Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The End of an Era

Doesn't that title make you think something awful is happening? HA!  Well, in this household we have reached an end of an era.
For the past 7 years, I've gotten up (almost) every morning to greet the Munchkin and the Princess but as of today, that changed.  The Princess started pre-school (and the Munchkin, 2nd grade) which means we don't have any extra kids here until about 10:45 when the Princess gets home.  It feels . . .odd to not technically have to set an alarm; watch for the kids; or plan our day with extras.  Sure, they will both still be here after school for each of them, all breaks, snow days and holidays but the day-to-day routine officially changes.  Crazy.

Part of me is looking forward to the peacefulness of the morning.  The boys and I are normally pretty quiet in the mornings.  We all like our space, our ipads, and peace and quiet.  As I'm sure I've mentioned, mornings are not my strong point so the fact that I don't technically have to function quite so early is actually refreshing.

The other part of me is viewing this change slightly differently.
Yes. an opportunity.  The first few hours of my morning have "always" been dictated by something else instead of me just being able to plan my morning.  So, I do have plans to set an alarm (just not quite so early); plans to actually be awake enough to do the Bible Studies I sign up for but never finish because my eyes can't focus in the morning and I just never get back to it later; plans to get out a ride my bike in the morning (this plan is questionable HA); plans to start school just a tad earlier (9;30 instead of 10:00).  Change brings opportunity.

There are other changes too. I have two buses to remember to watch for this year; we have a little less freedom since a bus arrives mid-morning which means even things like haircut appointments and dentist appointments have to be well planned to make sure we are home in time.  I don't mind though because change allows us to see things differently and often make needed alterations to our daily life.

I will also begin looking for some new and creative ways to add to our family income since this change does impact the bottom line.  I've got a whole Pinterest folder dedicated to ways to make money at home (everything from coupons to save on groceries to work at home ideas).  I'm going to start digging through there to see what I can find.  There are some pretty creative ideas out there.  Even things like using Ibotta when I shop to save money to pay for all of our Co-op fees :-) 

So, yes, I admit, I'm looking forward to this change and am excited about what these changes mean to how our day works! 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Total Eclipse Of The Heart Lyrics

I know, I know.  Totally cheesy HA!  So, after all of the anticipation of this Eclipse the question the day after is . . .Did you view it?

Yes, I bought glasses for our family.  The kids were with my mom at her house, Darryl was in the dentist chair and I was at home.  I decided to try and get a few photos using my special glasses over the lens of my camera.

 I was really excited when this photo worked because I was like, Wow, I can actually get photos like every 15 minutes of the eclipse.  But, when I went out 15 minutes later, my telephoto wouldn't focus and it was almost like the glasses weren't strong enough anymore.

So I switched to my little lens and got these three shots.  Not great by any means but you can see how in the bottom photo, it was right at about 2:15 which was almost at the "best" time to see the coverage.

My mom took the boys to a local park so they could see it too.  They noticed that it got darker while they were there.  I found that even more intriguing then the actual Eclipse - the darkening of the day and how eerie it looked because it wasn't a true "dark" but almost like severe weather was coming (think about that eerie look before a tornado).

On a side note,  I bought our (well-researched, conforming) glasses on Amazon (from a reputable dealer) for $10.00 for 5 pairs.  I saw someone selling similar glasses on a local garage sale page for . . .$10.00 a pair!!!  Someone bought all 5 pairs for $50.00!!!  Shoot, I should of sold ours and made cereal box watch boxes instead HA!

Monday, August 21, 2017

What I'm Reading and my Book Club Books

After having about a week of nothing new to read, I went through my Kindle and find a book that I had gotten awhile ago and never read.

 "Distant Echoes" is the first book in the Aloha Reef Series and it was a pretty good book.  It is a mystery/suspense book but it also has good undertones of family and friendship.  It's a good enough read that I picked up book 2 to keep reading about the characters.
 So, "Black Sands" is the next book I'm starting.  (Book 2 in the Aloha Series)
 This is still one of my favorite series I've read this year - The Eagle Harbor Series.  I didn't realize I had purchased this back in the middle of July until I went out to Amazon to buy it!!  I was so mad at myself for forgetting HA!  It was just as good as the others in the series with a great story of reconciliation and friendship.  There is actually another book in the series that is suppose to come out sometime this year.

