Sunday, January 31, 2016

Weekly Wrap-Up...Nothing ever goes as planned

Nothing ever goes as planned. That's kind of the story of my life. I don't necessarily mind it on the small things like this week. It's really one of the reasons I love homeschool. If everything went exactly how I'd planned it to go, then it would be boring.

Edyn and I were both a little under the weather this week, so I don't have many cool things to share. It was kind of a boring week, hence the didn't go as planned title.

Monday we decided to start our day off at the park. It has been a beautiful week here in Texas. While a lot of people were digging themselves out of snow, we were having 70 degree sunshine. Why can't it be that way all year long here in Texas? We got to our favorite park that's right next to our favorite library. It's the best. We even brought a picnic lunch to have. We had been there maybe 5 minutes and Gav met a sweet little 4 year old girl who gave him a run for his money. She was so sweet and outgoing and totally didn't mind playing with the big kids. They took off for their first slide of the day, and she comes to me and says, "Something happened. He got stung by a bee." My heart drops because of course I didn't have any Benadryl with me and Gav tends to be allergic to...the world. He had never been stung by a bee, so I throw them all in the car and run down to the store and buy some Benadryl. We met a really nice lady while in line and learned out to apply tobacco to the sting. I had always heard something about that, but wasn't sure what the protocol was. She ripped open a cigarette and pasted it on his hand. He got stung in between his fingers so that was a horrible spot. Between the tobacco and the Benadryl he was fine. He was very tired so we went to the grocery store and headed home.

Like I said, Edyn and I weren't feeling our best so we kind of had an easy week. We did our normal math and reading, but we got to enjoy our new audio adventure by Heirloom Audio. Wow, we are loving it! I don't want to give anything away, and I will be doing a review on it soon. All I'm going to say is we can't wait to order the rest!

We continued to work on our Homeschool in the Woods Hands on History Lap-Pak about elections. The kids are really enjoying it and have learned all about the branches of government this week. I am also going to be going into detail soon about it with another review soon! You all will love it!

So, after a kind of off week, my husband decided that he wanted to take the kids to a new ice cream shop called Subzero. Wow, is it neat! They start with the base which can be cream, custard, yogurt, or even vegan or lactose free versions. You get to pic the flavoring and mix-ins, and then they shoot it with liquid nitrogen! It is super cool. The kids learned that it's -321 degrees and that if they don't keep stirring it around, then it will just freeze into a big block. It was some of the best ice cream I've ever had, and we can't wait to go back.

So, now it's time to prepare for this week. I am looking forward to some new things we are going to try. We are hoping to start adding in some Charlotte Mason methods this week, plus we are looking forward to discussing The Dragon and the Raven even more. I hope everyone has a blessed week!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Blogging through the Alphabet...M is for Making time for ME.

So this week's letter is the letter M, and I was really having trouble deciding on what to write about. As I was trying to think of every word that started with the letter M, I thought of the word "me." Of course, I brushed that off quickly because I am not going to write about me. As I thought about it some more, I reminded myself how lately I have really been trying to make more time for myself. This is something I struggle with all of the time. I have 4 kids, 3 that still live with me, plus my husband, and I realized that at the end of the day, I hardly ever take time to do things for myself that I need to do. Who has time left over in the day when you are being tugged in all directions, all day long?  Those 4 kids, my husband, and now my grand-doll are my life. I live everyday for those people. I'm not concerned with myself because I'm happy as long as they are happy, right?

The only problem with that is, of course, I wear myself thin. That's not helping anyone when I'm tired, cranky, aggravated, and just overwhelmed. Mom's need time for themselves to recharge and rest, all without feeling guilty. I have always had a problem with that...feeling guilty. How can I sit, read, and actually ENJOY a book or movie, while there's still laundry to be done, meals to be planned, and also cooked. After we have school, I really try to get chores done, but sometimes I just don't get it all done. That's when the guilt shows up. I can't sit still and enjoy whatever it is I'm trying to do because I feel like there's so much just sitting and begging for me to come do it.

