Ready for Spring

I’m feeling pretty ready for spring here. Not that we have had an awful winter. It’s been GREAT. I’m just ready for green and growth instead of brown. I’m also ready to go hiking again. Thankfully, my awesome husband brought home some sunny yellow tulips that are brightening up my work space.

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I love tulips in any color. They just radiate happiness. I think the world could use a whole lot more happiness now. Go buy yourself some flowers.

I feel really blessed. Our family has managed to avoid any of the winter illnesses up until now. People in our church have been out a ton with the flu/stomach bug/other viruses and I have been diffusing my oils like crazy (I really like Eden’s Garden brand, but have used Melaleuca and like it as well). I just recently bought a bigger diffuser for our family room and put the other in our bedroom. I love both, one just holds more water and lasts longer.

When we were getting the girls ready for bed last night, Harper’s nose started running and she coughed like a seal. Literally out of nowhere. She had been fine all day. I said “she’s going to end up with croup”. She didn’t cough much more and we put them  to bed. After midnight, she suddenly woke up. I could tell she was trying to cry, but it sounded like a bark. Then there would be more barking. I ran in as fast as I could and picked her up. She was struggling to breathe so I ran outside in the 25 degree weather in what I wore to bed. (Of course some random dude was walking down the street and said how bad she sounded. Thank you, captain obvious..and sorry that you are seeing me like this.) I told Scott we needed to call an ambulance (yes, she sounded THAT bad). We don’t live very far from the hospital, so he put her in the car and took her since he was able to get dressed while I was outside with her.

He got her there and they did chest x-rays and gave her a breathing treatment right away. Sure enough, it was croup. He could see where her trachea was narrowed even. She is doing much better today- still raspy and bark coughing, but breathing. We have dealt with croup a few times before. It always scares me. If your child has ever had it, you know why. But, I was honestly terrified and cried when Scott left with her. I’ve never heard any of my babies fighting to breathe. I know there are moms who deal with that every day. You are incredible.

Anyway, I am definitely looking forward to spring when we can get away from this illness season. I am extremely grateful that we live in a state where it has only snowed once. The weather has been great. We go out without coats most of the time. But, I’m still ready for spring. I don’t know how I survived 7 years in Michigan.

Are you itching for spring? How has the weather been where you are?

Classroom Friendly Pencil Sharpener

Alright, friends! I have something very exciting to share with you today!

I have been on the hunt for a great pencil sharpener. If you are a teacher, or a homeschool mama, you know exactly what I am talking about. We sharpen pencils daily in our house. Whether they be colored pencils or regular #2 pencils, we are constantly sharpening.

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I get so frustrated by the crummy pencil sharpeners that break off lead, or just don’t sharpen very well. Then we have the small electric sharpener that is loud as can be and still doesn’t work very well. None of the options were good, so I went searching. I found these ADORABLE pencil sharpeners. They offer so many fun color options, and even bundles of 3 or 36 pencil sharpeners at a discounted rate! Who knew a pencil sharpener could be so cute?!

I was so excited to be selected to receive one to test out and tell all of my friends about!  I have a lot of homeschooling mom friends along with a lot of teacher friends. I knew this would be right up my alley.

I have to be honest though, I was skeptical. I thought that it surely couldn’t be THAT great.

I am very happy to say that I was very VERY wrong. This pencil sharpener was created by an elementary school teacher! The front plate pulls out and locks in place. Then, you squeeze the two black knobs together and insert your pencil. Release the black knobs and your pencil is secured into place. You don’t have to hold your pencil AT ALL!! Then, you turn the knob on the back just like with your average classroom pencil sharpener. Here is the coolest part- it automatically stops sharpening once your pencil is sharp. WHAT?!?! You can’t over sharpen and waste your pencil!

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I know, I know. It sounds much more complicated than it really is. My 6 year old, Chloe, just sharpened all of her pencils by herself after I showed her how. She had so much fun that I wondered if she was going to start searching for more to sharpen.

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Harper was even fascinated by the whole process. All of the shavings are collected in a small tray that you can remove to dump in the garbage. They sell spare parts on their website just in case your child or students end up throwing the tray in the garbage! The pencil sharpener does come with a clamp to secure your pencil sharpener to the counter or desk, but you can also purchase a permanent mount if you so desire.

