Thursday, December 14, 2017

November 2017 In Our Home

  It's now the middle of December and I'm just now writing the "November In Our Home" post. Oh well. At least I'm still getting it done!

We've got remedies for sinus issues,
stomach issues, fever issues,
and tissues. Phew, it was a time!
    November began much like October had been with lots of sickness still. I believe we ended up with about six weeks of the norovirus (stomach bug) followed by colds. We just couldn't seem to get rid of the viruses! Having all little ones whose mouths and hands go everywhere is what made it so challenging, despite my best efforts to clean everything. By the end I felt I was on my way to losing my mind, and desperate for everything to be absolutely sterile to get to the end of the viruses. I cleaned plastic toys in the washing machine with bleach. Wood toys were wiped with Chlorox wipes. Bedding changed, and then changed again. Floors scrubbed. We even shampooed the couch and dining chairs. If it could be cleaned I attempted to clean it. We, of course, stayed home for much of that time. Phew, I really hope to not experience all of us sick for so long for a long, long time! 

     Eventually the sicknesses did pass, and just in time too because David's parents made their annual pre-Thanksgiving visit. (They come the weekend before Thanksgiving each year). This was actually our best visit with them yet! For the first time, the children have become familiar enough with them to now feel comfortable around them. It was probably the first time that I relaxed a bit more as well. I'm typically super high-strung and feel like I still need to aim to impress. This time, around, I just had to acknowledge to myself that with three little ones now that I can't be a perfect homemaker, host, etc. The house was just going to have to be "lived in" while there were here because that's reality. To my surprise, his Mama blessed my socks off while they were here and did all the dishes for me after every meal. It was so nice. haha. While they were here they brought Christmas gifts for the children. I've joked that they got themselves put on Santa's Naughty List for Annelise's gift- a doll that cries incessantly. haha (Yeah, those batteries got removed pretty fast!).

    One matter of preparation for their visit that I did do was assemble the last two dining chair and recover all the seats. This was a project I started back at the beginning of the year. However, now was the time to get it done as we didn't have enough chairs for our family plus visitors. (We've had the chairs, but they've been in boxes in the garage all this time). The seats of the chairs are originally cloth, which hasn't worked well for our family of young children. I wanted something I could simply wipe clean, so I purchased some black vinyl. I ran into a snag in simply stapling the material onto the chairs as the wood was very hard and just bent the staples. So I resorted to attaching the material with teeny tiny nails. It took me about an hour to do each chair. After over a week of daily work, I finally finished recovering all eight chairs! (The last four evidence my improvement in attaching the material smoothly. haha). I actually really like the look, and even think they look better than the brown material that was on them before! I'm so glad to have that project finished. I can now check that item off my dining room decor list as well.        

First Thanksgiving!

Then, there was Thanksgiving. Last year I was on top of everything. I had a plan for what would be made when and even had some things like the pie made in advance. This year... not so much. I just couldn't seem to get my head wrap around everything that was going on at the time. It all worked out well, and we enjoyed a delicious Thanksgiving meals as a family. I had hoped we might be able to one day use the fact that we don't have extended family on Thanksgiving as an opportunity to reach out to others who may be in a similar position. However, we struggled with actually knowing who that might be. Plugging in and/or connecting here as been really tough. Even if it didn't happen this year, it can still be my prayer for next year!

     On a similar note, I had anticipated us celebrating the season of thankfulness. However, those activities never came to fruition. I want myself and my children to grasp the meaningfulness of the Thanskgiving season, but perhaps we simply need to wait until a later time. I know many people are able to incorporate such traditions, but for me this year it quickly became overwhelming. Sometimes (uh hem..many times) trying to add something extra or orchestrate an activity with three children three years old and under can become so stressful. Honestly, I do pretty good to keep up with everyone's needs in a day and keep the house relatively tidy. So, thanksgiving activities didn't happen this year. But, that's okay. We can try again next year. 

    My personal interests like reading and Bible study were rather lacking this past month. I really miss these! Psalm 42:1 says, "As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God." That's precisely the sentiment of my heart presently. Prayerfully, I'll find opportunities to read and study again soon. 

       As hectic or straining as November was, December is looking like it will be even more so. Buckle up, a wild ride awaits.

