Link Love – Week 4

Link Love - Week 4

Another round of links from around the web. I hope you find something you enjoy!!

I pinned this last week but I wanted to share it here as well. I love so many of these. 10 Ways to Make Your Marriage Divorceproof.

DIY Mason Jar Cocktail Gifts. GAH!!!!

Homeschooling through grief. Valuable coping mechanisms in this post.

The Universal Birthday Party. I can’t imagine the birthday party hell some parents go through. As an introvert, it’s one of the blessings of homeschooling.

Awesomely cool road trip hacks. Let’s go!!

Tips for transitioning from public school to homeschool. Midyear is a common for families to decide to homeschool. These are some excellent tips.

You should never have to defend your reasons for taking your kids to the happiest place on earth :)

Real-world mommy math problems. Huge laugh!

A worldschool day in the life This takes homeschooling to a whole new level.

“What I want you to know about Celiac Disease.” My good friend Amy has Celiac Disease, and it is so much more than being gluten-free. This is a good read.

Weekly Wrap-Up: A Week of Outings

Weekly Wrap-Up

Looking through our week, I realized we had more outings than usual last week!

Story time

First, we had story time at our local library. We had a special guest that day as a local police officer came in to read the stories to the kids. I am so happy our librarian set this up! Kids are sometimes told if they misbehave, the policeman will come and get you. Police officers don’t want children to be afraid of them!! Police officers are there to help people, and it is important for kids to understand that even though police officers may look scary or intimidating, they are there to help. I was mildly embarrassed when the officer asked what police officers do, and Bear raised her hand and said “Arrest people.” Sigh.

Story Time

Our librarian sets up a craft with each story time.

Story Time

This week it was police badges! Fofo was more than excited to show off her badge.

Police Badge

Open Gym

After story time, we went home for lunch, and then headed out to open gym. Our local homeschool group has set up a time twice a month for homeschoolers to attend open gym. It’s a great way for the kids to run off some energy during the winter months, and a chance for the parents to have some adult time. The fee is $5 a kid, which is money well spent! I was so busy chatting that I forgot to snap some photos. This is the lone, exciting picture I got: Fofo on the vaulting table.

Open Gym

Homeschool Game Day

To end out the week, a member of our local homeschool group set up a board game day! Families brought games to play with the other kids. Fofo has been excited about this forever! She was psyched! Her favorite game had to be hedbanz. And I have to say it was the perfect game for kids of all ages to play. I believe they had about 6 kids playing (again forgot to snap a picture) at one point ages 4-15. I love seeing all the varying ages together.

Game Day

It was a combination of game day and play day. The kids got to socialize and so did the mothers. Such a fun time!

Homeschool Game Day

Family Weekend

Weekends are Papa time. The girls don’t see him much during the week, about an hour each morning, so they soak in Papa time all weekend. It is a bit of a struggle, because they get a little clingly. Not terrible, and it’s to be expected. He has all but given up on trying to get things done around the house on the weekend. But photos like this remind you that all those things can wait.

Lilly and Papa

PlayN Wisconsin

My parents are headed to Florida for these next cold, winter months, and they wanted to see us before they left. And by us, I mean the children. We decided to meet at PlayN Wisconsin, an outdoor equipment provider who hosts open play during various points in the week. It was perfect! For $9 a kid (parents and 2 and under are free) the girls played on swing sets, trampolines, tire swings, and ran, and jumped, and ran some more.

Play 'N Wisconsin

It was a perfect way to spend a few hours. I highly recommend finding a place like this where you live. It was well worth the price of admission. Plus during the week the rates are cheaper. AND sites like Groupon often have deals for places like this as well.

Play 'N WIsconsin

Linking up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers for the Weekly Wrap-up!

Weekly Wrap-Up

Link Love – Week 3

Link Love - Week 3

My favorite picks from around the web. I hope you find something you enjoy!!

I love Tracy’s “My Everyday Life,” especially last week when she was on a cruise. So damn jealous!!

7 Signs you’re blogging about too many topics.

Fun Facts about Midlife. Sigh. Number 2. I once had an inch long hair on my cheek. Never noticed. How does that happen?!

How rare is a great marriage? “I don’t know how rare a great marriage is or isn’t (although it’s a question worth considering). But I do know this: it’s not the default position. It doesn’t happen by accident.” Love!

Decluttering the pantry is never super exciting, but it is a great way to keep your grocery bill in check.

What kid wouldn’t love this sparkly snow to practice writing!

This fill in the blank ABC activity is great way to test your kid’s knowledge of the alphabet.