Well guess what? As my granny used to tell me, "It will still be there in the morning." I do this all to myself. I stress about everything being done and perfect, and with 5 people in the house that's just not going to happen. Things are going to be spilled, plates are going to be dirtied, and laundry is still going to pile up. Even if I think it's all done, it will only last a few minutes around here, and THAT is something I had to come to terms with. Between homeschool, breakfast, homeschool, lunch, laundry, sweeping, mopping, dusting, cleaning, there's only one me, and a lot of that. My kids help, but I am also bad about, "just let me do it". I am getting better with that though and letting my kids and husband take the reigns. If it's not exactly how I would have done it, oh well, it's done right?  My husband puts no expectations on me, and for that I am so blessed and grateful. He doesn't expect perfection of me. He knows I work hard and he knows I do what I do for them. He loves me for that, so if he has to get his towel out of a basket that day, he's cool with that. He's just thankful it's clean.

With that being said, I'm really trying to take time for myself everyday. I want to really take time to get into my bible and journal. That's so important to me. Blogging is also one of the things I enjoy for myself so as you can see, I've already started. I also crochet, which is something that makes me super happy. I'm not hiding, I'm right out in the open having time for myself. I've even told the kids to hold on a sec, if I'm in the middle of a page I'm reading, or if I'm in the middle of blogging. It's not going to hurt them to wait a second! When I take a shower, I take my sweet time to shower, wash my hair, do my skin routine, and make-up. It doesn't have to be a mascara and lip gloss day everyday because it takes more time to put on a full face. Who cares! Does it make you feel better? Then take the extra time and do it.

Moms, you're not being selfish by doing something that makes YOU happy. Don't feel guilty that you are reading a book that YOU enjoy, or a movie that YOU want to watch. Frozen doesn't have to be on 24/7. Let it go. Pick up that adult coloring book and your new colored pencils, put on some Mumford and Sons and relax! Seek some time for yourself to recharge and I promise you will be a better mom and wife for it.

If you would like to read other "Blogging through the Alphabet" posts or link up your own, click the pic below.

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Last week's post:
L is for Love

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Weekly Wrap-Up...Getting back on Schedule

This was a week that I was so happy to get back to. After our last couple of weeks full of crazies and stomach bugs, I was very excited to finally see Monday of this week. We got back to a schedule this week, and that makes me ecstatic. My kids actually crave a schedule. They want to get up, have breakfast, and then have their day completely lined out for them. We haven't been on a schedule since before the holidays. I'm really trying to get the kids, well all of us honestly, completely organized again. We were for a while, but It unraveled very quick with the trips we were taking back home and then the holidays.

I started the week off by making them schedules again. Since I've been blessed with being on the Review Crew this year, I have added some things and taken away. I made a rough draft of their schedules for this week, but they will be changing quite often with the additions of more reviews I get.

We are also utilizing monthly printable course list. The kids like to check off what they've done for the week. Gavin's looks a little messy, but he knows what's going on, and I guess that's what matters lol!

We are super excited about what we have coming up!  We have started working on our study of the elections. We will be having a review coming up on this product, and we absolutely are loving it so far!

Edyn has been BEGGING for a fish. We decided that she could have one, so we headed out to Petco. She decided on a Betta fish because they are easy to take care of and beautiful. I was so proud of her because she did tons of research before she got it. I had no clue there were so many different kinds of Bettas. She got a male Delta tail, and she named him Picasso. It really fits him too with his beautiful colors. She found out that he is very photogenic too!

After getting back on schedule this week, we had an impromptu family game night. We normally do game nights on the weekend, but my hubby came home and wanted to try the new game the kids got at our family Christmas. It's called Wits and Wagers, and let me tell you, it's our new favorite game.
There are 5 personal dry erase boards. You can play singles or in teams. Someone asks a question like, "How many hot dogs does an average person eat in a year?", and you write down your answer whether it's a guess or you actually know it. After everyone has their answer written down, you place your cards down smallest number to largest. Then, everyone votes on the answer that they think is correct.  You get 2 votes, one that's worth 2 points and one that's worth 1 point. You can put them all on the same answer or split them up. The person or persons that come closest to the correct answer without going over gets the points. We have never laughed so hard on a game night. We had so much fun that we played 2 nights in a row!