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Look at these perfect points!! These were all pencils that Chloe did by herself. Seriously, I never expected to love it THIS much. Honestly. I knew it was cute and sunny yellow, so that was exciting. But, I figured it would work the same as any other sharpener. I was so, so wrong.

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This pencil sharpener does only sharpen the regular sized pencils. If you are a preschool teacher who uses preschool pencils, I have good news! They also sell a large hole pencil sharpener!! There is even a car shaped pencil sharpener. They really have thought of it all!

You can check out the video and learn more about these pencil sharpeners here!

Now, head over to their website and tell me in the comments below which color is your favorite! If you ever sharpen pencils, do yourself a favor and buy yourself or your classroom one or three!!

Classroom Friendly Supplies relies on word of mouth to get the word out about their amazing pencil sharpeners. Please pass the word along if you know someone who could use one of these pencil sharpeners in their life!

 

 

This blog post was created in partnership with Classroom Friendly Supplies. I received a pencil sharpener for free in exchange for my review. However, all of the opinions in this review are all my own.

From Where I’m Sitting

Oh my word. I don’t know what I did in my sleep, but I have really tweaked my neck. I can’t turn my head to the right without intense pain. It’s really great because Chloe’s school desk is to my right. Does anyone have any tips for getting something like this worked out? I’ve already applied heat. I was hoping that it would work itself out once I got moving more for the day. Nope.

Moving on.. Here comes a random assortment of thoughts.

In Oklahoma, there is this bracelet company called Rustic Cuff. I see the bracelets everywhere. Every female talks about them. They have just about every bracelet that you could imagine. (I have also heard that the RC thing is that if someone says they love your bracelet, you are supposed to give it to them and buy another?)

On Sunday, a sweet friend of mine told me to go away when I was standing with my husband. haha! I had no idea why, but I went away and didn’t really think about it again. Ministry is weird sometimes, so I don’t think much about a lot of random things. After church, I started stuffing things back in my purse, and I saw this pretty turquoise bag inside. I showed it to Scott and asked him if someone was trying to frame me for stealing.  He said yes, but had his usual ornery smile that told me he was kidding. I opened it and saw this cuff inside. It says “God’s plans will always be greater and more beautiful than all of your disappointments”.

This is why my friend told me to go away. It is beautiful. The timing was perfect; more perfect than she even know. I feel like a true Okie lady now, too. 😉

I have started reading this book, and really love it so far. I also really want to read this one, which was recommended to me by a CC mom. There is a parent workbook that you can buy to go along with it. I prefer buying books like these because I really like to highlight and make notes. I also like to re-read them. For the sake of budget, I’ll be looking for the second book at the library. Do you have any good book recs?

We are gearing up for an overnight activity. I pull all-nighters at home often enough to know that I can power through the next day well. I’m a little nervous for staying up all night with teenagers while bowling, ice skating, jumping on trampolines, etc. and still caring for three energetic children the next day. We are going to have to get out of the house for fresh air to wake us up or something. I am so excited to actually get to go to this event!!! It’s been a while since I got to do something like this.

My friend, Hannah, asked me if I was losing weight yesterday. It took everything I had to not give her the biggest hug ever. haha! I hadn’t weighed myself in a while, so all I said was I hope so. Turns out, I’ve lost 3 pounds, so thats cool… Just 23 or more to go. haha! 3 weeks into the new year and 3 pounds down. That is a healthy rate to lose weight, so I really am happy about it.

Can I also say how amazing the way God works is? Hannah and I met at a playground last summer. I had met a friend from church for a playdate. She had to head home, and I stuck around because Chloe had found a friend. Turns out, this friend is the same age and is also homeschooled…and her daddy is a pastor. Through all of this, a wonderful friendship has developed, and I am so incredibly thankful. It was what I had been praying for, and so had she.

I think that may be enough random thoughts for Wednesday. I am feeling overwhelmed with gratitude. And neck pain. So seriously help a sister out if you have any advice.

One more thing- this is the stroller that we have and LOVE. It is on sale for a REALLY great price. So, if you are looking for a nice stroller, snatch one up. The basket underneath is small though, so if that is a deal breaker for you I would pass on this one.

