Tuesday, April 8, 2014

In The Kitchen: Big Girl Salad

Here's a hearty lunch for those days when you just feel like eating.  Anyone else ever feel like that?  If so, grab a serving bowl and follow this quick and easy recipe.
In retrospect, you'd probably want to put the raisins on the side.  Salsa and raisins are flavor foes, not friends.  I needed the sweetness today, so it worked for me.

Brief Update!

Just a quick update.  We are almost to the end of our first official homeschool year!  Woohoo! 

This has been the best experience for our family.  Seriously.  I cannot even convey in words how much God has brought our family closer together through this. 
Both of the big kids have made big educational gains, and have become more independent throughout the year.  The baby has really gotten to bond with her big siblings, and that is something that just wouldn't have happened (at least not in the same way) if they were away at school. 

Thank you to all of you who have supported us through this journey.  And actually, thank you to those of you who haven't.  By challenging my abilities to home educate you also challenged my faith and have brought me closer to God, and closer to being the person I strive to be.  Patient, calm, and persistent. 

With only a couple weeks of school left, my current dilemma is this: The pages of our workbooks are running out!
That's good news, for sure. 
But I'm now really contemplating what's been working, and what hasn't.  Some subjects I'll just order the next level up, other subjects I may be looking for a different approach. 

For instance, math has gone well for both kids. But to get a better foundation for the little guy I think we will look into Math-U-See.  My oldest is doing excellent with Teaching Textbooks, so we will just move up to level 6 there. We finally found something that really works for her learning style.  Yes!    So I'll be doing that for each subject and trying to incorporate in more for our second year.
I've always had a passion for education, and I'm super excited about some upcoming conferences to help better equip me as a homeschool teacher.  If you're local (IOWA), check these out:

THIS THURSDAY, April 10th, Susan Barton, Dyslexia expert is giving a talk in West Des Moines.  I cannot wait to meet her!  If you are unable to make the conference, Check out this web-site for some valuable information.  This is good for anyone, not just homeschoolers.

May 15th-17th is the 2014 Homeschool Iowa Conference.  I've wanted to go for years, but it's just never worked out.    If it's God's will, I'll be there this year! 

Friday, March 28, 2014

A Word From Romans

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
Romans 8:26-28

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Homeschool: Reading Incentives

It's no secret that I am an avid follower of Confessions of a Homeschooler.  Her blog posts and YouTube videos have been a great inspiration in our homeschooling journey.  If you haven't checked out her homeschool room tour, you've just got to do it... like right now... Well, you know, after you finish reading this! 

Last month I stumbled over THIS POST she had about reading incentives.  She had adapted it from another blog post that she saw.  Isn't that great how us women can keep on encouraging, adapting and sharing?  I love it!

I've shared here before that my oldest daughter (The Fashionista) has dyslexia.  The Fashionista has made great big strides in reading, but it can still be a struggle to get her to set aside time to read. 

She is the type that is highly motivated by a prize.  I don't like rewarding everything (in fact, that's a pet peeve of mine!), but this is one area I think it's okay to give a little encouragement. 

If you're a teacher (homeschool or other) looking for a way to encourage your students I highly suggest you check out Confessions of a Homeschooler for details on how to make your own reading incentive area. 

Because we have a huge whiteboard already on the wall, we just didn't have room for a bulletin board too.  Instead we used push pins to stick the reading necklaces in the tree on the wall. It works perfectly for our family! 

I think this idea could easily be adapted to whatever your child needs an incentive for: Behavior, chores, school work, feeding the pets, etc. 

