Thursday, September 24, 2015

Early rising.

I used to be a total night owl. I'm pretty sure in college I never went to bed before 1am. But, when you are a mom of early risers, sleeping in just isn't a part of life. I think early on in having kids I felt frustrated that I couldn't sleep in. But honestly, I kind of just let go of that. Because I realized on mornings where my sweet husband did let me sleep in I felt bummed that I had missed out on a sweet morning with my family. So, I basically decided to be a morning person. And it was kind of that easy. Although, since having more kids and adding in homeschooling my days are really full. So, it has become really important to me to wake up early before anyone else so that I can have some quiet time. I am a much better mom when I have had the chance to wake up, have a cup of coffee and spend some time with the Lord before I greet my small people. It kind of makes me laugh now because I know in the past when I have wanted to get up early to exercise or something it never lasted for more than a few days. I guess it just wasn't enticing enough to get out of my cozy bed and exercise. But, coffee and some alone time before my day starts is totally worth waking up early. I love and treasure this time so much. So these days my alarm is set at 5:40 and I stumble downstairs and get the coffee maker going (and a smart person would prep the coffee pot the night before... but apparently I am not that person). Usually I have until 6:15 or 6:30 until I am greeted by one of my little boys.
Yesterday I got up early to work on making prayer cards, an idea I got at a prayer conference at our church awhile back. I loved having the quiet time to work on this!

P.S. The key to waking up early is to just start doing it. I used to try to start by going to bed earlier but it is hard to make yourself fall asleep early if you are used to staying up late. But, after several days of consistently waking up early you will be tired and start easily falling asleep early. Now I fall asleep between 9:30 and 10 almost every night.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Field trippin'

On Friday the kids and I went on a little field trip to Purina Farms with some homeschool friends. I had never been before but it was such a good time. Here are a few pictures from our adventure.

I might have even teared up during the whole dog show. Not that the dogs were that spectacular... although their jumping up to catch frisbees was pretty impressive... But, I was just so thankful to be there with my kids. Getting to watch their little faces light up. Being the one who gets to enjoy their moments and days is such a privilege that I really do not take for granted.

And this is totally unrelated but I LOVED this post from Kelly's Korner on sleep. I really wish she had written it 7 years ago when Sophie was a baby. It is about babies and sleeping and it is just such a good post. I remember feeling so judged by some of my mom friends at the time and just feeling like I was the worst mom. I'm so thankful for mommy bloggers like Kelly who are so encouraging! So, if your baby isn't a good sleeper go read this and be encouraged... and maybe treat yourself to a Starbucks today! 

Friday, September 18, 2015

The best kind of girl time.

When your daughter asks if you can sit down and have tea together and read Bible verses to each other there is only one answer. Yes, please.
 Sophie got out our Bibles and I made the tea. Soph suggested we read the book of Daniel. I ended up doing most of the reading because there are some hard names to pronounce in that book.
Then she went and got beads to make us friendship bracelets. She wanted to make me one so I won't miss her so much when she moves to China to become a missionary. She also plans to marry a Chinese boy she finds there. I'm not sure Nick is excited about this plan.

I am so thankful to have a daughter.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Playtime on the deck,

My kids were playing so nicely outside all together that I had to go and take a picture. I was so impressed at how well they were all getting along.They had all came up with a great plan together and had quickly gathered what they needed and ran outside to play together... and then before I was even all the way back inside they started fighting... Ha. Oh well, it was still a sweet moment and they really do love each other.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

I am ready for fall.

It was in the 80's yesterday. It is supposed to be in the 90's at the end of this week. I am trying really hard to pretend that it is fall but this weather is not helping. I channeled it all yesterday with corduroy pants and moccasins... But, the hotness just takes away all feelings of fall. So lame. I did see 75 in the forecast for the weekend so that is promising. We shall see.

In other news, we took a family trip out to Trader Joe's yesterday evening after dinner. I finally scored and they had 3 bags left of frozen cauliflower rice, so of course I snagged up every single bag. Cauliflower rice is not that hard to make but I love the idea of just dumping it out of the bag but they never have it in stock. I was mildly giddy. I also got gluten free pumpkin pancake mix for a deliciously FALL post Whole30 breakfast.

I love Trader Joe's! And I love fall... so hurry up and get here!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Mondays can be good.

