Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Things I Love, pt. 3

If you've been to this space recently, you've seen part 1 or part 2 of this series. Today's post is a little less serious, but here are a few more of my favorites:

Television Shows:

Sherlock: Our most recent fav. Between the wit and the mystery, this show is so entertaining. Like so many other BBC hits that I enjoy (Downton Abbey, Call the Midwife), this show is so well made. My only complaint is that there are so few episodes in each season. We are watching season 3 currently, and a little sad that we'll be caught up and waiting for new episodes to be released.

Gilmore Girls: An oldie but a goody. This show will always be one of my favorites. I just recently worked through the entire show on Netflix. I love the banter between Lorelai and Rory. The comedy mixed in with a little drama draws me in, even the third and fourth times around.

The Office: I resisted the show at first, but on the recommendation of a friend, who's opinion I value, I jumped in on the episode The Convict. It is still one of my favorite episodes. In fact, last night after watching a more serious show, Pete turned on the aforementioned episode just for the laughs that we knew it would bring. Like Gilmore Girls, there are episodes that I skip, but overall, this show cracks me up.


Two Birds: I am a sucker for word games. This one has been a favorite for at least a year now. There are weekly tournaments and you can also play against individuals. If you join and want to play, let me know.

Trivia Crack: This game seems to be very popular right now. A friend told me about it right earlier this month, then I found out that my brothers were playing. Now, I am constantly playing various members of my family and some friends as well. It's like a digital version of Trivial Pursuit, and it's a lot of fun.

My Fitness Pal: Not a game at all, but a great way to keep track of my snacking. I could snack all day long, but if I am faithfully logging my snacks, it helps me to make healthier choices. I can also look back and see the nutritional value of what I am eating, and chart my weight loss(or gain).

So, I'd love to know what are you watching or playing?

Next time I will list my kids favorite apps--educational and otherwise. :)

Monday, December 29, 2014

Things I Love, part 2

A couple weeks ago I wrote about a few other things I love. The goal here being to share succinctly things that I'm thankful to have in my life. Today I want to share a few more of my favorite things...this post doesn't include any embarrassing pictures of me like that one did*, but I hope you'll enjoy it none the less! ;)

Homeschooling and Classical Conversations
I know that many of you think, "I could never homeschool" or "you must be a saint" or "well, you were a teacher before you had kids, so of course you like it" and I have to admit, it is one of the most challenging things I've ever done. Like most challenging things in life, it is also the most rewarding. I love my kids, and like any honest parent, sometimes they drive me crazy. But one of my favorite things is learning with my kids. As we go along in this homeschooling journey, I am figuring out that their weaknesses are mine, and sometimes their strengths are mine. I love the challenge of trying to find a new way to teach them something. Mostly, although I take frequent breaks from them, I just love getting to spend so much time with my kids, and to be with them when they have those light bulb moments!
Classical Conversations has been a blessing in so many ways. I love getting to tutor each week, the quality of the material that I am learning with my kids is amazing, but the best part of it is the fellowship. The community is so wonderful for me and for the kids. I know many families that successfully homeschool without it, but I wouldn't trade it for the world.

My husband

This guy, he supports me in so many ways. Whether it's freeing me up to go to a girl's night out, helping with breakfast every morning that he's home, or writing me notes just because, he is my better half. He prays for me and with me. He makes me laugh so much. He even knows when to just let me be. I am forever thankful to be doing life by his side.
He's not perfect, but neither am I. I do believe that God brought us together to sharpen each other and that we are both so much better now than we were before He led us to each other. We still have bad days, days when we shake our heads because we thought we had figured each other out, and yet we probably never will fully. I'm thankful to try to figure it out with Pete.

I know it may seem weird to some of you out there, but writing is such a great outlet for me. I have always been an outward processor. Whether it is talking through my problems with a friend or writing in a journal, I have always needed to get things out in order to fully think them through. I also love reading things that others have written and being encouraged or challenged. For me, this is a place where I can sort through the things floating around in my head. I truly enjoy thinking through and then writing something that I hope someone would connect to or be encouraged by. I am thankful for the opportunity I had recently to blog over at What's in the Bible? and hope to do more like that soon. I also love getting any feedback here or on Facebook.