If you take on this little #DIY project, I'd love to see it!  Post a picture to my facebook page: www.facebook.com/ASlightlyBetterWife

This picture was taken before we added our reading incentives, but you can see our beautiful whiteboard.  It was a $5 garage sale find from a friend.  Thank you Aimee!  It's been SO helpful in our schooling. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Fitness: Shake Your Groove Thing

When it comes to fitness, are you motivated by others? 
For me the answer is yes, and no.
Yes, seeing pictures/videos of people working out motivates me.
& No. Anyone near me when I'm working out and suddenly I go brain dead and can't function enough to even jog in place.
Although I don't actually go brain dead.. it's more like my brain goes into overdrive & I over think every single thing. Especially my breathing.  Who on Earth over thinks their breathing??
Weird, I know.
Well tonight we had a family dance party, as we often do.  This time I took a short Instagram video of the kids each doing their thang. Afterwards The Fashionista said, "Now let's do a video of mom and dad!".  Wanting to be fun, I agreed to it. 
I  switched to the regular camera so it wouldn't end up online, and told my husband I'd promptly delete it. My husband and I shook our groove things or whatever, but once I viewed the video my thoughts were confirmed.  My groove thing shook more... like a lot more. It's probably still shaking.

I'm challenging myself to get fit.  Not thin, not skinny, not pretty (beauty is fleeing).  I just want to make fitness a priority. I'd love if you want to join along. 

You can link up with me on Instagram using hasgtag: #ASBWGetFit

◄ Proverbs 31:30 
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised

Facebook Fasting: My Personal Account

I'm doing a little experiment right now. 
I kind of got sick of people basing their opinions of me because of what they saw on my Facebook.
 They were mostly all good, that wasn't the problem.  But it's like that's all they knew of me and assumed that's all there was to me. 
Then a friend would say they talked to another friend and they were talking about what I posted on Facebook. I don't want to be fuel for your conversations.  Especially conversations that have no meaning. 

If I posted something controversial or that didn't completely agree with a friends opinions (even if I didn't know their opinion on the topic)  it was automatically about them (I get a lot of inbox messages like this..."I saw what you posted, are we okay?" I've even had people delete me because my opinion on something.  Even family members!...Sometimes I don't even respond to these messages.  People, It's okay to disagree.  Just do it kindly).

Another thing about FB that gets me.  If I hadn't posted that we were doing something then I was probably making it up and we were just staying home- so I might as well be doing whatever they needed me to do because I was "just at home anyway".  don't.go.there.

I also got sick of seeing people copy my posts. Not identically, but the same idea.  Like I post a picture of a dessert, then someone else posts a dessert AND a million reasons why it's healthier, more delicious, from a better restaurant or whatever.  You've got your cake- now eat it!

This probably doesn't make sense to most of you, but to some of you you're nodding your head like "yes, finally someone understands".  I know this because I've heard you mention it or we've talked in depth about it and it drives you crazy too.  But you don't know what to say because, it's just how social media works. 

I never intended to use Facebook as a popularity contest.

 Some how it turned into that for me. 
Like- Okay so I post a scenery picture and it gets 14 likes, but then a friend posts one and theirs gets 24 likes.  Now I'm frowning because A. They copied me.  B. More people liked their picture.
I haven't always felt this way.   And I am not really feeling this way right now. Once I realized it, and thought about "why" it was happening (what the other person was thinking by doing it, their need for attention, etc.), I got over it. 

It's an internal issue some of us have once in awhile and it's dumb. But I just wanted to put it out there so you know, that's why I'm not posting on my Facebook right now.  I just gotta sort out WHY I'm there and what I want out of it. Otherwise it kind of controls me. 

Ps.  No inbox messages asking if we're okay.. This is about me.. and I'm okay. :)  Oh and I copied the picture for this post.  ;-)

Anyone else struggle with what the heck Facebook's purpose is in their life?

Marriage & Family: Where's the fun?

"You guys have the perfect marriage",  "
"You guys have so much fun", 
"You two really know how to party", 
 "We always have so much fun when we get together with you guys"<--{My Favorite}

 Those are statements I USED to hear often.  Then we got pregnant.  I spent a small part of my pregnancy in bed, crying, and just trying to hang on to my baby.  Once that was over I spent the rest of my pregnant days mostly indoors (it was a SCORCHING hot summer).  I got out when I could, but I couldn't wait to get back in to the air conditioning and put my feet up!  