Mondays can sometimes be hectic. Yesterday was a pretty good one though. I'm really trying to focus on being present and enjoying my days at home with my kids and I can tell a huge difference on days that I do.

 On Monday mornings my big kids have piano lessons. Sometimes I go to Target. But, Sam is not my favorite Target shopping companion these days so lately I go and grab a coffee and then park back at our piano teacher's house, put on a movie for the little boys and read or journal. It is lovely.

And I just had to show this picture because I love it. Two year olds are the best. This was Sam when I asked him to smile while he was watching his movie. He was so precious looking up at the League of Increadible Vegetables but then you know how kids are. He sensed that there was a camera pointed at him.... so I got the stink face.

Last night as I was making dinner I was overwhelmed with gratitude for this life I am getting to live. Homeschooling is hard and a lot of days it makes me cry. Having 4 younger kids right now (especially three of them being boys... do you know boys can't keep their hands to themselves for even a minute? Physically impossible.) is really hard and some days I cry because I feel like a failure. A really tired failure. But, yesterday I felt so grateful. I wouldn't want to be doing anything else with my life. Being a mom has always been my dream and I get to do it. 

So yeah, this Monday was a pretty good one.

Monday, September 14, 2015

5 days to go...

Happy Monday! Man, weekends are always so short. I'm kind of excited for this week though because we are wrapping up our second Whole 30. I think this one has been harder mostly because I haven't been as creative with meals and I have just sort of been "over it". But, you can't argue with the benefits. Since starting our first Whole 30 I am down 20 pounds as of yesterday. (Yeah, I know you aren't supposed to weigh yourself during it and we didn't during the first one but this second one we are not being the best rule followers, please don't tell the Whole 30 police.)

I thought I would share two products that have helped make things a little easier this time around...

 La Croix sparkling water. If you are a soda drinker like I was (bring on ALL the Diet Coke) it can take a little while to learn to like these. They are not super sweet like soda. But, now I really like them and the bubbliness helps curb soda cravings! They are a fun little "treat" that I like to have with lunch or Nick and I will have one while watching a show at night.

Cauliflower crumbles! So, it turns out making cauliflower rice from a regular head of cauliflower is not that hard. But, anytime I have to clean my food processor is a bit of a bummer. These make life easy. I also love using them to just throw in the skillet with other chopped veggies and a little olive oil and saute it. Then I throw in a little bit of whatever leftover protein I have from the week and lunch is made. I call it a "bowl of food"... appetizing, right?

Even though this second Whole 30 has been harder I am really glad we are doing it. I feel like the first 30 taught me so much about myself and eating habits but this second one is really bringing it to the next level and hopefully is helping me form some new habits. I guess we will see!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

According to the experts...

I saw this article on Facebook today and it brought a huge smile to my face... "Study Finds the Happiest Parents Have Four or More Kids". I have no idea if this study coming out of Australia is accurate or now for society at large but I must vouch for the fact that I love having a "bigger" family. I always wanted to have 5 or 6 kids (which was promptly discouraged when I mentioned my plans to adults) but I always thought that it seemed like big families had more fun. Now I am pretty sure that it is true. And I am so thankful for these 4 people that God has allowed us to raise...

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Overcoming the Saturday morning funk.

For a long time I struggled on Saturday mornings when we didn't have plans. I think Saturday mornings are kind of like Christmas... you know, you look forward to Christmas day all year long and then sometimes it can be kind of a let down. And I look forward to Saturday morning all week long, so the pressure is kind of on.

But, I feel like I have finally embraced Saturday mornings. I feel like we sort of have a little routine now. We usually all have breakfast together which is followed by Nick and I sitting on the couch enjoying our coffee. Then we spend about an hour cleaning up the house. This is usually followed by loading up into the car where we drive through and get another cup of coffee (don't judge our life) and then we hit up either the library or a park. Today it was the library.
I love it.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Little Life Updates

Everytime I sit down at this blog I think about how much I love it. And how it really doesn't take that much time. And I should really do it everyday. Because it makes me happy and I love looking back at what our family was up to at different times. But, I don't blog often anymore. And I don't know why. So... we will just go from there!

And anyway, I bring you a little life update/brain dump in bullet list form.