*If you were at all interested in the Cellular Nutritional Cleansing program that I've had so much success with, please let me know. I'd be glad to pass on information to you. Also, they are having a special through January 15th which saves you $25. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

What's in the Bible? Digital Sale

If you missed the huge sale on DVDs over at What's in the Bible? you're in luck. They are having a great sale on their digital downloads. Looking for something with meaning for your kids to do while you're driving to grandmother's house or while you're trying to get some presents wrapped? Download a couple episodes of What's in the Bible? or their coloring sheets or activity books. If you're thinking of doing that, click through my link below for me to get credit! Thanks in advance! And Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Things I love, part 1

Lately, I have been quite thankful for many aspects of my life. No part of my life is perfect, but I have just realized that I truly love many parts of it. Each one could possibly be a blog post in and of itself, but rather than bore you with many posts of thankfulness that may make it seem that I am bragging or boasting, I'll just give you the Reader's Digest version of a couple at a time in hopes that you will return to read again another day! ;)

A couple side notes before I start: 
1. These are not listed in any sort of purposeful order. 
2. These are all things I am passionate about, I'd love to tell you more about any of them if you are at all interested.
3. Each one of these is no more than two paragraphs in length, so hang with me! ;)

My Neighbors

I have some of the best neighbors EVER. Whether it's loaning me a cup of sugar, or texting me to see if I need anything at Kroger, or anything in between. They are wonderful. Last year, our first Christmas in this house, I decided to have the boys help me make a little something to give to those houses in our cul-de-sac. I thought I was being kind, generous, and thoughtful. Before I could even finish delivering them, more than five neighbors had delivered similar treats to our house. The kids love the other kids and many of the adults, too. Whether it's hanging out in one of our yards, letting the kids play on their swings, or talking while the kids ride bikes, my neighbors are always good for a laugh or a listening ear. I am just so thankful for them.

Nutritional Cleansing
This sounds crazy, but one of my neighbors, who is also a friend now, introduced me to this cellular nutritional cleansing system back in August. After gaining 30 pounds last year when my thyroid got all whacky, I was very frustrated. Exercising and eating healthy weren't helping me shed any more than 5-7 pounds. I was ready to try anything, and boy, am I glad now!



I am still using their products and am a believer in this system. It feels so great to have good nutrition going in, to be losing pounds (25!) and inches (4 1/2 in my waist alone since September 3), and to have more energy. My goal is to lose about 10-15 more pounds and go down another size or two. Most importantly, I just want to be the healthiest version of me.

A big part of getting healthy for me has been Jazzercise. I have always loved to dance, so when the same neighbor that I mentioned above told me she went to Jazzercise, my ears perked up. I love it. I wish I had pictures or clips to share what a class is like, but I'm sure you can find some on YouTube. Seriously, it is so much fun to dance with other ladies, laughing when we mess up and encouraging each other along the way. If you like to dance and are looking for a form of exercise that you can enjoy, you really should try Jazzercise-it's not old school at all. :) 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Merry Messy

Does anyone else find places like this scattered around their house during the holiday season?

I stick things on top of the dryer to get them out of the way until we need them. 
Some of the containers that I keep the Christmas presents in are still out until I can finish getting everything where I want it.
Presents are stashed up on top of a bookshelf to keep out of reach of little hands. This one is a first for me. I usually just throw things in my closet, but with my daughter, who is known to get into everything all.the.time, I figured I should keep gifts out of her reach.
Things that need mailed or delivered or put away piled on the counter.

This time of year is so busy that I could really use some magical elves to clean up around here or do the mundane tasks--laundry, dishes, cooking--so that I could just enjoy the fun projects and crafts with the kiddos. However, since the elves are busy working up at the North Pole, I guess I'll just keep looking past the piles! ;)

How do you keep things organized during this time if year? Or do you have messy stashes, too?

Special What's in the Bible? Sale!!

Just wanted to share this special deal with you! If you were wanting to buy some DVDs for your kiddos to watch on your way to Grandmother's house, wait no longer! This sale is only good through Thursday night.


Also, if you missed my blog post on their website, you can check it out here.

Monday, December 8, 2014

What's in the Bible Guest Blog!