 

 

 

Homeschool Update

It’s been a while since I posted about how our homeschooling is going; besides just our room. Since I am new to it all, and I know many other mamas are as well, I want to keep writing and being open and honest about it all. Mostly I want to remain this way so that other moms don’t feel alone in how they are feeling. I have felt every emotion over the last couple of years of doing this.

HONESTLY- Homeschooling has been a struggle right now. Finding balance between 1st grade, Pre-K, and trying to not completely ignore Harper has been difficult. Chloe fights me to start school. Addi wants to fly through every paper, so she is constantly talking. Harper likes to ram books into my elbows and yell “read me” (read to me) over and over again when I am trying to work with Chloe on something. She has reached a really ornery stage, and it is frustrating to say the least.

So, here is how I am FEELING.

Overwhelmed. Isolated.

Please understand that I also believe that it is completely rewarding and I LOVE seeing my children learn. I love that they are not being forced to learn in only one way. Kids don’t fit into boxes, and I breaks my heart to see them forced into boxes in schools. Every child learns differently, and I love being able to change things as needed.

But, it is lonely. It is hard. I feel like a little island floating at sea all by myself with no support whatsoever.

Through a friend (actually a couple friends) I was able to get in touch with some Classical Conversations leaders. Talking on the phone with them was so refreshing. I realized that I am not the only mom who wants to collapse into a pile of tears.

We went to an open house and got to sit in the classrooms. I am really thankful that Scott was able to come with us because I really wanted him to get to see what it is all about also. He went with Chloe and I went with Addi. 

It was AMAZING. Addi was really shy at first, but eventually came out of her shell. The kids were all so welcoming and sweet. The moms were amazing. I was able to see that there are a lot of families in our community that are doing this homeschooling thing. They do fine arts, latin, history, science… so much! The kids can do science labs together when they are older. They get to pack a lunch and have recess together. It really is incredible.

Both girls had a blast in their classes. They both were saying it was great and asked if we could go back. We probably wouldn’t start until the fall if we can work it out, but I want to go back. haha!

There was such a great sense of community and support. The one thing that I hear constantly from the many MANY people who are opposed to us homeschooling is that our kids won’t be socialized properly. They’ll miss out on too much. CC offers all of that for them. I also learned about many other groups in our area that do P.E., field trips, and so much more.

If you are feeling led to homeschool your children, don’t be intimidated by it. You are not alone. Sometimes you have to do some searching, but there are so many programs and communities available for you. Classical Conversations has a place where you can search for meetings in your area on their website.

I know without a doubt that God has called me to homeschool my children. I KNOW IT. I believe it. I get discouraged. I want to quit. It would be easier to send them to school, obviously. But, I cannot quit just because it gets hard. I have prayed and prayed and cried out to God about this.

Am I nervous about next year (teaching Kindergarten and 2nd grade)? yes!

I know that every mom who has walked this road felt these same emotions. It takes time to figure out what works best for your family. It will be no different for us.

 

 

**I feel the need to state (even though I should not have to) that I absolutely do not feel that homeschooling is right for every family. I in no way judge anyone who sends their kids to public/private/whatever schools. You do God is calling you and your family to do.**

Weekend for the Books

Most of our weekends have been consumed with busyness lately. We are rushing to complete projects around the house and finish unpacking. Why does it take SO long to set up your new home?! The weather had been turning colder  on the weekends, and last weekend was our “ice storm”. It was really just a ton of COLD rain that occasionally froze. Either way, we spent it inside. Not this weekend!! Hallelujah!

Our weekend is more Friday-Saturday than the typical Sat/Sun that most have. Friday, Addison had an eye appointment. I figured that since her sisters’ vision was so bad, I should have hers checked. Guess what?! She needs glasses, too. All three of my girls have really bad astigmatisms in both eyes. The doctor is confident that the farsightedness will get better with time, but an astigmatism is unpredictable. Anyway, she had so much fun trying on her glasses, and like her sisters, she didn’t understand why she couldn’t take them home with her that day. 😉

I never steer them towards any style or color of glasses. I let them pick what they like the most.  I did choose Harper’s color because she was too young to pick. If she needs new ones in a couple months, I will see if she can pick.

