Saturday, May 7, 2016

Dinner Time Randomness

Have you ever seen the Johnny Depp version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?

During one of the opening scenes, three of the grandparents are all laying in their shared bed reminiscing about the old days of working at Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. The fourth grandmother, who had just been quietly laying in bed, suddenly chimes in with her two cents of, "I love grapes!"

There's sort of an awkward pause. Because no one was talking about grapes or fruit in general. But then the other grandparents smile, and move on with their conversation.

That grandma, and her random love of grapes, reminds me of my four year old son Max.

Now, please don't misunderstand me. Max is a very much loved and adored member of our family, and we are beyond crazy about him.

It's just that...he does have a tendency to say some of the most random things. And most of the time, those random things he chimes in with have to do with either a. dinosaurs, or b. monster trucks. Occasionally he will mention something about trains or construction vehicles, but the vast majority of the time it's about dinosaurs and monster trucks.

Take, for example, the other night at dinner.

The kids were all talking quite loudly about some different ideas they had.

Amid all the conversation about if you really could build a bridge from our little town in the midwest to Paris, Max was just sitting quietly, taking it all in, and eating his taco.

At some point there was a pause in the conversation, and Max suddenly exclaims,"When I grow up I'm going to live in Mount ___(insert name of town that his Meemaw and Papa live in.)

Intrigued, I asked him why he wanted to live there.

"Oh because of the dinosaur that lives there."

Cue confused looks between my husband and myself, and finally one of us said,"Buddy, the dinosaur doesn't live in Memaw and Papa's town. The dinosaur lives at the Science center."

All of the kids were back to talking all at once again. And Max went back to eating his food, deep in thought.

Finally, just as the kids were discussing what game they wanted to play before bed time, Max spoke up again.

"When I grow up, I'm going to work at the Science Center! I'm going to take care of the dinosaurs there. I'm going to feed the big T- Rex, and I'm going to help the triceratops feel better. And then I'm going to take them home, and let them sleep with me, and... I'll be like their dad!"

After this proclamation, there was a brief period of silence. Then Jack exclaimed as he was getting down from the table,"I think that's a great idea, Max! You'll take great care of those dinosaurs!"

Max's eyes lit up from the praise of his older brother. Then he looked at me very seriously and said,"Mama, can I please ask you something?" Which is how Max almost always begins his sentences.

"Of course, buddy,"I say, assuming he's going to tell me more about the dinosaurs he's apparently going to be a father to.

"For my birthday...can I please have a remote control monster truck? And then can we take it to Aldi and have my party there?"

Again, Erik and I exchanged a look, and then I finally said,"Well...I guess we'll have to just wait and see, buddy, but that does sound fun!"

And with that, Max got down from the table so he and Luke could go back to their game of playing dinosaurs.

Dinosaurs, monster trucks, and Aldi.

If nothing else, at least he's an easy boy to please.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Christmas 2015

Yes, I realize I'm just now getting around to posting pictures from Christmas on this here neglected blog of mine.

What can I say? Christmas came and went(well, "came and went" is a bit relative, as we had at least five different Christmas celebrations this year.)

Then January was full of trying to get back into the swing of things and trying to keep my New Years resolutions of being more organized/getting up earlier/ being a better wife/mother/ and homeschooler.

And now here we are. Tomorrow Lily will be turning six (sob!) And in a week it'll be Valentines Day.

But since this blog is more a place for me to document our families memories and stories than anything else, I figure posting about Christmas almost two months later is still better than not posting about it at all.

So, here we go.

Christmas Eve of 2015, will forever be locked in my memory as one of the most special and sweetest days with my kids.

This year we did "Secret Santa" with the kids. We had never done anything like this before, and weren't sure if the kids would be able to keep who they were buying for a secret, but as far as *I know* they did.

After we got home from church, we told the kids they could open their gift and find out which brother/sister had bought for them. I don't know why, perhaps it was because I was so excited for them to open their bigger gifts on Christmas morning, but I was so surprised by how genuinely excited everyone was to open their gifts from each other.

There was so much excitement, and shouts for joy over opening the five dollar gifts they had picked out for each other, that I can say with absolute certainty that this will be something we will do for many more years to come.

And as if that wasn't enough to make my heart want to burst with joy, after everyone had opened their gifts from each other, Lily announced that she had a surprise for everyone.