In the meantime, a few fun photos of the children. These were taken earlier in the month. We attempted one final corn crop, but it didn't get far. So, we allowed the children to play in the "jungles" and then enjoy finally getting to pull the plants up! 
3 years old

2 years old

9 months old!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

First Day of Christmas Box

Merry Christmas!

Of course, we have a collection of Christmas books! 

  I love celebrating the seasons and holidays. The start of a new festive occasion is so exciting! My desire is to find simple, joyful ways to recognize and enjoy the time. Typically, that will include the addition of a few pieces of home decor, special foods, activities, books etc. I hope these little efforts impress on the minds and hearts of the children the delight of our family culture.

     The day after Thanksgiving officially begins the Christmas season. While some may find this day to be an ideal opportunity to decorate their home or shop the Black Friday sales, I prefer to keep things a bit more simple. Our first day of Christmas begins with our "First Day of Christmas Box."

      When the children wake, they will find a festive box awaiting them on a table. Within the box are new activities for us to enjoy throughout the day. Each piece is chosen with the intention of building togetherness and sharing the moment. This year's box includes:

  • [new book]: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
    • You know we have to have a new book! ;)
  • [new video]: A Very Merry Pooh Year
  • [treat]: hot cocoa with holiday shape marshmellows
    • I rarely buy such things, and so I know the children will love it 
  • [activity]: homemade red, green, and white play dough with play dough mats
  • [family coloring book]:
    • We will color many, many Christmas coloring pages. (I love coloring as an activity for and with the children!). By the end of the season, I'll choose one picture created by each child and add it to our "Family Coloring Book." This "book" is simply a laminated coloring page cover with pages tied behind it. It's simple, yet meaningful. I thoroughly enjoy pulling out this "book" each year and seeing the previous years' work. 
  • [family cook book]:
    • This is a new "book" for us. Again, I made it simply by coloring a page and laminating it to serve as a cover. The idea is for us to use it as a memory cookbook. Each year I intend for us to all make a recipe together. While we're making it I'll take photos to include on the final page. That final page will include the recipe, photos, and a bit of journaling noting what was special about the recipe (someone's favorite, taken to someone ect.), something the children said or did while making it, or whatever else might be lovely to read in years to come. This will be a "book" that I will certainly cherish each Christmas. When the children are grown and establishing their own Christmas traditions, then perhaps make each of them a copy to include in their celebration. 

     While each year the contents may change, many of the elements are repetitive and build from one year to the next. I believe that is the key to keeping Christmas simple- allow things to grow. Don't feel like you need to have a whole bunch of activities all at once. Fewer, repetitive activities will be more likely to leave an impression. (A stressed out, overly busy Mama will not create the positive impression of family life or Christmas as would be desired. Been there, done that). A few of our activities from previous years that we will be able to enjoy this year include:

  • Christmas movement cards- This activity is fun to get all those little guy/girl wiggles out!
  • Christmas I Spy- (Recommendation for very young children- laminate the sheet and then have the child(ren) use a dry erase marker/crayon to mark off the items found or create a tally. I've found that it can be difficult for very young children to keep track of which objects have been found and which have not.).
  • Christmas charades or pictionary cards: These are more for David and I. The cards make for a simple in-home holiday date night. Using a dry erase board makes for a fun game of pictionary. 
  • Christmas Chat Pack- Again, these are more for David and I. I love conversation starter cards! I feel like they are fantastic additions to a dinnertime meal. This pack is particularly fun as all the topics/questions are all related to Christmas, and spur conversations that might not otherwise take place. 
Activities from previous years, and some for David and I to enjoy. 
A few additional photos of our day:
Play dough fun! (They were so eager that they're still in pjs!)

Play dough fun! (My spirited girl in pjs and a ladybug costume! haha)
New movie and cocoa after naptime!
 They enjoyed the marshmellows much more than the cocoa! haha

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Our Thanksgiving Book Collection


    Our personal Thanksgiving book collection is rather small. Most of them are books I've found through consignment sales. They are all very simple, and have been well suited for my young children. (We've checked out more complex stories from the library, mentioned below). 