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On Saturday, we all rode up to the church while Scott did his thing. We had some errands to run, and spent some time all together. Then, we decided to go for a walk. It started drizzling on us, but we kept going because the fresh air felt so good. We even got to see a pretty rainbow!! (Don’t worry, we stopped by the house and got Addi’s hat, etc. once we started getting wet.) We are so close to a huge park in our area; walking distance close! I am thrilled and so are the girls!!

Sunday morning was church time. We had a great service, and even had a friend of ours surprise us by showing up to our second service!! It was really nice to get to talk to him and get to know his beautiful wife even better. We love that family, and they love us. Mostly, they love our sweet little girls.

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We loaded up the wagon again and let Chloe ride her scooter to go for another walk that evening. We have a huge path that runs all over town here. One of the entrances is SUPER close to our house. We walked some of it; some because it is 9 miles long. Chloe had so much fun riding her scooter and I had “so much fun” trying to not run into her every time she stopped. ha! It had rained for 12+ hours Saturday night into Sunday morning, so the water was much higher than usual. It was really pretty and peaceful.img_5594

When we got back home, Scott and I started working on some yard work while the girls played.

I cannot say enough what a blessing this house is. Not only do we have space, but we have a safe yard for the kids to play in. We have a safe neighborhood to walk in. We have a beautiful path to walk and parks to play in.

This whole week is supposed to be pretty warm and sunny. I love the weather here! I am so thankful to no longer live in a place where the air hurts my face. haha!!

I hope that you have a wonderful week ahead! Can you believe that February is next week?!?! Where is time going?

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A Bowl of Soup

Can I just say that I am married to the greatest man alive? Truly.

I have been really struggling the past week. My mom has been in the hospital since early Thursday morning. She is ok, but it kills me to not be able to help out in some way. I know I’m not a doctor and can’t fix her. I do know how to cook though, and I would love to be making freezer meals or doing the laundry. SOMETHING; even if it were just to hug her. I just want to be there.

Anyway, between that and being stuck inside from the “ice” storm (thankfully it was just a lot of rain with some freezing) I was feeling pretty crazy. Scott came home from work yesterday and told me to go get dinner alone and do something.

I used to think that eating alone was weird. It turns out that it’s actually really wonderful. No one was trying to steal my food. I didn’t have to get up and fetch more napkins, more juice/water/milk, or deal with anyone fighting. My soup was HOT the whole time that I ate it. Mama bear’s porridge was not cold.

I took a book to read, but ended up with a family sitting right next to me. Their daughter was standing up in the booth facing me and chomping on her potato chips. If you know me, you know I CANNOT handle hearing people eat. So, I finished eating and went to the grocery store. Obviously.


Yes, that is a gluten-filled bread bowl, and I felt it later. Oops.

Scott told me not to come home because the girls weren’t in bed yet. He wanted me to not have to deal with bed time. I drove by the library, but it was closed. So, I did the next best thing. Hobby Lobby, where I found this wonderful piece of art.

I have a thing about gnomes. And Elvis. I think gnomes are great. I do not feel the same way about Elvis. Not that I have anything against him, I just was scarred for life from a lot of Elvis impersonator concerts. haha!

Anyway, it was really wonderful to get out alone and do something. I am so thankful for an understanding husband. He gets me. He puts up with my 50 shades of C-R-A-Y. He loves me in spite of the fact that I have been on the verge of an emotional breakdown. He lets me cry on his shoulder when I am frustrated. He watches goofy chick flicks with me. He believes in me. He is rooting for me.

I just really love him.

Who knew that a warm bowl of soup could turn someones day around?

 

Have you ever gone out for a meal by yourself? Did you feel uncomfortable at first? If you ever get the chance to, you should go. 

I Decided to Stop..

Our pastor has started the new year with a series called “My Story”. How awesome for the new year, right?! Sunday was “I decided to stop”.

What is something in your life that you need to stop in order to move FORWARD in your relationship with Jesus?

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I heard my answer loud and clear while praying for God to reveal things that I needed to stop.

Complaining. Self-Pity. Ungratefulness.

Ouch.

