Friday, June 28, 2013

Potty Training Jacob Day #1

So today after waking up to a messy poopy diaper from Jacob, I decided that once again I was going to try to potty train him. I was DONE with poopy diapers from him. D.O.N.E.  DONE!!!!

So day #1 started....I put him in pull ups this morning and he actually did not fight me to sit on the potty. Instead he was okay with it. I praised him for not having peed in his pull up. I praised him for trying to go. I told him he was such a good boy.

This afternoon, he actually went pee in the potty for the first time! He was so happy.

Then while I was making dinner, he told me he had to go potty. I got him on the potty and he accidentally peed on his leg and he was SO upset.

I hope this is a  sign of good things to come with Jacob going potty, because he needs to be out of diapers. I NEED him to be out of diapers. I think he did a pretty good job for day #1. He went pee in the potty 3 times!  I hope this is a good stepping stone in the right direction.

Any potty training tips for teaching boys to go potty?

Reluctantly Related by Deanna Brann, Ph.D. (book review)

Reluctantly Related: Secrets To Getting Along With Your Mother-in-Law or Daughter-in-law

From the back cover:

With humor, compassion and focus, in-law expert Dr. Deanna Brann shows you step by step how to bring positive, lasting change to your mother-in-law or daughter-in-law (MIL or DIL) relationship. Her groundbreaking research and powerful techniques have helped women nationwide to live happier, healthier and more peaceful live with the women in their extended-by-marriage families.
  • Understand why your in-law relationship is so hard
  • Learn powerful tools and techniques to bring peace and lasting change to your in-law relationship
  • Change your relationship without having to confront your in-law

My thoughts:

Reluctantly Related: Secrets to Getting Along with your Mother-in-Law or Daughter-in-Law by Deanna Brann, Ph.D. is a good book that describes the different personalities that may be present in a Mother-in-Law and Daughter-in-Law relationship. Brann identifies different personality types for MILs and DILs. She identifies the personalities of MILs as Comfortable Carla, Mothering Margaret, Off-the-Wall Wanda and Uncertain Sara. The personalities of DILs include Confident Connie, Doubting Donna, Weird Wendy, and Transitioned Tracy. She also includes how each responds and is shaped by the role of the son/husband in the relationship. While she explains each type of personalities, Brann also talks about different problems and issues that may arise when the different personalities mesh together. Brann ends her book with quizzes for you to take to see which personality fits your life.

I think that this book could have been helpful. However, I felt that as I was reading through the different personalities I was a part of several and I could see my MIL in several of them and there was really no explanation as to what to do then. I also felt that by having the quiz at the end of the book, Brann was defeating the purpose. If the quizzes were available toward the beginning, then I think the reader would have a better understanding of which character they were most like and thus could get more out of the reading.

Disclaimer: I was sent this book from The Cadence Group in exchange for a honest review. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Children's Garden

Last Friday, we took an unplanned trip to the Knox County Children's Garden for lunch and an afternoon out of the house.

We did not plan this. Friday morning I took the kids to the library and to Kroger and I came home to a very overwhelming smell of sewer in our house and no water in either toilet. There was water on the floors around the bottom of the toilet. We called our landlord, and to make a long story short, it seems the city was cleaning the sewer system in our area and they must have sucked all the water out. The smell was AWFUL!!! Needless to say I suggested to Bill that we take the kids out to eat for lunch and let the house air out.

So we decided to get McDonalds and head out to the Children's Garden. It was on our family bucket list to go to this summer so it worked!

The last time we went, Benjamin was maybe 3 months old. It was a very nice afternoon.

The kids enjoyed their lunch and running around and exploring the gardens.

Finding frogs in the 2 ponds.

Taking family photos...

Seeing the beautiful flowers.

Looking at the pretty murals.

They liked playing in the secret garden.

And Rebecca decided to take mine and Bill's picture, with Jacob coming in on it! LOL

It was a wonderful day to go and build memories with our family and to get away from what was a smelly situation!

What have you done lately with your family to build memories?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Knox County Relay for Life

Over the weekend I had the privilege to take part in an amazing event in our area. In actuality I believe that this type of activity is in over 20 different countries. I am talking about Relay for Life.

Relay for Life is an 18 hour relay walk that takes place with different teams participating that raise money to help find a cure for cancer. During the Knox County Relay for Life event, there were 44 different teams represented and each team had at least one member on the track walking through the entire 18 hours. The first lap is taken by the survivors...There were 4 women on the team that I was on that were survivors, including my mom.