    Seasons/holidays are occasions in which I will purchase a single new (to us) book each year. I enjoy presenting the children with a new story on the first day of a holiday/season. It's also a feasible way to build a personal library of books to enjoy year after year. I write in the inside cover the year it was purchased, and will treasure these story books. It's always sweet to my mama-heart to pick up and read the books marked "Tennyson's first Thanksgiving" or "Annelise's first Christmas" etc. 

    We've utilized the local library system here quite a bit in having Thanksgiving books to enjoy. (Our public library branches and local university libraries are all connected which means we have access to books from six library collections!). The following list includes some of the books we have checked out on Thanksgiving:

    I checked out the book below, but I didn't have time to read it. It will certainly be on my list to read next Thanksgiving season because it looks fantastic. 
      We also continue to read our fall books through the Thanksgiving season. The two collections combined make for quite a lot of stories to read in celebration of this time of year! Always a delightful moment shared together. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Poetry Teatime with Little Ones



 The concept of poetry teatime has emerged in popularity in recent years. I, too, have fallen in love with the idea of gathering around a lovely table to enjoy a book and treat. However, with three children three years old and under the idea seemed a little overly idealistic. And so, in order to incorporate this idea I knew I would need to adapt the idea a little to be better suited to our current season. The following is a few ways in which I'm learning to create a (fairly) successful teatime.

      First, before the tea and tablecloth must come this piece of advice- choose your timing well. I'd like for us to have an afternoon "tea" each Tuesday. However, if attitudes and behaviors aren't cooperating then I don't push it. I don't want it to be an occasion of fussing (me or them) because then the desire to participate and it be a good activity would be diminished. If we need to postpone the activity until the next day or even the next week, then that's precisely what we do. 

     Second, I simply don't fret and fuss over the details. Instead, I keep things as simple and child-friendly as possible. I want this to be an enjoyable occasion for us all, and in this season of all little ones simplicity is key. 

      And so, we don't lay out a delicate tablecloth. We don't lay out a tablecloth at all, in fact. The permission to eat and drink somewhere other than the kitchen table is in itself special. For a "teatime" we'll gather around our large living room table. The children really enjoy getting to pull a pillow down from the couch to use as  a seat. Perhaps in the future I may add a (vinyl- easy to clean!) tablecloth for the occasion, but for now a bare table is just fine!
Tennyson - 3 years old

     We also don't display a centerpiece on the table. Again, I want to keep things as simple as possible. Instead of a centerpiece, we simply place a tray with our tea pot and treats. Arranged well, the tray can be just as lovely as any other centerpiece!

      Finally, the main elements of a tea time- tea set, tea, food, and poetry. Again, we don't do any of these elements in a traditional manner. The most notable is that we don't even have a tea set (it's on my wish list)! But, even if we had such as that I'd probably be so nervous placing it in the hands of little ones. Again, I want us all to enjoy this time and me fretting of a dish getting broken and someone getting cut is not my idea of a good time. So, we currently use...oh yes, a play tea set! Green toys makes a gender-neutral tea set that can be used with real food and drinks. I really like how we can use the set for our tea time, and then the children can use it to continue having a tea time through their pretend play. It's a perfect size for little hands, and so this is our tea set of choice presently!
Annelise - 2 years old
      Inside the tea pot goes the tea...except, we don't drink tea. (I don't mind tea, but not for my little ones just yet). Instead, we have drinks that they don't normally get. We might have hot (well, warm) cocoa, apple cidar, a special juice etc. Just something out of the ordinary that signifies that this is, indeed, a special moment. The same idea applies to food served. This is the occasion in which we may enjoy a bite of dessert. If we've made a dessert recently such as cookies that morning, then we'll enjoy them during teatime that afternoon. Or, perhaps I'll purchase something we ordinarily don't such as mini cheesecakes, donut holes, Little Debbie cakes, bakery cookies or packaged cookies etc. Homemade mini muffins are also a favorite.  Sweets are "sometimes foods" and tea time becomes an excellent opportunity to be that "sometimes." (And if the children know that this is when they may have a sweet, then they're less likely to beg for at other times). Again, when it comes to food and drink my approach is to provide things that the children rarely get to have and make this time even more special. 
Huxley - 8 months old

