Monday, April 22, 2013

My new have got to read this....

*** I am not getting paid or compensated in any way for this post.  I do not sell this product.  All of my views are of my own ***

I am writing this post because I have fallen in love.  Ok....I am not talking about my kids or my husband.  I am talking about a new love in my life....if that word is too strong...I am talking about something I really, really like.  Is that better?

I first heard about Norwext last summer.  I attended an at home party of a close friend.  Unfortunately I was the only one in attendance and I didn't fully understand how the product worked after I had left.  Maybe it was my fault that I didn't ask a lot of questions.  The Norwex gal was newer with the company, so maybe she just didn't know.  Anyways, to make a long story short.  I bought a few of their more popular items.  I had no clue how to use them.  My husband made me throw one of them away and that was the end of the story.  

Fast forward a bit.  A week after my husband made me throw away one of the items I bought...I was a bit bummed...but totally understood why he made me....another friend invited me to another Norwex party.  She guaranteed that this gal knew her stuff and I would be amazed at how well the product worked.  Believe you me....if I didn't already have a full-time job of raising 4 kiddos, homeschooling, and a traveling husband, I would be selling this stuff.

So what is Norwex? Why did my husband make me throw away part of my first purchase? Why do I like it so much?

Norwex is a line of cleaning products like towels, rags, scrub brushes, mops etc.  Boring I know...but read on.  You will fall in love as I did.

Norwex: (straight from their catalog in bold)

-Saves your health-- with products, you don't breathe, touch or ingest harmful chemicals.  You simply use water and create a cleaner, healthier personal environment.

Yep--- I just use water to clean...except in my toilet bowls.  I was talking during that part of the presentation....oops.  Norwex has something separate for toilets.  No more special granite cleaner.  No more windex for our glass. No more yucky vinegar & water odors (or bleach...if you use that).  No more special stone cleaners.  No more pinesol for the floors.  No more swiffer spray and pads.  No more 409.  No more Pledge for dusting.  Nope.  Nothing.  Nada.  No more sprays...except toilet bowl cleaner. 

-Saves time-- Norwex products decrease cleaning time by 75% or more.

Believe you me, I do not have a lot of extra time.   By the time I am done teaching the kiddos, working out, and taking a shower we are hitting almost husband coming home time.  Norwex has saved me a ton of time.  I don't have to wait for sprays to set.  I don't have to take the time to even spray anything.  I don't have to go to where I store my little caddy full of sprays...that is now gathering dust.  Oh wait, I am 100% confident in my girls cleaning!  Woohoo! (with the exception of the toilet cleaner)

-Saves money-- An average household spends $600-$800 a year on chemical cleaning products and supplies.  By using Norwex  products you can realize up to a 90% savings!

The prices for their products are bit higher than going to Wal-mart to purchase a mop or a towel...however in the grand scheme of things, if you take care of the products like the directions say...they will last a long, long time.  You will not be spending the extras for all of your home cleaners or extra paper towels.

Why is Norwex different from products in the store?
Norwex is made of fine, fine, fine microfibers and silver.  The silver traps bacteria from your counters, windows, floors etc and suffocates them.  Research what silver is fascinating.  

What I use:

I honestly could have purchased 99.9% of the items that Norwex sells....however that would make for a really unhappy husband.  I don't get it though...doesn't he want a clean home??  So I purchased the most popular items that I have found very useful for our home.  I will share a little bit about how they have helped me!

These first two items are at a minimum of what will help you around the house.

Enviro cloth-- This is the basic, must have product from Norwex.  This is also the item that I really did like, however my husband made me throw it away.  It turns out that you can not wash it with other towels or clothes.  Oops.  It just clogs up the towel and then makes it all nasty and smelly.  I had no clue. Now that I have been educated on proper washing techniques, my husband graciously allowed me to purchase 2 new ones.  One to clean all of our bathrooms and mirrors and another solely for our kitchen table.  Again, I just use water on all our surfaces and this cloth goes to work.  It is amazing.
Enviro cloth (green) and polishing cloth (purple)
 Wanna hear something can technically go from cleaning around your toilets and then clean your kitchen counters and the nastiness does NOT transfer.  True story.  But psychological, people just wouldn't do such a thing.