Totally crushing on these recycled cardboard crafts.

Stuck in the middle? All.The.Time.

Rosemary Roasted Almonds. My husband said earlier this week, “I’m glad I bought the plain almonds.” Dripping with sarcasm of course. I may need to whip up a batch of these.

Top 5 TV Shows of the Fall Season

Top 5 TV Shows

Last fall I told all my lovely readers about 10 shows to watch, 5 returning shows and 5 must-see new fall tv shows. I thought I would revisit this post and let you know what I thought of the new shows.

1. The Affair

My hands-down favorite, favorite new show of the season was Showtime’s The Affair, recent Golden Globe winner for best drama and best actress for Ruth Wilson. If you haven’t seen it, you must check it out. You will be hooked from the first episode. The Affair is the recounting of a summer affair between Wilson’s character, Allison, and Noah, a family man from New York City who has come out to Montauk for the summer. The story is first told from one point of view at the beginning of the episode and from the other in the latter half of the episode. The acting in this show is astounding. There are a few other storylines weaved into the telling of the affair. It has been renewed for season 2 and I am more than excited!!

2. How to Get Away with Murder

I had high expectations for this Shonda Rhimes drama and this show doesn’t disappoint. The episodes are intertwined with the story line of her students trying to cover up a murder and the stories of the clients Viola Davis is defending. During binge watching, some scenes get a little repetitious. Overall, the show is fast paced and suspenseful. Can’t wait for the return on January 29th!

3. Black-ish

The lone comedy on my list is Black-ish on ABC starring Anthony Anderson. I haven’t watched all the episodes, but what I have watched is great. Funny, witty, and actually make me laugh out loud. Not many comedies can do that for me. Episodes range from race, to family, to marriage. Episode 3, The Nod, had me howling throughout the episode. It’s definitely worth checking out.

4. Gracepoint

Another show I was so excited to watch was Gracepoint. I binge watched this show. I had my issues with it, but I enjoyed it. I figured out how the killer was pretty early on so I was a bit of a chore to watch at times. But overall, it was good show. It did have a small twist at the end that took me off guard. I haven’t seen the original BBC version, Broadchurch, so I can’t speak of whether to watch the American version. I enjoyed it. If I didn’t watch so many crime dramas, I probably wouldn’t have seen the ending coming ;)

5. Gotham
I was so excited to check out this show, and I am just eh with it. The show is doing great numbers and has been renewed for a second season. I just can’t get into it. I am caught up to the mid-season finale. At this point, I could take it or leave it. I will keep watching though. I may quit a lot of things, but I always finish tv series I start.

What new shows have you been digging? What is your favorite fall show?

Weekly Wrap-up: Week One

Weekly Wrap-up

Last week wasn’t entirely the best week ever. (See more here) BUT we did have a productive week considering with my little 4 and 6 year old.

Calendar
Back when we first started doing sit-down work for homeschool, I had a daily calendar (that didn’t get done daily ahem) but Fofo didn’t express much interest or understand the concept of days, weeks, months, etc so I scrapped it. She recently mentioned how she wanted to start doing the calendar again. Luckily, I found this awesome printable from Carisa which the girls just loved!!

Calendar Printable
Calendar Printable

Letter V
We finished up the letter v. I used a mish mash of printables for each letter to practice writing, identification, and phonics. Here they are working on their ABC book. V is for vegetables! We only have 3 letters left, and I have to say that I am excited to be done and start something different.

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Sensory Play
It has been pretty cold in Wisconsin so the girls haven’t wanted to go outside, but they did get to play in the snow as we brought it inside to play. I added some food coloring as an added bonus.

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Letter W
We got started on the letter W with some rainbow writing (I found these here) along with some Wall-e printables. The girls were pretty excited.
Letter W

Science
The girls got a monthly subscription from the Magic School Bus science Club for Christmas this year. They love doing the experiments with Papa on the weekends. It is a great way for the whole family to get involved. We are working on the dinosaur and fossil units.
Magic School Bus

Free Play
We encourage the girls to spend a majority of the day playing. This week included reading, dishes, Harley’s, and beauty salon. They can get stuck in a rut of the same play so it is fun to see them doing different things.
Free Play

Linking up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers for the Weekly Wrap-up!

Weekly Wrap-Up

Link Love – Week Two

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It’s time for another post of links I am loving! Hope you find something you enjoy :)

A perfect example of unschooling and a January Unschooling Challenge from City Kids Homeschooling. Perfect if you need a little January inspiration.

I love a good list and this list of “10 non-baby related items all new moms need” is spot on!