Honestly, my favorite Sunday sermons are the ones that step on my toes. It hurts, obviously. But, growth is painful. If you disagree, I’ll let you deal with Chloe in the middle of the night when she wakes up screaming from growing pains. Growth hurts. Being challenged isn’t easy. Having your flaws pointed out can be embarrassing. We all want to be doing everything right.

My word for the year is “awake”… living a fully awake life and not missing out on anything. I have already majorly failed when I spend time complaining and feeling sorry for myself. I am missing out when I feel ungrateful in the small things.

Isn’t it amazing how God works? I prayed for God to reveal a “word” or theme for 2017. However, I wasn’t really sure how to follow through with it once it was revealed. God really used the words spoken on Sunday to reaffirm my theme for this year. I am encouraged and uplifted in knowing how to keep going forward and reach goals. I don’t want to be the same person at the end of the year as I am now. Not at all.

It’s not going to be an easy journey. Nothing is.

Truly, I LOVE our church. I love being challenged and encouraged week after week. I love that it is ok to walk in the doors and not be okay. I love that I know that people are TRULY praying for my family and I. I feel so unbelievably blessed to be a part of this community.

 

What is something that you need to stop? What is standing in the way of you growing in your relationship with Jesus? 

Fri-Yay the 13th

Happy Friday the Thirteenth!! Scott and I got married on Friday the 13th, so I always get excited on these fun days. haha!

We are gearing up for “icemagedon” here. It’s been a really long week, and knowing that we are stuck inside for the weekend is a bummer.

Harper is storing up for the cold. So far, it just keeps raining, but it’s freezing on the trees and lines. It’s not supposed to get bad until tonight. I am praying that we don’t lose power. If we do, I can still cook on our gas stove top and keep things cold outside until the weather warms up above 50 on Monday. 😉

Have you tried Thrive Market? I’m giving it a 30 day free trial. I looked at the prices of some of the specialty items that we use (GF and DF) and found them to be cheaper than the grocery store. If you use my referral link, you’ll get 15% off! (Not sponsored, just truly excited to try it out.)

We are getting close to Valentine’s Day. I’m really excited to decorate and plan a fun day for our family. I don’t know the last time that Scott and I went out.. probably never. I always enjoy the fun heart shaped food and pink/red decorations. I’ve been pinning away for some fresh ideas.

My kids won’t stop fighting and I can’t even think straight, so I’m going to just give up on trying to write anything that makes sense.

I hope that you have a great weekend and stay warm wherever you are!

To My Dad on His Birthday

Dad,

We sure have been through a lot.

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I always was a daddy’s girl. I remember all of the times  in the garage helping you with your dragsters. I’m not really sure how much help I really was. Maybe I was more in the way, and you were just gracious enough to put up with it. I am grateful. I know what tools do what. I will never forget the day that mom wasn’t able to be at the track with us. I got to go out on the track with you and David. My heart was pounding, and I was terrified that I would somehow mess up. My shoes were sticking to the track from all of the tar and burnt rubber. It was exhilarating to get the opportunity to be ON a racetrack. To be on the track as part of your “pit crew” was awesome! Watching from the sidelines was awesome, too, but something about being on the track felt like magic.

We have many fishing memories. Waking up super early on a Saturday is the last thing that I wanted to do, unless it involved going fishing. Whether it be on the shore at Ray’s pond, at the dam, or on a boat on Lake Shelbyville. Even the days we didn’t catch much were fun. But, the days we did catch a lot, watch out! We caught thirty or more fish one day and had a park ranger stop to talk to us. His interest sure did peak when I told him how many we caught. “And, how many did you keep?” I believe we had 12? Possibly more. That boat had an engine that was bigger than necessary, and we sure did test it out. “Hold on tight” as the boat goes flying out of the water. I never knew that I had the strength to crush a Dr. Pepper can with one hand. I’m sorry that there wasn’t any left for you to drink. I was probably wearing most of it.

You and mom were always so supportive. You both did everything in your power to show up to every performance that we ever had. Having you travel all over the midwest to go to show choir performances meant so much to me. The year that we traveled to Disney, and you bravely agreed to be one of the chaperones for 50+ teenage girls was a blast. You went on all of the rides with us. You bought all of my meals and I was able to use my meal money to buy a sweatshirt from Italy. Epcot Italy, but I was still excited!! Who would ever think that a fifteen year old girl would be thrilled to have her dad accompany her on a trip with friends?

