Monday, December 31, 2012

Goals for 2013

I'm finding it hard to believe that 2012 is almost over. Less than 12 hours until we hit a new year. I decided to look back at the goals I set for 2012, and it's almost laughable how little I actually accomplished toward those goals. I have discovered that I am fantastic on SETTING goals, not so great on following up on said goals.

Nevertheless, I am back to set some goals for 2013. I need goals. I need to be working toward something, or at least feel like I am. Otherwise, I can easily let entire days go by while I just waste time reading blogs, pinning things on Pinterest, or goofing off on Facebook. (Oh, wait, I do that already while I do have goals. Maybe not doing that should become one of my goals.)
My 2013 Goals -
I hope to be as accurate at attaining this year's goals as my soccer-playing small people hope to be on the field.

Bible:

Read and pray every day. I'm planning to do an in-depth reading through the New Testament letters this year. I also plan to keep a prayer journal.

Relationships:

Be deliberate in spending time with my family. Last year I had a goal to go out at least once a month on a date with Robb. While we didn't have one EVERY month, we did have more than we did the year before. This year, I want to continue to plan for a date with Robb at least once a month. I also want to make sure that at least 1 time a week, I do something special with ONE child. They need that one-on-one time with me.

Home:

Declutter the storage areas in the house. There are items in some of our closets that haven't been touched since we moved in to this house. That was 4 1/2 years ago. I'm thinking that if I haven't needed it in 4 1/2 years, I probably don't need it at all.

Improving my mind:

Read at least 1 non-school related book a month. This one is pretty self-explanatory. I want to read things for ME, not just to educate the small people.

Hobbies:

Start an Etsy shop. I used to make homemade cards. I would like to get back into that and actually try to make some extra spending money in the process. 

Finish Little Red's Christmas stocking. I had this for one of my 2012 goals, but that apparently was a little too ambitious. I'm about halfway done with the actually stitching, and then I'll have to have it made into a stocking. 

Personal:

Lose 30 lbs. That translates into about 2 1/2 lbs a month. I need to start exercising on a more regular basis, as well as making better choices in my eating habits.


Please, please, please, if I haven't updated my progress on these goals at the end of January, ask me how I'm doing with them! I obviously need some accountability in order to follow through. 

 
  

Friday, December 28, 2012

If You Give Your Girls a Bunk Bed...

For the past couple of days, I've felt as if I've been living in one of those "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" books.

For Christmas, we gave Soccer Girl and Sassy Pants a set of bunk beds. Soccer Girl had asked for new bed stuff, meaning new sheets since she still had Dora sheets on her bed. Sassy Pants was still in her toddler bed, so Robb and I figured we'd go ahead and get them a bunk bed since 2 twin beds wouldn't fit in their room. We also got Soccer Girl a new bed set, and Sassy became the proud owner of Dora sheets and a Disney princess comforter.
We set the bunk bed up Christmas afternoon and discovered that there was a lot more space in the room, so we decided to move the dresser, that housed all of the older girls' winter clothes, from the hallway into the bedroom.

Thus began my downfall. I decided that Soccer Girl's clothes should go in that dresser, rather than the 3 older girls sharing 2 dressers. I also decided that Soccer Girl's hang-up clothes should be in her closet instead of in the other girls' room. That meant I had to clean out the closet in her and Sassy Pants's room because it was full of Sassy's clothes, most of them too small for Sassy to wear any way. Here's the final product in Soccer Girl and Sassy Pants's room:
Those clothes piled on the top are the next size up for Sassy Pants.

Of course, I couldn't just stop there. I had to reorganize the dresser in the other girls' room so that their winter clothes would fit in there, and their closet was in sad need of organization as well. Here's the finished product in Ballerina and Little Red's room:
Whew! These four girls have a TON of clothes!

To recap:
  • If you give your girls a bunk bed, then you will need to rearrange their room.
  • When you rearrange their room, you will move an additional dresser into that room.
  • When you move the dresser, you will need to reorganize the clothes.
  • When you reorganize the clothes, you will need to organize the closet.
  • When you organize one room's clothes and closet, you will then need to organize the other girls' room's clothes and closet.
  • When you've finished organizing 2 bedrooms' (4 girls) worth of clothes, you will be exhausted, and your wonderful husband will offer to take you out to dinner!!


