family life, holiday, home, kids, Ramblings, Uncategorized

The Great Conundrum

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I am really struggling with a great conundrum. Are you ready for it?

I really want to decorate for Christmas, but it’s not even Thanksgiving yet.

Don’t throw stones at me! I’m not sure what it is this year. I am so ready to put up the tree. However, I am also hosting our families for Thanksgiving. Our tree will go up in our basement, which is away from where everyone will be for our Thanksgiving meal.

That’s acceptable, right?

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The kiddos are super excited for Christmas. Addi picked a Christmas movie when we were at the library this week. We have been watching a few Christmas movies here and there. Christmas music has been on since before Halloween.

There is currently 3 or so inches of snow blanketing the outdoors, which only adds to my strong desire to get festive inside. The snow looks so beautiful clinging to the tree branches and rooftops. It’s magical.

Pure magic.

If we find time, I think we will at least get our tree put up. Maybe.

Do you decorate before Thanksgiving, or are you a strictly after person?

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family life, homeschool, kids, Uncategorized

Kids in the Kitchen

I love spending time in my kitchen. It is my happy place. I love baking bread from scratch and cooking up delicious meals for my family…and sometimes, the meals aren’t so delicious! I used to make homemade egg noodles pretty frequently, but haven’t made them in quite some time.

Harper has recently taken an interest in helping me in the kitchen. She helped me make the cake for Addi’s birthday party. She’s so much fun.

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Look at her sweet face!! She was so excited to use the rolling pin.

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I loved watching her watch me and what I was doing. She asks so many questions in her sweet little voice. IMG_0103

Egg noodles don’t have to be perfect. Once I had finished cutting them one way, I let her have at it. She actually ended up not pushing hard enough to cut most of the noodles, so I had to go back over them. She had a blast.

I am a HUGE fan of getting the kids involved in the cooking. My mom always had my sisters and I in the kitchen with her. She never worried about perfection if we were making something. She wanted us to learn how to cook. I want the same for my kids. I want them to be confident in the kitchen. The older girls are at an age where we feel comfortable letting them stir things in pots or pans on the stove top while we watch. I’m wondering when the fear of injury will go away.

My favorite day was when they learned how to make their own toast. Addi especially loves to make toast for herself and her sisters. I love that I can go a little slower on those mornings. They love feeling a sense of independence, and I love seeing them grow.

Do you encourage your kids to join you in the kitchen? I really can’t recommend it enough! Cooking is such a valuable “life skill” for everyone to learn!

family life, Ramblings, story telling, Uncategorized, Weekending

A little Bit of This and That

Hi, friends.

It’s been a while. I’ve just been trucking along. We went to Boo at the Zoo on Friday even though it was so cold and drizzly. We actually had freezing rain in the afternoon. We told the girls that we could go on another day, but they really wanted to go. So, we bundled up and went. No crowds. Imagine that.

Let’s just ignore the mess that is my house. I clean and clean and clean. But, it seems to be fruitless.

Saturday I got to help my niece get ready for her first show choir performance. I was standing outside of the hospital room when she was born. Now, she is this beautiful thirteen year old girl doing something that I loved when I was her age. I cried. I fought tears every time she was performing, and when all of the show choir groups sang “This is Me” from The Greatest Showman, I lost it.

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I don’t even know how she got so grown… or how my own daughters are so grown. Time is such a bitter enemy.

Sunday, we took it slow. Church, rest, choir practice, and church. My mom-in-law drove over and had lunch with us. I didn’t get any pictures. I think I was a zombie by that point.

Monday, my mom invited my older sister and I over for a craft night. It was so much fun. We made Christmas crafts and, yes, turned on Christmas music. (Pandora’s Hipster Holidays station is the best.) We ate snacks and chatted.. it was perfect.

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I felt pretty miserable yesterday. I haven’t been eating the way I know I should, and I’m paying for it. As soon as Scott came home, I laid down for the rest of the evening. It doesn’t help that Harper has been waking up at 4:30 every morning when Scott leaves for work. I have horrible insomnia, and only get a few hours of sleep a night if I don’t take something to help me sleep. I only take something on nights that Scott doesn’t work the next day; so once a week usually. The exhaustion paired with a terrible diet (terrible for my needs) has been a pretty rotten combination.

