Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Homemaker Monday- Halloween edition! (10/31/2016)


First off, I hope everyone has a Happy Halloween today full of lots of treats and not so many tricks. Around here, the older 2 kids are off to school and the youngest is currently watching "Thomas the Train: The Great Race" for the one millionth time since I dvr'ed it last week. It is keeping him happy, which is good because he doesn't feel great. He has developed a really deep cough and runny nose. So we are just going to lay low today and rest up. Tonight is our community trick-or-treat night and I am thinking that I might take him to a couple houses close to ours, while Bill takes the older 2 to our normal route. I don't know. We shall see. 

We have an extremely busy week this week and I have a ton I need/want to get done at home. So we shall see what this week brings.

For now, let's get on with our Happy Homemaker Monday (hosted by our friend Sandra over at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom).


Warm! Today is supposed to be pretty seasonal, with temperatures close to 60 degrees. On Tuesday and Wednesday temperatures are supposed to be close to 80 degrees. We have definitely been going through a warm snap. It is supposed to rain later in the week and then get cooler


Today I had cheerios with banana cut up in the bowel. I am trying to eat better starting today. I have gained a few pounds since my surgery and I just don't feel good about my weight and how I feel right now. So hopefully with starting off with a good breakfast I can make better choices throughout the day.

I see leaves, leaves and more leaves. Our neighbor has a huge tree in their yard that drops a ton of leaves. I also see that I need to refill our bird feeder on the porch. 


Typing up this post, listening to "The Great Race" on the TV and the washer spinning out as I have started laundry, and thinking about what I really want to get done today.


The house doesn't look too bad. The kids left their cups on the table from breakfast. Ben hasn't gotten any toys out yet to play with so the floors are still clean. Overall, not bad for a Monday morning.


  • Clean both bathrooms
  • Laundry (I think I have at least 2 loads to do)
  • Tutoring stuff for this week (including figure out plans for C, C, and E.; text N about Wednesday; message R about Tuesday and Thursday)
  • Cut Benjamin's fingernails and toenails
  • Collect trash from around the house and take to curb
  • Start working on new chore charts for the kids
  • Trick-or-treating tonight    


Monday: get housework done, trick-or-treating tonight
Tuesday: I tutor. AHG fall awards ceremony. Watch the Cleveland Indians in Game 6 of the World Series.
Wednesday: Tutoring. Parent teacher conferences with all 3 kids' teachers.
Thursday: Kids have no school. Thinking a trip to the library and maybe lunch out.
Friday: Kids have no school. Thinking about a trip to the park to play.
Sunday: PSR for kids and church



I have a couple shows on the DVR to catch up on. We will be watching the World Series tomorrow night (Game 6). Hopefully the Indians will pull it off and win. If they don't we will watch Game 7 Wednesday night. Bill wants to watch the movie "Hellboy" tonight. Not really my cup of tea, so I will probably do some computer work or read while he watches it.


Monday::  Wendy's (this is our trick-or-treat night tradition)
Tuesday::  Ham, augratin potatoes and peas
Wednesday:: Hot dogs, baked beans, fruit
Thursday:: Grilled ham and cheese sandwiches, chips, fruit
Friday:: pizza rolls and fruit
Saturday:: ???
Sunday:: Turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, green beans, rolls


Nothing at the moment, but I HAVE to get going on our vacation photo book and I think I may have the perfect picture for our annual Christmas cards. Also I have an idea for the kids' annual Christmas ornament that they get from St. Nick, but need to get working on those.


This was the morning sky a couple of days ago outside my window. The picture doesn't do it justice. As I am getting older and looking to simplify life, the littlest things in nature feel good to my soul. The beauty in nature is stunning. 


So there you have it, a little peek into my life on this Halloween Monday! Hope everyone has a great day full of treats and no tricks!:-)


Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Queen of Katwe (book review)


One day in 2005 while searching for food, nine-year-old Ugandan Phiona Mutesi followed her brother to a dusty veranda where she met Robert Katende.

Katende, a war refugee turned missionary, had an improbable dream: to empower kids in the Katwe slum through chess—a game so foreign there is no word for it in their native language. Laying a chess­board in the dirt, Robert began to teach. At first children came for a free bowl of porridge, but many grew to love the game that—like their daily lives—requires persevering against great obstacles. Of these kids, one girl stood out as an immense talent: Phiona.