I'm also part of several different book clubs that are all gearing up to start new books in the next week or so.  The books below are all books that are on my "shelf" to read as part of the book clubs.
 A group of about 4-5 friends of mine get together once a month and enjoy coffee at Bigby while we discuss whatever book we picked to read.  Really, we do discuss the book but more important we laugh and chit chat hours away while we enjoy our coffee.  For September we are reading "A Man called Ove".  I know nothing about it so I'm excited to see what it is about.
 My Daily Bread (used to be known as Radio Bible Class) is starting its first Facebook book club with this book call "Cling".  Several ladies at my church work there so they posted about this on our ladies facebook page.  I'm kind of curious to see how it goes since there are like a million members.  Sometimes when groups get that big, it is hard to have any discussion.
 This book goes along with Proverbs 31 Ministries and their book study that begins in September.  I've attempted to do book studies like this before and usually fail HA!  But, remember those "changes" I talked about in our daily schedule?  I'm hoping to be a little more dedicated to this study.
Finally, Baker Book House as a Blog Book Club - really it seems more like the author of the blog recommends a good to read and it doesn't go beyond that but it is fairly new so it might change.  Anyway, I think the blog is a great way to find new reads even if all I do is ready them!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Scripture Sunday - Andrew Peterson - Faith To Be Strong

Give Us Faith to Be Strong
-Andrew Peterson
Give us faith to be strong
Father, we are so weak
Our bodies are fragile and weary
As we stagger and stumble to walk where you lead
Give us faith to be strong
Give us faith to be strong
Give us strength to be faithful
This life is not long, but it's hard
Give us grace to go on
Make us willing and able
Lord, give us faith to be strong
Give us peace when we're torn
Mend us up when we break
This flesh can be wounded and shaking
When there's much too much trouble for one heart to take
Give us peace when we're torn
Give us faith to be strong
Give us strength to be faithful
This life is not long, but it's hard
Give us grace to go on
Make us willing and able
Lord, give us faith to be strong
Give us hearts to find hope
Father, we cannot see
How the sorrow we feel can bring freedom
And as hard as we try, Lord, it's hard to believe
So, give us hearts to find hope
Give us faith to be strong
Give us strength to be faithful
This life is not long, but it's hard
Give us grace to go on
Make us willing and able
Lord, give us faith to be strong
Give us peace when we're torn
Give us faith, faith to be strong

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Our Week in Photos #9

Our weeks are leaning towards change as school looms near but that doesn't mean we aren't still having fun!

I posted about this earlier this week.  On Saturday we were able to take the boys to a Ninja Warrior Competion.  It was kind of cool to see in real life what we watch sometimes on tv. (As a side note, on Monday night we watched it on TV and saw a few of the contestants that we saw on Saturday - it was kinda cool)

Sunday night turned out to be a perfect night for a bonfire. We headed over to Nana's camper for a very relaxing evening. 
 We found this toad in the firewood. 
 Enjoyed a variety of smore's - We used Reeses Peanut Butt cups and Fudge Striped Cookies along with the traditional variety too! 

Besides collecting fireflies and doing some charades, we also got to kick back and watch some of the meteor shower.  All of us saw quite a few - it was a really cool thing! 

Monday brought a little birthday fun.  The munchkin turned 7 on Sunday so we took time to celebrate. 

We went to our favorite park - it's a big wooden park with lots and lots of shade.  The kids usually find new friends to play with while we are there.  We also had a fun picnic before we headed home.  We also stopped for Ice Cream at Mooville and then the munchkin got to open his gifts when we got home.  

Tuesday brought a visit from a new friend.  A mom found me on the Connections Acadamy Website (actually, a grandma HA) and wanted to meet up as she homeschools her grandson and this is their first year in Connections.  I didn't take any photos of this meet and greet since that might have seem weird HA!  While the boys all played, I helped walk Jean through the basics of the school stuff so hopefully she won't be quite so overwhelmed.