Hi friends,
Have you heard of the series What's in the Bible? Created by Phil Vischer, of Veggie Tales, it uses puppets and cartoons, humor and catchy songs to teach your kids about God's Word. I am a huge fan of their DVD's and have been an affiliate of theirs since their first few DVDs came out. If your kids haven't seen them yet, you should definitely check them out. My kids have learned so much about the Bible as they've laughed and sung along. What's in the Bible? is currently having a fantastic sale: all the DVD's are marked down to $9.97, plus the more you order the better the deal. And free shipping sitewide! Click on the link below to go to their online store.

This month, I am excited to be a guest blogger on their site. I had been thinking and praying about how to keep our focus on Christ this Advent season, and summed up my thoughts in a blog post called Simplifying the Celebration. I'd love to hear ways that you are keeping your holiday festivities simple yet meaningful. And I'd love for you to pop over to What's in the Bible? and check out my post. :)


Thursday, December 4, 2014

A funny thing...

A funny thing has happened.

My boys had gotten out of the routine of keeping their rooms cleaned each day-okay, maybe they never were completely in that routine, but regardless, it had gotten pretty bad. My husband, who is more bothered by mess than me, requested that we try to get more disciplined in this area, and I wholeheartedly agreed. Honestly, one of the hardest parts for me is remembering to enforce that their rooms need to be cleaned before they go play with the neighbors or watch a show. The past couple days I stepped up my game and started asking them to work in their rooms before they played and that's when it happened, after helping Sam and Will in their room, I sent Sam to help Jon. They worked together and next thing I know they've been playing nicely together in Jon's room for over 45 minutes. Both days, the room is clean and they spent over a half an hour playing together without asking for t.v. or iPad, etc. I'm not sure if it's a Christmas miracle or if it will continue, but you can bet I will be reminding them again tomorrow!  

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


I know it's a little cliche to have a blog post right after Thanksgiving with the title Thankful, but there really isn't another word that sums up how I'm feeling right now. I have always loved Thanksgiving. A time to gather with loved ones and reflect on our blessings, what could be better? Then on two separate occasions I had babies the week of Thanksgiving. I am always reflective and grateful around my children's birthdays, so this just added to the thankfulness.
Will at just a few days old
Maggie, who was 6 weeks premature, at one day old
My grandma recently lost her battle with cancer, and while the pain of that loss is still fresh, it that has only made my heart more thankful for the times when my family can be together.

Precious time I got to spend with my grandma in August
In the past week, I have gotten to spend time with my husband's extended family, and with my parents and both of my brothers and my sister in law. My brother and sister in law, who live in Peru, have actually been with us for a week, much to our delight.

My brother, Scott, and my sister in law, Julia 

While I love routine and structure, the fun we have had, the laughter we have shared and the joy on my kids' faces is better than any routine I've ever known. Tomorrow, we'll try to get back into those routines, which I anticipate will be a bit of a struggle, but I am hoping to face that struggle with grace and to cling to this heart full of thankfulness. After all, even if Thanksgiving is over, next is Christmas, and what better reason to be thankful than the time when we celebrate the coming of our Savior?

Next week, I will be posting about the ways we are trying to be intentional this Christmas as a family. Stay tuned! ;)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Will is FOUR/Our Silly Face Boy

This boy turned four today! Since we spend a good chunk of Sunday at church, we decided to celebrate Will's big day a day early. We started the day with the traditional pancakes. I saw early on that getting a normal smile out of him was going to be tricky. I deleted at least five pictures of him with his pancake before I got this one. I settled. He's a stinker! ;)

Being our third boy, it's often tricky figuring out what to get him for his birthday and Christmas. We have more cars, trucks, trains, and blocks than any one household should have. He loves the Cars Movie right now, but since we have over a dozen different Lightening McQueen cars alone, I couldn't justify spending money on more Cars. Instead, I was thrilled to discover Lego Juniors. They are a fairly new line of Legos for 4-7 year olds. He just recently started playing with Jon and Sam and their Legos, so this seemed like a perfect fit. The best part is that they are normal Lego size, so they can be used with the older boys Legos and by Will for years to come. I am so excited to have found these! :)

We took him to EnterTRAINment Junction last year for his birthday, and this year he wanted to go again. He LOVED it. 