I rearranged Harper’s room this morning in the hopes that she won’t hear all of the noise in the driveway. What kind of person builds a house with all of the bedrooms over the REALLY loud garage doors and driveway? A cruel one.. that’s who. (whom?) She has a sound machine in her room. I just don’t get it. She can sleep through her sisters’ obnoxious noises, but not Scott leaving for work. If you have any tips to keep me from losing my mind, I’m all ears. I can’t take much more.

I hope that your week has been wonderful and you are getting wonderful autumn weather wherever you are!

family life, Ramblings, story telling, Uncategorized, Weekending

Weekend Recap

This weekend was so full and fun. I love weekends like that. We had summer weather, which is kind of annoying when it’s OCTOBER, but we wouldn’t let that stop us.

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Friday, we had plans to go to Lincoln’s New Salem for their candlelight festival. I invited my mom and dad to join us for the evening, and was so happy that they were able to come with us. We met them for dinner before the event. We made it into town a little before them, so we took the girls to see Abraham Lincoln’s home. Their minds were blown to see this incredible piece of history.

At New Salem, they had all of the cabins open and illuminated with candles. They had a militia camp set up as well as a few other camps so that you could see what live was like in the 1800s. It was SO crowded. I overhead others saying that they had never seen that many people come to the event. We were determined to make it to the tavern for gingerbread and apple cider. Naturally, we headed that way first to get our snacks. We needed fuel for the night, you know?

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We only made it into a few of the cabins before the kids were tired of the crowds and long lines; also a little scared of the darkness. It was past their bedtime, so we expected it to happen at some point. While we were walking, my dad was telling me stories about my grandpa building a cabin with his bare hands. I want to soak in all of the stories about my parents and grandparents. How much history has been lost by people not sharing the stories or remembering the stories?

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Saturday, I had signed my mom and I up for a craft at the library. Scott ended up having to work, and I thought I was going to miss out. My dad saved the day by offering to watch all three kids for me so that I could go! It basically thrilled the three of them to spend a couple of hours with their papa. They talked about how fun it was the entire day. My younger sister and her family got into town in the evening. I popped into my parents’ house to say hi to them and hug them all.

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Sunday started off as it always does- with our church family. We were running a few minutes late, but were still going to make it. Then, we got stopped a train. Then, the train stopped. That is pretty typical for this town, and everyone hates it. After church and lunch, we met up with my mom and younger sister’s family at the apple orchard. IMG_9541

I love this orchard so much. If you live anywhere nearby, you should definitely visit. They have delicious cider slushes, donuts, and all kinds of goodies. The people who work there are some of the nicest.

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They have a playground, hay bale tunnels, and even a toddler playground that is all free for you to enjoy. They don’t charge you for every activity, which is so common with some of the big-name orchards.

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I also got to hug a friend of mine that I’ve really only met in person once, which was a big cherry on top of a great weekend.

I love fun weekends where you get to spend time with the people you love and do all of the fun fall things. I’m holding on until later this week when the weather will actually feel like fall again. The schools are out today, but we are still working away. Instead of taking today off and staying in the house because of the heat, we will take another day off later this week when we can walk to the park and play!

I hope you had a wonderful weekend also, and that you enjoy your Columbus Day!

family life, kids, Ramblings, story telling, Uncategorized, Weekending

Our Weekend in Pictures

Alternate title: Our Sunday in pictures.

Saturday, Scott and his brother left at 3 AM to go to Michigan to watch the football game in Ann Arbor. This left the girls and I solo all day. I invited my parents over for breakfast. I made biscuits and burnt scrambled eggs (lucky them) and my dad made bacon and gravy. It was so much fun having them over. We played a couple games of clue before they headed back home. Then, we loaded up and went to Target to walk around and get out of the house. I typically spend 6 days a week without a vehicle and trapped at home, so when I have it I am GONE. When we got home, I spent HOURS helping the big girls clean their room. Seriously, no one is allowed to bring any toys into this house unless they are a birthday or Christmas gift. I’m sick of spending hours with the junk my kids accumulate. Anyone else? That was our Saturday, and I didn’t take any pictures.

