Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Stitch Fix Take 2

 Just before Thanksgiving I received my second Stitch Fix box. (I really need to take a picture of the box next time before I open it and as I'm opening it.) Oh the anticipation of opening the box and finding out what treasures might be inside. I was not disappointed.

What is Stich Fix and How does it Work?

The items were all great. In the end I ended up only keeping two items. With Christmas just around the corner, I needed to make sure I wasn't over spending. I wanted to buy a nice gift for the husband and it takes me a longggggg time to save a little since I don't work outside the home. 

The first item I decided to keep was this beautiful necklace. My five year old thought it was so beautiful that I had to keep it. This was $26.

The next item was something I had requested. I wanted a jean jacket or blazer that could be dressed up or down. I knew this was going to be spendy and it was at $88. 

The next item I returned. I liked these pants but at $98 I needed to love them and so did my husband. When I tried them on to show him, he said they looked like the yoga pants I wear around the house. That made my decision much easier. I liked how they fit. It had a high waist to help slim and smooth everything out. If they were half the price I would have kept them for sure.
 These two sweaters seemed really nice. I really liked the black sweater but it had a little hole in it and I'm paying too much money for holes in clothes. The other sweater was soft and had there not been a weird ridge on the arms, I might have kept this too. The sweaters were $58 and $68.

 Even though I didn't keep three items, I was still very happy with what I received. I have enjoyed trying on things from my own home and being able to take time to decide if I like the items, rather then the few minutes in the dressing room you usually get. 

If you are still thinking about trying Stitch Fix, I'd love if you sign up through my link here. Since we are a one income family, money is tight and I pay for my own clothes through what little extra money I am able to bring in. With each referral I get a $25 credit once the first Fix is placed. Most of my wardrobe still consists of Old Navy sale items that look awful. I really would love to have a few more classic items of quality in my closet.

Friday, December 12, 2014


 Someday the clothes will all be washed and put away, but the closets will be empty.

Someday the house will be quite, but there will no longer be the laughter of children that makes me smile.

Someday there won't be toys all over the house, but the house will feel like an empty tomb.

Someday dishes will always be clean, but the dishes will collect dust as they sit there waiting for someone to use them.

Someday my food bill will be almost nothing, but no one will be there to share the meals I make. 

Someday I won't be a the "soccer" mom hauling kids everywhere, but I won't get to watch them with pride and say to other parents, "That's my kid!".

Someday I will look back and wish I had more time with my kids. This time with them is precious. 

Today is the day to be OK with the things that can bring me down. 

Today is the day to appreciate all the gifts that have been given me.

Today is the day to hug and kiss your children and thank God they are in your lives. 

Tomorrow you can enjoy the peace and joy that comes when you raise your kids to love God and love others.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Reading Out Loud is . . .

In one of my early childhood classes in college, my professor had one saying we all heard daily: "Reading out loud is the single most important thing you can do for a child." When it comes to their education I really do have to agree. Reading opens so many doors, and children who struggle in reading tend to struggle in most all areas of school.

Unless the child has a disability that interferes with reading ability, children who struggle often struggle because they were not read to at home. Just like many things kids learn there are stages to reading that can't be skipped. 
  1. Kid's learn what a book is and how fun it is
  2. They learn that the pages have something meaningful
  3. They learn how to hold it the right way and turn the pages to make a story
  4. Finally they learn that the scribbles on the page mean something. This is the point they are ready to learn to how to read. 
Imagine if they went to kindergarten not having been read a book? 

What should you read to your child? Everything and anything you can get your hands on. One of the great things about being a parent is knowing what your child is interested in. Teachers can't know everything about your child and can't customize reading to fit your child's need, but you as a parent can.

In our house we read picture books for fun and for information. My four year old is very interested in a spider book now and her Bible. My oldest is interested in easy readers since she can read some of the words on the page. Picture books is where I let them be in control of what we read. 

My girls are currently 5, 4, and 3. Guess what we read at night? Before bed we read a short devotion from a princess devotional and a chapter book. If it's my husband's night to read, they read something he has picked out. Currently it's an Usborne girl story book, but in the past they've read The Bernstein Bears (chapter books), Magic School Bus and so many others. On my night's (Mon-Fri) we are reading through the Little House Series. Currently we are reading By the Shores of Silver Lake and the girls are loving it. 