She walked back to her room, and a few minutes later she came out carrying a big box full of presents only a five year old girl could have wrapped. Then she handed everyone, including Erik and I, a present that she had made each of us. She told me later that she had been working on these presents since the Monday after Thanksgiving and had been trying to think of things everyone would like that she'd be able to make.

She made me a pair of earrings out of construction paper, scotch tape, and Frozen stickers.

But, the best gift that she gave of all though was the one she gave Erik. The last time we had visited my mom and dad, she had insisted on bringing home a trophy leftover from my gymnastics days. I had honestly forgot all about it until she pulled out a heavy bag and handed it to Erik.

Sure enough, she had given him the trophy, along with the explanation that,"Daddy is the best daddy ever...and it's hard to think of anything to make for grown men!"

After that, we read the Christmas Story from Luke 2, put the kids to bed, and then got to work setting up all the presents so that they'd be ready for the next morning.

Being Santa is exhausting, I tell you.

But it is oh so worth it.

Christmas morning, after the gifts were opened, and the french toast casserole was ate, we spent the rest of the day just hanging out in our pajamas and playing together. I'm not always very good about sitting down and just being with my kids, so it was nice to just relax and watch them enjoy their gifts.

I hope the rest of you had great Christmas too!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

That time the Squirrel Dropped Dead

One Saturday morning, a month or two ago, while I was putting away laundry and the kids were playing outside, an ecstatic Anna came rushing into the house.

"Mommy! Mommy! You have to come see! It's so amazing! The squirrel that I was talking to up in our tree, fell down, and now she's laying next to me and playing with me!"

(Before I go further into this story, let me just briefly explain that Anna is our one true animal lover in this house. Every spring when the birds, rabbits, and squirrels start appearing in our yard, she sits under our tree in the back yard and talks to them and even names some of them. Her favorite this past summer was a barn swallow that sat in our tree chirping that she named Mrs. Cheep.)

Anyways, with that in mind, I'll admit that my kids come inside excited to show me anything remotely different that they've found in the backyard, and there are times when some could consider my enthusiasm and interest somewhat....lacking. 

This time though, I suppose, there was something about Anna's excitement-not to mention the fact that she was insisting that a squirrel of all things was laying next to her- that I stopped what I was doing immediately and followed Anna outside.

And wouldn't you know, there most certainly was a squirrel laying conked out in the grass right where Anna had been playing.

Immediately the urge to yell "Squirrel!!" at the top of my lungs and rush everyone inside came upon me. That and the overwhelming desire to not let anyone outside until Erik came home from work and let him "take care" of what appeared to be a dead squirrel laying in the middle of our yard.

But my kids had completely different reactions.

"Oh, mama, can we keep him?!"

"Mama, I think he's sick can you go get him some medicine?"

"Mama....did he die? Is he going to be all right?" asked Anna.

"Oh, I think he'll be all right,"declared Lily,"we just need to give him food and water!"

All the while I'm thinking, "You guys. Seriously. This is a dead animal. And it almost fell on your sister's head. This is disgusting, let's get in the house, and wait for daddy to get home."(Insert clenched teeth.)

But, I'll admit that seeing them get so concerned about something was pretty sweet, so after I told them not to get too close to the squirrel, I begrudgingly let Anna, Lily, and Jack fix him a plate of food and a cup of water.

Then they prayed for him, and Anna sang him a song.

And then, finally we went inside, washed our hands, and waited for Erik to come home from work.

The only problem was that Erik wound up having to work longer than expected, and ended up having to spend the night where he was working. But since it was a beautiful day outside it didn't feel right to make the kids stay inside all day.

So, finally, I went out to the back yard mentally preparing myself to have to pick up a dead animal out of our yard. But to my delight, the squirrel was gone!

Did a bird pick him up? Did he just simply take a hard fall out of a tree and get knocked out for awhile? I have no idea.

All I know is that my kids were overjoyed that the squirrel was probably all right, and that they(at least in their minds) had helped him recover.

And, really...that's all I need to know.

If you enjoyed this post, I would be honored if you followed my blog via email or"liked" my page on facebook or followed me on Instagram! Thank you so much for stopping by!

Linked to A Wise Woman Builds Her Home.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

How our Family of Seven Saves Money(but still has fun!)

