Friday, April 30, 2010

May Day Basket Craft

When I talk about making May Day baskets growing up...I get a lot of confused responses. Apparently making May Day baskets was not something everyone did growing up. My understanding was that on May 1st, you make a basket-- supposed to be filled with flowers-- but candy is more fun for kids-- you leave it at someone's door, ring the bell and run away. Well that is at least what my sister and I did. Maybe we made up this holiday?? Well regardless, I am having some friends over and I thought it would be a fun craft for my girls if we made all of the kids May Day baskets. I had this wonderful idea in my head. Didn't quiet turn out as I had planned, but I think they are pretty cute. The kids will decorate the baskets with stickers if they want. Did you celebrate May Day by making baskets growing up?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Geocaching-- funnest thing ever!

If you are into scavenger hunts and figuring out puzzles (sort of)....consider going geocaching. I first heard about it last year when some friends from church started going out looking for caches. People hide caches all over-- there was one down the street at our park and there are several less than a mile from our house! You can go onto this website to see if you have any hidden around your area:
Caches come in different shapes and sizes-- some in small altoid containers, mint containers, or even big metal boxes. So today my friend Nancy and I loaded up our kiddos and set out to find 4 different caches in Pleasant Dale. The first one was at our park and we found it right away. The second one was at a cemetery. I had a picture of where the cache was supposed to be. We matched up the picture and the GPS coordinates and looked forever-- but we gave up and didn't not find our second one. So we moved on to cache number #3 on our list. We thought we were in the right area...we looked...we looked some more and couldn't find it, so we moved on. We went to the 4th and final one on our list. This one was supposed to be a fun one for the kids because there was supposed to be Tinkerbell things for girls in there. We parked where we thought it was--according to our GPS finder. We looked and looked and couldn't find it. is my blonde moment...make fun of me now....I totally was not reading the GPS coordinates right! I was only reading the West minutes and not the North...duh! No wonder why were not having any luck! So we finally figured out this GPS thing and found the Tinkerbell one. The girls were excited about getting a prize. We went back to our #3 spot, found that right away and didn't make it back to the cemetery. Such a fun, fun activity and I can not wait to do it again! Some tips-- probably wouldn't take my kids out in the country by myself-- not fun getting them in and out of car seats. I think next time I will find a park that has several hidden so they can run around more. They got kind of bored and ancy at times. Nancy and I had a good time though!:)

***Also thanks to my dear husband who set the coordinates in his handy GPS thing so I wouldn't have to worry about it and for teaching me how to use it ahead of time....apparently I wasn't paying attention when he was teaching me!**

Here are some pictures of the girls at our finds!

We found this right away at the park--Jocelyn is holding it
This one was under a bush on someone's private property-- we had permission to be there--filled with lots of kids goodies-- it was a large metal box chained to the bush!We left the kids in the car for this one as it was on a bridge overlooking railroad tracks-- Nancy found this one right away after we figured out our GPS thing.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Trying to pick a vacation spot for this year?

I have traveled quiet a bit...I love traveling and going on vacations. As a kid we would take two weeks-- and drive for what seemed like forever to get to Disney World, Washington DC, and Niagara Falls. During my teaching days I took my students to Nashville (love that place), Orlando, Anaheim, Louisville, KY, Minneapolis and so on. My hands down favorite place that I have visited (and keep visiting) is Branson, Missouri! Yes you read that right Branson, Missouri! You might be thinking oh my goodness isn't that a place where old people hang out? Well yes, there is a bit of that, but I LOVE THAT PLACE!!! My grandma and grandpa used to live down there so I have quiet a few childhood memories from there. Now my husband's family lives in that direction, so we have chosen it a few times for our vacation destination.
Here are the top 5 reasons why you should choose to go to Branson for your next family vacation: (word of warning-- the town virtually shuts down-- January-March and is a ghost town--so don't go during that time)
1. Silver Dollar City:
There are several amusements parks in Branson, however this is by far my favorite. It is great, great place for the family. Depen
ding on the time of year there are different themes that run through out the park. There are lots of rides for kids--and if they are tall of enough they can go on the adult rides (Jocelyn went for the first time before her 3rd birthday and passed the height requirements!). They also have a really neat culinary school that I have yet to visit. I would choose to go to this park any day over Disney World. If you plan on visiting more than once, it is well worth it to buy a season pass for the family.2. Shopping!!
I love to shop! I love outlet shopping even more! They have a wonderful Tangier outlet mall that features some of my favorite stores
-- Gymboree Outlet, Old Navy Outlet, and the GAP outlet-- (just to name a few). I could spend all day there and probably spend way too much money! But this is by far my favorite place to shop. They also have a downtown area called the Landing. This is on Lake Taneycomo. This is a little more upscale area, but there are some good restaurants, a great kids area, and a really cool fire and water show in the summer time.3. Table Rock Lake!!
One of our favorite family activities is spending time on the lake. We like to park our boat in a cove and get away from the lake cr
owd. The water is not filthy green (like here in Nebraska). You will not come out smelling like algae! If you don't have a boat, you can enjoy the lake by Riding the Ducks or taking a dinner cruise on the Branson Belle. There are also a few public beaches, but the best one we have found is Moonshine Beach. There is a small fee to enter, but it is really clean and has a nice picnic shelter.4. The people!!
Ok yes there are some old people that visit Branson, but it is really a family place. The people are by far some of the most pleasant people to be around. Especially at Silver Dollar City. Everyone is respectful and they always put you number one when you are visiting.
5. The scenery!!
If you travel down what is called "the strip" you will spend a lot of time sitting in traffic staring at pools and hotels and little gift shops. If you go outside of the main drag, you can see great views of the tree lined hills and the lakes. There are some absolutely breathtaking scenes.