Now I'm sure your wondering if they actually listen and understand chapter books. Well the answer is yes and no. Yes the 5 year old listens, understands, and remembers. The 4 year old listens most of the time, understands some and is curious about some things, and sort of remembers. The little one will usually sit quietly and listen.

So what's the point of reading to the younger ones if they barely remember and understand? The purpose is to train them to sit and listen and retain. It's a skill that has to be developed. We have been reading chapter books for 2 years now and you can slowly see the abilities in sitting still, listening and comprehension increasing. Vocabulary also increases since they are exposed to more complicated language then you find in typical picture books.

As a family we are closer. Spending that time reading together is a memory they will always cherish. It is one of my favorite childhood memories. It is something that brings us together at the end of a long day. 

So don't be afraid to pick up books that are slightly above their reading level. Spend some quality time with your kids and help them become lifelong readers. 

Here is my list of book recommendations to get you started:
  • Little House Series
  • Chronicles of Narnia
  • Harry Potter
  • The Secret Garden 
  •  Adventures in Odyssey book series
  • Micheal Vey by Richard Paul Evans
  • Lion of War series by Cliff Graham (about King David's Mighty Men)
  • The Boxcar Children
I'd love to hear what you like to read with your kids. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Stitch Fix

Last month I signed up for Stitch Fix and last week I got my first box in the mail. Stitch Fix is a personal shopper for you. 

How it works:
  1. Fill out a style profile. Tell them what you like or don't like, body type, what you are looking for, and if you have Pintrest you can link up a board of what you like for your stylist to view.
  2. Schedule a Fix. (It arrives about a month out)
  3. $20 stylist fee is charged, BUT you get that as a credit when you pay for your clothes. 
  4. In about a month you will receive a package of 5 items picked especially for you. You have three days to try them on and think about what you are going to keep.
  5. Then you log on and check out. You will have a chance to tell your stylist what you liked/didn't like about each item.
  6. Send back anything you don't want to keep in a return envelop postage paid. 
 I have to say that I was thrilled with my box. I didn't keep everything because two items didn't fit well. If I had purchased all items, I would have gotten a 25% discount on my total order.

Here is what I kept:

Here is what I returned:

The items I returned because they just didn't fit right. Items are chosen from several different boutiques so finding the right size may not be a guarantee, although they will do their best.

As you will notice, they don't send five items to make an outfit but they send five individual items for you to create a wardrobe with what is already in your closet. What they do send you are stylist cards so you can get ideas on how to use your item to create an outfit. 
This is the first time I really spent money on my wardrobe. Most all my clothes were bought off the clearance rack and after a few washes, they no longer fit well. These are higher end clothes that should last awhile.

My shirts were both $48 and my scarf was $28. It may seem high if you are a clearance shopper, but if you shop JCPenny's or Herbergers these prices are pretty normal. 

If you think this is something you would like to try out please use my referral link. I get a credit for every new person who signs up through my link. I'm a stay at home mom so a little extra money for clothes will really help my family out. Check out Stitch Fix now.

Friday, October 17, 2014

My Baby!

I realized the other day that I have not written a post on my "baby's" birth. She turned three in August, so I guess she really isn't a baby anymore.

Her birth story is by far the most unique of the three girls. It started when my then baby was three months old. She had whooping cough, I had whooping cough, and neither of us were sleeping. It was a long recovery for her and in the middle I find out I'm pregnant again. We were not planning or trying to get pregnant again. I took the pregnancy test on Christmas Eve and it should have been exciting, but my husband received a call the same day that the house we were trying to purchase fell through. Here we are planning on moving into this new house in days, our current house rented out, and no where to go. Thankfully my parents had room for us until we were able to find a new house.

I was not happy about being pregnant, although I did want more kids. Now was not when I planned to have another one. I didn't want anyone to know. I just needed time to deal with everything that was going on in my life and then I added guilt of not wanting her yet and not loving my baby instantly like I did with the other two. It was so hard emotionally, especially when I know couples who want kids and have lost them. I didn't want my baby then. I just couldn't handle it emotionally.

