told Cal there was a lego store and since we had left our house two days before he had been asking for the Lego store.  So we went.
 Building...
 Building...
 A thumbs up at the infamous Buzz statue (seriously I think everyone gets their picture taken at this thing!)
 And building Mr. Potato Heads.  **Which heads up we did not get but I've read that this is a good deal for your kiddos.  You can get a Mr. Potato head box which you fill with whatever you want.  I'm pretty sure it was $19.99.  The idea is that you get your Mr. Potato Head and some accessories but I've heard if you already have a Mr. Potato Head and don't get one you can get one of every accessory into the box.  You'll have to shove and finagle but I've heard it can be done.  If your planning a trip to Disney a toy idea for you might be to pack your Mr. Potato Head, buy the accessories and then have hours of playtime in your hotel with all of the pieces.

I've gotta tell ya.  We drove to Downtown Disney twice and took the shuttle once.  Nick called DD the place where time goes to die because it seriously sucked the life our every day we went.  It is free and there are lots of shops but it seemed like such a hassle for us in terms of what was there compared to how much time it took us to get in and out of the area.  If you visit Downtown Disney make sure you plan ahead and give yourself a lot of time.  Then add an hour onto that.  Just a word to the smart Mama's out there :)
We had reservations back in Epcot for dinner at this place, Tutto Italia.  We were so behind in trying to get out of Downtown Disney that we almost skipped our reservations.  But I had really, really wanted to try this place so Nick in all of his awesomeness insisted that we made our reservation.  That included him parking the car and then sprinting all of the way to the restaurant so we could make our reservation.  He is such a rock star amazing husband.  
I am so, so glad we made it for dinner because it was hands down the best meal we'd ever had.  EVER!!!  The restaurant was gorgeous, the food was to die for, and our waiter was amazing.


Emma and Daddy being silly while waiting for our food :)
Our Antipasto platter which was so, so good!  Emma was even eating it and saying things like "mmmm, this is amazing!"
We missed our normal quiet time in the hotel that afternoon so until spaghetti arrived this boy had been passed out on the booth.  Sprawled out, snoring  But as you can see, spaghetti was worth waking up for.  I think this was the only meal he actually ate the entire time we were at Disney.
Another fan :)

I had planned the reservation so that we would be getting done about the time that the fireworks started and it worked out perfectly!  All we had to do was walk out of our restaurant and this is what we could see.  The kids seemed to like it. Well Emma did, Cal was a little freaked out.  There was a lot of fire!
After the fireworks we walked around the world part.  We didn't have much time...the kids were fading fast.  Here's France...
This is totally our daughter...in the middle of Epcot reading :)  No sights for me, thanks.  Just finishing up this Magic Tree House :)

We also visited England and then headed back to the resort with two very tired kiddos.  My biggest regret during our vacation was spending half of the day at the front of Epcot and then running out of time at the back in the countries.  When we go back we will be spending more time exploring all of the lands.  I really wanted to purchase the passports for our kiddos and have them visit everywhere.   next time...

I guess that's not too bad for only having one regret, right?  Besides that I think we saw every dern thing we had wanted to.  And I'll take that :) So that concludes our day at Epcot.  As always if you have  any questions please feel free to let me know :)  Not that I'm an expert but I'll be happy to help!




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Monday, June 17, 2013

Starting off the Right Way

I never intentionally mean to get off track.  And don't get me wrong, every day I have something to do with God.  I don't think I ever go a day without talking to him, singing his praises.

But some days I get too rushed to sit down and have a proper quiet time with Him.  And before I know it way too many days have gone by between my alone times with Him.
This morning my poor husband had the job of dragging my body out of bed before he left for work.  I groggily sat on the couch at 3:45 a.m...I think trying to figure out where I was :P  . 

But once I figured it out I was able to start my morning off with the word of God and some iced coffee.  I mean, is there anything better than that?  I've been working through the book above, Seasons of a Mother's Heart by Sally Clarkson.  It's dubbed as "Heart to Heart Encouragement for Homeschool Moms"  but I think any Mama could benefit from the suggested scripture reading and encouragement.  

Last night I found myself emailing a dear, dear friend who lives in Florida. She is one of those rare souls (Kindred Spirit as Anne Shirley would say) who I found myself asking...is it just me or do you often feel suffocated by being a mom and at home?  Ugh.  Sometimes it just seems like it's all too much to take.  

So today I'm starting my day off on the right foot.  I know that that will make a difference in my attitude and will hopefully go a long way in getting me back into the habit of daily devotions and quiet time with God.  

Hope you are starting your week off right :) 

My love to you all! 
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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Perfect Picnic Time :)

Today started chaoticly.  Is that even a word?