I am sure I am missing quiet a few aspects of what makes Branson, Missouri my number one pick for a vacation spot.(shows, food, and lots of other activities)..but it is only a days drive away from Omaha/Lincoln area...consider making that your next vacation spot!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Learning about senses!

The kids and I have been taking advantage of this beautiful weather. I decided it was time to go for a walk in the woods and do an activity focusing on a few of the senses. We talked about the different sounds that we were hearing--mostly birds and our neighbor yelling at their dog, because it almost got hit by a truck. Not really what I was expecting. We talked about our sense of sight. I gave each of the girls a bag and I would call off things in nature and they would find these things. Katelyn struggled with a few of the items, but did ok with most of them. We then talked about the sense of smell. Some things--especially the flowers smelled a lot better than others. We then laid out all of our findings on a table and talked about each one and their textures. I had them put each item into a bucket and close their eyes. I called off an item to see if they could use their sense of touch to find the item. Katelyn didn't do so well as she had problems not keeping her eyes closed. Jocelyn enjoyed the activity. I chose to skip the sense of taste--we focus on that probably way too much as both of my girls still have a tendency to put everything in their mouths! It is getting better though-- I now have Easton for that!:)

The girls getting ready to go out in the woods
Jocelyn running ahead to get some flowers off the treeThe girls focusing on the sense of touch

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Flat Stanley Project with the kids

A couple weeks ago we received this little guy in the mail...his name is Flat Stanley. My niece, who is in second grade in Grovespring, Missouri has been learning about Flat Stanley's adventures. The girls and I were excited to finally be able to enjoy the nice weather and we took Flat Stanley along. In case you don't know who Flat Stanley is, he is a character in a book series where he goes on adventures around the world. I can't wait to do something similar with my kids as they are homeschooling!
We weren't going anywhere exciting, but here are a few pictures of where we took Flat Stanley!

First Stop--Pioneers Park! Love that Place!
Feeding the geese

Visiting an old school houseKatelyn sitting with Flat Stanley on the columns

Our state capitalMy alma-mater-- the University of Nebraska LincolnStrategic Air & Space MuseumThe Lincoln Children's ZooMahoney State Park-- was way to windy when we went, so we only got one picture..we were afraid Flat Stanley was going to blow away.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

My life before kids!