So, I have to brag on Gavin a little bit. He decided that he wants to get fit, and exercise everyday. He's been going outside while I'm preparing his lunch, and also after school. He runs up and down our backyard, jumps around, and plays football with his siblings and dad. He's also trying to eat better. I love that he's wanting to do this himself!

We went out yesterday because my husband had to run to work to get an order together. We went to the library because we haven't been in months...I love the library. It's one of my happy places.  We got our bags full of books and even some movies, and headed to Michael's Craft Store. I went for the yarn sale, but couldn't find anything I liked. As I was walking to the yarn section the most awesome craft bag jumped out and screamed "BUY ME!!!" No, seriously it jumped in my basket. I was so excited because I have been wanting one for so long to organize all of our homeschool stuff like pens, pencils, scissors, markers, etc. It has all kinds of pockets and zipper and places to just stick stuff but still keep it organized. The best part about it was that it was regularly $30 and I got it for $15.  I love seeing that 50% off tag!! Here's an ok picture of it. I will take another good pic after I get it full!

Last but not least, here's a picture of us driving all around yesterday, and still not one snowflake here in Texas. :(

Friday, January 22, 2016

Blogging through the Alphabet...L is for LOVE

I was recently invited to participate in Blogging through the Alphabet. They are already on the letter "L", but I thought this would be a great way to really open myself up to some more subjects to write about.

I know it's not quite Valentine's Day yet, but this post, is all about L is for Love. It's not only going to be mushy, It's going to be dripping with sugar, and may in fact make your blood sugar go up just because it's so sweet. Just a warning.

This man. My love. My rock. My cheerleader. My husband. My everything.
He hates this picture, but my blog, and I love there.

My husband, A.J. is the picture of love. He loves unconditionally. He loves with his entire being. He loves with every fiber of his body. He works crazy long hours because he LOVES us. He puts up with a lot at his job just so that I can stay home with our kids and homeschool them. He's the best dad and now the best Pop!

Let me tell you a little of our story. I met him in 2001 when I had 3 children. I had a 6 year old, a 4 year old, and a newborn. I wasn't looking for a relationship AT ALL. I was a single mom just trying to figure out where I was supposed to go with my life now after failed relationships. I didn't want a man. I didn't want a relationship. I didn't want anything more than to just be left alone with my kids. I had moved into a little apartment with my kids until I could get on my feet and get us something more. I stayed to myself and really didn't talk to many of my neighbors. After I had been there a little while, his best friend and his wife happened to move into the apartment across from mine. I had seen A.J. several times just outside or coming and going to and from their house. Sometimes I would be outside and we would smile, but that was about it. After I had met his friends, it didn't take long before I had met him.  He seemed nice, but I wasn't looking for anything. Apparently God had different plans. A.J. would come over just to say hi and ask how we were doing.  He would play games with us, and my kids loved him. They probably knew I loved him before I knew I did. We had become great friends, and it didn't take long after that before I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I loved him. I was so mad at myself at first for falling so hard for him. This was about me and my kids at this time in my life. I didn't want a relationship. I wanted to be alone. God knew that A.J. was my soul mate...and at that time MY plan didn't matter any longer. God's plan always comes out on top.

We have had our ups and down. Our marriage hasn't been perfect. BUT, in the end our marriage has become stronger than you could imagine. Our obstacles have just added another link in our chain. He is the best daddy. We have one child together, Gavin, but he loves the others so much. It doesn't matter to him if they are his by blood or not. I heard someone quote something the other day on t.v, and I thought this fits so much. I don't even know who was saying it so I can't give recognition, but he said, "Blood is thicker than water, but Love is thicker than blood." That right there sums up my husband and his relationship with my older kids. They love each other and it doesn't matter one bit that they don't share blood. He loves them exactly the same as he does his own son. He doesn't even like to refer them any other way than his kids.

So, I just want to thank my sweet husband for everything he does for us. He is the most selfless person I know. If we want or need something, he goes out of his way to try and get it for us. He's nothing short of amazing and I am so thankful and blessed that he's mine. He is my soul mate, and my true LOVE.

If you want to link your own Blogging through the Alphabet post, click the pic below!