Anyway, Emma had book club and I kind of forgot, diregarded, forgot to care that I had to chop veggies and cheese for her to take with her.

So that put me way behind when I apparently decided to sleep in.  Way in!

So it was a made dash to the finish line as soon as my feet hit the floor this morning.

After we got her where we needed to go Cal and I did some running around and then back home for reading  and school time.

After we picked Emma up from book club it was off to a picnic with my Grandma, my cousin, and my Great Aunt from North Carolina.  Which was exactly what I needed.  A good old fashioned picnic (with Arby's!)  with multi generations of ladys from the family...what could be better than that?

What killed me about it was our Aunt Irene telling us about fried pies, explaining how to make them, and sharing that "the men folk seem to really like them".  Oh dear she kills me :)

And as a side note I have to say that I think Emma's book club is just about the cutest thing ever.  She goes to it with friends from Girl Scouts and it's at my friend Kristina's house who has amazingly put all of this together.  If I was speaking Anne Shirley language from Anne of Green Gables I would tell you that I think I've found a kindred spirit in her :)


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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Vacation Planning






















Here are the kiddos this past week spending their Toys R  Us Gift cards from Christmas!  


Yesterday we were driving, just the kids and me, when they started the incessant begging that seems to have become a normal occurrence.  

Don't get me wrong...I like to eat out too.  And I like to buy new things too.  Just not all of the time! This past week we had taken them to go shopping and it seemed right after they wanted more. And the kiddos seem to want something all of the time.  Their consumerism has gotten out of hand.  

So I turned off the Fresh Beat Band we were jamming to and had a serious heart to heart.  

We talked about having a goal for trying to save money.  We decided to make our September vacation our long-term goal.  

I explained to the kids that our vacation this year will consist of going to Michigan...way out in the wilderness Michigan.  When Emma asked how much we are going to need I explained that there are different amounts  depending on what we want to do.  If we just want to go camping and explore, maybe buy a souvenir then it will cost one amount of money.  Another step up we could get ice cream and do fun things like putt-putt and get more souvenirs.  And the top price point would mean we could stay at a hotel, have lots of fun and explore lots of things.  Emma chose the last one.  

Nick and I are still putting together the numbers for each "price point" if you will and the kiddos seem pretty amped up.  They suggested a jar to keep our vacation money in as a visual reminder of what we are working towards. 

 Nick and I have some of our own hints for saving money.  At Nick's work they give out gift cards to gas stations throughout the year which we save for vacations.  We then have those we can deduct off our gas budget for the trip.  We also have a rebate program from our bank where we earn money on debit card purchases.  If we book our hotel through their travel agent they double this money towards our hotel.  So far we have about $140 to spend towards a hotel so that can be deducted from our amount  needed.  We are always looking to use things up and utilize little pockets of resources we have available.  

Anywho, I am so excited that they got into the action of saving and working towards something!  I told them whenever they want something they should  think of our goal and what we are working towards saving towards.  

I was thankful too that they were listening long enough too to talk about how God wants up to be a good steward of our money.  

Matthew 5:20-21 "  And he who had received five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying 'Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.' His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant.  You have been faithful with a little; I will set you over much.  Enter into the joy of your master.''

We need to take care of what God has provided us with and trust that  He will provide.  We need to be content with what we have rather than always expecting more.  

Hebrews 13:5 "Keep your life free from money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." "

I'd love to know how you all are teaching your kiddos to live frugally and to be content with what they have. Ideas please! :)  


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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Our First Sewing Project

This past week Emma and I made our first project ever on our sewing machine!!!  Excuse all of the exclamation points but I am excited!!!

I followed the tutorial here  on this sweet lady's blog.  So thankful people take the time to explain things in real people terms to those of us who don't sew well...yet.

Poor Emma had to watch most of the time as I figured out what in the world I was doing.  Shamefully TWO years ago I was given a sewing machine from Nick's amazing Aunt.  In those two years we had to research what it was missing, special order those parts, wait for those parts, figure out how to install those parts, figure out it still wasn't working, ask a bajillion people what was wrong with it (I assumed in all actuality that there was nothing wrong with it but rather I just didn't know what I was doing), figure out it really did have something wrong with it, take it in, have it repaired, pick it up, figure out again there was something wrong with it, reask the same bajillion people what was wrong with it, take it in again to be looked at, and have it repaired by some specialist.  Whew!

But alas we have it back and it works...praise be to God!

So we made this dress which I love. I have quite a bit of the fabric left so the next step is to try to make Emma a dress out of the same fabric.

Wish me luck!!!
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