Once we had our third baby, we spent a year in and out of different hospitals and doctors offices hearing things like "just keep loving on her" (our sweet pediatrician)  "she'll be okay but lets keep a close eye on her" (when she broke her arm) "come back in (insert time) weeks, months etc. so we can have another listen" (the cardiologist) and mostly "you're great parents" (from so many nurses).

That last one we hear A LOT.  

Most of the time I feel we ARE great parents.  Parenting is my passion.  Raising the future generation is such an honor.  Someday these children will be someone's spouse, and a parent themselves.  I'm working hard at this, because I really don't want to screw this up.   Parenting with my husband can be kind of difficult.  Like when I say "Go to bed" and he says "Who want's to play a game?". haha.  But mostly it is an insane amount of fun. 

Over the last year my husband and I have let our "circumstances" take over way too much of our lives. We’ve put such an emphasis on our children (this is a good thing, but there needs to be a balance) So much so, that we both craved adult conversation and attention.  When we were bored, we found ways to cure the boredom.  Separately.  That was the problem.  Our friendships blossomed, but our marriage wilted. 

 Being a fun parent comes easy and natural, but being a fun wife, is something I have to work at. 

I adore my husband, but I take him for granted much more than I should.  Anyone who knows him has nothing but good to say about him.  He’s truly terrific. He snatched me up when I was just 18, and has been my best friend and role model ever since.

Last weekend in an effort to be a fun wife, I bought him a green Ninja Turtles shirt to impress our son (see, there I go again with the fun parent thing.  The boy got an Iron man costume/shirt, and for 20 minutes I was the coolest mom ever).  Anyway- yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day so I gave Mr. Awesome the shirt to wear.  While I was cleaning the baby’s room he brought me in a glass of glass of green beer!  Yes, it’s really the little things that can start a positive chain reaction. 
I need to work hard at this marriage too.  Because I refuse to screw this up by letting each day slip by without trying my best.

Friday, March 7, 2014

In The Kitchen: Go-To Potluck Recipe

Between having both sides of our family living close by and being Lutheran, we host and attend a lot of potlucks! 
I'd say for sure one a month, and through the summer even more.
Commonly on a potluck day I'm standing in the kitchen (an hour or two before it's time to leave), phone in hand, staring at this screen:
The "easy last minute recipes" always require way more time than I have to spare. 
Almost every single time, I end up settling on making one of two things: A veggie tray OR a meat, cheese and cracker tray.  Both always go over well and disappear quickly. 
No longer will I feel like I'm settling. Once I hit publish this will be an official recipe, and that's totally acceptable for a Lutheran potluck. ;)
This week for our Fat Tuesday celebration at church I took this big veggie tray & a small dip.
I used my mandolin slicer, a small cutting board and a knife.  Using a minimal amount of dishes/utensils makes clean up a snap! 
This one had:
Sliced Carrots
Sweet Mini Peppers
Cherry Tomatoes
With the dip, it cost me just under $10. 
I also did a quick cheese and cracker tray that made it to the van before I could photograph it.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Recipe: Yummy Water!

I don’t love drinking water.  Some people do, I’m not one of them.  I manage to drink plenty, but I don’t always enjoy doing it.  Different types of water have different flavors to me.  Some of them make me down right nauseous.   I’m not a big soda drinker either, but I do love me some black tea or coffee.  mmm-mmmmm… Sun tea! 
When I saw this recipe on Confessions of a Homeschooler I knew I had to try it, for two reasons:  One: As a way to drink more water.  Two: Because it was an easy recipe, and making easy recipes makes me feel accomplished!  I didn't add the mint, because I didn't have any on hand. I wish I did!  I'll have to try it that way next time. 

Check out her post and read some of the comments.  There’s good info there!

You can cut your cucumber and lemon with a sharp knife.  I personally LOVE using my mandolin slicer.   My husband nags (says) that it’s one more dish to wash.  He’s right.  But I love it anyway!  I’ve had it for years and years. I think I may have picked it up at Target, or the Kitchen Collection Store.  Those are my favorite places to get kitchen gadgets.