By the age of eleven Phiona was her country’s junior champion, and at fifteen, the national champion. Now a Woman Candidate Master—the first female titled player in her country’s history—Phiona dreams of becoming a Grandmaster, the most elite level in chess. But to reach that goal, she must grapple with everyday life in one of the world’s most unstable countries. The Queen of Katwe is a “remarkable” (NPR) and “riveting” (New York Post) book that shows how “Phiona’s story transcends the limitations of the chessboard” (Robert Hess, US Grandmaster).


I really, really wanted to like this book. I was looking forward to reading it as I was in the mood for an inspirational read. And I got to be inspired. I learned a lot about the culture in Uganda's poorest areas. I was inspired by how Phiona was able to overcome what seems like insurmountable odds in order to become a leader in the world of women's chess. I was inspired by Robert's commitment to the children in the Katwe. I can't imagine what the children of Uganda's poorest areas have to deal with day in and day out. I feel like I have a better understanding of the background of Phiona's story and what challenges missionaries may face in the poorest areas of Uganda.

While I was inspired, there were a few things that really bothered me about this book. There seems to be a lot of filler information with people that I am not sure how were related to the story of Phiona.I came away feeling like I really didn't know Phiona herself. Rather, I knew of the environment but not her. The story did not flow very well. There seemed to be a disconnect with each chapter and it was hard to keep up with where the author was headed.  I also felt like there really wasn't a finite conclusion to the book. 

Overall, I think that it was a needed book that raises awareness and shows how it is possible for someone to overcome insurmountable odds to do well in an area. However, I didn't feel like it was particulary well written. If you would like more information about Phiona’s story and Sports Outreach Institute, please visit

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Buzzplant and Ravu Collective. All opinions of this book are my own.   

78 degrees at the end of October!

The calendar says that it is the end of October. The leaves are changing and a lot have fallen. It is fall. However, you wouldn't know it by the temperatures we have been having the last couple days. 

Yesterday, it was sunny and almost 80 degrees! That is crazy. It is usually in the high 50s/low 60s around here this time of the year. Last Saturday, we were in sweaters and boots. 

Not yesterday. I had on a tank top and yoga capris. The weather was gorgeous.

We decided to take the kids out to walk and to enjoy the weather.

We headed out to walk along the Kokosing Gap Trail in Gambier.

After a little bit on the path, which was SUPER busy with bicyclists and other walkers, we decided to head down a path that is maintained by the Brown Family Environmental Center. The BFEC  has a series of paths through the woods and that run along the Kokosing River.  The kids loved walking through the leaves and trying to figure out if we were still on the path or not.

The BFEC also has areas that are maintained as a community garden area and that has a couple of ponds where the kids can looks for frogs and fish. I wasn't sure if they would see any frogs but what did I know--- the kids saw 8 frogs and numerous goldfish.

Overall, we walked about 2.25 miles and got to enjoy the lovely scenery and just relax. When we got home, I came in to make dinner and our the kids went and jumped in leaf piles that our neighbor had raked up while we were gone. 

Overall, it was a good day!  

Saturday, October 29, 2016

This and That

Life is moving right along. It has been crazy busy around here.

It is tournament time for high school sports so Bill is running here, there and everywhere. This has also thrown my schedule out of whack, but it is what it is. We've also been dealing with sickness off and on. Last week it was Jacob with the stomach flu. This past week it was me with the stomach flu. And today, Ben's nose is running like a faucet. Sigh.

The middle child (Jacob) has been getting in trouble at school, including a phone call home that he threw a block at another child. Sigh. His ADHD/aspergers is flaring up and we are not sure which direction to go. His doctors want to put him on meds, but I don't want to just yet. I want to try some natural alternatives. We are trying out some essential oils on him. And we also signed him up for wrestling at the recommendation of his doctors. We shall see if that helps.

The kids brought their report cards home and for the most part they were good grades so good things there.

We signed Rebecca up for basketball through the Upward program. She has gotten into the habit of not wanting to try new things and so we forced suggested she sign up. She resigned herself to that fact and so in a few weeks we will have a little basketball player.

Benjamin has fallen in love with building things with the blocks that come in the Jenga game. This is the boy who a year ago could not copy block patterns for his Occupational Therapist. He loves building towers and walls.  