The first lap---the survivors

This year I took part in the St. Vincent De Paul team. I felt drawn to do this for 2 reasons.... First my mom who was diagnosed with bladder cancer...who had surgery, then went through 2 bouts of chemo. I can say that she is now among the survivors.

Me, my mom, my dad, and my sister

I also did this for 2 friends.  I watched a friend go through being diagnosed and treated for ovarian cancer. I had a friend and coworker diagnosed with breast cancer, went through 2 different surgeries, and then went through chemo and radiation. She finished radiation about a month before this event. Cancer had affected my life and I HATE that! I joined this team for them.

This was during the caregiver lap..this was my friend (in purple who battled breast cancer this year) and her family.

I can say that it was an AMAZING experience. I went to the event by myself first, then I came home and got the kids and took them so Bill could go to work. They had booths set up with fun things to do, including getting your hair sprayed for donations by the team "Kids Against Cancer." One of my friends organizes this team every year and they raised $112 just by spraying hair. Rebecca even got in on the action.

Then Saturday morning I went back to walk some more. The sense of community and doing something above and beyond me was amazing.

The team that I was on raised over $2800 for the cause. I think that is outstanding considering we were a first year team and no one really knew what they were doing.

As a whole, the Knox County Relay for Life raised over $240,000! That is so good!

It was an emotional, amazing experience and it is one that I will be joining in on again in the years to come! If you ever get a chance, I highly recommend participating. It is so worth it.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sunday Night Chit Chat

HAPPY SUNDAY!!! It has been a CRAZY, BUSY weekend around here with A LOT going on! Friday we went to the Children's Garden. Friday night and Saturday morning I participated in an amazing event---Relay for Life. Saturday afternoon I had a class for work. And today I left at 8:40 this morning and spent the entire day in Columbus, going with my parents and sister to see the show "Wicked." Home just in time to take Rebecca to Vacation Bible School. Now I am typing this up, getting ready to go pick her up. It has been a busy weekend and Sunday.

And since it is Sunday, it is time once again for Sunday Night Chit-Chat...hosted by our friend Carla! 
To play along simply start your post with a photo or quote... Copy and paste the starters and link up to Carla so she and others can visit you and see what you've been up to!

So here goes:

Went and saw this musical today. It was OUTSTANDING!!!! So good!
  • Reading? I am currently reading "99 Blessings: An Invitation to Life" by Brother David Steindl-Rast
  • Listening to?  The TV is on, and Benjamin is pounding on his toy drum. The air conditioner is also on as it is HOT!
  • Watching? The kids are watching "Sophia the First"
  • Cooking/Baking? Yesterday we made homemade "blizzards." So good and so much cheaper than Dairy Queen's.
  • Happy you accomplished this week? I have been super busy this weekend and so glad that it is almost over. I was gone most of the day Friday, yesterday and today...doing fun things (Children's Garden, Relay for Life, and seeing Wicked among other things). I was also able to walk 5 days....
  • Looking forward to next week? Not having much planned on my calender. This week I only have one tutoring job as 2 of my kids are gone on vacation.  Rebecca has vacation bible school but that is it. And I have nothing unusual on my calender so far.
  • Thankful for today? My husband who held down the fort for me today while I was gone all day long. I left before the boys were awake and didn't get back until time to take Rebecca to Vacation Bible school. He does so much for me and yet I know that I don't thank him enough.
  • *Bonus Question* What was your least favourite part and your most favourite part of the last week? I think I liked being busy, but did not like not seeing my hubby very much this weekend. Also don't like the feeling of being selfish since I was doing all of these things by myself and not with Bill or the kids.

So there you have it. A little glimpse into my world on this Sunday night! Hope everyone has a wonderful week and remember to link up to our wonderful chat host Carla! :)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Car update

Last week I told you how Bill came home and told me that the car was having transmission problems....

We thought that we were going to have to get the transmission rebuilt to the tune of over $2000....

We ended up taking the car to a transmission place about 40 minutes away. We called a local auto repair place and they could put a new transmission in, but not rebuild one and they recommended this transmission place 40 minutes away.

We dropped the car off on Tuesday. (Which was okay, but meant that we were down to 1 car, and that meant that the kids and I were pretty much stuck at home since Bill needed the van for work.)