I love hearing about my friends who are currently stay at home mom’s and what they did before they became mommies. Sometimes I am surprised at what they did. Not in a bad way, it is just that I see what they are doing now and have a hard time imagining them doing that other job. I feel truly blessed that I have been able to stay at home with my kids. I know that the Lord will provide what we need if we just trust in him. Without two incomes we might not be able to have the house that we want or put our kids in the clothes that everyone else’s kids are wearing, or drive fancy cars, but Sean and I feel that it was best for our family if I stay at home with our kids. Anyways, what did I do before I was a mommy? Here is my story….in 2001 I graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a degree in Marketing and Basic Business Education and continued on to get my masters in technology education. This enabled me to teach high school Marketing and other business classes. I had always wanted to be a teacher growing up. I had a little classroom in our basement and I would pretend to teach whatever grade that I was in at the time. Ok it stopped during middle school- high school, but I just had fun teaching my pretend students. In high school I took several business classes including Marketing. As a student in Marketing we were able to be part of a student organization called DECA. I was involved with marketing type competitions within DECA. I did pretty well during my junior year and during my senior year, I wrote a 30-page Marketing research paper on Office Depot with two partners. With our paper we won 1st place at the state level competition and got top 10 in the national competition. I guess this was my final push to what I wanted to be when I grew up—a Marketing teacher. I had wonderful role-models in the Marketing program at my high school. They allowed me to volunteer and chaperone on trips through out college to help me stay connected. When I graduated I was offered a job at my alma-mater- Millard South High school. I got to teach alongside my two role-models from high school. What a treat to learn from the pros in DECA. I taught several classes including Fashion Marketing, Marketing 1 & 2, International Business, Keyboarding (yuck), and our Marketing Internship. I also helped with our school store. After my first two years my former teacher retired after an awesome 32 year teaching career. I guess he felt comfortable leaving me in charge. It was a huge task to take on a national recognized program and one of the best in the state and nation. I was now in charge of running our Marketing 2 program where my students worked on research projects, business plans, and advertising campaigns. Some were 10 page projects, but most were 30-40 page projects. Talk about a lot of editing, reading, and organization on my part. We did pretty well my first year alone. I had 20-some students qualify for Nationals and had a student place 1st in the nation and then my 2nd year alone I had a team place 2nd place. During my 3rd year of teaching I met Sean. I knew right away that he was the one that I was going to marry. We got married the weekend after my school year ended. The next school year I was pregnant with Jocelyn and was due the following August—what would have been the start of a new school year. We decided that it was best that I take a year off to spend time with her. I traveled a lot with my job and couldn’t imagine having to find someone care for her while I was gone for sometimes 5-6 days a time. I know other teachers did it all the time, we just couldn’t imagine doing that. I clung on to my former job that entire first year at home. I helped with the Marketing 2 projects—reading, editing, and helping brainstorm ideas. I was up there when asked to help. I also substitute taught. I held on. After Jocelyn was 6 months, Sean felt it was time to take a new job over an hour and half from Omaha. This led to our move to Pleasant Dale and hour away from my job. The thought of commuting an hour and leaving Jocelyn was too overwhelming. We prayed about it and were given peace with our decision to have me stay at home. Going into the principal’s office to tell him that I was resigning was an extremely hard thing for me to do. I felt I was letting my former Marketing teacher and co-worker down. I felt I was letting my co-workers down. It is hard because I still really want to help out, but it has been kind of hard to drop everything with the kids and find childcare to help out. I think about my former students and my former job all the time. I think about what I would do differently if I was teaching a certain lesson and I still think of fun ideas for Marketing projects. I don’t think I will ever go back to teaching in a public school—I guess I am lucky, I get to teach my little ones—and hopefully one day teach them about the world of Marketing!
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

Below are a few pictures from what I could find from my teaching days. I left most of them behind at school when I left. Below-- Sarah and I-- one of my students and then my last group of senior officers.

