Monday, January 5, 2015

Losing my Sanity for Downton Abby

Sometimes I fear that those of you who read this blog, but that don't know me or my family personally, might be under the impression that I lead a perfect life with perfect kids who do cute and hilarious things all day long.

Obviously, that's not true, but it does seem to be a common pitfall of the internet.

So, in an effort to dispel these myths, allow me to tell you about today's grocery shopping adventure.

Typically I don't take all the kids with me to the store anymore. Usually I take one child with me after Erik gets home from work, we all go, or Erik does bedtime and I go alone.

But these last few days have been filled with kids who are under the weather, and a husband with the stomach flu, and honestly leaving the house after everyone had gone to bed sounded pretty dreadful.

But last night I realized I couldn't prolong a trip any longer. We were out of milk. We were out of bread. And we were almost out of coffee.

I figured that I could go today or tonight, but tonight was going to be pretty busy, so I thought today would be better. And when I say that tonight was going to be busy, I mean that I wanted to stay home and watch the new Downton Abby after the kids were in bed.

So clearly, I had no choice, but to drag my five youngsters to Aldi on a cold Monday morning and stock up on some food.

The morning started off rough. These last two weeks we have been on Christmas break, and I've been pretty laid back about what the kids have been eating and the amount of television we have been watching, so today I was determined to get back into a normal routine.

Today instead of doughnuts for breakfast there would be cheerios. We would be eating at the table, not in front of the tv. There would also be math, spelling, and a new chapter book, and everyone was going to love it.

Or else.

Oh, and we were going to Aldi. Sometimes, I'm a bit of an overachiever.

We finally left the house about 45 minutes after I was planning, but I was hopeful that everything would be all right since all the kids were eating a snack on the way there.

I even let Max take his little baggie of cheerios into the store, because I just wanted to do something nice for my little boy.

Almost as soon as we walked in, I realized what a mistake I had made.

"Why can't I have my cheerios?" Someone would whine.

"Can I ride in the cart too? My legs are sooo tired."

Reminders for being grateful for what we have and contentment were given, but I was a little bit distracted because my one year old was deciding that he wanted to stand up in the cart and not remain seated. And every time I'd sit him back down I'd be met with indignant sobs.

Meanwhile, Max was throwing his bag of cheerios on the floor of Aldi, and Lily was picking them up.... and eating them off the floor.

I took a deep breath, took the bag of cheerios back from Max, and put them in my purse, but unfortunately Luke saw them, so now he was crying not only because his mother was making him stay in his chair, but because he had seen food.

I tried feeding him some, but he kept screaming "No!"


He just likes to have food on his own terms, I suppose.

At this point I'm just ready to get what we need and get out of there as fast as I can. But it's crowded, and I'm lugging a screaming baby, a cart full of groceries, and herding my three older kids though the store, so it's not quite so simple.

And of course there's all the comments from strangers asking if all these kids are mine, whether or not my husband and I own a television, how I have my hands full, etc. etc.

I tried really hard to smile and just say,"Full of good things!" But I'm pretty sure my teeth were clenched, so I'm not sure how believable I was.

Then I hear Jack say, "Max! Stop!"

Sure enough Max is now throwing food out of the cart, and had just chucked a bottle of honey halfway across the aisle.

Thankfully he didn't throw the honey at anyone, but I was definitely at the end of my rope by this point, and we still had to make it through the checkout line and bag up the food.

With two crying boys.

Somehow we made it through, although the two little boys were not happy about the whole process.

But we made it. The house is now full of food and coffee, and we won't have to worry about grocery shopping for another week. I just hope Downton is worth it.

Linked to Modest Mom & A Wise Woman Builds her Home

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Saturday, January 3, 2015

Christmas 2014

I can't believe Christmas is over, and that it's already 2015! Since we don't live near family, we did Christmas with Erik's family the weekend before Christmas and with my family the weekend after, so for Christmas Eve and Christmas day we were home. It's really nice to be able to extend Christmas for an entire week, I have to say. :)

I really wanted to try and teach the kids about giving joyfully to others this holiday season, so earlier in the month of December we helped the three older kids come up with some gifts they could make for each other. They all made Luke and Max some homemade bouncy balls(which in all honesty ended up not bouncing, and looking more like pancakes, but hey, it's the thought that counts right?!) 

Then we sent Anna back to Erik and I's room, and Lily and Jack(with my help) made Anna some lip gloss and a snow globe. Then later Anna and Jack made Lily the same snow globe and one of these yarn dolls. Erik took on the job of helping Lily and Anna make Jack something, and they ended making him this really cool foosball table.

And, yes, in case you were wondering, I did wonder why I did this to myself. But the kids had so much fun, and were excited to give something to their brothers and sisters, so it was worth it(I think, anyways.) ;)

We also started a new tradition of passing out cookies to the neighbors, librarians, and bank workers. The kids also suggested giving them out to the grocery store clerks at Aldi, but we had already made everything, so hopefully next year we can do that too.

Christmas Eve night we read the Christmas story out of the Jesus Storybook Bible, looked at Christmas lights, and finished off the night by watching a Christmas movie. 