As the next couple months went by, I started losing a lot of weight fast. I couldn't eat much and was so tired and stressed. My little one with whooping cough could only sleep up to two hours at a time. Looking back I know God had a plan for my family and it included another little girl. I should have miscarried but God watched over us and protected us. 

After about three months I was finally in a place emotionally where I could be excited about another baby. My little one was starting to get over the whooping cough, I stopped nursing her, she was sleeping more, and we were moving into a new house.

 At eight months pregnant, my little one was breach. I was scheduled for an inversion (where the doctor attempts to turn the baby so they can drop into the birth canal). The doctor successfully turned her, and as he walks out of the room, she turns back to a breach position. He comes back turns her again successfully. By the time I got home, guess what? She was breach again.

This sent me back the next week to try again to turn the baby. Doctor was able to turn her again successfully only to have her turn back to breach just outside the hospital. 

I was frustrated and a little scared. With a one year old and a 2 1/2 year old I really didn't want a c-section. I knew my husband only had 5 vacation days and I'd need more then a week worth of help. 

Now I'm two weeks before my due date and my doctor decided we should try to turn the baby one more time and then induce me. After looking at options, this seemed the safest for both of us. 

One week before my due date my husband and I went in to the hospital. My doctor was able to turn her, induce me, and an hour later she broke my water. That afternoon we welcomed our baby girl into the world. 

Yet the story isn't over. As she's coming out, I see the doctor push the med student out of the way, grab the baby, and rush her to the warming bed. Within minutes our room had several nurses crowding around our little one. 

As she was coming out, she had been tangled up in the umbilical cord and it had broke. She lost a little blood and had to be monitored for at least an hour. It consisted of blood pressure checks and some tests done. She was perfectly fine, but boy she really wanted to her entrance as dramatic as possible. 

Now she is three years old and spunky. There is always a smile on her face and she is the sweetest. We get hugs and kisses from her all the time. Her favorite toy is her doll and she has become a little mommy to it. Looking over the last three years I know God has really blessed me.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

10 Rules of Parenting

  1. No matter what game you play, your child will always win.
  2. Every Christmas, you will have a sick child.
  3. They will take long naps only when you need them up so you can go somewhere.
  4. Toys will never be picked up.
  5. There is no dish fairy. Never again will you be able to have all dishes clean and put away. 
  6. Even if you send them to the bathroom before you leave the house, one will always yelling they have to PEEEEEE 5 minutes down the road.  
  7. Every time you sit down on the toilet, check and double check before you sit.
  8.  You will never shower or pee without an audience. 
  9.  No matter how much extra time you allow to get somewhere, you will be late.
  10. Your kids will make you laugh and cry, pull out your hair and weep for joy. There is no greater joy then being a parent. 

What are your rules for parenting?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

What do you want to show me?

I've heard of people picking a verse that guides them for the year. I think it's a great idea. I did not do that, however one was picked for me. Every so often the same verse keeps coming to my head:
"My Grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 11:22
I've really been wondering why has this been coming back to me. I'm not in the middle of a major crisis. My life is at a time of peace. Well it is but I am struggling with something. Something I'm somewhat aware of but I keep pushing it aside. I'm dealing with the perfection complexion. I am striving to be the perfect mom who doesn't need help and can do it on her own. Secretly I am overwhelmed and slightly depressed. I end up shutting down and not wanting to do what I know is important. 

God is reminding me that I don't need to be perfect. This verse goes against everything our culture is teaching us. Weakness is bad. Weakness is looked so unfavorably that it brings people to bully others. 

In our weakness God makes us stronger. Does he give the weak little guy some new muscles or does he give him a brain that will cure cancer. How about the the alcoholic? Will his strength come from someone who knows what he is going through and can be there for him when he feels weak? Where does strength come from for the mom that doesn't want people to know how weak she feels? This week it came in the form of other women who have a heart for girls and are able to come together with a common goal and know God put us together to support one another and build each other up. 

God gives us strength even when we don't ask for it. He puts people in our lives to give us strength. He gives us his spirit to feel His peace that surrounds us. Being weak is not a bad thing. Being weak gives us a chance to see what God can do in our lives. 