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Thursday, January 21, 2016

What I've been reading...Fat Dad Fat Kid

**5 stars**

If you remember, 2 weeks ago we went back to our hometown for belated Christmas. This is a 4.5 to 5 hour a car...with an 18 year old, a 14 year old, and a 10 year old. We normally listen to the radio, but it gets old with them arguing over which song they want to hear! The night before we left, Gavin said that the new Shaytards book, "Fat Dad Fat Kid", was out and we could get it free on Audible. Well since I like to crochet and read at the same time, I already have Audible. I couldn't get it free, but I had some credits that I hadn't used yet, and thought we could listen to it while we were driving on our trip. Also, let me make it clear that I wasn't given anything in exchange for my honest review this time lol, I just really enjoyed this book so I wanted to make a post about it!

Ok, so rewind back a few months ago, Gavin was watching YouTube on the big T.V. like he always does and I happened to be in the room. I started watching this family he called the Shaytards. They are a really neat family from Idaho that have been blogging their lives for years now. Before I knew it, I had sat there for at least 2 hours with him...and by this time, I was committed! The dad, Shay, is funny and loves his family. His wife Colette is his perfect match. They love each other unconditionally and you can TELL. It's not fake just to get subscribers. They really are soul mates. Their oldest son is Gavin. He is so sweet and such a good big brother to his siblings. They have 2 sweet daughters, Avia and Emmi, another precious son Brock, and the baby boy, Daxton. Here's the thing about them. They are wholesome, family centered, clean entertainment. I don't mind my kids watching them at all, and like I said, I now watch them and feel like I know them. 

Since I was now watching along with my son sometimes, I knew that Shay and Gavin were writing a book. I don't get to watch as much as Gavin because I'm a mom and super busy all of the time, so I wasn't really sure what the subject of their book was going to be. I was just excited to read it! I know from watching some of the old episodes of the Shaytards that Shay used to weigh quite a bit more than he does now. I wasn't really sure how he had lost all of the weight or really what his journey and story were all about. This book is Shay and Gavin's 30 day challenge to eating healthier and exercising 30 minutes a day. Each chapter is a "day" in their adventure but dives much deeper into their lives. Shay talks about how he had a 9-5 job before he was YouTube "famous" and how his eating habits were less than desirable. He was worried about his health and decided to embark on the life changing event of getting fit so that he could be around for a long time for his family. I loved hearing that he originally lost 100 pounds on a raw vegan diet. Since I'm a vegetarian trying to go vegan this was really inspiring to me. He's real and transparent with his addiction to Coca-Cola and talks about giving that up and that him and Gavin are trying to drink a gallon of water a day. I can honestly say this hit home with my kids. I don't keep sodas in the house, but when we go out, of course that's what they want. When they heard Shay and Gavin talking about how much sugar was in just ONE can it really made an impression on them! The entire book is perfect for kids and parents to listen to together and be inspired by!

I have to say, I'm sure this book in print is great, BUT I would listen to the audible version over and over again because Shay and Gavin are actually the ones reading it. It makes what they are saying come to life because they include their personalities in with it! It's so easy to listen to and made our trip fly by. I think it's about 4.5 hours of listening time so we almost finished it on our way. 

The thing I loved most about this book is that it was motivational not only for ME, but of course it also was inspiring for my kids. We loved them before listening to their book, but we love them even more now!

Do yourself a favor and go listen to it on Audible! You can listen to any book for free if you try it for 30 days! Also, if you want the print version, here's a link to it here. Again, I wasn't compensated in any way for my review, I just love to read and loved this book that much.

If you love to read and would like to link up your own favorite book, click the pic below!

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Monday, January 18, 2016

Bible Verse - Week 18 {{with link-up}}

If you want to link up your own bible verse follow the directions below!

ABC's and Sweet Tea

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Weekly Wrap Up - Belated Christmas, Stomach Bugs, and Thugs

So I'm going to try and start doing a Weekly Wrap-Up. This last week was full of love, exhaustion, sickness, and one of the scariest moments of my life.