On my granite, I used special granite spray and a paper towel (per the bottles container) it always left the linty stuff from the paper more linty stuff!

I have also used the enviro cloth to clean our looks practically brand new now and to click up an old backpack.  Took the stains off with just water! I haven't tried it on carpet but a friend of mine was able to clean up old stains.

Window/polishing cloth--  This was another item that I bought at the first party, but had no clue how to use it.  I was using it all wrong by wetting it down.  Turns out you don't have to do that at all.  After I use my enviro cloth to clean the nastiness off my windows, tables, and mirrors I follow up with this cloth.  Let me tell you I have never seen my bathroom granite so shiny and my mirrors so clean.  It is craziness. 

Dusting mit-- I also didn't get this at first....but now I do.  I like wood furniture shiny.  The dusting mit picked up all of my dust just fine...without spray, but I missed the shiny.  Duh.  My window/polishing cloth now solves that problem.  Wish I would have known.  It is so easy that my girls can now dust...and I don't have to worry about the spray going everywhere and making our floors slick.

Kitchen cloth & Towel--  I use this exclusively for our kitchen counters and the towel for drying our counters and little hands.  No more special expensive quartz cleaner for me!  Woohoo!
Dish Cloth (red), drying cloth (blue), another enviro cloth (yellow)

Dish cloth-- It is 100% nylon.  I no longer use a kitchen scrub brush.  This little towel has been great in cleaning out caked up pots and pans.  I can easily scrub a dish down.  I used to have to pull out an SOS pass for grimy more of that!

Facial cleaning towel--  I won this at the second party I attended.  I was the first to volunteer to wash off my make-up in front of my friends...and I got to take the towel home!   Since using this towel...oh my word.  I don't have that oily look on my in the afternoon...I haven't even used face wash since winning this.  Another product I don't have to buy anymore.

Superior Mop Collection--  This was a big splurge for me.  I am a cheapskate at heart.  It is taking me a bit longer to figure out how to use it, but I am learning.  I have been so used to using a broom to sweep our floors that with this mop there is a telescopic handle and you don't need to use the broom motion.  You just glide like a mop. The extra long pad can be flipped up so you don't have to clean your baseboards separately.  Most of the yucky stuff like pet, dirt, crumbs, and people hair cling onto the dry mop pad, but I still have to use a little broom for the extra rocks and larger items when I am done dry mopping.  Afterwards I just use a little plastic dog brush that I already had and clean it off on the back porch.  For mopping I wet down the wet pad and use a figure 8 motion for ample cleaning.  I have a spray bottle of water and just spray my floor and go to town.  It works really well.  No more swiffer spray for me!  That stuff is expensive.
Stock photo (mine is garage and this is a much better picture)

There are so many other products that I still have on my wish a bathroom scrub mitt that supposedly removes hard water on shower doors with a simple swipe...and I would love to try their hair turban that is supposed to removed 70% of the water in your hair within 10 minutes...would definitely save time on blowing drying and not dry my hair out so much.

If you are interested in Norwex, consider stopping by on Friday, May 10th at 7pm.  A Norwex consultant, Melissa, will be sharing more details about these wonderful products.  I will provide some yummy pinterest inspired goodies and drinks.  Come to socialize.  Come to be inspired to clean your home without the chemicals.  Come for a break from your kiddos.  Bring a friend or two or three.  E-mail me for more address details.

You can check out Melissa's facebook page and there is a link to her Norwex website under her "About" info.  Click: HERE.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

2 more weeks....yikes!

Two more weeks to go before I attempt to sleep through the night and then wake up to run my first 1/2 marathon.

I started training back in February.  I was super excited to have a plan to follow.  I knew if I stuck to the plan I would feel fully prepared to run the 1/2 marathon...and not completely die in the process. 

Well I haven't died...but I don't feel like I have done my best for training for this big day. 

I know for some, running a 1/2 marathon is like a walk in the park.  No brainer.  Easy to prepare...easy to run.  This is kind of a big deal for me.  I went from not being able to run a full mile without practically hyperventilating...1 year attempting to run 13.1 miles. 

