Anxious

Philippians 4:6I’m anxious.

Like the I-need-to-scrape-paint-on-our-front-porch-or-stuff-my-face anxious.

The kind that makes it hard to concentrate.

Makes it difficult to work.  At least I can write.

Lord willing, big changes are coming.  And I hope I can divulge them with you soon.  Just keep watching.

And in the meantime, what are you feeling anxious about?

Taking Care of Friendship

Today, as I attempted to catch up on the backlog of emails in my inbox, I perused through some of my favorite blogs.  As I was doing so, I happened across a few articles about friendship, the importance of developing friendships, and the like.  It got me thinking.  I don’t like to jump on the bandwagon, but when something speaks to me, I feel I need to write it.  (And by the way, you can check out what I read at incourage at The Art of Simple.)

On the radio the other day, I heard one person ask another what the difference was between her friendships 10 years ago and her friendships today.  Well, 10 years ago I was in my senior year of high school.  I can still remember all of my friends from back then, but I think I knew deep down who was real and who wasn’t.  Sure I had my “friends”, but then there are always FRIENDS–you know, real friends.  The ones who wanted me around even though I didn’t want to smoke, drink, and have sex.  The ones that would come to all the sporting events with me or just walk around the mall.

As is no surprise, I haven’t seen most of my “friends” since I graduated high school.  There’s the one I fell away from, the one I’m always talking to, and the one I wish I talked to more.

Then you go to college, make a bunch more superficial friends and a couple of keepers.  I have two of the keepers.

But then you graduate from college and you enter real life: get a job, get married, have kids…and somewhere among the diapers, the milk, the laundry, the soccer games, and the instrumental concerts, you lose touch.  Your friends are two hours away in a new place and you want to be there with her during this transition but you can’t get away long enough to even see her place.  Or she’s three hours away, and you get to see her once–maybe twice a year when you take vacation with your family.  Or she’s just about an hour away but she works full time on the night shift, and the only time you get together is with the kids–which they love (the kids and your friends!), but all you want is some real grown up time sometimes.  Even the friends you make through your kids’ friends (moms unite!) are out of reach most days–they have busy schedules too.

I miss my friends.

Take some time to read Jennie Allen and Tsh.

And then take the time to pursue meaningful friendships.  Wherever you are, whatever your circumstances, whether you feel like the frazzled mom with no friends or the laid back mom with a million, call up a friend or send her an email–whatever it takes to refresh those precious friendships.  Male or female, single or married, ten kids or no kids.  We need those friendships in our lives.  We were made for friendships.  So pursue them.  Cultivate them.  And then tell us how you did it.

And while you’re at it, pin this prayer from Elisa Pulliam.  Or print it.  Or just visit it over and over again and pray it every time you see it.  You’ll be glad you did.  And so will they.

The Prayer of a Friend

My Top Homeschool Resources

This week, my sister made the comment that she is considering homeschooling my niece for Kindergarten and 1st grade.  While I am not one with the patience to do anything like that, props to her!  But it got me thinking, as she asked her “teacher friends” about resources.  Even though I don’t homeschool my kids, I subscribe to many blogs that make learning at home a lot easier.  I’m that crazy mom that makes her kids learn over the summer (don’t worry, they get more than enough play time!).  And I’m glad I do.  Over this past summer, my daughter jumped 7 reading levels.  I think I’ll take it over the summer slide.

Here are some of the recommendations I gave her, and I hope they help you too!

Teachers Pay Teachers – You don’t have to be a teacher to join this site, and you don’t always have to pay.  There are many free resources available every week.

Teachers Notebook – Similar to Teachers Pay Teachers, you don’t have to be a teacher, and there are often free resources.

Educents – This website offers deals on homeschool material all the time, sometimes even free!

These are some of the blogs I follow that offer homeschool deals:

Free Homeschool Deals – A great site with a host of free homeschool deals; I find a ton of stuff from here!

Homeschool Creations – While there’s not as much available here, I still find a lot of good resources, sometimes some additional deals and freebies.

Intoxicated on Life – Mostly scripture copywork, but also has some other good resources for homeschooling

if you are thinking of homeschooling, a homeschooling mom friend of mine suggests contacting your local homeschool association.  You can locate them on google.  No matter how you use these resources, good luck!  And let me know which ones are your favorites!

In Keeping with Goal-Setting (FREE PRINTABLE!)

Thanks for visiting!  Please visit me on my new site.  You can find your free printables here.