      The final element of a poetry teatime is the poetry. The idea is to introduce children to poetry at a young age so they can develop the skills and enjoyment of poetry that will last for years to come. There are many, many resources for poetry books for little ones. I recently browsed the selection at the public library and was tempted to bring home a few more books. At such young ages, I find short and whimsical poems with lively illustrations to be the most attractive. Nursery rhymes are fantastic options. And while there are many resources for poetry for little ones, I don't believe the tea time material needs to be exclusive to a poetry book. I personally believe any rhyming or rhythmic book will suffice. Or, even a lengthier read-aloud book. I recently read portions of the original Winnie the Pooh to the children, and plan to read Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit stories soon. As always, my belief and encouragement is to simply read, read, read to children. Seize this moment to take hold of story and delight in it together. (Visit our online bookshelves to see what we've been reading)

Monday, November 6, 2017

October 2017 In Our Home

Welcome, fall!
8 months old!
         October was a difficult month. It was a month of illnesses. We've now gotten to experience what happens when illness goes through a family of five. Oh yes, it goes from one person to the next and back again. Our illnesses of choice- the norovirus (stomach virus) and a cold. As soon as one person seemed to be over the norovirus, another person would start. David had to take off work twice to fill in for me when I was unable to function enough to continue caring for the children. It's been absolutely delightful (sarcasm). We ended the month by passing along a nasty cold. I honestly can't think of a cold I've had that was that severe. I felt miserable, and so I can imagine how the children felt. On top of it all, Huxley is cutting tooth number seven (and perhaps eight) and Annelise is cutting her two year molars (she has never cut teeth too well). It's been a very messy (and..well, smelly too), very loud (so much screaming and crying from someone at all times), and all together exhausting time. I'm empathetic, but I'm also exasperated. If I ever begin to feel stretched thin and overwhelmed, I'm going to think back to this time. Haha. Hopefully, we won't encounter everyone being sick at the same time again for a while.

    Speaking of illness, and this puts ours into better perspective, things took a turn in regards to my father's caner battle this month. Options may be few, and difficult decisions on how to proceed will need to be made soon Of course, no one really knows an exact timeline when it comes to an illness like cancer. We may have many years with him... or, we may not. There are so many emotions to process in the meantime. One thing I know for certain- carpe diem. I intend for us to make a trip to visit soon.
It rained! That is certainly reason enough to get out and enjoy it!
         In the midst of it all this month, one aspect I've come to realize is that my introverted soul must have a moment in thought and solidarity to thrive. Without it, I feel like I'm attempting to function at a less than optimal level because I'm just plain depleted. These are the moments in which the mama I don't desire to be surfaces. You know, the impatient, distracted, and less than fully loving version. I believe this need of solidarity ranks fairly equivalent to rest for me (and I'm an extremely rest-dependent person). David wonderfully took all the children to the zoo one morning so that I could have some time to myself. I initially drew up a "to do" list and arranged it according to the time I had available. After all, do you know how much housework I could get accomplished on my own?! But, no. I decided to do something that would feed my soul. I prepared a cup of coffee in my favorite mug, sat on the back patio, and then read my current book and devotional for a couple hours. My friends, this moment was my happy place. Allowing my introversion some introspection was precisely the medicine needed. I may need to be a little more forward in asking for this kind of "me moment" at least once a month! I'm not very good at focusing on myself (clearly). hah

Brothers :)
    I believe I finally have a good system in place for incorporating greater Bible study and reading. These activities are so very important to my soul thriving, but yet so difficult to include in a day with three children three years old and under and constant housework needs. I've been going through the Be Mature (James): Growing Up In Christ study by Warren Wiersbe. So far, I've enjoyed the commentary and study. It's highly informative, but not so much that meaning is lost. I try to first read the passage in my Bible. Then, in my notebook I'll write down anything noteable from the commentary section of my Bible. Afterwards, I'll read Wiersbe's commentary book and makes notes in my notebook. This has taken me many days to weeks to accomplish a single chapeter as time is often short. And so, as frequently as possible I'll reread the passage in the Bible, review my notes, and then read and write notes on a page or two from the commentary. This way the passage and previous content covered remains fresh on my mind.  Eventually, I get through a chapter. The slow pace is fine with me, though, because it allows plenty of time for me to learn the material and it stick with me. Apparently, there are quite a few study books in "The BE Series Commentary," and so I'll likely stick with them for a while.
Exploration bins filled with oats is always an afternoon favorite!