  • Nick and I are on day 22 of our second round of Whole30. It is harder this time which I think is because I have not been creative or making a big effort with meals and we are a bit bored. But, in some ways I think that is good for us because it is helping us to see that there are other exciting things in life besides food. At least that is what I am telling myself...
  • Homeschooling is hard this year. No, not the homeschooling. The keeping 2 little boys from killing each other while trying to impart wisdom and knowledge on the older two kids. And also every time I don't hear screaming I find Sam dancing on top of the kitchen or bathroom counters. Ladies and gentlemen, I have a CLIMBER!
  • In an effort to save my sanity since starting school I have instituted a daily "Mommy time-out". It lasts about 15 minutes but I make an amazing cup of tea (this gal's tea has converted this tea hater into a tea lover) and read a chapter of a fiction book. A book just for fun that is not going to make me a better person in any way. I finished this one yesterday. I adored it and am sad it is over. 
  • The hot weather is making me sad. I am ready for fall. Fall is my very favorite season. I love the weather, the colors... I love how fall begs you to cozy up and make soup and drink hot beverages and watch football. It really is the best. Plus the holidays are coming up after that so there is that excitement and anticipation.
  • Since starting school up again I am reminded of how much I need to wake up before my kids if I have any hope of being a happy mom when they wake up. Unfortunately, my kids also wake up pretty early these days. So, you will now find me curled up on my couch with my Bible around 5:30 every morning. This also means I go to bed every night by like 9:30, but I am comfortable with that.
  • Last weekend we did a massive decluttering and took three loads to Goodwill. We are still kind of in the process so I imagine we have at least one more trip. Our trash pile waiting for the garbage truck today is huge. I hope they take it all. I still need to go through our closet, Sophie's room (that girl is a packrat, you will probably see her on hoarders one day) and the laundry room. I am not sure if it is getting older or just the reality of having 4 kids and homeschooling but my tolerance for clutter has gone way down over the past few years.
  • Sam is not a kid who will sit and watch tv. However, he discovered the movie Babe and is slightly obsessed and will watch the first 30-40 minutes completely mesmerized. That boy loves animals.
  • I found Soph a little chef's hat and apron on clearance at Target and she has basically taken over all of the cooking since then. Okay, I am exaggerating but she has been helping out a lot in the kitchen and I think she looks so sweet in her little outfit.

Well, I guess it is time to get the day going. Happy Friday all!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Our Whole 30 Experience

A few weeks ago my husband and I completed a Whole 30. To learn more about what a Whole 30 is you can read more here. But, basically it is a detox/body reset. Long story short we ate meat, eggs, fruits, veggies and nuts. No grains, sugars, or processed anything. I had several reasons for wanting to give it a try but more than anything I was hoping to find something I would stick with. I have tried every diet out there... for about 5 minutes. I tend to do better with "all or nothing" type situations so after reading A LOT about the Whole 30 and other people's experiences I decided I really wanted to give it a try.

Surprisingly, my husband agreed to give it a try with me and I think one of the biggest contributors to our success in completing 30 days was doing it together. Also, knowing that if we cheated even the tiniest bit we would have to go straight back to day one helped a lot too!

I am not an expert on this at all but I thought it would be fun to share what I feel were the pros and cons of doing the Whole 30 and then answer if I would do another Whole 30!


  • I lost 12 pounds in 30 days (the hubs lost 13). That was super exciting. I also lost a lot of inches and went down a pants size.
  • I felt great. I often have tummy aches (and really didn't think much of it) but duirng our Whole 30 I never did.
  • I felt GOOD after eating. I didn't just feel "not bad". I felt good. I felt better for having eaten. It was strange.
  • I slept really well.
  • I was hardly ever hungry between meals. This is big for me. I always felt like no matter what I ate I was hungry a few hours later. During our Whole 30 I had to remind myself to eat sometimes. I also rarely had "seconds" of anything. 
  • I thought about food a lot less. Since my eating was so structured and somewhat limited I didn't spend time daydreaming about pizza or ice-cream. I really didn't have to think about food. It was amazingly freeing.
  • I knew I was eating things that were good for me. I often find myself just avoiding things that are "bad" for me. But, during our Whole 30 pretty much every single thing we ate was good for us and nourishing our bodies. It was kind of cool.
  • Our kids did not do the Whole 30 with us but I know that they ate a lot healthier during this as well.
  • I learned a lot about myself. I realized how often I turn to food for reasons that are not hunger and how I look to certain foods for comfort.
  • I did not miss things half as much as I thought I would. Even if it was hard to not eat something in the moment I never later regretted not getting to eat something.