Friday the kids had their fall parties at their schools. In the morning, I went to Ben's preschool party, where they sang some songs for the parents and then showed off their costumes. Ben was "Darth Vader" from Star Wars. 

In the afternoon, we went to Jacob and Rebecca's school for their costume parade. Rebecca was a black cat and Jacob was a baseball player. 

Speaking of baseball, I got to bed late last night as I was watching "The World Series." My favorite team all time is in it-- the Cleveland Indians. I have been wearing a couple of my Indians shirts that I have had since I was in high school this week. 

Last night they eeked out the win 1-0 and now lead the series 2 games to 1. They need 2 more wins to win the series. I am so excited. Go Tribe! 

Let's see... Today I am working on a little cleaning up of the house and just hanging out at home. We were invited to a birthday party and a fall fest party, but looking at our upcoming few months and I have a feeling that I will be longing for quiet weekends at home, so I declined both and am just spending time at home today puttering around. This coming week is a busy one, so I want to NOT have to worry about cleaning house, just maintaining it. 

Well, I think I need to get off of here and go switch laundry and do something else. Jacob also wants to play Uno later, so I got to get stuff done! Have a wonderful Saturday everyone and GO TRIBE!! 


Thursday, October 27, 2016

What are we teaching our children during this year's election?

I rarely get political on social media or anywhere else for that matter. I have always been like that. Now, I will on occasion put a sign in our front yard if my husband and I both agree on it. I am not one of those people who plaster their political beliefs all over facebook and other social media sites for the world to see. I have my beliefs, however I am not going to force my beliefs on anyone else. I believe what I do, and I respect that others may or may not agree with me. I do my duty and I vote in every election. I research and I pick the candidate that I feel will do the best job and whom I feel is the best choice for my family's future and for the future of our country. I have gone back and forth in the past between voting Republican and Democrat. I do not tend to only vote for one party over another. Like I said, I think that who you vote for is personal. So you will not see any posts on here asking that you vote for so and so over so and so. 

HOWEVER, there is a dangerous trend that I have seen this year that I have to address. This is one of the most awful, mud-slinging campaigns that I can ever remember. Each side has very passionate followers and they have no qualms about telling horrible things about the other side. I get that that is part of politics. 

However, have we stopped to think about what we are teaching our children??

My 9 year old daughter came to her dad the other day and was afraid because she said kids in her class were saying that Hillary Clinton is a murderer and shouldn't be allowed to run for President. 

We are talking about 4th graders! What an awful thing to teach your children. I am going to copy and paste what my husband put on facebook (as he does get political) as I feel it sums up pretty soundly how he and I feel about this. 

"My daughter came to me today and said she was scared because some kids in class told her Hillary is a murderer. What a terrible thing to teach a child. They are going to grow up disloyal to those in charge. If you encourage such talk with your kids then you are an awful person, and YOU are what's wrong with this country. And quite frankly, I don't care if anyone is cheezed off by this because it's the truth.

Look, there are faults with both candidates. I understand that those who follow each one, HATES the other candidate and will say what they will. However, we have a rule in our house, in that we do not badmouth either candidate in front of our children. That is showing respect to the 2 people because 1 of them IS going to be OUR president. One of them is going to be the elect of this nation, whether people agree with the election or not. My candidate has not always won, however, I do respect those that do win and I make sure that my children show those in political office respect. 

Maybe it is just me and my husband. Maybe it was the way that I was raised. I don't know. Am I wrong to be offended by how this election is being presented to children??  

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

2016 Jack-o-Lanterns

Halloween is right around the corner and there are a few traditions that we have in our family. One of those traditions is letting the kids design and make a jack-o-lantern to enjoy seeing all lit up at night time.

Well, on Sunday night we got around to letting the kids carve their pumpkins and turn them into jack-o-lanterns. (It was a good thing too, because apparently Ben's had a crack in the bottom of it and it was starting to mold inside....) 

This was the first year that Benjamin really understood what we were doing and I think that is because he has fallen in love with the story "Spookley, the Square Pumpkin." We have the book and the dvd and he wants to watch it over and over. 


Anyhow, the kids had a blast carving their pumpkins. The older two even cleaned their own pumpkins out!