Intentional

Well, folks, I’m back for the new year!  I can’t promise I’ll remember to post regularly, but I’ll try to post when I can.  I wanted so badly to post many of the projects and recipes we made last year but never got around to it.  Life happened.  I’m sure many of you other moms out there can identify.

I’m sure many of you are reading now about making new years goals and resolutions.  I’m not one to try to jump on the bandwagon, but I’ve been making resolutions since before I was a teenager, and though I fail many years at accomplishing many of them, I’m going to continue to try again anyway; though this year, I’m looking at my resolutions more as goals.  And I’m continuously working to establish the steps needed to accomplish them.

Here are my goals for this year:

For My Family:
 Spend 2 hours per month with each child
– Make devotions with Prince Charming a habit
– Make devotions with Rapunzel and Tinkerbell a habit

For My Health:
– Lose 52 pounds (I have a lot more to lose, but I figured if I shoot low then I’ll be more likely to achieve it…and if I lose more I’ll be thrilled!)

For My Career:
– Direct Sales: 12 parties per month, 5 guests per party, 1 recruit per year
– Church: Complete SEO on the website

For Myself:
– Read 2 Books
– Make devotions a daily habit

I have yet to make goals for my home, though I suppose this year, I’d like to finish scraping the paint off of our stairway railing and the porch.

I loved this free printable I used to record these goals!  Unfortunately, I couldn’t seem to find the link from which it came.  If you know who created it, please let me know so I can give them credit!

2014 Goals and Resolutions Printable

Along with these goals, I’ve adopted the concept of a word for the year, like many of the bloggers I follow.  If you don’t know what that is, check out this website: http://oneword365.com/

I know I’m behind the times on this word, but this word feels right to me this year: INTENTIONAL

I want whatever I do this year to be intentional, thought out, purposeful.  I don’t want to do life haphazardly anymore.  I want to intentionally spend time with my kids, intentionally develop a better relationship with Christ, intentionally build a better marriage, and intentionally become a healthier woman.  Please help me with this goal; if I seem to be falling off the wagon, feel free to remind me about what I’m saying now.  I’ll need all the help I get!

What are your goals for this year?  Have you picked a word?

Summer Scavenger Hunt (with FREE Printable!)

I know it’s been a while since my last post.  I must have had a crazy week, because it’s been a blur and now I can’t remember what on earth I did.  I can tell you I didn’t do anything I had planned, that’s for sure!

I did spend most of the day planning for the next two weeks at home, searching activities, creating activities, moving plans around, etc.  One thing I was looking for was a summer scavenger hunt.  I couldn’t find a whole lot online that I really liked, and I had my own things in mind anyway, so I made one up myself.  I’d love for it to be a little snazzier, but I don’t have great access to good graphics right now so this is what I have.

When you look closer at it, don’t freak out.  I’ve created this scavenger hunt to be a summer-long hunt.  This scavenger hunt is not meant to be completed in a day!  If you want to complete it in a day, by all means go ahead…but this is supposed to allow the kids to keep their eyes open all summer, notice certain things when they go somewhere different, and learn in the process.

Click on the image below to access the FREE printable!

Summer Scavenger Hunt - FREE Printable

PLEASE NOTE: If you’d like to share this printable, please do not post the PDF.  Instead, please link to my blog page.  Thanks!

Homemade Lemonade

ImageSo since we planted our garden Sunday instead of making homemade lemonade, we saved the lemonade for yesterday.

On Sunday evening, when I went out to purchase our vegetable seeds and two more packets of flower seeds, I went ahead and picked up 12 medium-sized lemons for this recipe.  Here’s what you need for a regular batch of homemade lemonade:

1 c. water
1 c. sugar
6 medium-sized lemons
3-4 c. cold water

Yes, I intended to keep the water measurements separate.  Here’s what you’re going to do:

homemade lemonade

  • Cut the lemons in half.  I went ahead and did this first just so I had a head start on squeezing them while my sugar-water mixture was boiling.
  • Mix 1 c. water and 1 c. sugar in a small pot and cook on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until water has dissolved.
  • While the sugar-water mixture is boiling, squeeze the lemons using a juicer into a pitcher, being careful to separate seeds.  Thankfully, Prince Charming decided to do this, because our juicer was flopping all over the place.  (In reality, he couldn’t stand to see me struggle with it and just decided we were all better off if he did it.  lol.)
  • Add 3-4 cups of cold water to the lemon juice.  We doubled the recipe, so I used 7 cups of water as not to water it down too much.
  • Add sugar-water mixture to lemon-water.  Stir.
  • Chill until cool or serve immediately with plenty of ice.  I’d recommend against adding ice to the pitcher so it doesn’t get watered down.

