Monday, July 28, 2014

{ABD} - Summer Style

{ABD} - I know I haven't written about them much lately -- mainly because we haven't been doing them.  {After Bed Dates} -- These started because we put dates on the back burner to revamp our finances and babysitting is the most expensive thing about dating.

July 3rd was a very cool (temperature) wise.  Keith and I had been talking about how one of these evenings we just need to relax with a drink and unwind.

We both are fighting off a pretty serious funk.  We are both stressed about things here at home and with our jobs.  I think we are both fighting off a mid-life crisis.

So I ran to the store and picked up some of those freeze and drink pouches.  He set up the fire.  We were ready to relax.

I love my coffee cups and gave up drinking coffee.  My thought is .. use them for everything.  Especially Lime Margarita on the rocks.

We were enjoying our evening.  Time with each other and relaxing.  We were not even joined by anyone other than this guy.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

{Tell Me About it Tuesday} Mama, You Can Do It!

Recently I read a blog post about how us mom's need to put on our swimsuits (I am so sorry I can't find it now) and get in the water with our kids.  How we just need to suck it up and do it.  Now, I have never been one to love how I look in a swimsuit, even when I was a size 10.  Well, I was uploading pictures from Keith's phone and I found these from last year and our 6 weeks in Wisconsin.  This quite possibly could be the worst I have ever looked in a swimsuit.  

I am not going to lie, I wish that we could do that every summer.  The reasons we were there stunk and the reason we had to stay weren't the best either.  It was hard to come home and get back in the swing of life.  

Auntie braved the lake water.  Auntie and I split kids.  It was nice to be able to one on one with the kids.  It made things much safer in my mind.  Little Mr is 18 months in these pictures.  Little Miss is 3.  

This was little Mr.'s first real trip to a beach.  When you live in Wisconsin lake beaches are what you get.  An ocean beach is much to far.  Lake beaches ... that's another story.  They are abundant.  

The only time she would actually look at the camera.  Oh and this suit still kinda fits her.  It's official her brother is going to out weigh her by the time she is 5.  
Quite possibly my favorite picture. 

Although I had hoped to get them to Atlanta or back up to Wisconsin this summer looking like it's not going to be in the cards.  We will be taking a long weekend for Labor Day to recharge our batteries in the mountains.

I am so looking forward to a weekend with just my loves.

Maybe we can hit a day trip to a local lake with a beach this weekend.  They are not as abundant in this part of Ohio.

Monday, July 21, 2014

WAH Wednesday: Christmas Family Memories

Last Monday I talked to you about my pre-planning.  Well it is in full swing!

Last year I shared this list with you and I am bringing it back today. This is more of a list than anything else.  This list is meant to help you spur some ideas for creating more memories with your family.

We do two advent calendars.  First is our Christmas Book Countdown.  I wrap one book for each night leading up to Christmas. We start our advent calendars the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  This year I will be wrapping 26 books.   Yes, I have over 30 Christmas books.  I found the majority of the at a thrift store for $0.29 each.  I will be pick up a few new ones each year because some have been so loved they need to be replaced.  Others are just too long for right now.  I will find them at crazy times of the year and I will buy them.  I bought 4 Mother's Day weekend in Wisconsin.

The other is an activity that we do each day, like visit Santa, or Christmas Go Go Day (watching and dancing to ALL of our Wiggles Christmas DVDs).  This year we will also be doing our preschool activities.

We don't do all of these things, but this is a great list for you to get a jump start.

Serve others

  1. Volunteer at a soup kitchen.
  2. Collect blankets and give them to a homeless shelter. (Need to turn it up a notch - have a blanket making party.)
  3. Clean out your closets and donate to local agencies.
  4. Fill a box of formerly loved toys and donate to local agencies. (We must do this every year because of Christmas and birthdays being so close.)
  5. Bake cookies and deliver them to a local retirement home.
  6. Plan a “playdate” and let the other mom’s get some kid free time for shopping, wrapping or de-stressing.
  7. Purchase gifts from an Angel Tree.  (Gifts for needy children)
  8. Fill stockings and donate them to local agencies.
  9. Make a meal and deliver it to a needy family.
  10. Bake cookies and give them to people who have to work on Christmas Eve.
  11. Make edible gifts for the birds and squirrels.

Random Acts of Kindness

  1. Feed the meters.  Hang a Christmas card on the meter.
  2. Tape quarters to the toy machines at the grocery store.
  3. Give out gift cards to the local coffee shop in the mall.
  4. Go to a holiday display and offer to take pictures for families.  (You know Mom is never in the pictures!)
  5. Hand out Christmas cards to random people.
  6. Give rolls of wrapping paper and tape to your neighbors.
  7. Offer to load a full cart of groceries or packages into their car for them.
  8. Make extra dinner and invite the neighbors over, or deliver.
  9. Give out flowers to people while shopping.
  10. Hide dollar bills in the toy aisle of the dollar store.
  11. Fill stockings or old shoes with treats, go to a different neighborhood and leave them on doorsteps.
  12. Make ornaments and hand them out with candy canes.