We had the boys draw their faces on their pumpkins themselves and then Bill carved Benjamin's pumpkin and I carved Jacob's for him. Rebecca carved her own pumpkin all on her own this year, using one of those carving kit tools that are supposed to be good for kids. 

So here is the final product with each kid behind his/her pumpkin:::

We put the pumpkins out on our front porch on 2 glass tables that face our front door so that I can light the candles in them and the kids can enjoy seeing them. Here they are all lit up and being spooky (from left to right is Rebecca's, then Benjamin's, then Jacob's):::

My dad said that Jacob's pumpkin reminded him of Picasso! I think they are cute and spooky!


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Craft show shopping and walking among the leaves

Saturday morning, Rebecca and I had to get up bright and early to go help set up for a craft show that her American Heritage Girls troop was sponsoring. I helped them to sign in vendors and Rebecca helped some of the vendors set up their tables. 

At 10:30 we headed back home to get the boys as Bill had to leave for work. The boys were going crazy and weren't listening, etc. It was crazy and I knew it was going to be a day that they needed to be kept busy. So, we left once again, this time with the boys in tow, to meet up with my mom and sister to actually go to shop at the craft fair.  There was 28 vendors there and there was a good split between crafters and direct sales people.

I ended up getting a few things.  I spent $10 on a grab bag from a Perfectly Posh vendor that I actually knew. Inside was a lip cream, a sample of their soap, and the blue shower loofah thingy. I also spent $7 at the snack shack to get the kids some snacks and bottles of water to have while we were there. I also bought a little bottle of stress away spray for pillows for my husband (for $3) that was a blend of some essential oils (which he used last night and said that it helped him to sleep!). My mom bought the kids the bags of homemade caramels, the Scentsy bar in "Amazon Rain" scent, and the Tastefully Simple brownie mix. I was given the little owl hand-warmer by one of the vendors as I was sitting by the door when they were signing in and he asked if I was cold and I said not really, just my hands. He then came back and gave me the owl (he was selling them as well). So overall, I came home with a few things. 

After we left the craft fair, I got the kids McDonald's for lunch and we came home to eat. On a side note, I love McDonald's biscuit sandwiches and I am glad that they offer them now with their All-day breakfast menu! Yummy! 

After lunch, I decided the kids needed to be doing something out, so we headed out to the library to get them books. Rebecca LOVES to read and almost always has her nose in a book. Jacob loves to look at sports books and Benjamin loves "Thomas the Train" books. 

We got home about 5 minutes before Bill got home. After he got home, the kids were being crazy again and so I suggested we head out to the Kokosing Gap Trail to take advantage of the sunshine and to take a walk. 

It was a little chilly, but a lovely way to spend an hour crunching leaves and just talking and walking. We ended up walking a total of 3 miles! I will admit that Sunday my legs were sore in church. 

That evening, we had a rough night, with kids being whiny and irriatable and getting in trouble. They went to bed early and Bill went to bed early and I fell asleep on the couch watching the Cubs/Dodgers game. 

Thankfully, Sunday was more low key with church and just spending a low key day at home! 

How was your weekend? 
What do you do when the kids get crazy?

Monday, October 24, 2016


I was going to post a happy homemaker monday post today but Jacob decided to share his stomach flu bug with me. I feel awful. So will be back tomorrow hopefully!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Off to the pumpkin patch we went...

Monday afternoon, we found that we had a free afternoon. The kids were home from school. My tutoring session got cancelled. Ben's OT appointment got cancelled. So, we decided to head out to the orchard where we picked apples, to let the kids pick pumpkins for Halloween. Rebecca and Benjamin had NEVER been to a pumpkin patch and Jacob had only been once with his preschool. In fact, Bill and I had never been to a pumpkin patch in the 12+ years that we have been together. 

The weather was perfect (mid 80s and sunny!). We met up with my mom and my sister, who was home from college so they could have some fun as well. We were a little late in the season to pick them, so there weren't many left, but the kids found 3 perfect ones for them.  


At the orchard, I also picked up some tomatoes and some hot salsa for Bill. Overall, it was a wonderful afternoon of family fun and making memories! We will definitely be adding this to our to-do list for fall in the years to come (and hopefully we will be able to go earlier towards the start of October next year!).

Do you pick pumpkins from a patch? 
When was the last time you visited a pumpkin patch?