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You were tough on me also. You didn’t let me get away with anything. I remember a day that you said that you’ve wondered if you were too hard on us when we were young. Dad, we would not be who we are today without your tough love. The rules set for us kept us out of trouble. They kept us safe. They probably kept a lot of creep guys away, too. Having you greet every one of our dates in the basement while cleaning your guns was always fun. They knew our dad meant business, and that they had to treat us with respect. I know that we butted heads a lot when I was a teenager. That’s probably because I am just like you. I know that because I butt head with the child who is most like me. 😉

I never thought I would cry so much when I moved away from college. I couldn’t wait to be out of the house. Then, reality hit and I just wanted you and mom to stay with me. I am thankful that you gave me the opportunity to go to college out of state. It prepared me for these years of living away. Of course, I wish we were closer.

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When I found out you had to have open heart surgery, I wanted to be closer. I wanted to be there to help in some way. I was an emotional wreck, so I probably would have just been in the way and gotten on your nerves. It was the longest day of my life; waiting to find out that you were alive and going to be ok. You kept saying that you were going to make it through. I kept saying that you better.

When I got the text from Amy that you were being taken to the hospital because of a possible stroke, I didn’t want to stay put anymore. We got in the car the next day and drove straight to the hospital. I wanted to surprise you and mom. Amy and Amanda knew we were coming. I will never forget walking into the room and you talking to me as if I were Amy. You couldn’t see over the shoulder that you looked. When you sat down and realized who I was, you said “Boy, I must be in bad shape if you are here.” I knew you weren’t in bad shape. I needed to hug my dad. I knew that my dad needed his family together.

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Then comes a cancer diagnosis. I mean, can we just not have any more? I am so thankful that cancer’s butt got kicked in less than a year. If we harass you about taking care of yourself, it’s not because we want to annoy you. We love you. We want you around for a very long time- healthy and happy.

You have always been there for me, Dad. You and mom drop everything to come when you are needed. You both gave up so much for us over the years. You both gave all of us girls an incredible childhood full of MEMORIES. I just hope that I can live up to all of that.

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I love you, Dad. Even though this birthday definitely isn’t an ideal one, I sure hope that you have a wonderful day. I am so glad that you were able to come visit last week. It meant the world to me to have you here, if only for a few hours and some sleep.

Love,

Your favorite daughter 😉

 

What day of the week is it?

Goodness! I am so confused this week. We had some company yesterday. Scott took the day off because:

His brothers were all in town. Having him home for a random day has thrown me off and I’m all sorts of confused. It feels like a Monday all over again. Ew.

Chloe had dance, and I was so proud of her. Her uncles wanted to see her dance, so I turned on her recital song and she performed for them all by herself. She is so shy and unsure of herself. I have LOVED watching her blossom through dance.

Speaking of Chloe, I captured this moment last night.

She was reading a book to Harper. My heart melts into puddles when I catch moments like this. Most days I feel completely overwhelmed and question my sanity. Then, this. How lucky am I to get to witness the good moments of sisterhood. I have so many friends who have lost babies. Who can’t have any babies. Who have had multiple miscarriages. There has been a lot of heartache lately when it comes to babies, and I am reminded of how blessed that I am in the chaos. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. (I would say yes to a night in a hotel by myself though…)

Yesterday was bittersweet. The first vehicle that Scott and I bought together was towed away. It broke down the week that we moved into this house. It made one click sound when the key was turned and that was it. That poor van has been through a lot. I had tears in my eyes as I watched it get loaded up and pulled away. I brought two babies home in that van.. I drove that van from Michigan to Oklahoma with three little girls in the back. The big girls were fascinated by watching the guy hook it up to tow it away.

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We are bracing ourselves for an ice storm this weekend. Ten years ago was the huge ice storm that knocked the power out at our college for WEEKS. I am a little nervous about how we will make things work if we lose power, but hoping that we don’t get too much.

How is your week going? Are you thankful that we are halfway to the weekend?! We can do this!