I may be out of the loop on this by Lenore Skenazy aka Free range kids on twitter is getting a show!!!! Love it!

I LOVE these dress-up aprons! As a mom with two little girls, I can see how they are more practical than the traditional dresses.

I love soup not matter what the season, but this roasted red pepper tortilla soup looks to die for. Perfectly seasoned and scrumptious.

5 Tips for a happier homeschool. I need to print this out as a daily reminder.

I adore Jennifer from The Deliberate Mom. She wrote this awesome post “9 Tips for Great Blog Post Ideas.” Make sure you subscribe to her newsletter. You get freebies when you subscribe!

Planning is a way of life when you are a family: work, school, meals. But don’t forget to planning fun time or intentional leisure! Not just your standard vacation, but things as simple as camping.

It’s that time a year when people are trying different diets, trying to lose weight, or get in better shape. Love this honest post from Shelley about her experience with a juice cleanse and her weight loss journey.

Need this!!! Sigh. 4 more weeks til The Walking Dead returns.

My Week In Memes

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I had a fun, upbeat post planned for this Monday, but I just had to scratch it. This past week has not left me feeling upbeat. It was a week!

First, my children have been terrors. Perfectly fine one minute and then they turn into monsters. Fighting, attitudes, tattling, crying, wrestling, whining. Then ten minutes later, back to normal.

Then there was the cold. Like-so-cold-we-can’t-go-outside-nor-do-we-want-to cold. Blah.

So we can’t go outside. No problem. Let’s go to our weekly homeschool open gym. My car breaks down.

THEN! My husband’s truck at work breaks down for four hours on the coldest day of the year.

really

I also jacked up my shoulder. Not from working out. No no no no. I jacked it up sleeping.

eyeroll

We avoided the power outage in town earlier this week, only to have it go out on Saturday evening.

I was actually at Walgreen’s when our power went out at home, but their power was affected so I couldn’t get my meds. Then my debit card wouldn’t work for my red bull. THEN I went out to the car and it wouldn’t start.

Here is to a new, and hopefully better, week. Cheers!

Link Love – Week One

Link Love - Week One

Each week I love to share some of my favorite things from the interwebs: blog articles, pictures, photos, ideas, homeschool inspiration, food, and more. Here are some of my picks for this week. Enjoy!

New year, new you!! Yes, I know it’s a little played out, but the new year is a good time to start fresh with finances. We started the 52 Week Saving Challenge. It’s not our only way of saving of course, but it is a fun and visual way to see the money you save up.

I know Christmas is over, but how good does this Hot Chocolate Bar look?!

I know everyone is psyched for the new season of Downton Abbey. Meanwhile I am over here going: “Is the next season of Sherlock out yet?!”

A Holland America cruise ship set sail this week for a 114 day voyage! Sadly, we did not win the lottery so we could be on board. How amazing would this be?!

Kristen has an awesome saying for stereotypical male jobs: “You don’t need whiskers to do that!”

I love everything about this post from Becca. From the room. To the nap time routine. To the cute little girl. But I am in love with the desk set-up she has for her daughter :)

Back in the day, I loved to scrapbook. Elsie’s post on a week in the life album gives me the creative itch again.

This post is a must read! Simple activities at each stage/age to help your kids learn to read. And most of them are under 30 minutes.

Don’t sabotage your parenting partner. Let me say that again, DON’T SABOTAGE YOUR PARENTING PARTNER!

Yes, Chaunie, I have totally done all of these.

Hello 2015!!

Happy 2015

2014 was an interesting/hectic/stressful/rewarding year. I probably didn’t do the best job of taking care of me, BUT I did take a little blog pause (Thanks Jennifer!!) in December. My parents had the kids for the last week, allowing me to get the next unit of school work done for the kids. I didn’t get much actual writing done, but the silence allowed me to relax, breathe, step back, and brainstorm about the upcoming year.

2014 was a whirlwind for sure. I spend the first couple of months helping taking care of my nephews. I should say, “we” did, because I would have never been able to do it without the help of Fofo :)

Fofo

March brought us COUPLE’S WEEKEND!!! Ahem, only 72 days til 2015’s Couple’s weekend. Not that I am counting ;)

Couple's Weekend

We got a huge uplift in July when my husband got a raise (eeeeeek) AND overtime!!! Woot Woot Woot WOOT!!! The financial boost was such a weight off our shoulders. It was the only way we were able to ROAD CRUISE!!!!