  • You aren't supposed to weigh yourself at all during the Whole 30 and that is really hard. Honestly for me that was the very hardest part.
  • It is really hard to eat out or at other people's houses. So, socially it was challenging because our culture is all about food!
  • It was hard to get used to.
  • I wanted to keep things pretty simple so our meals did get a little "boring" after awhile (but this was also a good learning experience because when did we decide that every meal has to be "fun" and "exciting"?)
So, as you can see, the pros really outweighed the cons. But, would I do it again...

Maybe. I think so. It was such an awesome experience and I learned so much about myself. At the risk of sounding odd it was really good for me spiritually and I felt that God really used the Whole 30 to teach me some very important things.

Our plan going forward is to eat this way most of the time. We just feel better and know that it is better for us. But, it is a little bit harder for me when I don't "have to". Like I said, I am kind of an all or nothing girl! So, I will keep you updated!

So, that was our experience. Please let me know if you have any questions! Or if you would like to know some of my favorite ways to stay on track or anything like that!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Friday Morning Coffee Chat

Good morning! It is Friday morning and magically all of my kiddos are still sleeping soundly in their beds.  So this is my current view...
My kids have been up super late these days. Last night we got home late from my parents house. They watched our four so the hubs and I could go out to dinner since last night was our 10 year anniversary.

I thought it would be fun to pop on her and do a little "coffee chat" and basically tell you everything I probably would if we were sitting here together drinking a cup of coffee. 

  • So, let's start there... yep, 10 years. It's definitely one of those things where I feel like we have been married forever and like it was just yesterday. We went to a steak and seafood restaurant for dinner (Bristols for my local peeps). And then of course we ran to Target. That is just what we always end up doing on a date. 
  • My sister, brother-in-law and adorable nephew are coming into town this weekend to celebrate summer birthdays and we are so excited. My kids are basically obsessed with their little cousin and it basically melts my heart.
  • We haven't nailed down our first day of school yet. We were planning to start the 25th but there is a small chance we might be able to go to Branson for a little trip that week so if that happens we will start the 31st. (One of my favorite parts of homeschooling is definitely the flexibility!)
  • Before I start homeschooling I have got to get my homeschool room cleaned up. I was able to paint and "re-vamp" our homeschool room over the summer and it looks really cute. But, when I got all of our new materials for this year I put them all on my shelves but now all of my old stuff is scattered everywhere! So, some organization needs to happen!
  • We have a park playdate today with homeschool friends that I am looking forward to. (Confession: I planned and announced these park playdates in our homeschool group before summer started and have ended up having to miss several. So today we will BE THERE.)
  • Speaking of events I have planned... I have been hosting a monthly book study in my home going through my all time favorite homeschooling book "Educating the Wholehearted Child" by Clay and Sally Clarkson. We are having our third meeting at my house on Monday evening. It has been so good to chat about this book with other moms. And somehow the Lord put together this awesome group of homeschool moms... Some with several kids, some with one, some new to homeschooling, some veterans of many years, and moms from all different homeschool styles. It is such a blessing!
  • We have had a really great summer but I am a little excited for fall because I love the routine, cardigans, and everything pumpkin!
All right, well I am starting to hear some stirring upstairs. I hope everyone has a great Friday!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Upcoming school year!

Wow! Summer is flying by! There is so much talk of "back to school" and I think most public and private schools will be back in session within a couple weeks! We plan on waiting until the very end of August to start up our school year. We are loving summer and I love taking advantage of those few weeks when everyone is back in school and we get to have the pools and parks to ourselves :)

I finally bit the bullet and ordered our homeschool curriculum for next year. I was really having a hard time deciding what to use next year. We have tried several different curriculums but most of them just were not a great fit. I decided to give my Father's World a try for next year. We will be doing Adventures in U.S. History for Max and Sophie. I am looking forward to it and after talking to lots of my girlfriends who use it I think it will be a good fit for our family.

This coming year Max will be in 3rd grade, Sophie in 2nd, and Jack will be in Pre-K. I am sure Sam will want to join in on some activities as well.