My entire family loved  this recipe, so I’d have to say it was a success!  I doubled the recipe, and it’s almost all gone.  We’ll definitely be using this recipe again!  Hope you enjoy!

Returning for Summer

I have 89 emails in my inbox.

I should read them.  Or sort them.  Or something.

I should be working.  Or keeping my kids from drowning our potted plants in their pool water.

But I’m not.

I haven’t been here for about 3 months.  Three days after my last post, my oldest biological daughter’s father passed away unexpectedly, and I didn’t know how to deal with telling the world.  A wild mix of emotions was involved, including past hurts, what ifs, anger, some depression, grief.  You name it, I felt it.  Then dealing with his family–that was a whole issue in itself.  I discovered who was really family and who wasn’t.

Well anyway, I’m back for now.  I actually was reading through all of the emails in my inbox when I felt the urge to write today.

Summer is quickly approaching.

By noon next Friday, we’ll be parents of a preschooler, an elementary-schooler, a middle-schooler, and a high-schooler.  Scary territory.  Scary and exciting.

And we have an exciting summer ahead of us!

After scouring Pinterest, the web, Facebook, and my friends’ ideas, I put together a plan for my kids over the summer.

First I made our Summer bucket list, borrowed a calendar from another blogger, and filled in some blanks with some of my favorite ideas.  I left Tuesdays and Thursdays mostly open for the summer park program.  As soon as I get the map for the program, I’ll be able to plan those days as well.

Of course our plans may change based on weather, health, and ability, but we’re going to try to accomplish everything on our list.

Check out our plans for the summer.  I hope it helps you to plan yours!  I can’t wait to share our adventures with you!

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Happy summering!

Check it out!  Linking up at:

Lil\'Luna

The Best Free Android Apps for Kids (According to us!)

If you haven’t already noticed, there is a plethora of apps out there nowadays.  So many people are using tablets, touch-screen phones, iPods, and other devices and there are so many choices for apps!  Educational apps, game apps, potty training apps (yes, I’ve used this one!), silly apps, dumb apps…you get the idea.

Well if you’re like me, you can’t just spend oodles of money on apps for yourself, let a lone your kids!

If you’re having trouble deciding and want to keep things at a minimal cost, here’s what we recommend:

Coloring Book App and Coloring Book 2 (Lite) App


ColoringBook and ColoringBook 2 (lite)
Coloring Books: What more can you ask for?  Pick a picture and color away!


Fish Farts Kids AppFish Farts Kids
No, I’m not kidding.  My kids will sit there for at least 5 minutes (many times longer than that!) playing this game.  Pop the bubbles or press the fish to make them fart for points.

Kid Mode
Kid Mode AppThis is by far my favorite app!  Set safety features, change preferences.  Tons of games and videos tailored for the age of your child.  They can even send you video messages and vice versa at no cost!  Limit which characters your child can view and read more books for a nominal price.  My kids would play for hours on this app if I’d let them.

Kindergarten Math Lite
Kindergarten Math (Lite) AppThis is a very simple game and not really attractive, but it helps teach younger children about adding, money, and various other math skills.  Rapunzel loves this app.


Littlest Pet Shop
Littlest Pet Shop AppI don’t really like this game for me, but my kids love it!  They can pet, feed, and play with the animals, buy new animals, buy new homes.  I just make sure they don’t buy anything with real money.  My little girls are always bugging me to play this one.


My Little Pony
My Little Pony appThis is actually one of my favorite apps, and I play it all the time.  Sad, but true.  I won’t let the kids play this one because they spend my coins.  (Terrible mom, I know.)  When I did let them play this one, they did love it.  Rapunzel likes to play “ball” with the ponies the best.  Oh, and spend my coins.

Piano Perfect App

Piano Perfect
Simple, yet entertaining.  Kids can press the keys or play along with a song–without banging on the keys (that’s the best part)!

Sight Words AppSight Words
Another simple app, this one shows sight words.  Better than flipping cards, if you ask me!


Sudoku Fun
Sudoku Fun AppThis game is seriously addicting!  When I first played it, Prince Charming couldn’t understand why I couldn’t stop playing–but there are so many levels, you just can’t help but beat them all.  He finally downloaded the app, and now he’s worse than I am!  If you like Sudoku, this is a good one.  Older kids love it as well.  Best of all, if you bomb a level, you can do it over.  🙂


Unblock Car
Unblock Car AppThis is another app that can keep you going for quite a while.  Move the cars around to make way so you can get your car out of the parking lot.  Use as few moves as possible.  This one is also good for the older kids.

What’s your favorite free app?