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Our Christmas

I really struggled getting into the Christmas mood this year. I didn't do nearly as much baking, decorating, or other Christmas-y activities as I had planned to do. I just didn't feel like it.

Nevertheless, we did have a very nice Christmas. Robb's favorite football team is the Oakland Raiders. Living in South Carolina, the opportunities to see them play are pretty much limited to television. This year, though, they were playing the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte just 2 days before Christmas! I was able to score 2 tickets in fairly decent seats, so he and The Boy headed up there to watch them.

As usual, the small people got more than enough goodies.
The Boy's stuff - lots of Legos
Soccer Girl's stuff - plus she got a bunk bed.
Ballerina's stuff - the paper says that we'll buy her $50 worth of books.
Little Red's stuff - she LOVED her Merida doll!
Sassy Pants's stuff - she REALLY wanted a Bitty Baby.
Somehow both Robb and I forgot to put out The Boy's big present, so we had to give it to him later in the morning.

He is obsessed with all things air soft. He found this M-16 online and sent the link to Robb. He was beyond excited to actually get it!

The biggest present this year was a new dog. My cousin runs a rescue in Georgia. A few weeks ago, she posted a picture of a Yorkie mix she had rescued. I fell in LOVE! So we are now the proud owners of Buddy.

One of the best parts of Christmas is just spending time as a family, giving love to each other.





I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!



Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Gingersnaps


I made gingersnaps with Ballerina this morning. It took me back to my childhood, and I've spent the day thinking about and missing my dad since gingersnaps were his favorite cookie. He's been gone for almost 14 years now, and I think about how much he would have loved my small people. I know he would have especially loved Sassy Pants's spunky-ness.

Gingersnap Recipe

Ingredients

2 c sifted flour
1 Tbsp ginger
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 c shortening
1 c sugar
1 egg
1/4 c molasses

Instructions

Sift together dry ingredients.
Cream shortening until soft. Gradually add sugar, creaming after each addition until mixture is fluffy. Beat in egg and molasses. Add sifted dry ingredients. Blend well.
Form small balls and roll in granulated sugar. Place 2" apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes or until tops are slightly rounded, crackly, and lightly browned.
Remove from sheets, cool completely on cake racks before storing.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Reasons to Homeschool

After the tragedy in Connecticut last week, I've heard the following more than a few times:
"I bet you're really glad you homeschool now."
"This makes me want to homeschool my children."
(From my children's friends) "I wish I were homeschooled."

Yes, I am grateful that I'm able to homeschool my children, but this tragedy doesn't increase my gratefulness. It just makes me really sad about the evil in this world.

For those of you who struggled with sending your children to a brick and mortar school this morning, that's completely understandable. My heart goes out to you. I can sympathize with the fear you must be feeling; I know that the events of Friday have made me want to hold my children a little closer to me as well. I can also understand wanting to keep them home with you forever, but I implore you, PLEASE do not decide to homeschool your children as a kneejerk reaction to the fear you are feeling.

Don't get me wrong; I love to hear about others choosing to homeschool their children. There are many wonderful reasons to homeschool; fear should not be one of them.
  1. Homeschooling will allow you to spend more time with your children. It's difficult to develop a close relationship with anyone when you don't spend time with them. The more time you spend with your children, the greater the potential to have a closer relationship. (I'm not going to tell you that it will guarantee a closer relationship, just the potential to have one.)
  2. Homeschooling gives you the opportunity to teach your children in the way they best learn. I was a classroom teacher for 7 years before I chose to stay home with my children, so I speak from experience here. Even the best teachers struggle to reach every child during every lesson. Some children learn best through seeing, others through hearing, and still others by doing. Some pick up concepts quickly; others need a little more time and practice. By giving your child an individualized education, you can present information in a way that allows him/her to grasp it.
  3. Homeschooling allows you to teach your children your family values. I'm not saying that values aren't being taught in brick and mortar schools; I'm sure they are in a majority of classrooms. I am saying that through homeschooling, YOU can choose what values your children are being taught.
These are just a few reasons why someone might choose to homeschool their children.