For Jack (and Sam) I am planning on sort of doing our own little preschool thing. I am thinking it might be fun to pick a "theme" for each week (like tractors, pets, boats, on the farm, etc.) and borrow a bunch of books from the library centered around the theme. And then using my good friend Pinterest to find a few crafts or activities that tie in. I am also planning to use our favorite Leapfrog Letter Factory DVD. And then when Jack is ready we will dig into our Teaching Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. But if he isn't ready for it until next year I am in no hurry.

So far this year I have not committed to any co-ops or extra-curricular activities. The kiddos will have piano lessons on Monday mornings and so far that is all I know. I have told them they can each chose one extra-curricular activity and at the moment Sophie is leaning towards gymnastics and Max towards basketball. But, we will see!

I think it is going to be a great year. I am going to use these last few weeks to get my house organized and ready for the school year and to work on getting a routine down for the school year. Right now I am loving the care-free days of summer but I know when the time comes I will be ready for the order and routine that fall brings!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Summer is here!

Well, school is out (sort of...) and summer is officially here! Now, where is the warm weather? I signed my kids up for swim lessons for this week and next thinking it would great to refresh their skills right off the bat. But, oh my goodness it is so cold this week! On Monday they cancelled lessons because of the cold but yesterday they just went with it. My kids were shaking so hard and were literally blue by the end!

But, no one complained the whole time and they said it was fun. Huh!

The funny thing for me is that I actually really don't love it when it is really hot, so NORMALLY I would be in love with the weather this week!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Social Media Ramblings

I can't believe it is already into April! I have such a love/hate relationship with blogging. I enjoy it so much but the perfectionist in me when it comes to this sort of thing rarely lets me type out a full post or hit send. I know I need to just get over it... I am a mess, what can I say?

But, since I do enjoy it I thought I would pop in today and post what was going on in this little brain of mine!

I have had to laugh at myself today as I was thinking about the internet at two different times today. Earlier this morning I was listening to an Ask Pastor John podcast about social media while folding laundry and I started thinking about how much there is to dislike about social media. I waste so much time and energy and get so sucked in... It is so easy to get upset and frustrated... So many people use it as a forum to whine and complain and it just drives me crazy!

Then not even an hour later as I was making lunch for my kiddos I was thinking about how blessed I have been by the internet. I didn't come into marriage and motherhood having any real homemaking or cooking skills. But, I have been able to learn so much from women on the blogosphere. If left to my own devices (and given a lot more money to throw around) I would totally be one of those women who goes out to lunch several times a week, makes multiple Target and mall trips on a regular basis and spends a large chunk of my free time consuming. But, I have been so blessed by blogs and articles that have given me a vision for stewarding our finances and time well. I have been able to be encouraged and uplifted to fulfill my role at home. And while I am still working on it (I'm a mess, remember?) I am just so thankful for my online mentors who have helped me on this journey.

So, all to say... I think I will always have a love/hate relationship with my time online. I am finding that for the most part reading several good encouraging blogs everyday is a pretty positive experience. I also really love Instagram as I feel like it is easier for me to enjoy pictures and see friends without getting so sucked in! So, I guess Facebook is probably the social media platform I struggle with the most. In the past I have tried cutting out Facebook but I do have people I like to stay connected with that way and I am a part of a few groups that do all of their planning via Facebook. So, I guess I need to figure out how all of this translates into living life well in the midst of social media... I guess I will keep you posted ;)

Do you struggle with social media? Are you one of those awesome people that doesn't get sucked in and can take it or leave it?

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Snowed-in Sunday!

Happy Sunday all! We are snowed in over here in the St. Louis area. Church was cancelled and I just read that the highway I live off is closed right near my house. Good thing we have no plans of leaving the house today. My only regret is that I didn't plan ahead and do a big grocery shopping trip so I think our meals will be a little bit random over the next few days. I had planned to do my big grocery trip for the next couple weeks today. Maybe I should become one of those people who actually looks at the forecast? Probably not.

We were able to get outside and play with the kiddos for a bit this morning! Sam didn't last very long so he and I went inside after about 10 minutes. But, Nick and the big kids got almost an hour in.

I have to admit, there is something pretty cozy about being snowed-in with my sweet little family. I hope everyone is having a great day of rest!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Some new systems

I am always looking for new systems. Ways to tweak something to make our home or life run just a bit more efficiently. For this new year I have come up with two new systems to help things around our casa and I thought I would share them in case they are helpful to anyone or spark a new idea!