We had a pretty relaxing Christmas morning, opening presents, snacking on cinnamon rolls, and face timing my mom and dad who had sent the kids an xbox infinity to open up on Christmas morning.

So the kids got to enjoy playing that most of Christmas day, and in between turns the girls played with their "new" doll house that a friend had given us, and playing their new princess dresses.

Poor Luke had a fever on Christmas day, so he spent most of the day being held. But he did have a few moments of enjoying his and Max's trains and track set they both got.

How was everyone else's Christmas?! 

If you enjoyed this post, I'd be honored if you "liked" my facebook page or subscribed via email. Thanks for stopping by!

Linked to the Modest Mom.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Homeschooling when you have a Small Space

We live in a fairly small house(3 bedroom, 1 bathroom, and about 1000 square feet.)

It works for us in this season of life we are in, as we try to pay off student loan debt and save money, but there are certainly times when I find myself drooling over friends homeschool rooms.

Thankfully, though, now that we have been homeschooling for a couple of years we have figured out a few things that work for us.

We don't have a lot of closet space, and what closet space we do have is used for clothes, toys, and bedding. For awhile, I would keep all of our school books in one big tote on the floor of the pantry in our kitchen. 

Yes, I just said on the pantry floor of my kitchen..I can't believe I just admitted to you all that I actually did that....have I mentioned that organization is not my strong point?!

Obviously that method didn't work very well. Not only was it frustrating trying to find all the papers and books that we needed every day, but also random food crumbs(among other things) would occasionally fall into the school tote.

If you have ever looked into homeschool curriculum you know that it's not cheap, and that food is one of the last things you want all over your books(especially if you're like me, and plan on using them at least five more times in the coming years!;)

Thankfully, my husband was blessed with the organized, type A personality genes, and happily stepped in and helped me figure out a system that works. The first thing he did was install some shelves in our room.

Then with some baskets we already had, we designated each basket to a subject. Right now, since I'm only doing "official" school with Anna and Jack I just keep their books together. Each basket has their math, spelling/english, and history. I also keep a stack of books for science and art next to the school books.

One of the harder things about living in a smaller house when you homeschool, is that often the entire house gets messy, and needs cleaned up every day. Case in point:

But, then again, one of the benefits of living in a smaller house is that it gets cleaned up pretty fast, too. Especially when you have five willing helpers. :)

Most of our actual school work gets done in the kitchen. Which works really well for us, since I spend a lot of my time in there anyways.

I keep a marker board and some old windows hung up in the kitchen, and write on them with dry erase markers for our calendar, scripture memory, and copy work sentences.

And about every other week, I order a huge stack of books from the library that have to do with whatever we are studying that week. Which keeps things budget friendly and cuts down on the clutter around here.

It's definitely been a process figuring out what works for us, and learning how to utilize our space, but I'm so thankful we have figured out some things that work well for us right now.

If you homeschool, I'd love to hear how you "do school" at your house. Do you have a school room? Do you just use your kitchen? I'd love to hear!

Monday, December 15, 2014

All Because of a 2.00 Jar

Sunday afternoon found me roaming the aisles of Trader Joe's. Going to Trader Joe's is definitely a rare treat for me since it's about 30 minutes from my house...and also because, while admittedly the prices are better than most grocery stores, they aren't what, say, Aldi's prices are. And since I'm feeding a small army here, Aldi is almost always where I do our grocery shopping.

But I digress.

So, Sunday afternoon, after spending a fun afternoon in the city with my husband and kids, Erik suggested we stop by Trader Joe's and see if we couldn't get a few things. I happily agreed, gave myself a budget of twenty dollars, and ran in to see what I could stock up on(and promised myself I wouldn't spend it all on cookie butter!)

Just as I was finishing up I stumbled across some masala sauce. I love Indian food, and since I had enough money in my 20.00 budget I decided to buy it.

Later that night, as Erik and I were finally sitting down to eat dinner, an idea occurred to me.

"Tomorrow night is going to be Indian night!" I declared. "Tomorrow we will learn about India. We will have the kids dress up like people in India do...and maybe we can find a recipe for naan!"

And that's exactly what we did. We talked about what continent India was in, and discussed the Taj Mahal.

We looked at pictures of people who lived over there. We listened to the type of music they might listen to over in India during dinner.

We made Naan.

Before dinner we prayed for the people in India, and for the missionaries over there. Which allowed us to briefly talk about different religions, and how not everyone has heard the gospel, and about how not everyone believes in Jesus.

And, perhaps the best part- at least for my girls- was dressing up. Especially since dressing up in traditional Indian garb meant wearing a lot of jewelry.

Lily was so proud. Max was happy for her, but wanted nothing to do with changing out of his dragon costume. :)

Just a sheet, some scarves, and all of mama's jewelry. And, of course, your little brother dressed as a dragon looking out for you.

And what would Indian night be without some henna tattoos?

Such a fun, simple, and educational night. And it was all because of a $2.00 jar.