Training has been harder than I thought it would be.  The weather has thrown in a few wrenches.  My husband has traveled more than I had anticipated...and I had a slight accident with a retaining wall that set me back a bit a few weeks....and my leg isn't 100% completely healed.  10 miles will probably be the most I will actually run in preparation for the big day.  I am hoping to run the last 3.1 miles using adrenaline reserves from who knows where.

Thank goodness though for the Y.  I have been able to leave the kids in the daycare for up to 2 hours to run a bit outside.  Thank goodness for Saturday naptimes and a few nice weekends where I could get a few long runs in.  Thank goodness for our indoor bike.  When I can't go out to run sprints/hills/or even a mile, I try to do 10-20 miles on the bike.  I know that isn't the same as running, but it is something.  Today I biked for 47 miles, because I couldn't work up to being gone for 3+ hours to get an 11 mile run in. 

I am scared about running 13.1 miles.  I am worried that I will fail and not make it to the finish line.  I am worried that I will fail myself and my family.  I wish I had someone at my pace to run with, to help give me the extra boost, but I don't know anyone at my pace.

So wish me luck as I finish the last few weeks of training.  Let me know if you will be some where on the 1/2 marathon route so I can look for you...if you are still around when the slowsters come through.  I might need a hug or an extra push to keep going.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

9 practices of the Proactive Parent!

This is review four from the workshops I attended at the Nebraska Christian Home Educators conference.  If you missed the first three, click on my blog header and scroll down:)

This workshop was presented by Dr. Steve Scheibner.  I really, really enjoyed his message and hearing about his family & life.  I am going to include a 15 minute video clip at the end of this review.  It is a powerful story about 9/11. 

His wife, Mrs. Megan Scheibner, also presented many workshops.  I unfortunately didn't go to any of her's.  But I heard they were if you went...think about writing a review for me to post.  :) Would love to hear about it.  I am reading her book:  A-Z Guide for Character Healthy Homeschooling.  It is a brand new book and was hot off the presses at the conference. 

You can find more about their ministry at

Nice Practices of the Proactive Parent:

The main point I took away from this workshop was--

Don't keep your fingers crossed that things will change or go the right way.  (in regards to raising your children).

He used an example of the hail mary pass in football.  Are we taking chances with our kids and hoping by a miracle they will be ok?

Everything needs a foundation.  Think about if you were building a house.  Without a foundation, your house will just fall to pieces.

Everyone needs a foundation= Christ.  Without him.  You have nothing.

99% of the parenting advice out their (books, lectures, expert opinions) goes after the symptoms of how to raise a child.  We need to go after the disease.

He covered the 3 Pillars of Parenting:

1.  Consistently elevating virtues above feelings.

I know my kids are young and it may get a bit harder when they are older, but what this means is that I want to build a foundation in them that good moral standing is more important that hurting someones feelings.  If we follow what the Bible has laid out to us, we may get our feelings hurt along the way, but what is more important...straying from the word of God or keeping on the right moral path?

1 Peter 1:5-8

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2.  Making God look great!

Don't be a stumbling block to the process.  Provide your kids with the tools and knowledge to living a Godly life.

Matthew 22:36-39

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is this, love your neighbor as yourself.

1 Corinthians 10:31

 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

3.   Train children to be a blessing to others.

Teach your kids how to serve others...not just think about themselves.   I remember a time when we were at a friends house for lunch after church.  Their teenage daughters (without even a prompt from their parents) knew how to serve.  They were hospitable and took care of what their parents were not able to do at that very moment.  Loved seeing this.  This family is a family that I look up to while we raise our kids.  I want my girls especially to serve like they serve others.

The Parenting Progression:

Obedience ----> Responsibility -----> ownership

Insist they do things around the house...even though it might be more work to teach them.  You are robbing them of the privilege and character development.

Disobedience ----> irresponsibility  ---> entitlement

The variable equation is the parents.  Are you teaching your kids that they are entitled to things...that they do not deserve?  When they are irresponsible and disobedient?

Insist on first time obedience.  

The Motivation Model:

As a motivator, the fear of punishment is only as effective as an individual love of virtue.  
Think about when someone does something wrong...steals, cheats, etc.  Would they do it if they knew for sure they would get caught?  That is why we should teach our children virtues.