Wednesday afternoon, Bill called and the mechanic said they were still testing it and weren't sure yet what the issue was.

Thursday afternoon, Bill called and was told that it was not a valve problem and that there was a code that the mechanic did not recognize that came up and that he sent that code to a mechanic in California to see if he knew what it was and that he would call us as soon as he knew anything.

Friday, no word from the place.

Saturday and Sunday no word.

Sunday, Bill and I decided that at some point on Monday if we had not heard from them, then we would go and get the car and take it to the shop here in town to get the new transmission put in (to the tune of $2000!) since *we* were convinced that that was going to be the needed result.

Well Monday morning, Bill gets a call from the mechanic. He is 99% sure he fixed the problem. The code was for a sensor that was overheating and causing the transmission to choke up when you are going over 55mph. He replaced the sensor and it was running fine.

The cost: $40.

We went Monday to pick it up, and the guy told Bill not to pay then, but to drive the car for 2 weeks to make sure that solved the problem, then he could pay. Really?!?!

Bill said that the car drove fine coming home and has been fine since then!

YAHOO!!! I hope that this was the fix for the car and not just a bandaid for a bigger issue. Fingers crossed!

Have you had any car issues lately?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Took the kids to the park...

One of the things on my summer bucket list was to take the kids to the park more (ideally at least once every 2 weeks). There are several parks close to our house and there is no reason I can't take them to play there.

Well today the weather screams "Go OUTSIDE! GET SOME FRESH AIR!!!" The sun is warm, but there is a cool breeze and almost no humidity! Perfect weather to play outside in!

So I packed the kids up and headed out to the park this morning. Honestly, I usually wait to take them until Bill can go too....something about taking all 3 by myself that scares me!

But not today!

Today I seized the moment and took the kids all by myself to the park.

First we went to the closest one to our house, which also happens to be right next to our town pool. There were TONS of kids there, all with their swimming towels, etc. I think there is a morning camp there for the kids before the pool opens. The park was crazy busy. The kids played for about 10 minutes, then I asked Rebecca if she wanted to go to the park that we usually go to? She said yes. So we headed back to the van and went to the other park that we usually go to....

When we got there, there was probably only about 10 other kids there....much more relaxing. The kids had a BLAST!!!

There was one part that you have to cross over and the poles move when you try to go across and Rebecca conquered that today! She was so proud of herself!

Jacob also decided that he *COULD* climb up and go down the slide all by himself! He was proud of himself too!

I spent the majority of my time watching the kids, talking to Benjamin, keeping Ben from putting the mulch in his mouth and just enjoying being outside in the sun!

It was a fun way to spend the morning!

What fun things have you done lately?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Was up even later last night, and NOT because of reading....

Last night, where we live, we were in the path of a major storm system that was coming through the Midwest and was supposed to cause some really bad winds and rains. The first wave was supposed to occur after 7pm and cause some thunderstorms but then once the sun went down those were supposed to dissipate and then the next horrible wave was supposed to occur around 2am. In that wave, they were forecasting winds upwards of 80mph.

Last June we had a similar storm system occur that caused us to lose power for a week and caused a lot of damage in the surrounding areas. So we were worried!

Well around 8: 15 I noticed that there was a storm cell forming close to us (about half hour away) and so I hurriedly got the kids into bed, so that hopefully they would be asleep before the weather hit. We ended up getting a severe thunderstorm out of that cell, with a tornado warning. Well the cell went just south of us and we got heavy rain and some lightning, but nothing really bad. (Thank goodness for and the news so that we could pinpoint where the storm was heading!)

Then the storm cells just kept popping up and reforming over and over again along the same line. We got wave after wave of severe weather between 8:45pm and around midnight. Even the weather forecasters were saying they were shocked that this was happening and that the storms were not getting weaker.

Throughout this whole time we had several severe thunderstorm warnings and at least 2 tornado warnings (one went just south of us, and one was just north and east of us within 3 miles of us). We also had some pretty big hail--- We had some that were quarter size! It was loud!

Here is a picture of a piece of hail that Bill collected during one the storms.
To show the size here is above the quarter and next to the phone.

Finally around midnight, the first round of storms moved off but we could see on the weather radar that the second round was coming and coming fast and furious. It was gaining speed and strength as it was heading our way and the winds were being recorded at 70+ mph. That was not good.