When I was finished I realized I hadn’t eaten my tangerine from lunch (because I was busy photographing my other food).  So sliced that up and tossed some of it in my water bottle.  The rest went in my daughter’s.  Hers has been sitting untouched on the counter for a while now... She thinks it’s strange. 
We love our Camelbak bottles.  I had admired a few different friends using them before I finally broke down and bought them for our family.  Now we’ve also been buying them for gifts too!  They’re easy to clean and replacement parts if you need them, are cheap.
 Having this bottle really does help me to drink more water!  Disclaimer:  I am a water bottle addict.  I buy a new one every month or two.  I’ve had this one for probably like 6 months or so and still love it!    When we go on trips I bring along a gallon jug of water to refill our bottles.

What do YOU like to add to your water?  

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Just a Few Quick Notes

I don’t have time to write out a full blog post but I want to share a few quick notes I’ve taken at MOPS this year.

  • If you are a parent, you are a leader.  You will always be a leader. 
  • Put verses where you can soak them in.  This is as simple as writing out a verse on a note card and sticking it at the kitchen sink, on the mirror, or on the door so you see it before you head out. 
  • Praise First!
  • Don’t keep secrets from your spouse.  Share EVERYTHING.  There isn’t such thing as sharing too much in a marriage.  I’ll devote a post to this later.
  • Men, although they are tough on the outside, are fragile on the inside.  Remember that, and treat them accordingly.
  • It’s okay to want good things, but not more than we want to please the Lord.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Challenge: Write A Letter

When was the last time you wrote a letter?  I mean a real pen and paper letter. 
Let's look beyond a sympathy card, because I'm hoping you still send those without being prompted

It's so easy to give a well wish through the internet.  But as easy as it is to give, it's also easy to forget.  Especially when you've gotten 63 other birthday greetings {notifications} before noon.

I got a simple letter in the mail yesterday from a sweet older lady I met 9 years ago.  She knows my oldest daughter has dyslexia and sent a note to tell me to check out Henry Winkler’s books.  Henry Winkler was “the Fonz” on Happy Days.  He has a great story about how when he found out his child had dyslexia,he realized he had it too!  He has written books for children with dyslexia.  She just wanted me to know. The note was literally on a small piece of paper about the size of my hand, tri-folded and put in an envelope.  It made my day just seeing her name on the return address.  I felt so thankful that she thought of us and took the time to mail a note telling about the books. 

My challenge to you is to write a letter to someone this week.  It doesn't need to be a long over thought masterpiece.  But it does need to be real.  Real pen, real paper, real words.  And REALLY mail, or deliver it.

If you'd like to, take a picture sometime during the process and add it to your favorite social media site.  I personally am falling in love with Instagram.  Add hash tag #ASlightlyBetterWife 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Valentines Day: When Mama Ain't Happy

During my bi-annual dental cleaning my hygienist and I were talking and she said "ya know, if the wife ain't happy" and we both laughed a little.  We are both wives and moms. We know how funny, and true the quote "When mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy" really is. 

I've heard this time and time again.  but something about the way she said it, and what we were talking about really got me to look further into those words.

When I was doing a little research I came across this Tracy Byrd song with the same name" When mama ain't happy".

It's light hearted and fun. It'll only take up about 4 minutes of your day, go ahead and give it a listen. 

Men: Maybe you don't have the means to have a limo waitin' and you didn't think to make dinner reservations.  That doesn't mean you can't make mama happy

Women: I'm going to make this simple.  DO NOT FREAK OUT AND THROW A PITY PARTY if your man doesn't impress you the way you wanted him to on Valentines Day.  Get.over.it.  Like, right now, before it even happens.

