Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fair Day

Last Wednesday, we went to the Four States Fair and Rodeo.  It was Kids' Day, which meant free parking, free admission, free ice cream, bouncers, rodeo demo, petting zoo, cow milking and lots of fun!  Did I mention it was free??

We started by going to a rodeo demo, which was very cool.  My kids loved it!  They had bull riding, barrel racing, bareback riding and cow roping.  They loved the bulls and broncos, but were a little nervous when they came RIGHT by the railing in front of us.

Petting Zoo.  We went through 3 times.  The workers knew us by the end of the day!

The boys finally coaxed this little calf over the 3rd time through.  They kept their arms stretched out until he came over.  It was pretty cute.

 We got to watch a cow get milked with an electric pump.  The guy explaining the process was talking to a bunch of young elementary school students and talked for a LONG time.  He kept telling the kids to be quiet and calm so they wouldn't spook the cow.  Yet, he was the one yelling into the microphone, "Hey! Listen!" and "Look at me!  We're almost done!"  It was a little ridiculous.  My boys did awesome sitting still.  They were not the ones he was yelling at.

Afterwards, they got to try milking a fake cow.  I got down and tried it as well.  The lady supervising the activity liked my milking. "That's the way you do it!"

We had a picnic lunch and finished the day walking around, seeing the rest of the exhibits.  It was a fun day!  After we got home, the boys made the executive decision that we need a cow, a horse, 2 ducks, 3 chickens and a dog.  We better get a bigger yard!


Friday, September 21, 2012

Ashley's Quilt

I've been working on Ashley's quilt and finally have the t-shirts pieced together.  It doesn't take that long, really.  The hard part is picking out the material for the rest of the quilt.  It has been especially hard this time around, because I can't go to the store with Ash.  We're doing it via pictures, which don't always portray the colors just right.  But with a little help from BG and Jman, we have picked out the material!  (Those pictures will be for a future update when I have actually sewed them onto the quilt.)

In the process of cutting out t-shirts.

My stack of shirts.

I separate the shirts into a white pile and a colored pile.  I then begin laying out the quilt top.

This is a picture taken during the sewing process.  I wanted to know what Ash thought of the size.  It was imperative that BG and I try it out to give her a size comparison.  :)

The quilt top finally sewn together.  The border is the next thing on the list.  So far, I love how it looks and the boys think it's great too.  It's always hard to send them once they are done.  The boys think it would look better in their beds...but it isn't hard to persuade them that uncle Nick or Auntie Ash would like the quilt just as much.  Their kind hearts want to send the quilt the minute they realize this.  

I'm hoping to get her quilt finished in the next week.  I got a little side tracked starting my own quilt (which is almost done now!)  That is for next week!  


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Healthy Challenge

My hubby and I decided to get back into shape.  We aren't horribly out of shape, but there is always room for improvement.  We've made the decision to start a weight loss challenge and got a couple of other people involved to keep us all accountable.  Let me tell you, it is tough work, but worth it when you start to see results.

Our goal is to lose a certain percentage of body weight by Christmas.  My goal is 4% and Nate's goal is 10%.  We have started working out diligently on a regular basis and eating healthier, smaller portion sizes.  To be honest, we do not eat a lot of junk food.  I just don't buy it.  But knowing that I can't have sweets now, makes it that more appealing.  Funny how it works that way.   

THIS is what I see every morning when I am getting ready.  So everytime I walk by it, I try to do a pull up.  Yuck.  But I am definitely able to do "more" now than when I started 2 weeks ago!

We are using Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred and No More Trouble Zones DVDs.  To say the least, she definitely gets you working!

I also really enjoy Leslie Sansone's Walk Away The Pounds workouts.  Low impact aerobics are what I need when my knees are giving me a hard time.  Leslie has a great website and blog with workout plans and recipes.  The website is:  I like her meal plans to get an idea of how much I should be eating a day.  Snacking is one of my weaknesses.

Patience and perseverance will help us accomplish our goals.  Nate and I want to be healthy and active for many years to come and teach our children that eating healthy and exercising is important.  There is no time like the present!

"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your body." - 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.  


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

My Grandma

This was a year ago, right after Lulu was born.
Yesterday was my grandmother's 91st birthday!  We call her GG, for Great Grandma Gerry.  Technically, it should be GGG, or Triple G, but it just doesn't roll off the tongue like GG does!  She is an awesome lady who loves the Lord.  I am so blessed to have her as a role model and pillar of strength in my life.  

My kids decided to draw her pictures for her birthday:

Good thing these weren't real cakes.  There was enough "frosting" on them to last a month!

We did wish her Happy Birthday over the phone, but it's not the same as actually being there to sing and give her a hug.  We wish we could have been there to celebrate with her, but we celebrated her all the way down here in Texas!