Bill and I were both up watching the weather and trying to stay awake. Finally around 1:45 we decided to get the kids and head to the basement so that when the worst hit we would be safe. So we woke the kids up, took them to the basement and waited. We heard LOTS of rain and thunder. But we never lost power and so around 2:20 we took the kids back up to bed and there was lots of lightning but it didn't look like there was any wind damage. And then Bill and I went to bed.

So it was a LONG night again, but we are thankful that it wasn't worse than what it was. I can take getting little to no sleep as long as our family is safe.

How's the weather where you are?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

What kept me up until 12:30AM last night?

I have been waking up early and going walking. That means I have been going to bed around 10 and lights out at 11.

Well due to my husbands work schedule he had to go in early this morning which meant I took the day off of walking, which meant I didn't necessarily have to go to bed early or get up early.

So last night I was up until 12:30AM.

Doing what you might ask....

Well here is the reason:

That is right.

I was up reading.

I haven't done that in a LONG time!

I found Debbie Macomber's newest book at the library the other day in the rapid reads section. Rapid Reads are new books that you are limited to have for 7 days, you cannot renew them, and you cannot request them. I was so excited! I LOVE Debbie Macomber's books!

I read the entire thing last night! It was SO GOOD!!! I would highly recommend reading it!

When was the last time you stayed up really late reading?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Car problems

On Saturday, Bill came home from working in Columbus (over an hour away) and he said I have one word for you and you are not going to like it.

I asked him what that was and he said: "Transmission".


We had the transmission on our Saturn rebuilt about 5 years ago to the tune of $2400.

Bill said it started having the same symptoms on Saturday when he was coming home.

So this morning, I drove half an hour to pick Bill up at a transmission place where he dropped the car off.

Thank God we have the van (which we were gifted with in December).

I am praying it is not a super pricey fix, but my gut tells me different.

I guess we shall see. Now I need to go look at our budget and figure out how we are going to pay for this.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Sunday Night Chit Chat

HAPPY SUNDAY!!! It has been a low key, napping, not really doing anything, at home kind of a day here. Just what I needed! 

Since it is Sunday, it is time once again for Sunday Night Chit-Chat...hosted by our friend Carla! 
To play along simply start your post with a photo or quote... Copy and paste the starters and link up to Carla so she and others can visit you and see what you've been up to!

So here goes:

This is my attitude right now. I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.
  • Reading? I am currently reading "Undeniably Yours" by Becky Wade. (Hope to finish it this week and get a review done before Friday.)
  • Listening to?  The TV is on, and Jacob is scraping the bottom of his ice cream bowl with his spoon, getting every last drop.
  • Watching? The kids are watching "Jake and the Neverland Pirates" right now. I have a couple shows on the DVR to watch including "19 Kids and Counting" and "Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition."
  • Cooking/Baking? Haven't really made anything special this week. Hoping to make some pumpkin muffins after I put the kids to bed.
  • Happy you accomplished this week? I spent 2 hours in the closet/room off the bathroom (Yes, the same one I decluttered a couple months ago...) and got all the kids clothes gone through. Now I need to get in there and get all the miscellaneous stuff gone through. I was able to take the kids to the library and get them signed up for the summer reading program. We celebrated Donut Day too!
  • Looking forward to next week? This week starts my tutoring 3 kids instead of 1, so that will be a nice challenge. Also I have been trying to walk every day (have done this the last 2 days!) and I hope to continue that. I also hope to bake some cookies with Rebecca that we received in the mail to try-- Hershey's Cookies and Cream cookies!
  • Thankful for today? My family.
  • *Bonus Question* When you're out and about and a homeless person asks you for money, do you give it?  I typically don't see homeless in our town. I am sure they exist, but since we are not big city they are not that visible. That being said, I try to give something when I see an opportunity to give, and if I can't I try to point them in the direction of someone who can (like our church offices, etc.).

So there you have it. A little glimpse into my world on this Sunday night! Hope everyone has a wonderful week and remember to link up to our wonderful chat host Carla! :)

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Christian Alphabet Book by Tracy Sands (book review)

The Christian Alphabet Book

From the back cover:

Do you know your Christian ABC's?

The Christian Alphabet Book is a unique, visual, and enjoyable way to learn the basics of Christianity. "Love," the dove from above, guides you from A to Z with special Biblical lessons of love for all ages.

What is more important than a firm foundation of faith?

Similar to learning to read from knowing the regular ABC's, one will be inspired to know, love and serve God by learning The Christian Alphabet.