     In regards to other reading, I'm continuing to aim for reading just ten pages a day. Again, time to sit and focus on reading is in short supply currently. (I also tend to fall asleep if I attempt anything but brief moments! haha). But, at just 10 pages a day I should technically be able to finish a 300 page book in a month! (Although, realistically it generally takes me two months to read just 200 pages! But, that's okay because at least I'm reading, right? Right!). This demonstrates to me that there is little reason to not pursue reading. Honestly, it's such a wonderfully beneficial aspect in my life (hello, education...stress relief...etc). I wish I could encourage everyone enough to realize that reading is possible, even with a busy schedule. You just might have to adjust expectations, and that's okay. As always, you can find a complete list of books read by myself and the children by following the "bookshelves" tab at the top of the page.

  • I haven't purchased new books for the children in a while. Instead, we've used the public library. I log those books within Goodreads, which you can find by following the "bookshelves" tab at the top of the page.

*Note: I am a personal affiliate with As such, I receive a compensation for items purchased through the provided links. All opinions are my own and have not been influenced or sponsored. 

      In other news, one long awaited moment arrived- we paid off one of our vehicles! This is not intended to be boastful, but encouraging in demonstrating that it can be done. Ever since the medical bills began rolling in during and after my first rather complicated pregnancy, we set out on a debt-limited plan for our family. (We don't intend to be 100% debt free, as a house is an acceptable debt in our option. Our intention is to eliminate all other debt besides the house.). We began with a tiny snowball with a $2 medical bill three years ago. Each time a debt was paid we snowballed the amount into the next bill. We've been working towards owning our Yaris for a couple of years now, and we've reached our goal! Unlike previous snowballing actions, the car payment will not be incorporated into snowball for the next debt. Why? Because we'll need another vehicle at some point soon (all five of us in one vehicle with three fullsize carseats and a double stroller often in the back is super cramped). And so, the plan is to continue to apply to same snowball amount to the next debt and deposit what would have been the car payment into the savings. That savings can build while we look for another vehicle (hello, minivan!). Little by little we'll get there! It's always exciting to set a goal, work towards it and then finally see the end result achieved!     
   All in all, most things took a backseat to illnesses this month. Homemaking slid. Blogging slid. Homeschooling slid. It has been survival mode. I'm very much so looking forward to things getting back to normal soon. But, things won't be totally "normal" next month because the holiday season will have arrived. I'm excited to do a few of our Season of Thanksgiving activities together, celebrate Thanksgiving with that delicious meal, and have Papa & Nana (David's parents) come for a visit next month! Let's hope we can all stay well to then. 

Monday, October 30, 2017

Menu Plan: Fall (Oct. 29-Nov. 4)

This week's menu plan:

- pancakes
- eggs, biscuits, fruit

- yogurt, bagel with pumpkin spice cream cheese
- cereal

- leftovers or sandwiches

- crackers & cheese slices
- popcorn (Friday night movie night)
- Little Debbie snack and apple cider (Tuesday Teatime)
- popsicles (Greens juice frozen into popsicle molds. Anything made into a popsicle is always a hit with the children!)
- graham crackers with peanut butter and mini chocolate chips
- trail mix
- apple and cheese slices

- (freezer) chicken and spinach quesadillas, chips and salsa
- pesto tortellini
- minestrone soup
- Oktoberfest pork roast, sauerkraut with apples, green beans 
(source: Taste of Home Dinner on a Dime, 2009 ed. Similar cookbook*) 
- sweet potato fritters, pinto beans, collard greens
- homemade supreme pizza

- ??? 

*Note: I am a personal affiliate of As such, I receive a compensation for products purchased through the included links. All opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Welcome, Fall!

One by one the leaves fall down
From the sky come falling one by one
And leaf by leave the summer is done
One by one by one by one
-"The Leaves Fall Down" by Margaret Wise Brown

     The first day of Fall has arrived! I love celebrating and enjoying the seasons. One memory I hope our children have of our family and their childhood would be that we celebrated the simple, ordinary moments. That a season changing from one to another wasn't just a natural phenomenon marking the passage of time, but a reason to celebrate. It's a reason to do a few things special to embrace the moment. It's a reason to have joy and share that with one another. 