Sunday, we got up and went to church. I love my church family. I am so thankful that God brought us here to be with these people during this time in our lives.

The place that my mom works for throws a big family picnic each year. It was originally scheduled for Saturday, but the heavens opened up and INCHES of rain fell. It obviously was rescheduled. As soon as church was over, we headed home to change and go to the picnic. Unlimited fair food. Heck yes! Bounce houses for the kids to wear themselves out in were available. There were so many crafts and games. The girls got more than one pony ride.

 

 

I asked Chloe if she wanted to go play BINGO with me. She came so close to winning, but neither of us did.

Glitter tattoos and face paint may have been the favorite part. For some reason, Addi always gets super nervous and never wants to have it done. I don’t push it, so that’s why you don’t see her in these. Gah! They are so cute!! We spent ALL DAY here playing and having fun.

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I love days like this. They had a fireworks show once it got dark, and of course everyone loved that.

 

I hope that you had a wonderful weekend as well. Now, it’s back to the grind.

family life, story telling, travel, Uncategorized

Lincoln’s New Salem: a Step Back in Time

Lincoln's New Salem

Over the weekend, we spontaneously decided to go to Lincoln’s New Salem. This was always my favorite field trip when I was growing up, so it was fun to take a field trip with the kids. When we got there, we were told that it was Bicentennial weekend at the park. All but one of the cabins was open for the public to walk through. There were people dressed in period costumes to tell you about the former owners of the homes/stores/shops. There was live music and poetry readings. It was such a fun day, and I’m so thankful that we got to see so much more than we thought.

 

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They love posing by statues. When we first got there, we went into the visitor’s center. There is a small museum inside where you can see different artifacts and learn more about New Salem. Next to the visitor’s center is a small cafe and gift shop. Then, you walk down the path in between a thick group of trees. It opens up, and you can see the homes.

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(Harper was refusing to carry her hat, so Scott put it on top of his own. He doesn’t usually wear this hat. 😉 ) I loved getting to go inside and see how people used to live in the 1830s.  I’ll apologize now for the quality of some of these pictures. It’s hard to get good pictures in dark places.

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Everything is so beautiful.

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Harper really loved the beds. Most of these beds have a trundle bed underneath where the children’ would sleep– often 2-3 children on each.img_9114

The girls were so fascinated by all of the candles everywhere. It was hard for them to imagine life without lights. img_9111

The Cooper shop (building in the picture above) is the only structure that is original to the town. The rest have all been reconstructed. It was taken apart and moved to Petersburg where it stayed until 1922. Then, it was carefully taken apart and rebuilt in it’s original home of New Salem.

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The beds and furniture are all so beautiful. I am so thankful for our modern-day mattresses though. I can’t imagine sleeping on straw.

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Chloe and Addi loved seeing the spinning wheel. They were talking about Sleeping Beauty the whole time.

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This is the inside of a wool mill. The technology of their day was really incredible. This machine was powered by two oxen walking on another machine outside. (see below picture)

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That little high chair is so cute. Can you imagine having a baby in this time? Look at those floors.

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We really wished they had a sign telling about this barn above. Most of the cabins have gardens in the yard. Some have the barns. img_9138

This table is from the tavern. There was a huge fireplace with tons of cooking tools hanging from the mantle. I told Chloe and Addi about how they used to cook over the fire. This is where travelers would come for a meal. Through the doorway was a large room with several beds where they would sleep for the night. img_9119They all took turns pretending to lift buckets of water from the well.

 

 

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It felt like the temperature was a million degrees outside. In reality, it was over 90 degrees. We were so hot, and I can’t imagine how the period costume “characters” felt. We had so much fun despite the heat. img_9134

If you are ever looking for something to do in Illinois, I cannot recommend this place enough! Behind the visitor center is a campground. Across the road is a state park with a playground and hiking trails. It’s a quiet area, but It’s not far outside of Springfield. You can go into the town and there is a lot to see there also.