Preferring Proactivity:

You know the tree by their fruit, just as you know people by it's fruit (parent's offspring).  Grow in Christ.  Be someone who is trying to become more like the image of Christ.  

Don't be reactive--- high degree of anger, stress, manipulative, inconsistent, moody, a bad decision maker, panic, anxious, impulsive, full of expectations, a victim, pointing blame.

Be reactive-- positive, loving, encouraging, consistent, calm, peaceful, joyful, patient, gentle, faithful, a problem solver, and able to control one's self.

That is all I have for this workshop.  They talk so fast it is hard to get everything down.  If you attended and have anything else to add...feel free to add it the comments section.

And the video I promised you!


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Getting Kids to Help at Home!

This is my third review from the workshops I attended at the Nebraska Christian Home Educators Conference.  To read about the other two, click on my blog header and scroll down!

This workshop about how to get kids to help at home was presented by Vicki Bentley.  If you missed my intro to Mrs. Bentley in another review, she is a mom of 8 girls and a foster mom of over 50.  She has homeschooled since 1988.

This was a great workshop on why it is important to get your kids to help at home.
I have heard many excuses...and I have my own at times...

It is easier & faster to do things on my own.
My kids are too busy.
They are too young.
Their friends don't have to help out...I hate to make mine.

Mrs. Bentley starts off by telling us we should set goals for our house.  Do we want productive citizens of society, or do we want our children to go away without the skills that it takes to run a household?

Here are some highlights from her presentation:

  • We need to tell our children what we expect.  We can't just assume they are going to pick up their room...the correct way.  We need to be specific.
  • Put expectations into writing or on visual cue cards.  For example: Before breakfast you need to make your bed, get dressed, feed the cat etc.
  • Don't put up with sulking, pouting, whining, or complaining.
  • Do things together, so your child can learn from you.  Don't just say, go clean the bathroom and expect them to know how to clean it the correct way.  Do it while explaining how to do it.  It may take months for a child to properly do a chore/task.
  • Make sure they do a thorough and complete job. Check their work.  Have them correct their mistakes and don't finish the job for them.
  • Make sure your kids are diligent.  A constant effort or exertion to accomplish what is undertaken.  Don't let them give up if they can't do something the first time.
  • Assign responsibilities if you have to.  Can be weekly, monthly, or even yearly chores.  Have a chore jar for once a year chores.  
  • Kids shouldn't expect an allowance for messes they make.  It is ok to give an allowance for extra above and beyond chores.
  • Make a tidy list.  When I stand in the doorway and look at the room it is a pleasant place to be.
  • Teach your kids to take care of a home and assume responsibility.
  • When they are older, try out zone cleaning.  For example, for this month Susy is responsible for the kitchen zone.  Peter is responsible for the garage zone etc.
  • To make it easier for the child to succeed with chores, have a place for everything so they can know where to put things back.
  • Teach them that if you don't have time to do it right, you don't have time to do it over.
  • If they need awards or stickers, go for it.  Whatever you motivates your child.  You can eventually wean them from these rewards.
In my own home, I have been involving my kids with chores.  I don't clean their room for them. They are required to help with tasks around the house...emptying trashes, doing dishes, feeding the cat/dog, letting the dog out etc.  I am starting to teach my girls how to clean the bathrooms (alone...yay!!) now that I am using a water only cleaning method...and no chemicals to worry about.  I get a bit of whining from a certain 5 year old at times, but as she realizes the whining gets her no where and actually adds to her workload, I am seeing it much less...for example she whined about cleaning up the cat litter...oh well then if you like it so much, you can do it for the next 3 times.  That'll teach her:)

Another great idea that she brought up, was if you feel like you have to give your children allowances, do it for extra task that aren't the normal things they have to do.  At the end of the week give them a set amount of maybe $5.00 or whatever works for you. If you asked child X to do something and they passed then you asked child Z to do take away $ from child X to pay child Z.  They'll learn with time that it isn't very much fun paying a sibling!  Great tip!  Not thinking we will go the allowance route, but if we ever do...I will have to keep this in mind!

Here are a few verses from the Bible about helping:

Galations 6:9-  Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Proverbs 16:3-  Commit to the Lord whatever you do and he will establish your plans.

Read Proverbs 4.

Colossians 3:23-  Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.