Friday, April 16, 2010


Maybe I am just a bit weird, but I consider myself to be a very scheduled person. I am very flexible in breaking my schedule to go on play dates or taking the kids to do something, but during the week, when we are at home, we follow the same schedule pretty much every day/week. I think it just keeps me sane or something. I think my kids like it too, so they kind of know what is coming next. I always wonder what other people are doing through out the day. Do others follow schedules..or maybe I am just weird? My schedule goes like this-- Laundry-- only on Monday & Thursday-- ONLY-- unless there is an extreme emergency. Cloth diapers not included. Lately I have been only deep cleaning my house once a month. I know gross. I still wipe down weekly and my house stays picked up where you can't tell we have kids--unless you go upstairs, but I am talking about cleaning really good. I just don't have time in our weekly schedule to spend it cleaning. I fail someones (won't mention any names) dust checks all of the time, but I am getting better with the failures of those little tests. Anyways, schedules... 8AM-10AM breakfast and some sort of activity with the kids...they love art things or playing games or listening to music and singing along.
Monday-Thursday mornings if we are home I do some type of "school" related stuff with my girls. I try to keep them busy for a few hours during the morning. Katelyn watches a 35 minute DVD of the LeapPad Letter Factory--highly recommend it!--and Jocelyn and I use that quiet time so she can read to me. I just love that part of the day where she can just read! I always loved reading and now it is nice having someone else read to me. We have been working on telling time, money, and understanding the concept of days of the week. I then have Jocelyn practice writing and I have quiet time with Katelyn. We go through her letters and phonics and sometimes work on counting and color games. After this time, we try to play some type of fun game, whether it is a board game, educational game, puzzles or a game that I made up, but we try to do something fun. Some days we do crafts, experiments, or art activities if there is time---and all this while Easton takes his morning nap! Praise the Lord for morning naps!! When Easton wakes up we sometimes do a few chores-- the girls like to help out, so I try to have them help as much as they are able. Sometimes we go for a walk if the weather permits or go play outside. 12:30PM We try to eat lunch around the same time every day. 1:30PM Baths for the kids 2:00PM-4:00PM Naps for all three kiddos!! Yeah! Me- shower, make dinner, finish picking up from the day, enjoying quiet time! 4:00PM-4:30PM Mat time for Easton-- reading for me-- and hopefully the girls are outside playing 5:30-6:30PM Dinner time 8:00PM Bedtime!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! for the kids at least! Ok so Wednesdays-Thursdays our schedules are off since we go to Omaha Wednesday afternoons-Thursday mornings and Friday we are at MOPS, so we don't do school...but as you can see, we stay busy...maybe that is why I am always tired and look forward to the weekends!
What is your schedule like? Or do you have one? Maybe I am just the weird one!:)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Moving Eastward... I can only dream about moving Eastward. As many of my friends know I am originally from Omaha. We moved to Pleasant Dale exactly 4 years ago when my husband got a new job in De Witt. That plant closed and moved their products to China and now he works in Waverly (1/2 way in between Omaha and Pleasant Dale. I really like our house and our very, very, very quiet little village we live in. I really like Lincoln and have made some really good friends in the past few years-- thank you MOPS! There are quiet a few things in Lincoln for kids and families to do-- the Children's Zoo, Trago, nearby lakes to boat on, beaches....The thing I miss the most is living near my parents, my relatives, our church and our church friends. As we have more kids and are getting ready to add to our little family once again this fall, I have realized how important family is. Even though my parents live an hour away, I still rely on them quiet a bit...ok mostly for watching my kids so I can get a break here and there, but they have been a huge help for us along the way. With the exception of MOPS every Friday (thank the Lord again for that!), I am with my kids all of the time. I am ok with that...I love my kids and they are good company, but if you are a mother, you know that is one of the hardest jobs out there. Sometimes they drive me completely nuts...mostly because of their energy level and my lack of energy sometimes. I have looked into hiring a sitter to come watch the kids each week so I can get a break or even once a month, but still go back to the fact that--Oh my goodness sitters are really demanding a lot of money nowadays-- is alone time for me worth $30+ dollars. We actually now are in Omaha 3 different days through out the week, so it has been nice being closer to my "other home" and getting little breaks here and there. My husband said that maybe some day we will move back Eastward, some day...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Homeschooling conference!

As some of you know we are planning on homeschooling our kids. I am super excited that I am able to do this with our kids. Some people think it is kind of weird that I am a former public school teacher and am going to go against what I once did as a profession. Well to be honest with you, that was the icing on the cake. I loved teaching and loved the DECA side of my job. But there is a lot of wasted time in the public schools. Seriously, kids are in school from 8am-3pm and then come home and have a few hours of homework to do in the evening? Seriously. I just really don't want my kids to be tied down to the school calendar, someone else telling us what our kids should be doing during the day and evening, and I really don't want our kids to be turned loose into a school unmonitored throughout the day. So we are embarking on the world of homeschooling. In my head I feel prepared. I have been teaching Jocelyn since she was far so good. Katelyn is picking up nicely on things also.
I had an opportunity to attend a local homeschooling conference with a friend of mine. Since I already had childcare (read previous post) I was super excited. We got a chance to look at curriculum and attend some interesting workshops. Some about the state laws surrounding homeschooling-- thank goodness we live in the wonderful state of Nebraska where there are just a few forms to fill out and we are good to go--. Another workshop was what to do with our toddlers while we teach-- got some great ideas, as I will be experiencing that! I got a sense of relief that I am going to be ok in this adventure. I already have everything needed for Jocelyn to start kindergarten in the fall. A piece of paper, a pencil, and my creativity...ok that is a joke...but really I am prepared:)

Friday, April 9, 2010

A free day!!!!!! Finally!!!!