Linked to Titus 2 & The Modest Mom 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Thanksgiving that Almost Didn't Happen


I woke up to this song early Thanksgiving morning, being sung(loudly) by my six year old daughter. Smiling to myself I rolled over wondering how much longer I could stay in bed before Anna's song woke up the rest of the house.

Right as I was having that thought, though, Jack came running into our room, sobbing saying he had just gotten sick, and was about to be sick again.

Lily(who had been sleeping on the floor of our bedroom) shot up, cheeks flushed with a fever, and immediately started crying that she was about to be sick too.

Luke, who had been up all night sick with a fever, was in his crib screaming for someone to come get him.

Max- who wasn't sick- was pulling Erik's arm to get up and "come have Thanksgiving."

And Anna was in the next room declaring her undying love for Thanksgiving.

As Erik was getting out of bed, I couldn't help but giggle at the chaos going around us. This was going to be an interesting day, to be sure!

But first, let me back up a bit, to the day before. Wednesday morning, I woke up to something very strange.


Like, no one was awake. And it was 7:30. This never happens in my world.

I crept out of bed, wondering how much time I had before little heads started peaking out of their rooms asking for breakfast, but decided to take a chance and try to drink a cup of coffee before the day began. And it was going to be a crazy day. We were suppose to go to the store, finish up Christmas gifts that we were making for my sister in law and her family, and get everyone packed and ready to go for our road trip to my inlaws house, where we were suppose to be spending Thanksgiving.

Erik was just as surprised as I was that no one was up yet, and on his way out the door he made the comment that he hoped no one was sick.

Sick? On Thanksgiving? No way. I mean, Anna had been sick on Sunday. And we had taken the kids to the Magic House over the weekend. And the grandparents had been in town and taken them to McDonalds for lunch. But. Still. This was Wednesday. Anna had been fine since Monday, and no one else had acted remotely sick.

But, as you probably have guessed, that didn't matter. As kids started staggering out of their beds, it seemed like maybe everyone had just been tired, but when Jack still hadn't woke up-despite his two younger brothers whom he shares a room with getting up- I finally tried to get him to wake up, and sure enough he had a fever.

As the day went on, it became clear that Jack was definitely sick, and that there was no way we could take him to my inlaws Thursday. So the next thing we had to decide was, whether or not we were going to try and have a thanksgiving dinner just our little family. What if more kids got sick? What if we got sick? Would we even be able to find a turkey this late in the week, and also I know nothing about cooking turkeys.

But being the holiday junkie I am, I told Erik I wanted to try. And being the wonderful man he is, he took my list, Anna, Lily, and Max, and ran all over town getting all the food we needed- and if you've ever been to the grocery store the night before Thanksgiving, you know that's love. :)

The girls and I made some pies Wednesday night. The kids finally went to bed around 10 that night. But a couple hours later Luke and Lily were up sick.

But you know, even with all the sickness, even though things didn't work out the way I had planned, we still had a nice day together. The kids stayed in their jammies, and Erik introduced the kids to the cartoon version of the Hobbit. Erik got to carve the turkey for the first time, and I got to experience cooking a turkey for the first time-the kids decided to name it beasty. :)

We had plenty of food, and have been enjoying the leftovers for the last few days so I haven't had to cook anything since Thursday, which is always nice. When the Thanksgiving dinner was over, Lily and I snuggled up in my bed and took a long nap, then watched the pioneer woman on Netflix.

So yes, thanksgiving wasn't a total disaster. It was actually really nice(despite the sickness.)

But, still, the week before Christmas we aren't going anywhere. ;)

Linked to the Modest Mom & A Wise Woman Build Her Home.

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Mommy's Always With Me!

My wonderfully talented and creative husband painted this picture of me a few years ago. For the last couple of years it has hung in our hallway, but today in the chaos that is mornings around here, it fell.

And since my house tends to be ridiculously loud(what a shock, right?!) I didn't even hear or notice that it wasn't on the wall anymore. 

That is, until Anna came and got me. She started excitedly pulling on my hand, begging me to come with her to her room so I could see her new "decoration."

I followed her into the girls room, where she proudly showed me that she had hung my picture right next to her top bunk(there was a nail already there, I did not let my six year old hammer a nail into the wall...just throwing that out there.;)

I told her I thought it looked great, and then I asked her if she wanted me to move it back to the hallway later.

To which she said,"Oh no, mommy. I want your picture right next to me, that way I don't ever have to worry about having bad dreams because now you're always with me!"

Goodness, she's cute. :)

HeartFELT Truth Advent Calendar Review

Christmas came early to my house this weekend.. and we were all thrilled that it did!
Recently HeartFELT Truths sent my kiddos and I one of their beautiful advent calendars to review. Since I am always on the look out for kid friendly, Bible based items, I was thrilled to get the opportunity. All the materials are made of felt, and based on the Christmas story from Luke 1-2 and Matthew 1-2. The idea is to read a small section of the Christmas story each day from December 1 through December 25 to your children. Then when the reading is over have one of you kids place  a new character that they just heard about on the felt board. By the time December 25 arrives, your children will more than likely be able to retell the entire Christmas story back to you!

Read the rest of this review over at Raising Homemakers!

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