Proverbs 22:6- Start children off on the way they should go and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

 Proverbs 29:17- Discipline your children, and they will give you peace they will bring you the delights you desire.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Gotta Have Games!

For the next few weeks I am summarizing the workshops I attended at the Nebraska Christian Home Educators Conference.  If you missed yesterday's post on home on my blog title and scroll down.

This workshop was presented by Rainbow Resources and was all about playing games with your kids!

I love playing games with our kids!  Have you ever noticed the reaction of your child(ren) when you say hey let's play a game?  My kids are always beyond excited!  If we are having a ho-hum type of day...a game can definetely change the mood of everyone!

Why use games?
  • They can be used to introduce, teach, or review concepts.
  • Increase retention or content.
  • Help develop critical thinking skills.
  • Engage the child in their own learning.
  • Family-together time.
  • Reduces stress
  • Builds social skills
  • and are just FUN!
If you homeschool or if you kids go to a public/private games with them!  You will be guaranteed to have fun!

 My game ideas:

Some are easy drill games between the girls.  We might be focusing on time or money counting and the first person to write/show the answer gets a point.

We might play an easy game of war with cards, Candyland, or Shoots and Ladders.
Twister-- but add questions on the colors.

 You can put a whole bunch of questions on tape...tape them to a beach ball and toss it back and forth.  Where ever the childs hand lands when they catch it...that is their question.

Put questions in Easter eggs and hide them around the house.  The more Easter eggs a child finds their chance at winning is greater!

Make a target on the window with dry erase marker and the bullseye equals 3 points and the outer ring equals less points.  If they answer a question right they get a chance at shooting a nerf gun to earn a point.

Label 3 different buckets with point values.  Each bucket represents easy or hard questions.  If they get the question right they earn a point.

Play an easy game of scrabble.

Mad Libs.  My girls LOVE Mad Libs and it reinforces what verbs, adverbs, nouns etc are.

7ate9.  You can purchase it:  here.   I bought this at the conference and it is a fast pace addition and subtraction game.  We had so much fun playing it yesterday!

Bingo!  My kids love Bingo!  Give them a blank Bingo board and 30-35 choices.  They make their own Bingo card (they will not be using all of the choices).  Then give them random questions.  Can be used for addition, multiplication, or any subject.

Jenga!  Teaches problem solving.  My kids love this game as well!

and Katelyn's reaction after it falls after her turn!

Some fun games that the presenter shared:

Detailed descriptions of these games can be found at

Dutch Blitz-- this is their most popular selling game of all time.  It is a fast paced sequence game.

Catapult-- I have this on my list when my kids get older.  Everything is included to make a catapult.

Pentomino Puzzles: 365 brain teasers-- using Pentomine pieces you have to try to form different pictures in the book.  The presenter is really, really hard!  So if you are up for a challenge.

Top Trumps-- It is like speed with kids.  I got a few samples packs for attending the workshop and it seems kind of fun.

Simply Suspects--  It is like a twist on the game Clue.

Cart before the horse-- brain teasers

Very Silly Sentences-- use word cards to form fun sentences.

You've Been Sentenced:  Helps build language structure.  I also received a bonus pack of this game.

There are so many other games that she shared with us...but you don't have to go out an buy anything.  Use what you have around your house...and most of all HAVE FUN with your kids!  Build memories!

I will leave you with this last one that we tried out today.  It was shared by another mom in the workshop.  You need three players.  Split a deck of cards in half....just the number cards.

Have the two players with a deck of cards put a card on their forehead...they can not look at the card.  The third player (that was me) adds up the cards and tells them the answer.  Then the person that guesses what their card is wins!
Yep we totally don't brush our hair or get dressed on some days.

So for example if Jocelyn had 7 on her head and Katelyn had 3.  I would say the answer is 10.  They would have to subtract the other persons card as fast as they could to come up with what their card was.  The person who was the fastest got both cards.  The one left without any cards...loses.

So have fun!  When is the last time you played a game with your child?  Do it...neither of you will regret it!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Organizing your home!