watching Thomas pull Annie and Clarabel
 shoveling coal into the engine
one of the many "cheesy faces" he gave us on Saturday
Will requested Chick-fil-a for his birthday dinner. I don't think any of us minded that one bit. It was fun. The kids ate their meals and went off to play happily, leaving Pete and I to sit and talk a bit, with them just on the other side of the window playing. Everyone wins! :)
 seriously, what is this face?
 leading the pack down the slide (that's Maggie right behind him-she's fearless)
 traded in his book for an ice cream cone
If you haven't had the chance to spend much time with this boy, you are missing out. He is a spitfire. He is so very funny. He is sweet. He tells me, "I missed you, Mom!" when I get back from the store. He tells me he likes my hugs. He is super-focused, and can be quite strong-willed, which can drive some people crazy, but I just know that God is going to use that drive and focus to do great things. It can be frustrating, but he really has a pretty tender heart. 

 Swinging with Maggie in the neighbor's yard
building with Sam before bed
He loves being outside and recently learned to ride a two-wheeled bike without training wheels. He loves Wild Kratts and can rattle off all kinds of information about many different animals. He adores his siblings and still likes to ask me to hold him/snuggles up on my lap several times a week. He is not the least bit shy. In fact, I have had to ask him to stop talking to people at the store on numerous occasions. Just recently, at the lunch that followed my grandma's funeral, he stood on his chair and told everyone in the room a joke. He is a fun boy. I'm so thankful to be his mom. 
Silly selfies with Mom and Lightening! 

Happy birthday, Will! 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Our Maggie is TWO

In some ways, this seems like so long ago! The 6 week early surprise arrival of our sweet baby Margaret Anne, and then the two week stay in the NICU...

Then I blinked and she was one! To be honest, that first year was ROUGH. Between all the normal newborn stuff, living in a 3 bedroom rental with four kids, and my thyroid deciding to not work properly, it was a long year. But it still seemed to have flown by and we were celebrating a year of this little lady:
And now here we are again, where has that little baby gone? She has turned into this crazy little lady now. The one who loves to push her stroller and, unfortunately, write on the walls with anything she can get her hands on. She also adores her brothers. And while she may have let me paint her toenails for the first time a couple weeks ago, she isn't all girly. She loves to "tackle" and to push the trucks and play cars and legos. She really doesn't have a lot of choice there. ;) She loves her babies and dolls. She's not a great eater, but would eat vitamins and mints all day long if I let her!

I love seeing her play with Will more and more these days. It makes my heart happy. 

Just a few other things I want to remember. This girl loves to accessorize. She picked out the necklace she wore for our family pictures herself. And she loves shoes. She just recently became much more vocal and opinionated. Until recently she didn't care to watch t.v. for more than a few minutes at a time. Now she requests George or Daniel Tiger or occasionally Thomas and Friends. For the sake of her brothers, she doesn't know that princesses and fairies exist YET. ;) She has gotten very good at saying thank you and your welcome. She doesn't always remember the please, but she will always say "God bless you!" if you sneeze! If I call for her brothers, she often responds with a "coming!" before they do. She is growing up so fast. I don't want to think about what's going to happen if I blink again. I better not! 

Happy birthday Maggie! I love you so!

Sunday, November 2, 2014


Pete's grandma and her husband live in Alabama, near Gulf Shores. Last year, we decided to combine a family vacation with a visit with them and we had a great time. Well, it was a great time with the exception of crazy sinus infections for both Pete and I that led to separate trips to local urgent cares. But I digress... We decided then to try to make it a yearly tradition. This year, praise God, we all stayed healthy and were able to enjoy a really beautiful week in Alabama. Pete got to golf with Granny and Ken a couple times, and we went to the beach, and the pool, we played mini-golf, and went go-karting. Each night we'd eat dinner with Grandma Gloria and Ken, and then usually the kids would want to play games with her. The weather was great. All in all, it was a fabulous trip!

Here's a pictorial summary of our time there. A few pics of Granny and the kids and then some snapshots of us at the beach.

Our trip was more fun this year than last, and I suspect that as the kids get older, it will just keep getting more and more fun. The beach and family, two of the best things in life in my opinion! <3