Family Activity Ideas

  1. Go look at Christmas displays.
  2. Family Pajama Movie Night - be sure to make it complete with Hot Cocoa.
  3. Go to your local Christmas Tree lighting celebration.
  4. Christmas Carol Bath - Listen to your favorite Christmas Carols while taking a bath, complete the mood by hanging twinkle lights.
  5. Fancy Dress Dinner.
  6. Write a Christmas story.
  7. Dessert first dinner.
  8. Pajama Breakfast Dinner.
  9. Decorate a gingerbread house.
  10. Go to a live nativity.
  11. Go to a Christmas parade.
  12. Write and send Christmas cards.
  13. Decorate every door in your house.
  14. Write a family letter to Santa.  
  15. Get a letter from Santa.
  16. Hot chocolate and popcorn for a snack.
  17. Christmas Dance Party!
  18. Christmas Treasure Hunt
  19. Ornament Decorating
  20. Decorate Stockings
  21. Make a gingerbread house
  22. Decorate sugar cookies with icing
  23. Use cookie cutters to make a fun lunch
  24. Make a Christmas gift for a member of the family.

Christmas Crafts

  1. Cotton Santa Beard
  2. Paper Chain Garland
  3. Make Christmas Cards for Friends and Family
  4. Hand and Foot Angels
  5. Create an outdoor Christmas scene and use shaving cream for snow.
  6. Cone Christmas Trees
  7. Decorate Paper Cookies
  8. Beaded Candy Cane Ornaments
  9. Paper Plate Wreathes
  10. Shape Reindeer (only using circles, triangles and rectangles)
  11. “Stained Glass” Ornament Sun Catchers
  12. Create Christmas scenes and use glitter for snow.
  13. Make your own gift tags

Fill you Advent Calendar with:

  1. Christmas Jokes
  2. Christmas Books
  3. Christmas Quotes
  4. Christmas Scripture
  5. Christmas Coloring Pages
  6. Christmas Crafts 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Teach Me Thursday: Back to School with Teachers Pay Teachers

We have had such a busy week I am behind on blogging and sharing our preschool time with you. We didn't get to much this week.  We did some bug activities that did not go over well and some apple things.  I will try to share those next week.

I wanted to touch base on "Back to School" time and bring your attention to some of the items in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  That are great for this exciting time of the year.

We will be touching on this one next week, but many people use apples as a theme in the beginning of the year.  $10 value for $7.50.  That is like getting the File Folder Games for FREE!

With this one you really want to click on PREVIEW to see what you are all getting.  It is a full year calendar for pocket calendars.  Bonus cards for birthdays and holidays.

Here are a sample of the images used in the calendar and clip art available if you would like to make your own items. 

Fun Craftivity to help recognize the letters of their name. As they get older they can even write the letters themselves.

Possibly my favorite thing to do at the start of the school year.  I can't wait to do it with my two!  9 pages with great skills!  When you purchase the book you will also get a description on how 2 teachers used the book and how it was different for their different age levels.

One of my best sellers.  The pre-write pages can be used in a variety of ways.  16 different cards in all.

Do you have a Teachers Pay Teachers store?  Leave your link in the comments!  

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

When God Answers Prayer

As I mentioned yesterday I am in a bible study right now with an amazing group of women.  

At the end of our sessions we always ask if anyone has any prayer requests.  When no one spoke up our “leader” said, “So your lives are all perfect?”  I said, “Well I guess Keith has a job interview and it might be a better job than he has now.”  So we added that to the prayer list - better employment.  

I have been praying that things just change.  Whatever that looks like just help us make the changes that we need to make.  

So during my quiet time earlier this week I could not focus.  These thoughts just kept swimming around in my head and reading the bible was quickly becoming impossible.  I pulled out my journal and started emptying the thoughts.  

-- We closed out our storage unit.   Now saving that entire bill.
-- We switched our phone plans.  That is almost cut in half.
-- We are now saving $xxx on just those bills.  Why are we still seeming to be sinking?
-- God is providing for all of our needs.  Except getting a place of our own.  What is going on?
-- Could it be that you are doing the same things that got you into the situation you are in now?  
-- Could it be that you still haven’t made the changes you need to make for the big picture?  
-- Why should God answer our prayer for more when we can’t effectively manage what we have now?

And although it doesn’t seem like it.  This is really an answered prayer.  It is an answer to a prayer I have been praying for a long time.  SHOW ME WHAT WE NEED TO DO AND WHERE WE NEED TO CHANGE.  