     As our family has grown in the last few years, I've considered the notion of family culture and the traditions that comprise that culture. Family traditions are those acts that are done repetitively, whether it be through generations or through a single family unit. They are part of the shaping of one's identity. They  are a part of forming the foundation upon which the remainder of life is built. Family traditions create a closeness and place of shared familiarity within the unit. When you consider moments that stood out the most in childhood, simple traditions will probably be fondly brought to memory. What traditions will my children think of when they are grown?

     I want my children to think of how Mama put forth an extra effort to make things special. How even the smallest touch of decor brought warmth and joy to our home. How simple activities drew us together. And, of course, how we spent so much of our time delighting in festive books. 

     I've learned over the years that traditions are developed, and decor, activities, books etc. are collected. Each year I aim to add another piece of decor, an activity, and/or book to our collections. There is an element of excitement that is found in that new piece. Unwrapping a new seasonal book on the first day of the season is part of what makes our celebration special. Sipping a delicious pumpkin spiced coffee out of a new mug certainly makes it a little more special for Mama! It's the little things that when made significant, really matter most. 

Pumpkin spice season, indeed! On this particular
morning we enjoyed pumpkin scones (and coffee favored
with pumpkin spice creamer for Mama). Yum!

Leaf garland adorning the shelf in our kitchen

I swapped one everyday decor piece on each of our
nightstands for a seasonal one. On mine is a ceramic
pumpkin I painted when I was a teenager.
On David's nightstand I simply replace the candle for a "fall harvest" scented one. 

A simple door decoration to greet any guests to our home
Homemade play dough scented with cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg
Lots of fall themed books for us to enjoy together

Further reading:
* Our Fall Book Collection
* Our Fall Activities (coming soon)

Monday, October 16, 2017

Menu Plan: Fall (Oct. 15-21)

This week's menu plan:

- pancakes
- egg in a hole
- whole wheat waffles with peanut butter and banana
- yogurt and pumpkin bagel

- leftovers or sandwiches

- crackers & cheese slices
- popcorn (Friday night movie night)
- Little Debbie snack and apple cider (Tuesday Teatime)
- popsicles (Greens juice frozen into popsicle molds. Anything made into a popsicle is always a hit with the children!)

- (slow cooker) lentil shepherd's pie
- roasted root vegetables and polenta
- beans and rice
- fish tacos
- homemade hawaiian pizza

- ??? 

Monday, October 9, 2017

Menu Plan: Fall (Oct. 8-14)

     This week's menu is full of many of our favorite meals- quiche, chili, shepherd's pie, sausage biscuits..yum!

      I've also included a couple fall-themed foods. Pumpkin scones will make a delicious afternoon snack (hello, pumpkin everything season!). Apple pie continues to be the planned it has been for the last three or more weeks. I've just not had the time to cut all those apple slices and assemble a pie. But, maybe this week will be the week. If not, then perhaps the children and I will use our fall cookie cutters and make some sugar cookies.

This week's menu plan:

- pancakes
- eggs, biscuits, bacon/sausage, fruit
- oatmeal with raisins
- sausage biscuits, fruit

- leftovers or sandwiches

- banana with peanut butter
- yogurt with granola
- pumpkin scones
- crackers & cheese slices

- quiche (make one, freeze one)
- chili with chips and cheddar
- lentil shepherd's pie
- chicken parmesan, green beans
- Salisbury steaks, mashed potatoes, green peas

- apple pie or sugar cookies

Thursday, October 5, 2017

September 2017 In Our Home

    Our school time has fallen off quite a bit this past month. We seem to have entered a time of tantrums and sibling squabbles, so much so that resolving those matters has taken a lot of my time and energy in the day. I've felt guilty for the lack of a school lesson, but try to remind myself that character training and relationship building are valid and valuable lessons. Also, reading is perhaps the most valuable forms of education, and we do plenty of that in our days. So, a message to myself- "breathe Mama, you're doing okay." 