Girls, I'm going to give it to you straight:  We set the tone.  So, be thankful in all things, not just the good things.  Your good disposition and cheerfulness will overflow to your spouse.  Any way you look at it, life is good.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Homeschool: Weekly Planner Spreadsheet

CLICK HERE to view the planner sheet

For those of you needing a little help with organizing your homeschool week, I came up with a silly little spreadsheet. 
This is just the basics.  Some weeks we do WAY more than this, other weeks we get just this done and not an ounce more.  I feel pretty strongly that children learn well when they aren’t in a stressed environment.  We try to keep things calm and not get too worked up over assignments that didn’t get done before daddy came home from work.  We find time after supper or on the weekend to be sure everything was accomplished that needed to be.
When things don't get done because of attitude, lack of effort, or that sort of thing, they end up doing double the next day (the assignments they missed, plus the ones that were already scheduled).  No one likes this, so usually their work gets done on time.  Sometimes we miss work because we have company over, or we were out of the house.  For those times we just do what we can with the hours that are left in the day and move on.
You can look at THIS POST to see what we are using for curriculum.  I love that with most of our subjects once we finish a page or a lesson we just go on to the next one.  Almost everything we do is in order.  It’s easy to stick a bookmark where we left off and pick it up again the next day. 
This sample week is a pretty simple one. We have the 100th day of school and Valentine’s Day this week.  I used Pinterest to find & print activities for each of those days. 
My 5th grader LOVES writing in cursive.  I found some Advent handwriting pages online, so she is working through those.  Before you go to check the date of this post and lose your place, yes it is February.  December was just too busy to remember to set worksheets in her handwriting drawer.  Okay it wasn’t THAT busy, but it was busy.  With these sheets I love that she’s not only working on her handwriting, but also learning Bible verses at the same time!  When she’s not doing these she works in her Handwriting Without Tears book and enjoys that too. 
The Kindergartner loves to learn and picks up more than you’d think.  The problem is he has a stereotypical male attention span (did I just say that?  yeah, the truth hurts, huh?)  So we do school in “chunks”.  When one subject is done he needs a break to eat something, drink something, or go to the bathroom. Sometimes he just needs a break to lie on the floor for a few minutes.  I just go with it and call him back when I think he’s ready again. 
If you notice that the kids have some of the same assignments.  Even though they are the same I have different expectations for each of them, based on their level of skill and ability. 
This works for us. Maybe it’ll work for you, maybe not.  If you need something to keep you on track try it out.  If it doesn’t work, just ditch it and try something new. 

If you are curious, the prompts for their Thankful Journals came from Ann Voskamp's Joy Dare Challenge.  Some days I use what she suggests, other days I pull from the previous month and use one we haven't done yet.

Friday, February 7, 2014

In The Kitchen: Thanks A Lot Girl Scout Cookie S'mores

 Here is a quick How-To using the Girl Scout Cookie "Thanks A Lot" to make indoor S'mores. 

Here in Iowa we can handle the cold temps we've been given lately.  We'd be just fine with pulling out our fire pit and roasting marshmallows, because we're tough like that.
Alright, please don't make me prove it.  It's actually too cold for any of that business! 
 But in our house, we have children.  Children who had us running to different activities every day this week.  Children who went to bed late last night, leaving mom and dad purely exhausted. 
So, what are two lovebirds to do after their littles have gone to bed?  Eat dessert (No worries- This is not code for anything.. we really just ate dessert)! 

Start with Thanks A Lot Cookies, Marshmallows (whatever you have on hand). and an oven safe pan of any sort. 

Put the cookies, topped with marshmallows in your pan. 
I did put parchment paper in the bottom of my pan, so I wouldn't have to wash the dish, but I ended up not needing it at all.   

I just hit the "broil" button, because it was handy and I was hungry. 
If you're the patient type, you can cook yours at a lower temp for more time. 

When the chocolate starts melting and the marshmallows just start to puff, take them out.

Squish another cookie on top 

Stick back in the oven for about 10-20 more seconds. 

Dirty a dish for the sake of taking a picture for your blog. Enjoy! 

Thanks to the mom at the Girl Scouts meeting who told me how great these cookies are for s'mores!  I'll be stashing a box (or two, or ten) to use for REAL s'mores this summer. 

Now, before you decide this looks like too much work, I want you to know one thing: YOU CAN ALSO JUST MICROWAVE THESE BAD BOYS. 