My husband and I often laugh about how our kids are going to give us such a hard time when they grow up and they realize all the things we did to save money on things.

I mean, seriously though, when it easily costs 30 dollars to go to a fast food restaurant, you learn to get creative.

We do Bookit! and Read to Succeed in order to get free six flags tickets every summer.

We love our local library.

We belong to a homeschool co-op that allows us to get discounted tickets to events and cheaper classes at the Y.

I make a lot of food from scratch, and we buy most of our groceries at Aldi.

We've dressed our kids(and ourselves) up as cows for free food at chik-fil-a.

We've taken advantage of happy hour at Sonic many times, and when they run their special for 59 cent corn dogs, we are. so. there.

But, really, that's just the tip of the iceberg of the things we'll do to save some money but still have fun together.

One of the funniest things we did was this past summer. Some friends of ours had invited us to a local water park that their parents' church had rented out. At the last minute, however, our friends weren't able to make it. But did that stop us from going to a free night at the water park? Even though we weren't going to know anyone else there?

Not even a little bit. ;)

Honestly though, some of our favorite things to do as a family is to pack a picnic and head to a local park or go on some local bike trails. 

On the rare occasions that we all do go out to eat, our kids know that they are usually going to have to get water, and that happy meals are reserved for special occasions(grandparents in town, birthday, etc.)

But even though going out as a family can be a lot of fun, there's also plenty of fun things you can do together at home. 

With the cooler weather coming on, we love to pop some popcorn, drink hot chocolate or cider and have movie nights as a family(we just put a sheet down so we don't make a huge mess everywhere.) Since some of my kids are so young, we don't play board games too much yet, but I definitely foresee our family having many game nights in the years to come.

Sunday nights are a favorite among our kids because we usually eat a big batch of pancakes for dinner. And then, because pancakes are clearly not a special enough treat(ahem), my husband instituted the idea of having a special desert on Sunday nights. We try not to give the kids a ton of sweets throughout the week, but I'm pretty sure we make up for that on Sundays.:)

Then after we've had desert(and gotten the kids hyped up on sugar...) we go into the living room and the kids have a dance competition. Sunday nights used to be the only time we'd let the kids play video games, so we used to have the kids have a dance off, and whoever won(which a lot of times we'd just say everyone wins) would get to take an extra turn playing the game. Sadly our xbox broke last month, so we haven't been able to continue this tradition, but hopefully we'll replace it one day.

There are so many ways go out and give your kids fun memories without having to break the bank to do it.

What are some of your favorite ways to have fun on a budget?

This post was inspired by the people of personal capital. They offer some great, free wealth management tools if you're looking to track your finances.

If you enjoyed this post, I would be honored if you followed my blog via email or"liked" my page on facebook or followed me on Instagram! Thank you so much for stopping by!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Homemaker's Friend Planner Giveaway!!

Planning ahead has never been my strong point.

Oh sure, I like daydreaming about the days, weeks, and years to come, but when the time comes to actually sit down and plan for them, my brain just kind of shuts down from all the details.

Besides, I tend to like to be flexible. I kind of like not always knowing what or where we're going each day.

However, this year I have started to realize I can't just "fly by the seat of my pants" and expect our home school days to run smoothly. Especially not when I'm trying to homeschool three different kids, keep up with two preschoolers, and manage a home.

Thankfully the kind people at Homemaker's Depot graciously sent me one of their homemaking planners to review. They are also generously offering to give away a 2015 and 2016 planner to one of my readers here.

The Homemaker's Friend planner is divided into seven different sections(year, month, pages to plan each week, a place to plan specific projects, a section for personal contact info, and shopping lists to take with you.) Each day also has a place where you can write down your menu plan.

If you'd like to win this beautiful, easy to use planner, enter below! You can also follow Homemaker's Depot on Pinterest here, or subscribe to their newsletter here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

5 Ways I Plan to Enjoy the Homeschool Year

This coming school year, I will have three kids in my official homeschool. All of them will need my help and undivided attention in just about every subject.

Factor that in with the fact that I have a four year old little boy who is obsessed with all things loud, and a two year old who sees it as his main mission in life to destroy everything in sight.

And of course, I still have a house to keep semi clean, laundry to do, and meals to make.

Oh, and still be a loving wife and mama.