A Little More Fun To Our Days
     After feeling like we were caught just going through the motions last month I decided we needed to add in some fun. It didn't need to be anything elaborate, just a little effort to do something out of the ordinary. I looked to my favorite resource, The Dating Divas, for ideas and came away with two great ones. 
     For the family, we had a water gun fight! It was so much fun. The feeling of playfully chasing each other around the yard and the sounds of so much squeals and laughter. It was most definitely worth the $6 spent on water guns! 
     I also planned an in-home "date night" for David and I. Again, nothing elaborate, just a simple something to pull us beyond the ordinary. We played a version of "The Newlywed Game," which was a lot of fun. I think in marriage you can easily get so comfortable that you neglect continuing to learn about your spouse. (Am I right?) It was good to see how we answered the questions and why. This particular game activity involved a lot of cutting of pieces, but it was well worth the effort. Plus, since we didn't use all the questions at one time we'll be able to play many more times. 
     These two activities really meant a lot to me. My love language is absolutely "quality time," and so such as this certainly filled my heart. (I have a pretty good suspicion that at least one of my older children, if not both, respond most to quality time as well). I hope to continue to do at least one activity for Family Fun and one for Date Night each month. Thankfully, The Dating Divas website makes that really easy (just requires a bit of prep). *Note: I'm not affiliated with The Dating Divas. I simply have enjoyed the resource want to pass along the recommendation. 

Welcome, Fall!
     Despite the near 100 degree temperatures outside, we gladly welcomed the Fall season! Each new season is an exciting opportunity to celebrate. We did a few fun things on the first day of the season, which I will share more about in another post soon.

New Furniture
   We purchased furniture for our bedroom this month! We had previously had a worn out dresser and nightstand that we found very inexpensively on Craigslist back when we got married. Our bed was simply on a metal bedframe and without any sort of head or footboard. Not only did we want to have some additional pieces and nicer pieces for our room, but the boys' room also needed a dresser and nightstand. (I needed more storage and always love reading by soft lamplight in the evenings). Our plan has been to find a set for our room and then move our old set into the boys' room. Not wanting to go in debt for something like furniture, we have kept a watchful eye for furniture on Facebook Marketplace. We eventually found a set with all the pieces we desired- headboard, two nightstands, and a dresser. The couple who were selling it were eager to sell it and even negotiated the price for a few damaged places. In the end, we got a very nice set for so much less than it would have been new. We actually paid cash for it! 
     I'm loving how the room looks and feels now! I'm also loving having adequate storage for the boys' clothing and a surface to now have a lovely lamp by which to read at night. 
      It took us seven years to have these nice pieces of furniture, bedding, and nightstand accessories. Seven years of making do with whatever we could. In the end, that waiting and saving was well worthwhile! We have a nice set, and didn't go a bit in debt for it. I wish I could encourage every young person and/or couple enough not expect to have everything in the early years and certainly not to go in debt over something like furniture. Save your money. Be patient. Be creative. Be content. Things will come together. It just takes time and that's okay. 

Blogging and ... a business?
      We've been discussing the prospects of starting an online business for our family (not necessarily a blogging business). The ideas are thrilling, but also overwhelming. The first step towards that goal will be to simply determine if adequate time can be found to put towards a business. My plan is to use this blog as a means of creating or establishing time. If I can create adequate time for blogging each week, then I can do the same for a business later. My greatest opportunity to work on things is at night after the children are asleep. Unfortunately, that time is also a struggle because my mind has already gone to sleep for the night. In fact, I'm having trouble staying awake just to do this post! haha

Books We're Reading
   I ordinarily like to purchase a new book for each of the children each month. However, I purchased a huge box of used books back in June, and so we have plenty to keep us busy currently. We also check out fourteen books from the library for read-aloud/snack time. A complete list of books we've read can be found on our online Bookshelves. A few in particular this month:


  • (Read to Tennyson) Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne*
    • I wasn't sure how well he'd enjoy this particular type of book. To my delight, he seems to enjoy it! He'll ask for it at bedtime or during outside playtime (two of my favorite times for reading aloud). I checked out a copy from the library, but I'm fairly certain I'll be purchasing it for our bookshelves so that we might enjoy it again and again!
*Note: I am a personal affiliate with As such, I receive a compensation for items purchased through the provided links. All opinions are my own and have not been influenced or sponsored. 

Tennyson- 3 1/2 years old
Annelise- 2 years old
Huxley- 7 months old

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