Being the awkwardly crunchy folks that we are, we don't actually own a microwave.. hence all the extra steps. I don't mind though, I greatly love my time in the kitchen.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Facebook Feedback: How to STOP being CRANKY

I asked this question on my Facebook page “Last week we talked about what makes us crabby. Now the question is, what can we do about it? Really, I want you to pause for a minute and think about it. How can you STOP being cranky with your spouse, kids, or even yourself when you're in those high trigger situations?
There are some good answers there, go see for yourself.
Notice the IKEA ANRIK Coffee Press on the counter.  I LOVE that thing! 

Here is my answer:
One way I've found to stop being cranky with my kids is by choosing to be silly instead.  I can yell that they left their socks shoved in the couch (again!), or I can be goofy and put their socks on my ears while I say something ridiculously funny.  They prefer the funny, and I do to.  I mean discipline has its place, but sometimes we moms just need to lighten up.  WARNING:  My kids are not teenagers yet, so I don’t know, this trick may not work for everyone.  Try it, & let me know how it goes over.
As far as how to quit being cranky with my husband?  I kinda like to impress him. ;)  This is a new thing.  For some time I really didn't care.  I mean REALLLLLLY didn’t care.  I knew he’d be there each night when we went to bed, and he’d be there when I woke up in the morning.  And during the in between hours he’d surely be doing something to tick me off (he really wasn’t, I was just way too particular.  Me: “Honey, did you put the carrots on the 3rd shelf again?  You know they go on the second shelf, all the way to the right so they don’t get too cold being by the freezer”). 
I figured we're married; we love each other, so why even try?  But now I have decided that I really DO want to earn his love and attention.  My husband is a VERY laid back, forgiving guy.  At first it was hard to tell if my actions made a difference, but after a while it was clear to see he smiled more, made more jokes, and get this, he was more confident! 
It’s not cool to think about how much I was tearing him down without even trying.  Not trying- is a problem. 

One more thing.  I'm hosting a giveaway on my Facebook Page for all the locals.  If you're a local, go check it out! 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

A Quick Cover Photo How To & An Invitation To Visit Me On Facebook

I just wanted to share that I've created a Facebook page to stir up more dialogue, encouragement and support. 
The web-address is www.Facebook.com/ASlightlyBetterWife
I think my goal all along has been to encourage moms, and encourage myself to do better in the motherhood department.  I'm realizing that busy moms don't always think to check a blog, but they DO check their Facebook (and click blog links from there).  The reality of it is, sometimes Facebook is the only social interaction we get during the day (outside of our children, of course)!

Lets be honest here, I am NOT designer savvy.  Today I tried to create a cover photo.  It's not catch or beautiful, but it does describe what my blog is all about.  I'd love to design my blog and cover photo similar to Confessions of a Homeschooler's  But I just don't have the time to learn how to do that right now.

I did find this website to help me to make the right size Facebook cover photo.  I used Paint, went to "properties" and put in the Width and Height.  Am I the only one who still uses Paint?  Probably.  :)

I'd love to have you over to my Facebook page where {hopefully} there are fun and meaningful conversations to come!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Thankful Thursday: Life

Although I am thankful for all the blessings each day brings, I'm choosing Thursday's to showcase them.

This week I am especially thankful for LIFE.  You see, this past weekend there was a horrible car accident involving two teen girls.   I didn't know the girls, or any of their family.  I read they were Sisters (I've always wanted a sister).  As I read the posts on Facebook and pieced together what happened, my heart just broke for their family.  But in a way, it rejoiced {only ever so slightly} that even in this place of hurt and pain, there was so much encouragement and so many kind words shared.
I've heard the word encouragement defined as "To breathe life into".  That's what this family needs.
As I laid down for bed that night, I couldn't sleep.  I just cried.  All I could think, or even say was
 I.cannot.imagine.the.pain. those parents are feeling.  My husband prayed with me.  He tried to calm my heart, but it was just hurting something terrible.  I know prayer is powerful.  I know this.  Sometimes though, I just wish there were MORE I could do.  Like there is really something more than asking the Father to pour down comfort and peace over all of us?  Maybe I just mean something more concrete, I don't know.