I may not be going through a deep valley where I can't see my way out, but God is showing me what I need now. He has always known what I need and He is providing it. I am weak and I'm ok with that. With God I will be stronger then I ever could on my own.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Night Time Terror, Night Time Delight

One of the best and worst times of my day is usually bed time. It can go one of two ways: a complete nightmare or a great delight. Today I am thankful to say it has been much more of a delight. 

About 8 months out of the year my husband isn't around Monday through Friday because he works very long hours, so I put all three girls to bed myself. I have had to find creative ways to get them all into bed, which seems to change continually. 

In the past some of our nights have been terrors literally. My oldest had night terrors as an infant. The second had whopping cough at three months and spent the next four months in our bed waking every 45 minutes. The third didn't stop nursing during the night until about 17 months and then finally started sleeping through the night every once and awhile.

Getting the girls to bed has had a lot of ups and downs. I am very thankful my oldest has been very easy. She listens, gets dressed, goes potty, jumps in bed and falls asleep. The middle has been the hardest. When she was in the crib I could put a blanket over her head (I know this sounds weird and unsafe, but she started doing it herself around age one and that's how she would sleep) and she'd fall sleep. Once she got the toddler bed, it was a different story.

 I first started rocking her, then she just needed to be tucked in. Soon she was having a hard time staying in her room so I put the baby gate up and she'd just knock it down. Then I would lock her in the room and sit outside until the crying stopped and unlock the door. Next I tried massaging her arms and legs. That really helped relax her and sometimes fell asleep. Now she has a weighted blanket that helps relax her and I sometimes need to sit by her and sing for a bit.

Our current routine has been working very well for us lately and it has made our nights a true delight. After getting the older girls in jamies, they get in bed with a few books in their containers and can read until I get back down. I take the little one up and get her ready for bed. She has her own routine which consists turning off the light, closing the door, rocking with me, and singing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star". Then on nights that aren't too late, I read a chapter in the book we are reading which is currently "Little House on the Prairie".

I hope if you are having a tough time with your kids at night this post will help encourage you. There is no doubt that you will have times that are tough and you may want to cry, but know this: There will also be times where you get to kiss your little ones good night or rock your little and just know that you are blessed. You will get to feel that you can finally relax and enjoy the time of peace and quite and now that no one is going to need your attention. There will be good times.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Our Kindergarten Curriculum

No matter if you are a well seasoned home school parent or a beginner the one question everyone always asks is what curriculum are you using. So for those who are curious I will share that information with you today.

In searching for curriculum I found that a whole curriculum didn't work for us. I know families that love Sonlight and My Father's World and other whole package curriculum and it works well with their families. For me, I knew that wouldn't work as well. I have a background in teaching and don't feel I need something so scripted. My background in special education has given me the ability to adapt curriculum for the individual child, which I will need to do for my own kids since they are very different learners. 

What we have ended up with is a bit of a hodge podge. I've taken from several different places. I will start preschool with the two younger in the fall because they want the school time too. It establishes the routine early for them as they are a year apart and will continue to do reading and math together for the next several years. We will use the Horizons preschool for 4 year olds. 
Together all three will do social studies and science and we notebook for those subjects. It is simple and easy topics that they want to know more about.  At night we are reading through the Little House Series. We pick and choose things that interest them with in the book to talk about during the day. They are very curious about how different things were back then and I want to cultivate that interest. 

Science we are talking about dinosaurs. They are curious about the different kinds and love seeing the pictures of skeletons. Each dinosaur has a page in their notebook with a picture of the dinosaur and the skeleton along with something they learned about it. 

We also do experiments from time to time using Clifford Science Kits. These are great simple experiments for little ones. Before the experiment begins the girls are to predict what might happen and draw a picture. At the end they tell what happened and draw a picture. This has been a lot of fun. 
For our Kindergartener we have chosen Spelling U See, Logic of English, and Math U See. All have worked really well for her so far. 

Spelling U See focuses on the visual part of spelling. Since we don't spell phonically most of the time, Spelling U See doesn't focus only on that part past the first level. There isn't meaningless word lists that the student will memorize and then forget. The lessons are short 10 minutes and focus on reading, copywork, listening, and speaking. My kindergartener actually likes spelling, and is cruising through the program. What I like about it most is that my other two will probably need to go through it slower and this has the ability to really benefit those students who struggle with spelling.