 

If you want to check out more information about New Salem, you can go here to this interactive map.

family life, recommendations, story telling, travel, Uncategorized

Port Huron, Michigan

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In our 7+ years of living in Michigan, Port Huron is my favorite place that we got to explore. The water is so beautiful and blue. You can see right down to the bottom. Just across the water is Canada. In fact, the Blue Water Bridge to/from Canada was over us when I took this picture.

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The girls always call Lake Huron the ocean, which cracks me up. It’s bluer than the Atlantic Ocean, and it’s unsalted. It quite literally takes my breath away every time we pull up to the water and I catch a glimpse. I could sit and stare at it all day.

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We sat and took it all in for a while before we headed to grab lunch. Our favorite place to go is the Raven Cafe. They have SUCH delicious food, and it’s in such a cool building. We used to go when we lived in Michigan, and have returned every time we visit the area. It’s that good. The people are that awesome.

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There is art everywhere.. I love the whole vibe of the place. They have the best grilled reuben. Their chai tea chiller is so good. So, so good.

Once we devoured lunch, we headed to the beach. One thing that you NEED to know about Port Huron beaches is that most of them are rocky. Water shoes are needed if you want to be able to move comfortably. I wore my Tevas in the water without problems. Scott ended up putting on socks to dull the pain. It seriously is SO painful if you aren’t prepared. ha!

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Since the beach sits close to where the river begins, you get to see tons of huge barges coming and going.

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This particular beach sits next to the Fort Gratiot lighthouse. We have yet to go up in it since we never remember that you have to wear close toed shoes. Who wears those to the beach?

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We moved up the coast a little bit and found a tiny slice of beach that was practically empty. It is a public beach sandwiched between two sections of private beach. It’s not as rocky, and the water didn’t have the same current as the bigger beach.

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Soak that in. The clear water. The beautiful rocks beneath. The blue.. so much blue. Every time we go, I fall more and more in love. I have seen three of the five great lakes, and Lake Huron is my favorite so far.

I hope that if you are ever in Michigan, you can visit Port Huron. If you do, you must stop in at the Raven Cafe! Also, find this house and if it’s ever for sale let me know!

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I will share more about our trip another day. For now, you can soak in the ten million pictures of this beautiful city with me.

BEST SIGNATURE

family life, Weekending

Beach Bums

When Scott gets a Saturday off, we rejoice. We decided that if he did get the day off, we would head to the beach.

The weather was calling for scattered showers at the beach we always used to go to. We checked the forecast for a beach north of us, and saw that the storms were past that area. We quickly packed a lunch, our gathre mat, sunscreen, floaties, and ten million towels. We put the wagon in the van so we could drag all of our stuff to our spot on the beach, which was a HUGE help.

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Hitting up the beach with three kids is no joke. So. Much. Stuff. It is always worth it though. It was overcast and a little on the cool side when we arrived, but the water was warm. We went right in and swam until everyone was hungry. I may have nudged them to hunger because Mama was hungry. haha! After a healthy lunch of bologna/ham sandwiches and chips, we reapplied our sunscreen and went back into the water. acs_0058

These people are my favorite. Sandy feet and all.

I may go overboard with the sunscreen. haha! When your four year old goes in to have a huge portion of her skin removed because the doctors fear it may be cancer, you don’t mess around. (If you remember from years ago, it wasn’t cancer- Praise God.)

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I am sharing the sunscreen we used, because it is amazing. A lot of times, kids still end up with very light tan lines even with sunscreen. They had NONE. No harmful rays got through. It sprays on white, so you can see where the coverage is going. Just rub it in. It is also ocean-friendly. (Read about the importance here.) Plus, it is free from all of the crap that is just as harmful as a sunburn. This is not at all sponsored (although I would absolutely love that), I just really love it and am overly passionate about using a CLEAN sunscreen.

Lake life may be the best life. I hope your weekend was wonderful.