PLEASE NOTE***** If you don't will find the workshops I attended applicable to your own family...if you have children, or own/rent a home, or are married or have stuff.  So that pretty much applies to everyone.****** 

 Last weekend I attended the Nebraska Christian Home Educators conference.  It was one of my favorite times of year.  I have the opportunity to listen to great speakers on all sorts of topics including homeschooling, parenting, organization....the list goes on.  I can get my hands on lots of different curriculum options from around the country...and actually see what I am hoping to teach my kiddos for next year.

Love. Love. Love this conference.  If you homeschool this is a must go to conference.

Over the next few weeks (as time allows) I am going to give you a little recap of the workshops that I attended.  There were so many too choose from.

Summary #1:
Photo from web
 Organizing your home for a learning lifestyle

 1 Corinthians 14:40  Let all things be done decently and in order.

This workshop was presented by Vicki Bentley.  She is a mother of 8 grown girls.  Foster mom of over 50.  She has written many books and has homeschooled since 1988.

I attended 3 of her workshops and they all provided some great tips on making life a little easier...especially for the homeschool family who typically have kids home most of the day.

A few things about stuff:

--Stuff breeds
--Useless stuff crowds the good stuff.
--Dust loves stuff.
--Stuff becomes invisible over time.
--Stuff does NOT make you happy.

Organization does NOT mean you have a immaculate clean house.

Organization means that you are functioning effectively.

There is not any best way to organize your house.

Being organized helps you beat stress and be in control over your day, to accomplish what God has in store for your day.

It's about time.  Less stuff= more time.

Ask yourself these key questions:

What is working and why?

What is not working?  Can you not find things easily?  I have no place to put...I can't ____ because of clutter.  The chaos makes me feel________?

Why do you want to organize your home?  To save money?  To save your marriage?

What is causing the problem? 
Technical errors-- like things that can be fixed?  Need more shelves, a new filing system, more totes, bookshelves?
or is it
external realities-- house is small, have to get rid of things we have too much of?
or is it
psychological obstacles-- I have to stay on top of this paper, spend time with the Lord, I can't expect so and so to do something....

Some tips to make home organization easier:

Go to each room and figure out what is the purpose of each room.
De-clutter small areas one at a time.
Throw it away, give it away, or put it away.
Buy storage bins
Clutter isn't the first problem...ask God to free you from bondage from things.
For school/office supplies-think outside the box.  Figure out what you can re-configure to make things work.
Don't put it down....put it away.
Store items closest to the point of use.
Delegate your housework.  You don't have to do it all by yourself...especially if you have kids!
At the beginning of the season flip all of your hangers one way.  When you wash and re-hang, hand them the other way.  At the end of the season, you can now see what clothes you haven't worn because the hanger isn't turned around...get rid of those!
Color code things for kids (for example Suzie has a green towel, Joe has a yellow towel you know who leaves things out).
Make a kid friendly kitchen so they can help.

Don't procrastinate:  Tackle big challenges while you are fresh!

 My thoughts on this workshop:

Some of the things she said hit home to me.  The stuff accumulates around here.  I am not going to lie....and it DRIVES.ME.CRAZY.  It stresses me out.   Gifts come in here like they are going out of style.   For me, memories of doing things are what the kids are going to remember, not playing with the millionth toy that they have received.  I have spent the past year organizing, pitching, and hopefully making our life a little easier around here.  I still have a lot of work, but she gave some great tips and thoughts on stuff!

 If you attended and would like to give a little recap of your favorite workshop...let me know I would be more than happy to post it for you.

I have have summarized the workshops I have attended over the past few years, so you can check out April 2011 & 2012 blog posts.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

5 fun homeschooling activities!

If you know me...I don't plan our days out very well.  Most of the time I think of things on the spot.  Don't ask me what we are doing tomorrow...I most likely haven't finalized our plans in my head.

Here are a few last minute things that I came up with over the past few weeks! 

1.  Egg hunt. 

We don't do the Easter bunny or hide eggs for Easter or anything, but we have a ton of spare eggs sitting in our garage.  Last year I hid money throughout the yard and in the woods.  The girls found the eggs and had to count how much money were in all of their eggs.

This year I hid them throughout the house with numbers 1, 2, & 3 in each egg.  I left some empty.  After they found the eggs, they took turns opening up the eggs and the higher the number the harder the question.  They really enjoyed this activity.

2.  Stamps!

What kid doesn't like stamps?  I found these alphabet stamps in the dollar spot at Target a few years ago. 