So, the hubs and I have gone back and fourth a lot on video games with our kiddos. We aren't totally against them but we have both seen first hand how quickly they can take over people's lives and ultimately hinder their quality of life. But, we are parents who love their kiddos and want them to be happy and have fun too! So, originally we decided to get our kiddos Nintendo DSs for Christmas along with a few games. We had even purchased one already. But, as Christmas got closer we both started feeling uneasy about it and the hubs finally decided we needed to go another direction. We decided that handheld devices are just not something we want to delve into while our kiddos are young. But, we do have some video game systems (including the Sega Genesis from when I was a kid!) that the hubs and the kiddos like to play together.

All this to say, in order to come up with a good balance for video game time and well, not video game time, we have come up with a new system. We decided we didn't want to have the kids playing video games on school days but we wanted to offer some incentive and make video games a privilege. So, I came up with a little chart and in order to play video games over the weekend (max 30 minutes at a time) they have to earn check marks. They can earn three check marks a day through doing their chores, doing school work with a good attitude, and completing their quiet reading time for the day. In order to play video games they have to have 15 checks (so a perfect record). But, if they have 13 or 14 they can "earn" back those checks on Saturday morning with extra chores or jobs from mom and dad. 12 checks or less and no dice... or controller? :)

Here is the very fancy and official looking chart I made up ;)

The other little system I came up with is for my kiddos quiet reading time. In order to be a good mom, wife, teacher, etc, it is pretty much essential that I get a little quiet time in the afternoon. As an introvert at heart after having 4 little people talking to me all morning I need to recharge my battery a bit. To make their quiet reading time a bit more fun and structured I decided that they have a choice as to where they do their quiet reading time. They can do it in their bed, on the couch, or they can make a "reading nest" out of all sorts of blankets and pillows. The only catch is they have to clean up their nest afterwards. They get all the books they need and then I set the timer for one hour. This little change has made my kids super excited about quiet reading time. And the use of  a timer really helps them to not ask if they can be done!

So that's it! Nothing earth shattering but hopefully some little changes that will help things run more smoothly at our house! Have you implemented any new systems to help things run more smoothly at your house?

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Hello homeschool.

Here we go. Yesterday was our first day back with our Classical Conversations community and today will be our first day back with me teaching since before Christmas. I am still totally bummed that Christmas break is over but I am feeling excited about our new semester.

Over our break I spent a lot of time thinking about why we homeschool, what we have been doing, what we could be doing better or just differently, etc. I also have been re-reading my favorite homeschooling book of all time, Educating the Wholehearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson (I can't recommend this simple gem of a book enough).

I know for me, the final decision to homescool had little to do with education really. I really started considering it after finding out how large the class sizes were in our public school kindergarten classes locally, But, ultimately, I feel like I have fairly smart kids who would probably thrive in most any educational environment. And while I do believe that homeschooling has a huge benefit academically (extremely small class sizes and curriculum tailored specifically for each child!) for me my reasons had more to do with our family relationships, teaching my children from a Biblical stand point, and character training.

So, this semester I really want to get back to our "homeschooling roots" so to speak and focus on what is important. Because of that, some of my homeschool goals moving forward include:

  1. A morning meet-up time with mom and all the kiddos after chores where we all sit together to pray, work through a devotional, and connect before we hit the books. I think it will be beneficial to start our day off together, putting God first. And I also think it will be a good routine for us (as routine and structure are two things I want to improve on in our home).
  2. Right after this time I plan to read to the kids. Sally Clarkson said she always started off her day doing a devotional with the children and reading to them... that way if nothing else got done that day, it was still a successful day! I love that!
  3. In that vein, one of my goals is to focus a lot more in reading and good books in our homeschool. We will do this through lots of mom reading aloud both picture and chapter books, daily quiet reading time, and listening to audio books. 
  4. For the rest of our schooling I want to really just focus on the basics. Math, reading, writing, grammar, spelling, and daily memory work review. 
  5. I want to give my kids lots of blank space to play. Room and time to play together, get bored and be forced into creativity. Give them a lot of time to play with each other. 
  6. And lastly, not worry about what other people are doing in their homeschools! It is great what everyone has the opportunity to do and we all have different priorities. For right now I want to put my blinders on and focus on what God has set before me, right now, with these 4 people.
So, we will see how it goes! I believe with God's grace and maybe a little coffee as well that this mama can have a good homeschooling semester!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

New Years Resolutions for 2015

I am writing this blog post from my bed. I think I pinched a nerve or something this morning because I am having terrible neck and back pain. So, I have been trying to sit or lay in whatever position is comfortable and my heating pad is my new bff. Also, my husband is amazing and has been bringing me tea. And my parents are also amazing and brought us lunch. Praying to feel better soon. Real life starts tomorrow.