Wednesday was a swimming day:-)  We haven't had a lot of great days for swimming the past few weeks due to rain and cooler temps but today was perfection.  88 degrees; slightly humid; and the pool was like bath water HA! We swam in the afternoon and then went back and swam again after dinner.
We also ate dinner at Wendy's.  Now, I don't usually emphasis where we eat but tonight it was a fundraiser to raise money for the Local Community Vacation Bible School so it seemed like a perfect reason to eat there!  The boys group leader was there at the same time as we were so that was kind of fun for them too. 

Thursday was a rainy day so we stayed home except for one little appointment.

What do those photos mean?  We've started our journey of orthodontist visits!  Both boys had their first visit and exam so we could start a plan which is . . .wait 6 months.  They both need some work done but both have some lose baby teeth to come out.  So they go back in February to check progress and we will go from there.

Friday the boys new friend came over for a visit and we just hung out at home until dinner time when we got to meet Nana for pizza!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Weekly Menu

We are finally back to some regular meal planning.  Well, kinda :-)

Friday - Tacos.  Simple.  That's all. 

Saturday - The boys are going with my mom to her house to attend VBS at her church (Yep, more VBS - it's such a great thing for kids!).  My plan right now is to meet Darryl in town for dinner! 

Sunday - Darryl has a concert and then our plan is to do some things for our anniversary.  I think we are going to head to South Haven, one of our favorite spots for the days.   

Monday - I have no idea HA!  Darryl has to have some dental work done so depending on how he feels afterwords, maybe we'll take off for the rest of the afternoon. 

Tuesday - Darryl's back to work but I'm not :-)  Yes, I took an extra day off without kids.  I don't have a lot of plans other than I don't plan on cooking! 

Wednesday - Everyone is back home!  I'm not sure on Dinner.  Darryl will have practice so usually my mom and the kids and I eat together somewhere. 

Thursday - I'm really hoping to do either chicken or pork chops on the grill with some good sides but my husband is still struggling with some dental issues so I'm not sure yet if he will be ready to eat grilled meat yet so . . we will see!!

Reading through this next weeks menu . . .there are a lot of unknowns HA!  No matter what I can guarantee we will eat! 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Our 2017-2018 School Goals

Each year, before our homeschool year begins, I like to think about a few goals I want to work towards with the boys.
Even though our curriculum is predetermined and they have certain things they have to get through, I have specific goals I want to reach with them by the end of the year.

Joshua -
1) Learn to write in cursive fluently.  We started this last year but I really, totally dropped the ball.  I planned on working on it this summer but, well, that didn't happen.  So we will do this.  I may even order a true homeschool curriculum workbook if I don't feel like is regular book is enough (And yes, they teach cursive in his school)

2) Finish is AWANA book.  Last year we got behind so this year I plan on counting all of his sections and dividing them by the weeks to make sure that we get it done AND get it done early.  He can do it!

3) Read.  Every day if possible.  As much as I love to read, you would think I'd make my kids read alot but I don't.  It's like pulling teeth!  BUT, I'm putting our reading goal sheet back into play for them to earn rewards based on the number of books read.

4) Start piano lessons.  We've waited until third grade to start lessons to make sure he could read well enough to understand his lessons.  So first, I need to find a good teacher and then the lessons will start.

5) Turn in his lesson work on time - there are often journals and extra work that has to be done and I am always late!  I want to get that stuff done on time this year.

Nathan -
1) Refine his printing and work on holding the pencil correctly.  I also want to make sure that we start and finish the cursive handwriting that begins this year.

2) Finish his AWANA book twice.  He did this last year and started the next book so I don't see it being a problem.  He is a quick memorizer which is a great thing!

3) Read.  Every day if possible.  As much as I love to read, you would think I'd make my kids read alot but I don't.  It's like pulling teeth!  BUT, I'm putting our reading goal sheet back into play for them to earn rewards based on the number of books read.

4) Turn in his lesson work on time.  (Just like Josh!)

** I do not plan on starting Nate in piano lessons this year - but it isn't out of the question. I want to start Josh first and then go from there.