Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Practical Tips For Being A SLIGHTLY BETTER WIFE

A  Slightly Better Wife is not what I am, but what I strive to be.
Here are just a handful of things I've been doing this week to work at being a better wife.

1.  Be ready for sex when he is, even initiate it sometimes.  Yeah okay, so this falls under TMI, but I'm a big girl, I do what I want.  Sex within marriage is absolutely okay, and in our relationship I'd even say it's necessary to keep the peace- for both of us!  It used to be pretty one sided, and then one sided the other way, but now we're working it out and it's a beautiful {abundant} thing.  So if he makes the move and I really feel like saying no or making an excuse, but can't come up with a good one, we just do it anyway.  It's not a chore or a hassle, it's actually rather enjoyable and I'm always glad I didn't back out.

Okay, moving on....

2.  Having meals and snacks ready.  I'm terrrrrrrrrible at this.  Really, I used to rock at menu planning, but I've just lost my passion for it.  I'm using my new planner to write in what or where we are eating each night so there aren't any temper tantrums (from momma OR the baby) at meal time.

3. Putting my phone down when he's talking to me.  I didn't realize how much this bothered him, until he told me.  Now I see other people doing it and it makes me so sad.  LOOK UP people, there's a great big world out there. 

4.  I'm trying not to complain about things I've already complained about.  I mean I really just shouldn't complain at all, but it's gonna happen, so at least I can bring up new subjects, not beat away at the old ones.  Yes, he knows how much someone drives me crazy when they post super similar pictures to the ones I posted (copycats have always been a pet peeve of mine, I guess I should praise myself for being a trendsetter).  Yes he understands how many loads of laundry I've done and what a chore it was.  And yeah, he really could go without hearing about how much it bothers me that the floor is covered in crumbs AGAIN when I just cleaned it a few hours ago.

5.  Praying for him.  I pray for him often and always, but I'm trying to focus my prayers into something deeper, something more real.  I'd love to share about this in another post soon!

So this is what I'm doing and what is working out alright over here.  How about you?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Fun Friday! Only The Best Educational Games

One thing that really worked for us last school year was designating FRIDAY as our FUN day throughout the fall. So from our start day (mid-August) until our Christmas break we only did traditional learning 4 days a week. Friday was set aside for running errands, free reading, arts and crafts, free play, and a lot of GAMES! Here are our top 15 game purchases from our 2013-2014 school year.  Oh, and of course you don't need to be a homeschooler to enjoy these games! 

The prices on these right now are really great, and if you have Amazon Prime you can score free shipping (if not, you can sign up here to Start a Free Trial Now ). 
I've been a Prime member for years and LOVE it! 
If you don't have Amazon Prime these items ship free when you spend $35.  These all also make great gifts, so buy one for yourselves and one to give!

Here is a very real look at our game closet!  It's not Pinterest worthy, but it works for us!

This post contains my affiliate links.  You may read more about why I use affiliate links here.

Where I've "BEEN", Keepin' it Real

I don't have too much new to post right now, but that's only because I've been so busy trying to nail down our curriculum choices for the 2014-2015 school year.  I've been spending a lot of time here: Children's Books, and here: Educational and Teaching Books on Amazon.  I will get a post up soon that has our plan for the year. Until then, please check back at what we used last year if you are looking for a little homeschool planning inspiration.

Also to keep things real, I want to share with you my status from my personal Facebook page today:

What does a #boymom do post outdoor church service? This. That is after she shakes the bark off her clothes and cleans the grass out of her hair & shoes. Really though, it was a beautiful outdoor service that I really needed today. The devil is the enemy. Not the neighbor, the friend, the spouse, but the devil. God is good, he will show up and rescue you and me. He will pull the weeds so the crops will produce abundantly. Just keep on loving people and serving Him.