I think I have always enjoyed making New Years resolutions. While I don't think there is anything "magical" about January 1st, I do think that making resolutions of the 1st helps to mark the start of the changes you want to make and helps you look back at the year in December and see what you have accomplished. I am always looking for ways to grow as a person. And I love looking back over the previous year and talking with my husband about what we have achieved or been through over the past year and how we can use what we have learned to move forward in the new year.

As I started thinking about 2015 I wasn't sure what sort of changes I wanted to make. 2013 and 2014 I found myself mostly in survival mode. Adding our sweet 4th child who came with a host of sleeping problems and what we discovered was a pretty severe gluten intolerance,.. add that to homeschooling and caring for 3 other kiddos, plus a husband who was working a lot of hours kept me just trying to make it through the day.

I definitely knew that this was the year I wanted to break out of survival mode and get back to living an intentional life. I began to think over my goals for the coming year... wake up and get ready for the day before the kiddos wake up, spend time in the Word everyday, go to bed earlier, read to my kids more, have people over to our home for dinner more often, keep up with the housework, drink more water, stay within our budget, have a weekly date night-in with the hubs... with all of my goals the word that kept popping into my mind was...

None, of the goals I made were new ones to me. They are all things I have tried to implement in my life off and on again for years. But, I have not been consistent. So, my word for this year is CONSISTENCY. I am writing down my goals and planning to focus on being consistent. Not perfect. I am not attempting to overhaul my whole life, but to set some goals that I believe will help with my daily quality of life and to strive to be consistent in those areas.

I might do more posts about individual goals and hopefully I can update more throughout the year. Maybe one of those goals should be to blog more consistently... ;) How about you? Do you pick a word? Make resolutions? Think the whole thing is just silliness (I am talking to you husband!)? ;) I would love to hear!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Christmas 2014 Recap!

I am so sad that it is January 2nd! Christmas and New Years just flew by! I am always so sad when the holidays are over. It just feels like such a let down after all of the excitement and build up! Plus, then you have to go back to normal everyday life. Everyday life where apparently sugar cookies are not an acceptable breakfast and wearing an antler headband and jingle bell earrings to Target is looked at as odd (for the record I only did one of those things... you can guess which).

We had a really wonderful Christmas. I feel like we really hit our stride as a family and figured out what worked best for us. I feel like we had the perfect mix of fun, family time, and down time. And I didn't over-commit myself this year so our house had a much happier mama presiding over the festivities!

The Sunday before Christmas we celebrated Christmas with my mom's side of the family. My mom hosted the party our at their new house and it was perfect. Their new house is perfect for entertaining and looks gorgeous decorated for Christmas. Also of note is that my Uncle Ed made the most fabulous deviled eggs ever. I might have had 6.

The night before Christmas Eve our "little" family of six celebrated what we referred to as "Ramsey Family Christmas Eve". We had shrimp and ribs for dinner and played some games. Then the next morning we had "Ramsey Christmas" where we opened presents as a family and had a special breakfast. It was fun to start some new traditions as a family and our kiddos were at really fun ages this year to enjoy Christmas. We spent the day just watching movies and playing with the kiddos new toys.

That evening (Christmas Eve) we met up with my parents and sister, brother-in-law and nephew at a Japanese hibatchi restuarant. It is one of our favorite Christmas traditions. It is fun getting all dressed up and the food is always amazing. Afterwards we headed to my parents to spend the night there.  The evening consisted of huge stuffed animals, Christmas jammies, and games.

Christmas morning we opened presents with my family and then had a wonderful lunch. We were able to spend the whole day with my family enjoying time together and didn't head home until evening. I think we went straight to bed when we got home!

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas! I am hoping to be back with a New Years update soon!