Math U See is similar in the fact that students do better when they can use as many senses as possible. It also focuses on mastery, which is really important to me. This is different then most curriculum used in schools today. Schools use a spiral approach where they will introduce and then reintroduce the next year. Math U See believes in mastery so that if you can count, you can add. If you can add, you can multiply and so on. Students have a video to introduce each new lesson, manipulatives, and work book pages. Students work as fast or slow as needed.

English of Logic is a phonics, reading, spelling, and handwriting program. Although we are already using a spelling program, we use the spelling portion to practice reading words and writing them. We have chosen the cursive program and I'm very surprised how well she is doing with both reading and writing cursive. What I like about this program is that it teaches specific phonograms instead of briefly teaching what sounds letters make. We blend words and chunks, play phonogram games, and practice different fonts that the letters may make. It is a very well rounded program that uses as many senses as possible to help students learn. 

All three of these programs I chose because they are based on ability levels and not grade levels. Each focus on mastery. My girls will be able to move through the levels at the pace that is best for them. My oldest will probably move much faster then the other two because of her learning style, but I believe these curriculums are set up in a way that not only cater to many different learning styles but also at different learning speeds. There is no pressure to finish by a certain time so that they can start at the next grade on time.

If your homeschooling I'd love to hear what you are using and what you love about it. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Few of My Favorite Things for Baby

There are a few things I absolutely loved having when my girls were babies. Today I want to share two of my favorites.

 The first thing is called Milkies Milk-Saver Breast Milk Collector. This is so amazing. I found out about this product just before I had my third daughter. I had mastitis with both my other girls even though I did everything right.  When I found this product I was hoping that it would prevent mastitis.

How it works is simple. You insert over the nipple on the side you are not nursing. When your milk lets down, you collect in the Milkies allowing your breast to drain naturally. Most mornings I was able to collect around 4 oz or more. I rarely had to pump and still had plenty of milk stored up.


 Another thing I love is my cloth diapers. I started using them when my oldest had just turned two, my second was about 7 months old, and I was pregnant with the third. It started using them because I wanted to save money. We were spending $80 a month on disposables and cloth only cost us a few hundred for several years.

At first I wasn't sure but was willing to give it a try. The more I used them, the more I started falling in love with them. The poop didn't bother me because I learned shortly the I had worse poop messes with disposables. The washing didn't bother me either. It just became part of the routine and I never really noticed the extra laundry. It ended up being easier then I ever thought. 

(contains affiliate link)

What did you or do you use that you love for your baby?

Microwave Kool-Aid Playdough

Kid's love play-dough, but it can be expensive to keep play-dough stocked. Growing up it was one of my sister and my favorite activities. My girls are no different. They can sit and play for an hour.

My mom always made play dough from scratch. I can remember her standing over the stove making us a new batch of play dough. 

In High School I helped out in a special education preschool room. Several times during the year I made play dough for the kids. The teacher had a great recipe that could be made in the microwave and used Kool aid. I thought it was a much better recipe then the one my mom made. It smells so good and is so easy you can make it almost anywhere. 

Now that I am a mom, this is the recipe we use in our house. I makes a large batch of play dough, so all the girls have plenty to play with. 

Microwave Kool Aid Play Dough

2 cups flour
1 cup salt
2 Tbs oil
4 tsp Cream of Tartar
2 cups water
1 pkg of kool aid

Mix all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Heat water and oil to boiling in a microwave safe bowl. When cool to the touch, mix together. Knead as it cools till it is all mixed and smooth.  

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Potty Training Woes

I have now potty trained all three of my girls successfully. I can now tell you that you can read all the wonderful books, blogs, and articles you want but nothing will really prepare you for potty training. 

Let me tell you that everyone makes it look so easy and maybe it is for them. But all kids are different, so your child may be easy or maybe not. Let me tell you how different mine were.

First I will tell you I did use the boot camp method with all three at some point. This was the most effective way to train. They got underwear and potty breaks every 15 minutes to start. The time gradually turned into every couple hours after about a month. They all started somewhere between 2 and 3 years old.