Share the Gospel with your Children

Jesus told Peter, in the gospel of John, to "feed my lambs." The Christian Alphabet Book will help all teachers of children feed their little lambs spiritually. Give those you love this book to help spread the Good News about God's everlasting love and life.

The Christian Alphabet Book is more than a children's book. It is a book that families can cherish together while sharing its timeless messages that give Glory to God.

My thoughts:

The Christian Alphabet Book: Teaching Children about Jesus, Prayer, and the Bible by Tracy Sands is a beautifully illustrated and designed Christian children's book. My first impression was that it is creatively designed as for each letter there are 2 pages. On the right hand side is a beautiful illustration of the letter, with scripture and with a few things for your child to find in the picture. On the left hand side of the book is the lesson about the letter and an activity, along with a prayer.
This is a great way to keep the kids engaged in reviewing and learning the letters and about their Christian faith.

The drawback that I felt was that some of the wording was meant for older children. My 3 year old, who loves to read, lost interest in the lesson about the letter, but was very interested in the picture and the seeking of things inside the picture. My 6 year old though loved that she could read about Religion and understand it on her own terms.

This is a beautiful resource book to have available for your children to learn about their Christian faith.

Disclaimer: I was sent this book by, in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.

What a Son Needs From His Mom by Cheri Fuller (book review)

From the back cover:

Ever Feel Like Your Son Is From a Different Planet?

Don't worry, Mom. There's a good reason why your son perplexes you. He's the OPPOSITE sex! Boys really do think, communicate, and process the world differently than girls. But no matter your son's age, he needs you, and he needs you in not-so-apparent ways.
Drawing from her own experiences, as well as those from moms and sons from around the country, Cheri Fuller shares what makes boys and young men tick and how to become a more welcome influence at every stage in their lives. She answers all the top questions, including:

"How can I help my son (and me!) deal with his emotions in a healthy way?"
"School is such a struggle. How can I help him?"
"Our personalities are SO different. How can we get on the same page?"
"My son hardly says a thing. What can I do?"
"What are the best ways to instill good values?"
"How can I encourage a lasting faith in God?"

With page after page of use-it-today advice and encouraging stories, this book will help you steer your son toward becoming a caring, confident young man.

Includes Reflection Questions for Personal or Group Use

Great for understanding grandsons, too!

My thoughts:

I have 2 brothers, both younger than me. I grew up and hung around my girl cousins. I will admit that I was secretly glad that my first child was a girl because, I know NOTHING about raising boys. This book has given me insight and some understanding into what I can expect as my boys grow up.

I also learned a valuable lesson from this book. That lesson is that it is my job to instill confidence, understanding, to give both time and effort in my son's life, so that he can be raised to be a confident, independent adult who can then turn to lead his own family. I am my son's first teachers. My husband and I are the teachers that our sons will have from birth until we are dead. That is a great responsibility and not something that I take lightly.

I liked this book, however I have put it on my bookshelf to reread in a few years. My sons are young (3 and 1) and most of this book was geared to mothers of adolescent boys and older boys. I felt that that was the one downfall, however I can understand why Fuller did not devote more time to mothering younger boys. That being said, this book has definitely earned a place in my parenting repertoire of books.

Disclaimer: I was provided this book free of charge from the publisher, Bethany House, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Friday, June 7, 2013

National Donut Day!

Did you know that today is unofficially "National Donut Day?"

Tim Horton's Honey Cruller--- the BEST donut in the world!

Well it is, according to lots of people on facebook and around the web.

This morning as I logged on the computer to load a couple of coupons onto one of my store cards, I noticed people talking about National Donut Day on facebook.

Then I saw that several donut chains were offering free donuts with purchases today.

Unfortunately, none of them are in our area. :(

HOWEVER, I then remembered that I had been given a $10 Tim Horton's gift card at Christmas time from one of the parents at the school I work at....and I had not used it yet.

SO, I took the kids to the library this morning. Then to Kroger's for a few deals (free Tortilla chips!) and then I surprised them with a trip to Tim Horton's.

Jacob loved his TimBits donuts!

Rebecca loved her donuts too, but did not want me to take her picture.

Because we just HAD to celebrate National Donut Day!! :) :)

Do you celebrate crazy holidays with your family? Do you have a favorite donut?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Strawberry Picking

One of the items on our family's summer bucket list was to go strawberry picking.