Every time something comes around--like my birthday-- my husband always asks what I want. I usually just want to go out to dinner, but don't really expect any gifts. Gifts are nice, however I can never think of anything I really need at the time. This past birthday, I wanted a massage. I scheduled an appointment, left the kids with Sean during their naptime, and ventured out...didn't know the place had moved and missed my massage. Since then I have wanted to just have a day to myself. With no one...not even my husband...sorry! I love being with Sean, don't get me wrong, but he isn't a shopper. I just like to take my time and not have to worry about what someone else is thinking or how bored someone is. I don't want to worry about feeding someone else--besides myself. I don't want to worry about someone else's bathroom schedule--or nap schedule. So the time FINALLY came. My mom is a teacher and she has this lovely little thing called spring break!!! So I took full advantage of her break. Of course I asked first and since she already had my kids for 2 days for a conference I was going to, why not just add on another day for just me. It was wonderful!! I went to places that I go to with kids, but absolutely dread going to...such as Hobby Lobby, Michael's, Once Upon a Child, the Mall, grocery shopping, and I ate at one of my favorite restaurants in Omaha-- Don Carmelos-- Yum! I came home and took a nap and made an easy dinner for Sean and I. I probably spent way too much money on my day off, but it was so nice to just have a day to myself. It has been a long time coming and maybe I will get another one this summer-- can't wait for my mom's summer break to begin!

Monday, April 5, 2010


So we don't do Easter. I think a lot of my friends have figured it out through out the years.. We don't do the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus. We have gotten a lot of opposition to our decisions. A lot.... many can't believe that we don't celebrate a Christian holiday. We probably would if it we felt it was truly Christian holiday. It didn't originate as one. It rooted from the Catholic church and is very pagan. Maybe Sean and I just dig too deep and research too much the history of how things started. We just want to teach our kids the truth about what the bible says. I am not opposed to teaching the fact surrounding why and how Jesus died on the cross, how he rose again on the third day and what this important event means. But if you have researched the history of Easter, it started off as a not so good event. I challenge you to research why we have an Easter bunny or why he lays eggs. And how come if Jesus died on Friday and rose again three days later--how we get to Sunday-- that just doesn't add up to me.
Another thing that we are trying to teach our kids is to believe in Christ Jesus-- we can't really see him-- but we can see the wonderful things he has done for us and has made for us-- and then we have this Easter Bunny character who you can see at the malls who leaves candy at our houses over night. One day the fun and games will come to an end that our kids will no longer believe, and then we have to tell our kids-- ok we lied about this Easter Bunny character and Santa, but trust me even though you can't see Jesus Christ-- just trust me he is real. We just don't need a day to celebrate the awesome thing that Jesus Christ did for us...we can do this any day...not just on one day.
There are a lot of bible verses out there that encourage people to not follow the ways and traditions of the world-- one verse that comes to mind is:
Deuteronomy 12:28
Ok...I am almost off my soap box and I am sure no one is still reading this, but something else that came to mind is-- ever heard something a million times and believe it is true? Next time you hear something....look into it and don't just trust what you are hearing is right...we have the bible....pick it up, study, and read it:)

Sunday, April 4, 2010


If you have hung around me enough you know that I love being a part of my MOPS group! No it isn't a cleaning group--like one of my cousins thought.:) It is a Mother's of Preschoolers group. We meet at a church in Lincoln and mom's who have kids ages 0-6 years old can attend. We do many things such as eating a wonderful breakfast, craft, listen to great speakers, do community projects, and have just plain fun. I joined because I was not adjusting well to moving away from all of my friends from Omaha and I was just plain bored during the day. I had a few acquaintances from Kindermusik class that my girls attended, but no one that I could just call up and say-- hey want to go to the zoo today! Anyways, so I joined MOPS and was accepted by a group of some pretty awesome moms. At the end of my first year I was asked to be publicity for the following year. I would be in charge of writing the monthly newsletter and promoting events. I accepted and then decided to start a website for the group. This role as publicity coordinator has kept me busy. It is a lot of work. I took on the role for 2 years and have enjoyed being part of the leadership team at Christ's Place. Next year I have decided to step down from being on our steering team. I am thinking I will be pretty busy next year with homeschooling a preschooler, kindergartner, having a baby, and having a little toddler running around. I know for a fact that I will miss the team, but I am excited about just being a regular MOPS mom again!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Zoo!

It is spring! Well I guess some days are spring! I had been wanting to go to the Omaha Zoo with the kids for quiet some time-- actually for the past 3 years-- the last time I went was when Jocelyn was 18 months and I was pregnant with Katelyn. We went in the blazing hot sun and I did not have fun waddling up all of those hills. Anyways, a friend of mine, Emily, gave me the push to go and we went. I invited a friend Reece and her baby girl to come along with us and Emily invited one her friends. We had a really nice time visiting all of the animals and the kids had a good time running around with each other. The weather was wonderful-- even though it got a little hot in the afternoon. If you have ever been to the Omaha zoo it is quiet a large zoo. We didn't make it around the entire thing, but saw the highlights. I can't wait to go back some day to finish it with the kids!