My first was the easiest. By day three she successfully peed and pooped in the potty. After that it was easy until about a year later when she was constantly having accidents. It was her not wanting to take a break and go to the bathroom. I took away her dress up clothes since they were important to her and I was tired of washing them. Every time she went in the potty she got one back and when she had an accident, one was taken away. Within a month she was back to being accident free. 

The second was the hardest. She had no desire to be clean and would play in her wet clothes after her accident. It was very frustrating and I just couldn't get her to care. For about 6 months I was cleaning her up several times a day. She rarely went a whole day without having an accident and NEVER pooped in the potty. 

I tried rewarding her but nothing seemed to work. We even gave her a Barbie when she finally pooped on the potty. Finally I decided to take away her My Little Pony's every time she had an accident. Like her sister, she could earn them back by going in the potty. Again like her sister, after a month she was accident free and finally pooping on the potty. 

The third was in between the two. She learned quickly how to pee in the potty and had no desire to use the potty chair but instead the big potty (we have one of the seats that has a built in child seat). It took her a few months to finally poop on the potty. The crazy thing is, it took us going on vacation to get her to start pooping on the potty. She went at our hotel, at her aunt and uncle's house, and at gas stations. For most of our trip she stayed dry. It has now been two months and she has had very few accidents. 

In my experience potty training takes work. It is so worth it once they are trained but it is much harder then most want to admit. It's ok if your child is taking a long time to learn. It's ok if you feel like it will never end. You are not alone. It will end eventually and it does get better eventually. 

I'd love to hear your stories. What worked for you? What kind of crazy stories do you have? 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The 5 Love Lanuages of Children

Do you love your child? I mean really love your child they way they need to be loved? I didn't really understand what my child needed to feel loved until I read The 5 Love Languages of Children.

There was so much I learned, I could never list it all. I can say that I now understand my children much better. When we have poor behavior I take a moment to reflect on if I've been feeding their love bank.

The 5 Love Languages are: 
  • Touch
  • Quality Time
  • Gifts
  • Words of Affirmation
  • Acts of Service

My oldest has the love language of gifts. Anything can be a gift and she has so much joy. The hard thing with gifts is that I really need to make sure that I am still showing her love with all love languages or she will see gifts as empty. 

The middle is very much words of affirmation. She is very emotional when she is told she has done something wrong. She needs to be encouraged often as her ability to do something depends on that encouragement.

Our youngest is a touch girl. She is content and always has been content to just sit on my lap for long periods of time. She also has to have a paci and blanket even though she's almost three. When she is having a bad day, it is often because we have not had enough cuddle time. 
After reading this book, my relationship with my children has really changed. I feel more in tune to their needs. There is very practical advice for each love language. Their love language may change over years, but I have a guide to meet those needs.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Earn money with Bing and Swagbucks

 (Contains Referral Links)

Have you heard and signed up for Bing Rewards yet? I signed up about a year ago. I earn points by searching and turn them into gift cards. Everery time I get on my computer I spend a few minutes searching under Bing. I earn at least 16 points and now Bing rewards will reward you for searching on your phone too. Now you have the ability to earn at least 26 points. Additional points can also be earned by referring a friend.

What's really great is that I earn points on Swagbucks too. Recently Bing added Swagbucks as a reward.  I take my 500 Swagbucks and use 450 to purchase an Amazon gift card. Woo-hoo 50 Swagbucks left over!

Over the past year I have used my gift cards on Amazon to purchase Home school items along with other little things for me and my family. I've tried the surveys and other ways to make a little extra cash and this has been by far the easiest. It takes a few minutes a day but adds up over time. I'm not making much but every little bit helps.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Book Review: Reshaping it All

If you grew up in the 90s you know who Candace Cameron Bure is. Very few kids went through the 90s never seeing an episode of Full House. 

Back in November I had the privilege to hear Candace speak at a women's conference. She is very refreshing coming from the mad mad world that is Hollywood. Most stars are out of touch with the average person, never really being able to relate with normal hard working people. Most child stars end up messed up with drugs, alcohol, and very unsafe lifestyles. 