God has shown me we over spend when we don’t use cash.  Although we need the bank account those plastic little cards cause problems.  Even when they are not actual credit cards.

God has shown me that we still haven’t mastered budgeting.  

God has shown me that if I would just stop being lazy (which is really just being selfish) things would be better because we would have the cash.  And ultimately more control of what HE has provided for us to use.  

We would eat out less if I make a plan for dinners and a plan for the grocery shopping.  If I would stop being lazy about finding coupons our budget would go farther.  Oh and if we eat out less we will be healthier and have more money.  Nice double edged sword there.

Well there you have it -- an answered prayer and although it wasn’t what I expected, it was just what I needed.  

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

{Tell Me About It Tuesday} God is at Work

Many times we don’t even see it until He is well on HIS way or when He is already finished.  

Two summers ago I decided I was going to start doing some bible studies.  I started with a Beth Moore Study of Esther.  I cannot believe the group of women that I met in that study.  Well then we did another.  When it was time for the 3rd study Keith and I were doing a class together.  Then I missed one because of life or two.  

I decided I was going to do Thursday morning studies because then I could take the kids, they would get social time and I would get study time.  Well, that didn’t work out for a variety of reasons.  I said to Keith if I am going to do bible studies I am going to do the Tuesday night ones - it is just easier.

Around Easter my friend (the “leader” of these studies) asked me about coming to Malachi this summer.  After the devil tried and tried to stop me from being in this study I joined up.  

It has been an interesting study.

I give this background information because along with this I decided it was time to be more intentional about my walk with the Lord.  I kept not getting up for quiet time because I just knew (feared really) that it would get hijacked because the kids would get up with me.  But I decided it was time to face that fear and just start doing it.  They would start sleeping past me getting up with my husband eventually.  

For some reason my little guy loves to sleep on the floor.  Not sure if it is a security thing, a firmness thing or just a silly thing.  You know he was playing with toys and just fell asleep.  

Well, I have been at this for a week now.  The kids have not gotten up with me once.  And only one time did they get up 30 minutes after me.  They have been sleeping at least an hour after I get up most days.  (Today they are going on 2!)

God is at work.  

I am fighting off a funk and I know it is the enemy.  Even with that being said, I am finding out strategies to combat that things that have been driving me crazy.  Things are getting better.  

Tune in tomorrow when I reveal an answered prayer.  It won’t be what you think.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Home Making Monday: Pre Planning for Busy Seasons

I don't know if it is a blessing or a curse, but we are about to enter our busy season.  September starts the celebration season of our family.  To help things go smoothly I start planning now! Yep, July.

Things I start planning:

  • Budget and Savings
  • New things to add to our festivities
  • Projects I need to get done by Christmas 
  • Birthday Parties
  • Trips to visit relatives
  • Mark the Calendars for all the events
Why do I start planning so early?  So I don't forget things - like the kids letters from Santa (yep totally forgot to do them last year).  

I have been doing these for the kids since they were born.  I haven't been doing baby books, but I have been doing these letters.  And who knows it might turn into a scrapbook down the road.  It helps keep all those important things remembered.  You know first words, when the first potty was.  The first naughty word that was said -- July 10, 2014 by big one.  And the funny story that goes with it.  So those need to get started.  I will even write last years and put it with their others.  These letters come from Santa and although last year's won't have a post marked envelope it's okay.

So here is my list of planning needs:
  • Family Vacation (long weekend on Labor Day)
  • Dad's Birthday
  • Mark Calendar for Brother-In-Law's birthday (find out if I am making the cake)
  • Anniversary Date
  • Day out with Thomas the Tank?
  • 40th Birthday for Hubby
  • Halloween
  • Sister-In-Law's Birthday
  • Pumpkin Farm Plans (Georgetown, Milford and Little Miss wants to go to Grandma and Grandpa's!)
  • Sister's Birthday
  • Little Mr's Birthday 
  • Thanksgiving
  • North Pole Breakfast
  • Advent Activities (including visiting Santa and the Christmas Concert at Church)
  • Little Miss's Birthday
  • Warner Family Christmas
  • Brother's Birthday 
  • Nephew's Birthday
  • Father In Law's Birthday
  • Christmas Eve - Movie and PJ's
  • Christmas Day
  • New Year's Eve
I am probably forgetting something but it's okay.  I know it is anxiety provoking, BUT I LOVE IT!. And this is why I start planning in July!  It is quite a list - and to think we put all of that into 4 months!  Oh and this is just the family stuff not to mention all the stuff I have to get done for work.  
Good thing I get to review this thing of beauty.  That's your tease.  You have to be here October 28 to see if it is working, not working ... if I love it or if I hate it ... and where you can buy it.

I know I am not the only one out there who starts planning early.  Anyone want to share what you are up to this upcoming season?


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