2 Timothy 1:7 states For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. While the tragedy in Connecticut makes me sad and I grieve for those families who lost loved ones, I do not want to parent my children out of fear for their safety. So, if homeschooling has crossed your mind this weekend, please think about all of the good reasons to homeschool and consider if it is right for you for those reasons.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

It's Nutcracker Time!


This weekend is the annual performance of the Nutcracker by our ballet company. Both Ballerina and Little Red are in company this year so it's been a week of late nights and cranky but excited girls.

We are fortunate to have an absolutely beautiful facility where the Nutcracker is performed. Here are a couple of pics of the inside of the Performing Arts Center.

Cameras are prohibited during the performances so I went during semi-dress rehearsal to get some pictures of the girls on stage. Both girls are mice and gingersnaps. Ballerina got to be the lead gingersnap this year, which was really exciting for her.


I also helped backstage in the dressing room on opening night, so I was able to get some "close-ups" of the girls in costume.



Friday, December 7, 2012

M&M Christmas Trees


With the late nights we've had the past couple of nights due to Nutcracker rehearsal, I decided to have a simple school day today. We watched a WWII documentary, and then did some Christmas activities.

The small people had a great time making M&M Christmas trees. They were messy, fun, and super simple. All we needed was sugar ice cream cones (the ones with the pointed ends), frosting, and Christmas colored M&Ms.







The finished products:
 




Of course I can never resist taking fun pics during the process. The Boy was trying to pretend to be upset with me for taking his picture. Right after I snapped it, he started laughing.
Soccer Girl just being Soccer Girl.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Our Advent Activity Calendar

Earlier this week, I posted a plea for help on my FB page. I wanted to create an Advent Calendar for my family that had a different activity planned for each day. I received many great suggestions for which I am extremely grateful. The Advent Calendar has been made!
Even though I no longer am an active scrapbooker, I still own what could be a small scrapbook store. It's extremely handy for times like this when I'm feeling crafty.

To make the tree, I cut 3 colors of green card stock into 1 inch strips. Then I cut the strips so that each strip was 1 inch shorter than the last for the bottom part of the tree and 1/2 inch shorter for the top layers. Strips that are needed to be longer than 12 inches were stapled together. I numbered the front of the strips to make it easier for me to figure out which activity to put on what date. For example, we have tickets for the Nutcracker on the 8th, so I needed to make sure that activity was put on the correct strip.

Then I printed out the list of Christmas activities and cut those into strips to glue onto the backs of the tree strips.

Next I cut brown card stock into two 2 inch strips and stapled them together to make the tree trunk. I cut a star out of yellow card stock. Finally I attached all of the green strips to the tree trunk and hung the finished product on the wall.


Here is the list of activities that I chose from. Note that there are 27 activities listed, and you only need 24 for the tree. It gave me some flexibility, and now I have a few different activities to use next year.
  1.  Drive around and look at lights
  2.  Make gingerbread nativity
  3.  Go Christmas caroling to neighborhood families
  4.  Make Christmas candies
  5.  See the Nutcracker
  6.  Bake cookies
  7.  Spend the day/evening playing board games
  8.  Watch Christmas movies, eat popcorn, and drink cocoa 
  9.  Make a Christmas theme craft
  10.  Make Christmas shirts
  11. Pick names from the Angel tree and shop for them
  12. Make Christmas cards for family and friends
  13.  Read a Christmas book
  14.  Ring the bell for Salvation Army
  15. Make cookies for the local fire station
  16. Christmas caroling at nursing home
  17. Have a family lunch
  18. Make cookies for librarians at the public library
  19. Take small gifts to the children’s section of the hospital
  20. Make ornaments
  21. Make handprint wreaths
  22. Take silly Christmas pictures (Santa hats, reindeer antlers)
  23. Color Christmas pictures
  24. Read Christmas story in Bible
  25. Have snowball (paper ball) fight
  26. Make coffee filter snowflakes
  27. Happy Birthday Jesus party



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