Somebody hold me.

Now, to be fair, I realize that I am being a tad over dramatic(just a tad!)

But I will still admit that the thought of homeschooling this year has been seriously intimidating me. 

Because, these last few years I have come to realize something very profound. hard!

That's not to say I regret our decision to homeschool, or that I'm doubting where God has led our family in this area. Just because something is hard, doesn't mean you shouldn't do it, right?

Coming to the realization that this is going to require a lot of hard work on my part, is actually a good thing. And it's caused me to evaluate some ways that I can try to enjoy this coming school year.

1. As much as I can, I will pick a curriculum that excites me. Last year I made the mistake of ordering school books based more on other people's recommendation than on my own teaching style. I'm not a super organized person, so any curriculum that has a bunch of tiny pieces that goes along with it is not going to work very well for our family. I am also not a very crafty mama, so buying books with a heavy emphasis on crafts isn't going to work well for me either.

I decided to evaluate what I actually enjoy doing with my kids and ordered curriculum based on those preferences.

2. I will stick with the curriculum. Confession time: I am a curriculum junkie. I'm constantly second guessing my decisions, and comparing what I'm doing with what my friends/mentors/strangers on the internet are doing with their kids.

Last year we did a program called classical conversations(I also tutored for it.) I also found an older edition of Adventures in My Father's World for a really low price so I bought that to go along with our CC. The problem with doing that(for me at least) was that I was constantly stressing myself out trying to keep up with both schedules. This year I'm going to try and keep things as simple as I can. This year, unless one of my children is really struggling and legitimately needs me to try something different, I'm vowing to stick with what I decided on at the beginning of the year.

3. I will continue to institute daily quiet times. My kids have had to take naps(or rest times when they grew out of naps) their entire lives, and it has been an awesome blessing for all of us. Sometimes I feel guilty that we do this, but honestly, we all benefit from a little alone time each day.

4. I will remember that this is a privilege.  A few years ago, I had a conversation with another homeschool mom that has always stuck with me. We were discussing all the issues that go along with homeschooling when she said,"Really, I think I need to just put a suitcase by the front door to remind myself that one day my kids will grow up and won't live here with me forever. Ten years from now, it's not going to matter if they learned a certain math concept in a day or if it took them an entire year. The thing that matters most is their heart, and letting them see that you're always going to be there for them.

Spending all day with my kids and being able to give them a Christian education is a blessing. This season of life isn't going to last forever, but I will always have a relationship with my kids. I want to remember to embrace this time in my life.

Not only that, but I have a supportive husband who helps with school when he can, and takes the kids frequently so I can plan(or just so I can have some alone time.)

5. I will make time to refresh my soul. Some days my kids wake up before my alarm and by the time nap time arrives I hardly have any space in my brain to study scripture. Sometimes I let these facts of life excuse me from spending time in the Word. Truthfully, on those days, I might not be able to spend as much time as I'd like reading and praying, but I can certainly get creative in making it work. My kids can be taught to have their own quiet times while I have mine.

And on those days when I really need to dig a little deeper into something(and drink my coffee in peace) I can give myself grace to turn on Netflix for a few minutes while I retreat back to my room(the kids will survive!)

Ultimately though, I can't do any of this without remembering to rely on the Lord's strength. As I have prayed and thought about this coming school year, this verse keeps coming to mind:

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 2 Corinthians 12:9

That's my plan for trying to enjoy the upcoming school year. I'll let you know in a few months how it's working out. :)

What are some ways that help you enjoy homeschooling?

 If you enjoyed this post, I would be honored if you followed my blog via email or"liked" my page on facebook or followed me on Instagram! Thank you so much for stopping by!

Linked to A Wise Woman Builds Her Home.

Monday, August 3, 2015

14 days of Dinner Inspiration

Does anyone else ever feel like dinner time sneaks up on you? Or as if you’re just making the same things over and over again?
Recently, I’ve been feeling as though I’m in a cooking rut, so to speak. And while I have a pinterest board full of recipe ideas, most of them, when I start to really look at the recipes, sound a little too time intensive for my season of life.
With school getting ready to start, I’ve found that it’s extremely helpful to have a simple menu plan that can last me for two weeks...
Read the rest over at Raising Homemakers!

Share this!

Link Within

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
01 09 10