The kiddos LOVE strawberries and I thought it would be a neat experience for them to be able to pick their own strawberries and see that they just don't come from the store. I also wanted to get some to freeze so that I can make smoothies over the summer months.

I hoped that I wasn't too late. I wanted to do this last summer, but it seemed like strawberries were in season for maybe 5 days last year. It was a bad year last year.

Well this year I was on the ball. I have friended local orchards and farm markets on facebook and was thrilled when over the weekend Legend Hills Orchard and Farm Market posted that U-pick strawberries were open. YIPPEE!!!

On Tuesday afternoon, after Bill came home from work, we loaded the kids up and headed to the orchard (about 20 minutes away). We had a great time picking the strawberries!

We parked the van and one of the first things that happened was that Jacob got out of the van, stepped in to some weeds and then proceeded to tumble down into a small ditch. He wasn't hurt, in fact he had the expression on his face, like what just happened? After getting over this little mishap, the kids and Bill headed off to find some strawberries while I followed with Benjamin in his stroller.

Jacob kept hollering "I see one, I see one!" He was so cute. Bill showed him how to find the good strawberries and he did a great job.

Rebecca said that it was "the best day of her life!" I think she had a great time.

After picking her share of strawberries, I gave her the camera and told her she could take some pictures. She LOVED being behind the camera.

Benjamin just took it all in as he rode down the aisles in his stroller. He enjoyed the fruits of our labor at dinner time! LOL

All told, we ended up picking almost 8 lbs of strawberries, which gives us lots for the refrigerator for the next couple of days and 2 trays full for the freezer for use in smoothies later in the summer.

Overall it was a great day with the family and the memories will last a lifetime!

Have you ever been strawberry picking?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Sweet Sanctuary by Kim Vogel Sawyer (book review)

From the back cover:

A Story of Hope and Love Set Against the Backdrop of World War II

Lydia Eldredge longs to provide sanctuary for her young son, Nicky. But a constant threat comes from Nicky's drug-addicted father, who wants the boy and seems willing to do whatever it takes to get him.

Dr. Micah Hatcher faithfully serves the immigrant population of Queens, New York. But under cover of darkness, he has a secret mission that challenges everything he thought he wanted out of life.

When Lydia and Micah's paths cross, they are suddenly wrapped up in each other's callings. Together, they seek a refuge of safety--for Nicky, for themselves, and for the needy people God puts into their lives. Amid turmoil and discord, can hope and love prevail?

My thoughts:

This was one of those books that I COULD NOT PUT DOWN! It drew me in the from the beginning and just never let go. The story of Lydia and how headstrong she is melds well with the characterization of Dr. Hatcher.

Lydia and Dr. Hatcher are both trying to do the right thing in a world where the right things seem to go against what is popular or when the odds are against  you. With the help of the Grace of God, they both are able to complete their missions in life (with their own twists and turns) and are able to come together as a unit that was meant to be.

This story helps us to see that God is in control even when what happens is not what we think should happen.

Overall, this was a great book! I would highly recommend it!

Disclaimer: I was provided this book free of charge from the publisher, Bethany House, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

2013 Summer Learning Goals for the Kids

Yesterday I shared with you our family's ambitious 2013 Summer Bucket List.

This summer, I also want to be more intentional in making some learning goals for the kiddos. I want to do this so that I am more intentional in their summer learning and that their brains don't turn to mush with too much TV watching.
So this is what I have come up for their learning goals:
2013 Summer Learning Goals for the Kids
For Benjamin: learn to stand on his own and cruise. Learn to hold his own cup.
For Jacob: Potty training
For Rebecca: To read daily and journal. To memorize addition and subtraction math facts.
So there you have it. Some of these are going to be very challenging...potty training for one. We have tried to potty train him and he refuses profusely! And for Benjamin, we will talk to his doctor at his 15 month appt in July about seeing a physical therapist if needed. For Rebecca I need to find some sort of reading journal or something to make her more interested in reading.
Do you make learning goals for your children for Summer? If so, care to share? 