  These folks are strangers to me, but all I want to do is go hug them, talk with them, help them sort it out. 
There is so much sadness & anger in me when I hear of young children dying before their time.   I have to remember though, it's not their time, and it's not my time that this happens in.  This all happens in HIS time.  God chose Saturday morning as the time to call those precious girls to their eternal home.  Here on Earth we will never know the "why" but God has a reason.
I am thankful for all the support the family is receiving.  I'm thankful they had 15 & 19 years of making memories together.  I wish so badly those parents could experience more of life with their girls.  
I hope someday God will make it clear to us why this happens.
Ultimately, we must be thankful for what we  have here and now.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV        
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

What or who are you thankful for this week?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Thankful Thursday: January 23rd, 2014

Although I am thankful for all the blessings each day brings, I'm choosing Thursday's to showcase them. 

This week I'm thankful for social media.  Even though I struggle with finding a healthy relationship with it.  I am very thankful it's here for encouragement when it comes to homeschooling my little people.
I'm also thankful for free online printables, sales on printer paper, refillable ink, and my printer that has worked hard for us. 

This particular worksheet is from Soft Schools. They have tons of great printables and I find there stuff to be very customizable.

What or who are you thankful for this week?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Homeschool Mascot: FISH

You may remember last May/June (somewhere around the end of the school year) I picked up two Betta fish during a quick Wal-Mart run.  It was impulsive and not well thought out.  We didn't have tanks, yes I said tankS, because those type of fish have to be kept separate or they'll harm each other. 
Well, it's been over 6 months and those little guys are still doing great!  We ended up putting them in 1/2 gal. mason jars that I already had on hand.  They reside on the dining room table for the most part.  Occasionally they get moved to the bathroom, or a shelf in the kitchen. 

I think fish are easy to care for, beautiful to look at, and calming.  Feeding them provides a good responsibility for the kids too. 

Yesterday The Baby had a check up at the peds clinic (routine check up, she's growing well & everything is fine developmentally.  We are being referred to an allergist for an off-the-wall pear allergy she seems to have.  Seriously, pears?  Why pears! Little known fact- Pear puree is in SO MANY of those handy baby food type pouches!). 

So since we were all dressed and out of the house anyway, I decided I'd make it a fun day and take all 3 kids to Petco.  We spent an hour admiring the animals and reading the tags on the tanks and cages, so we could learn more. 
My son wanted a froggy (please mommy?, please?????), my oldest daughter wanted a hermit crab or a hamster (either one, I just want to get a pet).  The baby wanted to stare at the fish all day.  She's learning to communicate quite well.  Any time her stroller wasn't directly pointing at a fish tank, she let me know she was unhappy by throwing a fit and tossing her socks on the floor (as the Petco employee had to point out to me, as I was too busy worrying about where my big kids were, and what they were touching.  Who has time to worry about something as silly as socks?).

In the end The Baby won.  We stopped at Wal-Mart, and again, made an impulsive decision to buy two GLOFISH!  I am now the "BEST MOM EVER" and the "COOLEST".  I heard "THANK YOU MOMMY" over a dozen times on the car ride home (from the two oldest, the baby was sound asleep from all the morning activities), and probably another dozen times just last night. 

We're still figuring out how to really care for the fish, what kind of water they like, how often to feed them, etc.  It may have been impulsive, but it's also a whole lot of fun!

Ps.  So I was a little worried what my husband would say about the fish.  He walked in the door, the oldest smiled from ear to ear and said "Dad, do you notice anything different??", as she's eying the fish.  He says, "ohhh yeah" & then looks at me, "I'm just happy it's not a dog".  I'd say he likes them!  haha.  No really, he does approve.  Bonus!  Welcome to the family Fish 1 and Fish 2!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Random Acts of Kindness: A Smile in the Snow

Last night after a MOPS meeting I bundled up & headed outside to my van.  As I approached it, I see this face smiling at me.
I couldn't help but smile & wonder who put it there.  I snapped a picture when I got in the van, thinking how sweet it was that someone did that.  Then I wondered if they even knew it was my vehicle, or did they just see a blank canvas & decide to draw?