Candace is very different then the average Hollywood actress. She will be the first to tell you that she's not perfect. Every day is filled with mistakes. Reshaping it All is about her journey of faith, food, and constant struggle.

What I liked most about the book was the fact that she has practical advice but it isn't a how to on weight loss. What it really comes down to is your attitude and what are you going to do to make God the center instead of food.

It will make you feel encouraged and not alone in your struggles.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Life is Made of Valleys

I have to admit that there are some days that social media is a curse, but if you are looking in the right places it can also be a blessing. Once again I am participating in an on-line Bible study. It is a blessing to get to know other women who are so like you and going through the same struggles. 

The current study is by Derwin L. Gray called Limitless Life. This is my third study and am very excited for what this might bring. 

One thing I've learned over the past few years is that life is full of valleys. In order for us to really grow in our relationship with God and others you can't just stay on the plains. Even when you do, a valley comes out of no where. 

Some of the most challenging months of my life were three years ago. In one day my life turned upside down. I found out I was pregnant and within a few hours we found out we lost the house we had already started moving in to. On top of that our 5 month old was still recovering from whooping cough and could only sleep for about 45 minutes before being woken from a coughing fit. I was tired, losing weight, and felt totally out of control of my entire life.

I can tell you I've never prayed like I did those few months. It was really the first time I felt like things were so out of control that I had no choice but to give it to God. I remember vividly watching my sleeping daughter and praying that God would be with her and heal her. Feeling that out of control put me in a place I've never been before and had I not went through that experience, I would never had known what peace feels like when you no longer need to control everything. 

The label MOM has been mine for the past 5 years. There are times I feel that's all I am, but I feel like I can now embrace that label and be the mom God wants me to be. My kids have given me purpose. I'm here as their mom to guide them. I know now how precious time with them is. My label is one of the best I could have after Daughter of the King. God's given me a label to be proud of.

My valley taught me so much. My relationship with God and my family are the most important things and the only things that will last.

Your valley will bring to closer to God if you let it. It can also bury you. God is there and just waiting for you to ask for help and what's more, He is already there with you even before you ask. He will never leave you nor forsake you. 

Your life will have valleys. Some will make you feel trapped and others will give you hope. You are meant to be there for a time. You are meant to grow as a child of The Most High God. 

When you come out of the valley, look back on your journey. See where you struggled and where you let God work. Look carefully where He carried you and guided you. He was with you the whole time.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Why Homeschool? Part 2

In April I attended my first homeschool conference. It was a wonderful experience for me personally. I already had an idea of what I wanted for my soon to be kindergartener. But after my sessions and browsing the curriculum, I was able to decide on what I feel is going to be the best and easiest for our family. 

I didn't think it would be so easy. So many said it will be overwhelming but with my background in education, I didn't find it so overwhelming. I knew what would work for my kids and what wouldn't. I don't say this to brag to those who don't find it so easy, but to tell you how thankful I am for all those hours spent in a classroom, studying in my room, testing, and volunteering in different schools.

I walked away Saturday afternoon feeling confident in our choice to homeschool and with another long list of reasons to homeschool. Here are the main ones I felt I needed to add to my first list reasons to homeschool.