Monday, September 17, 2012

My Hubby's Got A Blog!

Nate started his own blog about home remodel projects, building projects, anything he does for fun really!  He is a man of many talents.  So for those of you looking for home DIY projects, ways to save money and be frugal while doing projects...this is the blog for you!  Here are a few of the wood building projects he has completed for us:

DVD towers - we have 2.  One for mom and dad movies, the other for kids movies and games. They are awesome!

Our TV stand

A hanging frame for my necklaces - I showed him one out of a Martha Stewart catalog and he made it!

Bunk beds for our boys.  AKA The jungle gym, climbing wall, fort, storage closet, etc.  

He is just starting to blog, so go check it out!!  From reading the title he chose, you know it's going to be enjoyable.  :)


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Focusing On Him

I am a detail oriented person.  I like the little things and that sometimes keeps me from staying on track.  I get caught up in all the nit-picky things and lose focus on what I'm really trying to do.  It totally comes out when I'm cleaning.  I can get started in one room and remember that there is something else that belongs in that room and go get it.  WELL - that only leads to me spotting other things I can do and get started in this NEW place and leave the first room in disarray.  But this is me.

I have found that recently, when I'm trying to hear God's voice, I lose focus and get distracted.  I let life move in and the little things get in the way.  It is a constant battle, but I know that staying focused is the only way to keeping me on the path to the blessings He has planned for me.  It isn't a question of can I stay focused; it is a question of will I stay focused.

I want to hear Him tell me, "Well done."  That is what keeps me fighting to stay focused.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Late Summer Garage Sales

We haven't been hitting up garage sales as much as we had been earlier this summer, click here to see my previous finds, but this past Saturday, we loaded up again and went hunting!

I love looking for treasures and then actually finding some.  So much fun!

Here is what we found:

I'll admit it: I am a bookaholic.  I love to read and I LOVE to buy books for my kids and for me.  I really dislike paying full price though.  I found these books at one place and only paid $2 for them all.  As my 3 year old would say, "Sweeeeet!"  I got a Hardy Boys novel, 2 easy reader books, a Snoopy comic strip book and Pokemon, of course.  I also got a couple of Sandra Brown novels.  I have never read any, but they got high recommendations after asking around.

We found these at an estate sale.  I do believe it was our first one.  It was fabulous!  It wasn't run by a company, so the prices were awesome.  We got a 6 piece set of glasses, a glass pitches, a vase and a basket all for $4.  We weren't going to buy the basket, but they gave it to us to haul our glasses in.  I made my husband go back to buy the vase.  They only wanted 25 cents, but he just gave them $1 since they threw in the basket for free.  It is so fun getting super deals.  I wish there were garage sales all year round!  

Have you found any great treasures in your garage sale adventures?


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Homeschooling: Calendar Time

Here is our Calendar Time:

It is a time where I pull out our morning board and we work on learning the parts of the calendar.  I bought a Deluxe Calendar Pocket Chart on Amazon.  I really like it and it isn't very expensive.  I use a "Field Trip" card turned upside down to move through the calendar for each day.  It has a picture of a school bus on it, so upside down it looks like the wheels are bug eyes looking at us.  The boys get a kick out of that!

It came with a lot of extra holiday/special occasions/celebration cards.  And I mean a lot!  I am now super informed on when the obscure holidays come.  :)

After we work through the calendar, we move onto our morning board.  I have Jman Write the Date and BG traces it.  This includes writing the date in words and numbers.  (I will make the dots for BG to trace that morning.)  I laminated all of the sheets the kids will be writing on.  It is so nice to wipe them clean after each day and reuse them the next day.  

We keep track of what Day of School we are on.  The print off I used coincides with Math U See.  We are not using it yet, but it is what I am leaning toward for next year.  We also have a Make the Date card that uses money.  I have a picture, Bible verse, or Skip Counting cards that I cycle through.  (Pictured top of middle column.)  We examine the Weather and put the appropriate card on our board.  We also look at the temperature and fill it in on our Today's Temperature card.  Lastly, I created a couple of printouts of the books of the Bible, which are pictured on the far right.   

  I got my FREE printables from Homeschool Creations and 1+1+1=1.  I love, love, love these sights!  They have awesome resources for homeschoolers with preschoolers and kindergartners.  I keep adding more of my own touches to it, but I used most of their suggestions to get started.

Again, we do NOT get through every thing on the board each day.  We just do what we can!

Have fun getting your calendar time going!!


Monday, September 10, 2012

Homeschooling with Little Ones

Homeschooling my kids is a lot of fun.  It is a lot of work some days, but I try hard to make it enjoyable for us all.  Having a kindergartner, preschooler and 15 month old is never dull.  Trying to keep them all busy and out of trouble can be a challenge.  I've found a few ways to keep my little ones preoccupied and I'm going to share them with you!