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Spirit of the Heart by Ismael N. Nuno, M.D. (book review)

Book Description (from

As one of America's former leading cardiac surgeons, Dr. Nuño healed patients' hearts. Fixing "broken" hearts gave him a unique and intimate view into the power of the heart. Even coming face to face with death and losing patients, there is a beauty that can exist even in loss. The Spirit of the Heart is a collection of heart-warming stories that resonate at the core of our humanness. He graciously offers the insights he has gained from occupying a front-row seat at some of life's most real and raw moments. These tender stories teach us about what it means to be human, to be connected to others, to love, to live, to forgive.
My thoughts:
I have to say first off that I loved this book! This is a book full of stories of life, loss, hope, laughter, love, and grief. It is full of stories from renowned cardiac surgeon, Dr. Ismael N. Nuno, M.D. Dr. Nuno writes from his heart. He tells stories of saving his sister's life on a flight to a foreign country; he writes of working with other surgeons and the comraderie that develops. He tells about how human reactions differ when people are faced with a life threatening heart condition or how their families react toward him and toward the patient.
This book reminded me of the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books  in that not all the stories that the doctor tells have happy endings, but all the stories offer food for thought and for your soul. The stories that Dr. Nuno shares made me laugh, made me cry, and made me appreciate the simple gift of a heartbeat.
Disclaimer: I was sent this book by The Cadence Group for the purpose of reading and reviewing. All opinions are my own.

My Family's Summer Bucket List 2013

Today is the first Monday of our Summer break from school and from my work (as I work in a school). I know that if I am not intentional in doing things with the kids, that the summer could easily turn in an all day, every day cartoon watching fest and that is NOT good.

As I was browsing online, I kept seeing the idea of a "bucket list for summer." Basically it is a list of things that you would like to do/accomplish within the months of summer. It helps you to have some sort of a plan so that you don't end up being TV watching zombies.

So I decided to make bucket list for our family for the summer. I think it will help me be more intentional with the kids and become a better mom!

2013 Summer Family Bucket List
Visit the Zoo
Wash the car/van by hand with the kids' help
Play at the park at least once every 2 weeks
Have a picnic on a blanket on the grass
Go to Chuck E. Cheese
Catholic Kidz Camp for Rebecca (Vacation Bible School)
Make Smores in the sun
Pick strawberries
Eat lunch on the porch
Play tag in the yard
Go to the library at least once every 2 weeks
Attend the Knox County Fair
Go to Ye Olde Mill for Ice Cream
Mini golf
Go to the Children's Garden
Take Rebecca to the movies
Watch fireworks on the 4th of July
So there you have it! My summer bucket list for the family. I hope that we can accomplish most of the list this summer and be more intentional in spending our summer time.
Do you make a summer bucket list for your family? If so, care to share? 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Sunday Night Chit Chat

HAPPY SUNDAY!!! It has been a low key, getting stuff done at home kind of a day here. Just what I needed! 

Since it is Sunday, it is time once again for Sunday Night Chit-Chat...hosted by our friend Carla! 
To play along simply start your post with a photo or quote... Copy and paste the starters and link up to Carla so she and others can visit you and see what you've been up to!

So here goes:
The kiddos were being quiet one afternoon and in this house that usually means trouble.
However, I looked over and this is what I saw...Jacob and Rebecca cuddled up on the recliner watching cartoons!
I love these kids!
  • Reading? I am currently finishing up "The Spirit of the Heart."
  • Listening to? The kids talking, the TV is on, and Benjamin is crawling around the floor banging on the floor with his toys.
  • Watching? The kids are watching "Bubble Guppies" right now. I have a couple shows on the DVR to watch including "19 Kids and Counting" and "Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition."
  • Cooking/Baking? Haven't really baked anything since it has been HOT and we have been BUSY! I did put together strawberry shortcake tonight for dessert with store made angel food cake, strawberries and whipped cream. YUMMO!
  • Happy you accomplished this week? I survived! LOL. It was the last week of school for Rebecca, Crazy work schedule for Bill. My last week of regular work for the summer. Just pure CRAZINESS!!!!
  • Looking forward to next week? Summer break! I hope to get into a routine for summer break that includes my tutoring jobs and making sure the kids are not spending all their time in front of the tv.
  • Thankful for today? That my hubby did a lot around the house this weekend despite his crazy work schedule. He installed 2 window air conditioners and mowed and weeded the yard.
  • *Bonus Question* If you could only eat ONE FOOD for the rest of your life, what would it be? Not the healthiest, but probably Lindt Milk Chocolate Truffles! YUMMY!!!!

So there you have it. A little glimpse into my world on this Sunday night! Hope everyone has a wonderful week and remember to link up to our wonderful chat host Carla! :)