Verse of the day: LOVE

Thursday, July 17, 2014

28 Random truths about ME

1.  I was proposed to and broke up with, on my 18th birthday. It was symbolic to me of how I always get my hopes up and get crapped on every birthday. I'm not bitter about that or anything... :/  I suppose it just comes with having a birthday so close to a holiday.
2.  My "bad" birthdays are still not as bad as what others are facing, and for that I'm grateful to God.
3.   I left college & my amazing job to be a stay at home mom, out of necessity.  It's a long painful story with a redeeming end where I got to adopt my sweet "little girl", who is now the big girl in our family picture.
4.   Friendship has always been and I'm assuming always will be a struggle for me, because of my own self confidence issues that were formed throughout grade school.
5.   My ideal day is one where I'm able to take naps, eat out for every meal, walk to anything I want to see, and do it all with my little loves.
6.   I dreamt of being a traveling nurse, eventually a doctor, and that I'd cure Alzheimer's. That didn't happen.  But it's okay, because I just learned that right now, being a mom is "enough".
7.   I didn't attend church while I was in school.  I wanted so badly to be invited by someone, to learn about God, to learn how to find true happiness in Him, not others. If only I had the courage to go alone. I know now, God had a different plan for how I'd meet him.
8.   This year we forfeited a big vacation for a top of the line washer and dryer set.  That's when I knew I was maturing. 
9.   I was the self proclaimed (later I convinced everyone else too) "Head Master Chef" in a pizza place for 4 yrs.
10.      Pizza and watermelon are my favorite foods. 
11.      I spend too much time researching and not enough time just "going with it". 
12.      My greatest fear is being forgotten after my time on earth is through.
13.      Sometimes I wear my husband's socks. Like I'm wearing them right now...
14.      Adoption holds a special place in my heart and I'd love to have the chance to give a little one (or two.. or more..) a forever family, if it's God's will.
15.      I greatly enjoy thrift stores, department stores, warehouse stores, online stores, and shopping in general! 
16.      I find joy in giving, but have a hard time accepting/receiving.
17.      I married my first serious boyfriend (what does that say about the proposal I got at 18.. yeah, it must not have been as big of a deal as I made it to be at the time).  A decision I'll never {again} regret.  We had some rough times, but without the struggle, we wouldn't have found our strength.  And there's a whole lot of strength there now. :)
18.      I pretty much always paint my toenails pink. "LOLA" by ZOYA it's my fav.  I prefer to keep my fingernails clear since I cannot for the life of me paint them perfectly.
19.     I admire beautifully decorated pristine homes, but the energy in so many of them just bring me down.
20.     The most visually appealing place I've ever experienced was Alaska. There I saw breathtaking beauty like I had never seen anywhere else in the world. The scenery, oh the scenery, it's just magical.
21.     I love all things music.  Listening, creating, singing.  Unfortunately I have a life long incurable case of stage fright.  I could kick the boy that told me I sounded like a frog in 3rd grade.  I'd probably be wiser to kick myself for believing him.
22.     Even when I fail at something I feel like I can try it again and get different results.  I'm not sure if this is courageous, or just dumb.
23.     I unexplainedly (is that even a word?) lost my memory a few years back.  Frustrated by what I was going through, I rehabilitated myself through diet and mind exercises.  I now try to fill my kids lives with memories and take plenty of pictures to help them jog their memories, in case they are ever to forget all the fun we've had together. 
24.     I have a slight obsession with white boards. Is there a deeper meaning here?  Maybe like how things can so easily be erased from them and they can be made white as snow again?  or maybe just because they're so versatile and don't leave clutter like paper does.  Hmm, who knows.  They're just great.
25.     I love repainting old furniture.  I'm not great at it, but I take much joy in the process.
26.     My favorite place in the world is in my husband's arms.  Cheesy, yeah, but so true.
27.     I recharge my momma batteries by laying on the deck  and reading a good book or listening to a gentle tune on the radio. 
28.     My favorite bible verse is: Proverbs 12:26 “The righteous should choose his friends carefully,
For the way of the wicked leads them astray”. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Birthday Giveaway: Seasons of a Mother's Heart


I wanted to hop on and share with you quick where I'm finding my homeschooling encouragement today!

I'm a part of a book club on Instagram (use hashtag #HomeEducator to find us and other excellent homeschooling posts) where we are working through the book called Seasons of a Mother's Heart, 2nd edition.  There is still time to join in, as we check-in each Tuesday to discuss what we've read.  I'm acting all cool like I'm a part of the group, but to be honest, I just got my book YESTERDAY!  haha.  So to all the members who have been a part of this since day one, THANK YOU for welcoming me in! :)

Even if you aren't interested in joining the book club or can't find time to fit it in right now, I think this is an excellent book full of encouragement that all homeschooling moms should have on their bookshelves!  This is the perfect book to loan out when you encounter a momma who confesses that she could use a little inspiration in the homeschooling department.  I love what a tight-knit community we are, don't you?  :)

As promised, I am hosting giveaways to celebrate MY BIRTHDAY!  So this first giveaway is for your very own copy of Seasons of a Mother's Heart, 2nd edition

If you're interested in entering, use the Rafflecopter link on my facebook page:
or --->

If you'd like to buy the book, would you consider purchasing it through my Amazon Affiliate link (by clicking on any of the book links above, or clicking on this picture below)?  You can see my post here about my affiliate relationship with Amazon.  Basically your purchases provide me with a little extra income to help support our homeschool journey! 