If you remember, we didn't get to go home for Christmas like we had originally planned. We decided that last week was a good week to go. I would stay a week so that I could get plenty of Lolli/Mila time and A.J. would come for the weekend so that we could have family Christmas. It was also a great time to go because my sister and her kids were in from Pennsylvania. The kids and I ventured out on Thursday and it was a great drive.  We got to have dinner and visit with my family that night which was a great ending to the day.  My husband drove in the next day and we ended up at my in-laws house for the night.  We had a terrible storm come through and were without power for 3 hours. After we lit some candles we had a great time visiting and catching up.

That Sunday morning we started our belated family Christmas with a huge breakfast. My husband had to get on the road so we had to get things going pretty quickly. Mila had a great first Christmas even though it was a little late.

While I'm in town, I normally keep Milabug instead of her going to daycare. We play, and watch Sophia the First, and I just soak up every minute I can of her.
What I've learned from my trip this time is that I am out of practice.  When did I get old??  I had 4 kids, and chased every one of them, but chasing this 11 month old baby wears me out! I hardly had time to brush my hair or even eat while I had her lol. I just couldn't seem to juggle it all. I was appalled at myself for not being able to get it all together. One day, I showed up to my mom's house and my sister laughed at me with my tangled hair matted with baby food in the bottom. She said, "You look like a new mom!" That hit the nail on the head too, because I FELT like a new mom. The thing about it is that no matter how exhausted I felt, I would do it all over again. You put all of that exhaustion aside and just do it. New mom, new Lolli, it doesn't matter. They are always worth it.

Our week started going downhill Monday morning. That's not very far into our visit in case you didn't notice. My mother in law was leaving to go to a hair appointment with her mother. My 10 yr old son, Gavin was headed outside with my 11 year old nephew who is also homeschooled. As my mother in law was backing out of the driveway they rounded the corner to the front of the house. Next thing I know, they are running into the house, Gavin is crying, and they are screaming, "HE HAS A GUN!!! MOM LOCK THE DOOR!! HE HAS A GUN!!"  I am taken back and it took me a minute to click to what was happening. Gavin runs up to me crying and hugs me saying, "I could have never seen you again!!" I lost it and called 911 of course. I called my Mother in law and her and my Father in law were there in minutes. Gavin explained that as soon as they got to the front of the house a red "van", as my son described it, passed the house a bit and stopped. He said next they started backing up and they were laughing. He said it was a man with a black hoodie with facial hair. All of a sudden he says the thug starts rolling the window down with a silver gun in his hands. As he's explaining all of this to the police officer my mother in law walks in the door and says she knows the car, that she had passed it! She had paid attention to that car for whatever reason. She knew it was a red van because I had told her that but she hadn't heard Gavin describe the men in the vehicle. She said that she had just noticed them passing. She said it was 2 Hispanic males. The one driving had a mustache. This confirmed what Gavin had described. As of yet they still haven't caught these little miserable jerks. I want to thank them for giving my 10 year old anxiety. I really want to punch their face in. What has the world come to? It saddens me beyond belief that our kids can't even play safely outside. I am very thankful that the boy's angels were surrounding them Monday morning. Thank you Lord for your hedge of protection!! If you thank about it, pray for these boys that there are no lasting effects of this. Gav is doing better but he was jumping at every sound, and not wanting to be outside. It's not something anyone should have to go through, especially 2 innocent children.

So after all of that excitement on Monday, Gavin ended up with a stomach bug on Tuesday. I told you the week started going downhill from there. It wasn't pretty so I will spare you the details. I get him back to my in laws house, and guess who ended up with the virus that night. Yep. Yours truly!
I had planned on leaving Wednesday morning, but that wasn't happening as sick as I was. I HATE being sick at home...being sick at another person's house is a nightmare. I was well taken care of but I have never wanted to be home so bad in my life. So, on top of being sick, we couldn't even spend anymore time with Mila. I finally started feeling better and we headed out on Friday morning. Traffic was terrible and I was not in the mood.

This pic pretty much sums up our entire trip.

Here's hoping this week is full of laughter, health, and happiness!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Wordless Wednesday - Meet Jasper

This is our dog Jasper, aka Jasperdog. He loves to pose for pictures. These pictures make me and my daughter laugh so much. His face says it all!

Click the pic below if you have your own Wordless Wednesday post to link up!

Wordless Wednesday at Life at Rossmont