I love random acts of kindness!  Even simple, easy, free ones.  In fact, those are probably my favorite kind!

I get home, still smiling, & find out MY daughter was the artist!  On the way home from church they had drove by to see if I was still in my meeting.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Recipe: Creamy Crock Pot {or not} Potato soup

This version might as well be called Blessing Soup.  I was first blessed with this recipe while at a MOPS Christmas dinner. A friend had brought a crock of it to share.  She shared with me that it only had 4 ingredients!
Yes, 4 ingredients!
1 can of cream of chicken
1 can of chicken broth
1 package of cream cheese
1 bag of hash browns

For a busy mom, a recipe that only calls for 4 simple ingredients (that don't need any prepping), & can be thrown in a crock pot, that alone is a blessing!
I have made her recipe a few times. It's always delicious.  & with it being in the crock pot it is always hot, no matter what time we are going to finally sit down as a family and eat. 
Today I had more time than usual, so I added cubed ham, a gift from our neighbors.  A bag of corn, a gift from my brother that we cut off the cob & froze months ago. & not pictured, since it was an afterthought that I threw in later- a couple of carrots. 
I just taste tested it, for quality control reasons.  It's warm, creamy & wonderful!
This versatile recipe could be cooked on the stove top as well.  I have not timed how long I have cooked it but I sort of just put it in the crock pot in the morning-ish (9-10am) & we eat it in the evening (5-7pm).

My Dilemma

As I'm trying to sort out this whole pictures on the blog problem, I have a bigger problem brewing.  The baby is getting into EVERYTHING!  I snapped a quick picture so I could upload it and experiment with the settings.  When it worked, I decided I'd go ahead and give y'all a glimpse into what my office/homeschool room looks like right.now.  Just keepin' it real. 
For reference, look back at the pictures on this post to see what our school room once looked like.

Friends have said it, even acquaintances have mentioned it (yikes!), I have REALLY become far more laid back since having my third baby (One look around my house proves this to be true).  Hopefully that doesn't mean they think I'm terribly lazy!  ha!  We struggled so much to get this little girl, and once she arrived we soon found out that her little heart has troubles.  Troubles that aren't big enough to do anything about right now, but someday may be.  Between now and then, I just want to enjoy every single minute I can with her.  So that means not spending all day making my home look perfect and no more cleaning obsessively (unless I KNOW company is coming over, and even then, it isn't perfect). 

Life is short, make it sweet. 

PS.  Disclaimer:  We are currently using the dining room table for school, or wherever is comfy depending on the subject.  I'm pretty much always in the kitchen, so I might as well have the kids out there too.  We have a lovely view of our backyard through the sliding door, and the lighting is beautiful there.  It's just the perfect place right now.

Blogger Probs

Just a heads up, I've got some Blogger Probs going on over here.  A friend let me know that my pictures are too small.  I checked on it, and yep she's right!  Not only are they too small, I can't just click to make them bigger and fix it.  The images are too distorted when I do that.  I use both my desktop and my phone to post.  Between the two they upload pictures differently.  Sometimes pictures are teeny tiny, other times they are ginormous and get cut off.  So, please be patient with me while I figure this out. I know it's a setting I once clicked on somewhere... Now, just to find that setting again.  :) 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Picture: Bible App

HmmSimple Pictures: Here are two cropped screen shots of the Bible App message that appear on my home screen. 
Although the verse changes each day, it's somehow just what I need for that particular moment.  These daily snippets allow me to pull through & get my head straightened out so my mind can think clearly.

Everything is easier when my mind  is clear & I'm following sound advise.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Homeschool Help: Flashcard Machine

I recommend Flashcard Machine v 1.5.2. Visit the links from your Android device. Flashcard Machine v 1.5.2 ( http://market.android.com/search?q=pname:com.flashcardmachine.app )