Sources: \ gathre mat / wagon / puddle jumpers / Addi’s swimsuit / cooler / my suit / healthy human bottle (15% your first order) / sunscreenveggie-go’s snack /

 

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AIP, family life, Ramblings, story telling, Uncategorized

Thirty and Flirty and Thriving

It’s official. I’m thirty; plus a few days.

My  niece stayed with me for a few days last week. Her family traveled for a funeral, and she stayed behind so that she could do show choir try outs. It was so much fun having her here and getting to know her more. Because I was taking her to school, I had our van. Having the vehicle meant that I got to go to Starbucks to get my birthday drink! The angels were singing.

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If you are ever wondering what my favorite coffee beverage is, that’s it. An iced caramel macchiato with an extra shot. I ALWAYS get an extra shot of espresso when it is free.

I also woke up with a tiny box next to me. I text Scott asking him if I was supposed to open it, or if he was just being mean and torturing me. ha! He told me to open it.

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Let’s just ignore that my skin looks like a desert and my mirror scar keeps getting bigger. He got me a hammered rose gold ring from Little Sycamore— something I’ve wanted for a long time. I love her shop, and Kelsey is just the sweetest person. I’m a huge fan of supporting mom-owned businesses. Werk. He said that he meant to get silver to match my set. I love rose gold right now, and think it is fun to add something different.

Scott made an incredible raspberry “cheesecake’ that is completely AIP compliant. He even decorated it. Seriously, it’s so good! Eating REAL food doesn’t have to be gross. It is from this cookbook, which I highly recommend. Even if you aren’t eating this way, the recipes are all super delicious! He also grilled burgers and hot dogs and made a chocolate cake. It was really nice to spend my birthday celebrating.

I had been begging Scott since last year to just ignore my birthday. Everyone stayed well. Disaster didn’t strike. And, I wasn’t in the hospital, so it was all good.

After a busy week full of appointments and running from point A to B, I’m ready for this week of slow.

I hope that you all had a wonderful weekend. To those of you who are mothers– whatever that may look like for you– I hope that you had the best day possible.

 

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family life, kids, Uncategorized

Girl Talk

IMG_4826This is a sweet picture my MIL took while she watched the girls! So cute!

Me: “Do you need any help?”
Harper, trying to open a popsicle: “I don’t need any help.”
fumbles around with the wrapper some more
Harper: “Ok, I need a little help.”

Harper: “Me want more chips!”
I get her some chips and set them in a bowl on the counter. “Here you go.”
H: “You supposed to bring them to me.”
Me: “No, you can get them yourself.”
H: “NO! Me little, not big!”

Harper: “Me want a carrot!”
takes bite
H: “Yuck! It’s not delicious for my tummy.”

While watching a live stream of a jellyfish aquarium:
Chloe: “How does a jellyfish know where to go if they don’t have any faces?”

Harper “ADDI!! Shhhhhhhhhhh! My Rocky toy seeping. SHHHHHHHHH”
Addi “Harper, your toys are NOT real. They don’t sleep.”
Harper “UUGGGHHHHH You woke him up! Grrrrrr woof woof woof woof”

While brushing our teeth:
Harper “But, I don’t see a mirror.”
Me “I know. We took it down because it hurt me and I don’t want it to hurt you. We have a new one.”
H “How about pink?”
Me “I think it’s white.”
H “But, we could make it pink.. or blue.”

 

my girls

 

While Harper was miserable and sick:
Me “My poor baby..”
Harper “Mommy, me said me NOT A BABY!”
Me “Oh, you’re not a baby? Then what are you?”
H “A girl.”

Addison “Mommy, can I have a blanket from my room?”
Harper “I want to get it!”
runs to Addi’s room and brings her a blanket

Scott “Harper, why do you have those spoons?”
Harper “To rock out!!” banging on a drum with said spoons

Scott, answering Harper’s request for a marshmallow, “ok, but you have to catch it in your mouth..”
Harper “Ok… but my mouth little, not big! See!!” As she stretches her lips as far as they go and opens wide.

 

 

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