Head Down, He Walked Away. he.was.mad.

As I was sitting on my back step, planner and pencil in hand, I listened to the group of neighborhood children playing Baseball in an adjacent yard. The breeze blew past and shooed the flies off of my sun tanned feet.  I looked down at my chipped bright pink nail polish {hmm, I should touch these up.  Repainting just seems like too much work right now}.  Then I heard my daughter yell out in a very compassionate tone “What’s wrong?  Are you going home?”   She sounded so sweet.

I looked up to see a neighbor boy walking, head down, straight towards home.  He.was.mad.  As I thought back a few minutes to what was going on, no one was being outwardly mean, but the other boys were making up their own rules as they went.   Maybe they were actual rules, I really don’t know. 

My son and his buddy (the one walking away) just wanted to play.  They really weren’t that into the game, but they needed more players.

I called out to see if he was alright.  He peeked in my direction for a nanosecond, then put his head back down and kept walking home.

I smiled.

 I smiled because I’m proud that he doesn’t blow up in anger when things don’t go his way.  But then my smile disappeared as I wondered how HE felt inside. 

Sure, it’s more convenient for everyone when we just walk away.  And surely it feels better than someone blowing up at us.  I think there is a middle ground somewhere though.  You can’t run and hide when you’re upset, and you can’t explode like a volcano. 

If you live life ignoring your problems, the problems don’t really go away.  They’re still there, somewhere, maybe in the back of someone’s mind, maybe in someone’s heart.  Maybe still in your own?

Here’s to finding the middle ground in conflict resolution.  For all little kids out on the backyard ball fields and for all us adults navigating the battlefield of daily life. 
Photo credit: goingslo / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Disclosure Statement: Affiliate Programs

In the spirit of full disclosure, my website does contain some affiliate links, which means that I may get a commissions if you decide to purchase anything from the companies I am affiliated with.  I only recommend products that I use and love myself, so I know you’ll be in good hands.  You will not pay more when buying a product through my link. In fact, I oftentimes am able to negotiate a lower rate (or bonuses) not available elsewhere.
Your support of my blog helps me host giveaways as well as purchase quality education materials for my family.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you for your support!

Birthday Giveaway!

It’s been 1 week since I celebrated my BIRTHDAY with my friends and family. Now I’d like to celebrate with YOU! Every so often I’ll be giving away one of my favorite things! It may have to do with any of my hot topics: Marriage.Homeschool.Motherhood, or it may not! Sometimes it’s a big ticket item, most times it’s not. How fun/random is that? Keep an eye out {HERE ON MY BLOG} for details on how YOU can enter to win!

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Fault In Our Stars

I just saw that The Fault in Our Stars is playing at our local theater this week!  That sure came quick!  I really wanted to read the book first though.  I know I wouldn't have time to get the paper copy here and read it (even with my Amazon Prime.  Momma just has no free time right now).  Perhaps I could read the Kindle version before we go see it though!  Anyone read this yet?  How about seen the movie?  No Spoilers!


Coffee, Anyone?

If I have noticed one trend more than any other amongst mommy bloggers, I would say it's that a majority of us seem to have a genuine love of coffee.
Really.  Check out the "about me" section of almost any blog, Instagram or FB fan page and you'll soon see what I'm talking about.
Go ahead, open a new browser (don't close me!) and type in your favorite blogger... She likes coffee, right? See, I wasn't kidding!

I prefer my coffee "in bulk". ;) Because of this, I primarily drink mine "black" to avoid consuming too many chemicals found in sweeteners.  I also prefer to make mine with a French press vs. a traditional coffee maker.  

French Press
Traditional Coffee Maker

  Occasionally I do like to treat myself though.  Not that chemical sweeteners are a great treat, really. Hey, it's better than meth or something, right?
Here are some yummy coffee concoctions:
Coffee, milk, & brown sugar. -A big Thank You goes to a neighbor friend for introducing me to this one!
Coffee, sweetened with honey.
Coffee, pumpkin pie spice, milk, honey.
Coffee, frozen in popsicle molds. Feed it to the kids and watch their reaction as they learn it isn't the root beer flavor they thought it was.  Then smile with joy as they enjoy it anyway because they've inherited your love of coffee.
Coffee, milk, caramel topping/syrup
Coffee, honey, & a slash of milk topped with whip cream and sprinkled with crushed up candy canes.  I hoard candy canes from my father-in-law's Christmas tree just for this (and for sprinkling over vanilla ice cream on New Year's Eve).
Coffee cubes- Coffee can also be frozen in ice cube trays and blended into some delicious cold drinks using these same combinations!
Everyone's taste buds are different, and experimenting is fun.  With each of these just use trial and error to find out how much you like of each ingredient. 
My second preferred coffee option is "with friends".  Do you have a free morning to invite a friend over to share a cup of Joe?   :)