Carnival Dream

Thanksgiving weekend we had our annual photo session with my awesome friend Carrie. I love this yearly tradition and the pictures always turn out amazing. More on this year’s session here :)

family photo 2015

Homeschooling has been a learning experience this year. I am doing my best to stay relaxed and follow the lead of the kids. But at the same time finding a way to challenge them without driving myself to burnout city. It’s a balance of my introversion to Fofo’s extroversion. She would like to out doing things everyday if she could, but the compromise of once or twice a week seems to be working.

I have been on and off blog wise this past year due to babysitting, an awful case of writer’s block, and a computer that is on the fritz. I have struggled with my writing this year. Mostly because I have this “OMG I’m a horrible writer, everything I write is shit” writer gene. I’m a tad on the self-deprecating side. I hate it when writing feels like work. I like words to flow naturally, which is why writer’s block is agony for me. In order for me to be successful at this blogging thing I need to post regularly so I need to remind myself to suck it up buttercup!!!

I hope you had a great New Year, and I look forward to what 2015 has to bring. Cheers!!

40 Books by 40 – Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls

40Books

I have become a lazy reader in recent years. In order to get back into a reading routine and make myself more accountable, I challenged myself to read 40 books by the time I am 40. I am, ahem, 33 years old which only means about 5 books a year so it will probably be more, but 40 by 40 has a nice ring to it so I’m leaving it :)

Book 16 is “Half Broke Horses” by Jeannette Walls. It is the true life novel of Lily Casey Smith, a “spirited woman, a passionate teacher” and rancher born in 1901 who lived through the Great Depression and World War II in Arizona. It’s “Laura Ingalls Wilder for adults,” but even better! Lily is the grandmother of Jeannette, mother of the memorable Rosemary Smith Walls in Jeannette’s memoir “The Glass Castle.” If you haven’t read “The Glass Castle” it is another great read.

I was blown away by this book and the strength of this woman. Any one of the things that happened to her, would have set most people back. But she put her head down and kept working. Worked harder than I could work in 2 lifetimes. This is the type of woman I want to teach my kids about. The women who helped build this country.

Even though this is a book about Lily’s life, it is written in a novel style. A biographical novel if you will. Walls does a magnificent job of bringing her to life. There are so many quotable moments in this book.

1. A “Eureka” moment “Nothing finer than the feeling that came rushing through you when it clicked and you suddenly understood something that puzzled you. It made you think it just might be possible to get a handle on this old world after all.”

Lily was coming back from a teaching job and plane few over the desert. “Never in my life had I ever seen anything like that airplane. It was amazing that it didn’t just fall out of the sky, but for the first time it dawned on me -Eureka!-what the word “airplane” meant.”

2. Love “After so many years on my own, I was sharing my life for the first time, and it made the hard moments easier and the good moments better.”

3. Ranch life “I realized that you can get so used to certain luxuries that you start to think they’re necessities, but when you have to forget them, you come to see that you don’t need them after all.”

“World used to be all water, we are mostly water, and it never comes to an end. All the water on the earth had been here since the beginning of time, it had just moved around from rivers and lakes and oceans to clouds and rain and puddles and then sunk through the soil to underground streams, to springs and wells, where it got drunk by people and animals and went back to rivers and lakes and oceans.”

4. Feminism “This (flying) lesson was an investment,’ I said, ‘In me.'”

“Scarlet O’Hara was my kind of gal. She was tough, she was sassy, she knew what she wanted, and she never let anything or anyone get in her way.”

5. Words of advice “Life came with so much adventure and danger as any one body needed. You didn’t have to go chasing after them.”

This book would make a great Christmas gift for a young lady or anyone who loves the history of the old west or Arizona. The short chapters and Lily’s fascinating life will keep you glued to the page.

Book Total
Book 1 – Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
Book 2 – Blindsighted by Karin Slaughter
Book 3 – God, If You’re Up There, I’m F*cked by Darrell Hammond
Book 4 – Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Book 5 – Life After Death By Damian Echols
Book 6 – Catering to Nobody by Diane Mott Davidson
Book 7 – Game of Thrones (A Song of Fire and Ice Book 1) by George R. R. Martin
Book 8 – Burglars Can’t be Choosers
Book 9 – The Last Jew of Treblenka by Chil Rajchman
Book 10 – Theodore Boone: The Abduction by John Grisham
Book 11- Kisscut by Karin Slaughter
Book 12 – A Clash of Kings (A Song of Fire and Ice Book 2) by George R.R. Martin
Book 13 – A Storm of Swords (A Song of Fire and Ice Book 3) by George R.R. Martin
Book 14 – Seven Wonders by Ben Mezrich
Book 15 – Bonk by Mary Roach