Here is a look at my schedule for the day.  Please keep in mind that these times are what I have planned.  No day EVER looks like this.  Some subjects take longer or shorter than what I have allotted.  This is more of a guideline for what comes next in our day!  Some days, we are done after 1 hour; other days, it takes us 3 hours.  It just depends on how focused we are, what pops up, what time we start at, etc.  I often have to remind myself that getting everything done does not dictate if I'm doing enough.  Life happens!

9:15am - Calendar time
9:35am - Bible story
9:40am - Music to go with our Bible story
9:50am - Story time
Snack if we're hungry
10:10am - Bible verse memorization/Copy work for Jman (K)
10:20am - This is where we split up: Jman (K) has Language Arts; BG (PreK) works in his workbin
10:35am - Math together
10:50am - Science/Art together
11:10am - We split up again: Jman (K) works in his work bin; BG (PreK) has Language arts

Now you are probably wondering what I put in their workbins.  These are really fun for them.  It is like Christmas everyday.  Jman will always come running, saying "Thank you Mama for the _______!" Fill in the blank with what I've put in there for the day.  I switch out the objects in their workbins every night.  I cycle between coloring pages and crayons, mazes, a VTech laptop, Leap Frog Scribble and Write, modeling clay, tracing worksheets, puzzles, stamp pad and rubber stamps, little craft projects, books, sequencing games, notebooks with markers/pens/pencils and other sensory items.  See my post about homeschool preparation to view some of these objects. It does keep them busy and they have fun learning.

This is in my planner.  I have a list of ideas for each week, this particular page during our Bird week.
My boys also like to trace words and write words, as well as their names.  I have written out their names on lined paper and photocopied them so I have lots of copies.  They want to practice, so I let them!

So where is Lulu, my 15 month old, during all of this??  She is the hardest to keep busy, but she joins us in her highchair during calendar time.  I will give her papers to color, wooden puzzles, pictures to look at if she gets antsy.  It usually helps for a few minutes.  She'll join us for Bible story, music and story time.  She will wander around during some of the readings, but I make sure she stays with us and has toys to play with.  I am going to make a bin of toys that are only used during school time, so that she can have her own special bin for school as well.  I do have a little bin set up for her now that I fill with washable crayons, coloring pages, pictures of friends and family, books and toys.  She still takes naps in the morning, so I put her down when we start our Bible verse memorization.

Every day is different.  Some days are better than others.  I know that homeschooling takes practice and training, both from me and my children.  It doesn't happen overnight.  Don't be discouraged if one thing doesn't work for you.  Change it and try again!  In the words of Walt Disney, "Keep moving forward!"


Friday, September 7, 2012

Labels, Shmabels!

OR - just give me an hour!  Done!  Hope my labeling helps you find what you need here at my blog.


Labels, Labels, Labels!!

When I first started blogging, I did NOT know what labels were.  Now that I'm a little more educated, I realized that I had not put any labels on my posts.  I am now having to read through them all and assign labels.  Kind of fun reading through them all again, but a big mess.

If you have read any post and looked for related ones and not found any, give me through this weekend to get them all updated and labeled.  Then I invite you back to read up on the topic of your liking!

For those of you wondering what labels are, at the bottom of my posts, under my signature, there are links to certain words that I have picked for each post.  You can click on one of the words to find more posts on my blog about the same topic.  Pretty convenient!


Ginger Snaps and Pumpkin Dip

I was just "tweeting" about my favorite cookie and decided to share it with you all AND the dip I make to go with it.  It is almost too good to make; self-control is a MUST.

I buy the ginger snaps and then make pumpkin dip.  

Here it is:

Pumpkin Dip

1/2 of a 15 oz can of pumpkin
2 c powdered sugar
8 oz cream cheese softened
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger

(I often use my Apple Pie Spice mix instead!)

Mix this all together and proceed with caution!  It is delicious and hard to stop eating!!

AFTER THOUGHT  :)  (Yes, I have these quite often)

I've heard you can use nonfat plain yogurt in place of cream cheese.  I have NOT tried this, but I am going to!  It would be a good way to make this lower in fat and healthier!


Christmas Cactus Replanted

I posted about my Christmas Cactus earlier and that it almost died outside in the Texas heat.  I finally replanted it!
I started by cutting off some of the only green leaves left.  Believe me when I say, there were NOT many to choose from.  I made sure I cut off pieces that have new growth and have branched out.  I placed them in a glass of water.  They grew roots within a couple of weeks.  You can see the white roots in the pictures below.


I took each of the pieces and planted them all in the same pot, making a circle out of all the pieces.  Voila!  My cactus plant is looking great again.  And this time, I'm keeping it inside the house.


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