Thursday, July 10, 2014

FYI: This Is The Summer We Begged For All Winter

FYI: Our {semi-local} Target was setting up their "Back to School" area when I was there yesterday. August is coming quick!  Don't let your summer slip away.  Be intentional about having fun!  We've been to the beach (with friends) twice this week, even though I'm pms-ing, even though it's a 30 min. drive, even though the thought of taking 3 kids the beach nearly stress paralyzed me, even though we have other things on the calendar in the same day, etc, etc...BUT YA KNOW WHAT?  We've had a blast!  Summer will end, 'even though' you don't want it to.  So get out and enjoy life.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Moments From the Minivan: Tumbling Camp

Back story: My 6 yr old has a phobia of everything.  Really.every.single.thing.  I've never met a kid so cautious.  Once we took him to T-ball, at his request.  He panicked, threw himself down on the ball field {in front of God and everyone}, screamed and cried that he wanted a *new* family and he hated us for making him join a team sport, because if we really knew him we would know he can't play sports! Later he admitted he just wanted the team t-shirt, but didn't actually want to play.
SO THIS IS HUGE!  I took my big kids to tumbling camp for the first time tonight.. I knew my girl would love it, but I was sure I was just making a donation towards the cause for my boy, because he wouldn't probably participate anyway. My boy gets in the van afterwards, full of smiles and says "Mom! I WANT to go there for 10 days!" 10 days is a big deal to a six year old. 
My heart is so happy.  My daughter says this is a dream come true to finally get to tumble and my boy has found something he isn't afraid of!
This day ROCKS! Thank you Jesus!

Practical Laundry Tips

Sign this to the tune of Let it go:
The laundry piles high on the
couch tonight
Not a maid to be seen.
My living room is consumed
Yes, it's all for me.
Disclaimer: This is only two loads of laundry, usually there is FAR more.

As a homemaker I feel it's my responsibility to be sure that there are clean clothes available for everyone in the house.  Now I am an odd duck who finds joy in doing laundry. I mean everything except putting it away, but I have little people to help with that. :) 
Step 1-
Gather all the laundry into one spot.
Step 2-
Wash & dry all the loads you have for the day.
Step 3-
As a load comes out of the dryer I pull out shirts and hang them up right away, the rest get thrown on the couch.  If any shirts ended up missing out on the hang up step in the laundry room, they get flattened out nicely over the arm of the couch.
Step 4-
Wait for all the clean laundry to collect on the couch throughout the day. It's not worth folding and leaving it there to be unfolded by the short people in the house.  It's also not worth making several little trips to put away one sock or a towel when I know there will be many more to go with it.
Step 5-
Once all the CLEAN laundry is on the couch I separate into piles like this:
The Fashionista, The Drummer, Momma, bathroom washcloths/towels, kitchen napkins/towels, Hubby's socks.
I fold bath towels, kitchen towels, my hubby's undershirts & underwear.  I only fold those because they fit better into the drawer this way.  And I occasionally will fold The Baby's clothes as I go.

That's it, The rest are left as messy piles.
The big kids are responsible for putting their own clothes away in their rooms, & in the right places. They know that mom won't iron their clothes if they put them away in a sloppy manner. So they are really good about taking care of them. :) 
We all pitch in to put all the other piles away.  This method of folding, sorting and putting away goes really quick! 
* Pretty much always hang up shirts as they come out of the dryer.  No ironing!
*Teach kids to put their own clothes away, make it simple.  This does not need to be fun, and they don't need a reward. It should just be one of their responsibilities. We start this expectation at about 2-3 years of age.
*Buy all matching socks for each person.
Then you aren't stuck trying to figure out which sock belongs to which person and where the other mate is for it. If each person has 20 of the same socks then they just get thrown in a sock drawer and pulled out two at a time, no more matching up!  Can you tell mismatched socks were a time consuming joy sucker of mine? ;)
Separated piles
The Big Kids' piles get thrown behind the couch.. Looks like someone changed too much and someone else hardly at all.  Would you believe it's the BOY that changes his clothes too much here? 

What is your method or what are your practical laundry tips? 
You can post in the comments or if you blog, make a post about it and put it in the comments so I can link it up here.