  1. Minnesota has just passed an anti-bullying law. We can all agree that bullying is wrong but you can't legislate behavior. It has to be taught in the home. This law is dangerous and takes away parents rights and invades private property. The lawyer discussing the law told parents to teach their kids this phrase if ever taken into police custody before talking,"Call my mom." The main problem with this law is that the state can discipline the child how they see fit rather than the schools are parents.
  2. Homeschooling provides flexibility, schools do not. My oldest is a very motivated learner and flies through her work. She has a desire to do more then one lesson a day. My other two aren't quite as motivated. My middle needs confidence in what she's doing or she shuts down and stops trying. She is very smart. If she can observe and then try when she is ready, she is very successful and maintains what she learns. Homeschooling gives me the chance to pick and choose curriculum that works best for my kids. If it doesn't work I have the choice to pick a different curriculum. If you have a child who is struggling in school and hating it, there is no choice in different curriculum. Since they are accommodating so many students they have to pick what they feel will work best for most.
  3. Testing. After working in the schools and seeing the changes in law which increase the amount of standardize testing, it makes me so frustrated with what we have allowed our government to decide for our kids. Just before the testing, teachers take a couple weeks to go over what might be on the test instead of focusing on what they still need to master. They teach to the test rather than teach for mastery. Homeschoolers are currently required in Minnesota to test once a year from age 7-16 and report to the district that they tested. Results stay in the hands of parents and have no effect on anything except maybe seeing where your child might be lacking. I am not worried about this because most curriculum I have purchased will be a year or so ahead of tests aligned with Common Core.
  4. Family connectedness. One thing I heard from several people is that homeschool conference, is that homeschooling allowed them to be a very close family. When the kids were in school all day and only home for a few hours, there was little communication between family members and little relationship building. Your kids friends will come and go but family will always be present. Those who experience strain in family relationships know first hand how precious those relationships are.
  5. Since we parents spend most of our time with our children we become the most influential model for behavior in their lives. My husband noticed one time when we were with friends how much more behaved our girls were. Ours were the only ones not in daycare. I'm not saying daycare is wrong but you can see when one adult is in charge of several children, how the behavior they imitate is not the adult but peers because they see more peer behavior then adult. This is the same in public schools. I want my kids to be respectful to others, caring, generous, hard-working, diligent, and so much more. I truly believe they cannot learn this as well in any other environment but our loving home. 
 As you can see I learned a lot about why homeschooling is so important for my kids and my family. God gave me reassurances I needed and I saw my husband go from reluctant to somewhat interested in how this is going to work. Although he'd love to save money and just send them to school, especially since we already pay for it, he is seeing more value in homeschooling. Yes we could save money and yes I could have at least a part time job, but this is about our kids spiritual well being not about our temporary comfort.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Weekly Goals

This Weeks Goals:


  • Practice the piano for 2 hours this week
  • Participate in Living So That Bible Study from Proverbs 31 Ministries
  • Read one chapter in No More Perfect Kids, Dare to Discipline, The Purpose of Love and Marriage, Balancing it All
  • Run/walk 5 days 
  • Read every night with the girls (Current Chapter Book: On the Banks of Plum Creek)
  • Game night (or some other family activity at night)
 Around the house

  • Keep kitchen clean every night
  • Work on the 3 year old's quilt 
  • Write one book review
  • Write one DIY around the kitchen post 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Minnesota to Arizona

Vacation time!!!!!! We so needed a break from the cold cold extremely cold temperatures and constant snow we have had in Minnesota this year. We are crazy of course and drove all the way to Arizona. We left around 4:00PM on Sunday after we had an early supper.

Driving through the night makes the trip go much faster. No needing to entertain kids for hours on end.

 Monday morning we saw the sunrise in beautiful Colorado Springs. We planned to spend two days enjoying
the area so after breakfast we enjoyed a nice, warm, sunny, and beautiful morning at the Garden of the Gods.

 The afternoon was spent exploring the Cliff Dwellings, The Ghost Town Museum, and swimming at the hotel.
 The next day we spent 4 hours enjoying the Focus on the Family Visitor Center. Including lunch at Whit's End. If you ever get to Colorado Springs this is a must. There are two different play areas, one for the older kids and one for the four and under crowd. My five year old's favorite part was the three story slide she could go down by herself. Of course we couldn't leave without checking out the bookstore.
Our last stop in Colorado Springs was the Pioneer Museum. With our 5 year old having a strong interest in that era, thanks to The Little House series, we were able to spend time showing her things that she was really interested in. The last room was for the little ones. It had a covered wagon, tepee and train for the kiddos to play in. They had a lot of fun interacting with the tepee and toys inside.
 After Colorado we drove through the night and arrived in Arizona the next morning. The next week was filled with time at a gymnastics place, swimming in the pool, lunch at Chick-fel-A (twice!), exploring the Children's Museum, and the zoo.

Of course the best part was being able to spend time with family. The girls loved being able to spend time with their cousin, aunt, and uncle and of course my husband and I did too. 
We were happy to finally be heading home at the end of 9 days. We had a great time and I know the girls were really missing their cousin, but vacation can't last forever (and I don't think I could handle that).