I am doing a new thing with Kate.  She moved up to 2nd grade spelling in January and has whizzed through her pretests.  My rule has always been if you get 100% on your are done with spelling for the week.  It hit me...after getting a 100% on 8 out of 10 pretests that the words were too easy for her and we need to step it up a notch.  I went through her spelling lists and picked out the harder words.  Every other day she has 5 new "hard" words and then we do an activity with her harder words that day and then the next day.  For this list, she missed 4 words and the activity was to stamp out the words.  I then tested her a bit later to see if she has memorized the words.
 I had Jocelyn do the same thing with her spelling list.  Even at 7 they like to stamp!

3.  Stickers!

We have a lot of stickers around here...and I was coming up short on what we could do with all of these stickers.  So I wrote out the numbers 1-10 for Easton and he had to stick the appropriate amount of stickers next to each number.
Weston got in on the fun too!
4.  Paint!

My kids love to paint!  It gets a bit messy...but cleans up nicely when they are done!  The girls have to write about something every day.  Today they wrote about castles and then each painted a castle picture. 
The boys...not sure what they made...but I of course thought their pictures were lovely:)
5.  Hodge Podge craft day!

My kids were a bit confused by this...but once I explained the directions...they got excited.  I scattered a whole bunch of random things on the table and they had to come up with something fun to make. 

Katelyn made a "Go Mom" sign for my upcoming 1/2 marathon....note to self...get her real poster paper.  Not sure her sign will cut it for the big day...but it was cute.

Jocelyn made a few trinkets for her AG dolls like a jewelry box and pillows out of felt.

Easton decorated a plastic container and Wes just liked playing with scissors and glue!
I hope you are having fun with your kiddos...whether you homeschool or not!:)

Monday, April 8, 2013

Warning-- Graphic photos of me on this post!

It all started with this.
                                  photo courtesy of Mockingbird Cupcakes in Omaha...yum

Well sweets in general. 

My husband and I both have a major sweet tooths. 


I like making for things for him.  And then we both have to eat what I make. 

A few years ago I participated in a weight loss challenge with some friends.  I think there were maybe 40 of us.  Not sure anymore.  I got top 10 in that weight loss challenge. I remember that I did so good eating right.  Cutting out the sweets.  Drinking lots of water and no pop/lemonade.  Then it all went down hill from there.  I gained around 5 lbs since then (May 2010).  I know that isn't much, but I knew I could improve on a few things...and with swimsuit season right around the corner, joining another challenge was just what I needed.

A gal on my facebook consignment page announced that she was starting a similar challenge.  I talked it over with the hubs.  He said I really didn't have a chance at winning...thanks for the support...but I could do it anyways.  I didn't (and still don't) understand this whole weight loss thing...building muscle...etc.  Sean gets all of that stuff. 

Anyways, this challenge ended up having 62 or so participants.  The grand prize for having the biggest decline in body fat was $1152 to be exact.  That was enough for me to do my best to win.  I could buy a whole new wardrobe with that kind of change.  I would need to right...since I would have lost a lot of weight?

Well I worked hard.  I ate right.  I didn't calorie count on paper, but just keeping track in my head, I don't think I was consuming more than 1000 calories a day.   My diet consisted of chicken, tuna, spinach salads, hard boiled eggs, 100 calorie count keebler snacks, fruits, and veggies.  No pop or other sugary drinks (unless I was on a run).  Ok...actually I had one frozen I guess I cheated once on the drink thing...and I splurged by eating a piece of cheese cake at the Cheese Cake factory.

 I worked out almost everyday.  I ran when I could.  Swam laps and did water aerobics.  Lifted weights and did runners yoga.  If I couldn't make it the gym or run outside I would bike 20 miles on our indoor bike.

I worked really hard. the end I didn't win the money.  I was a bit bummed.  I didn't even get in the top 10 this time.  There were some really motivated people in the competition this time around.  I was motivated...but there were some really, really, really motivated.

Looking back at what I could have done differently...and after talking with a friend who is a fitness guru--all around healthy eating expert-- I should have focused more on strength training.  My one day of actually lifting weights was not quiet enough.  Even though I lost twice as much as the winner in lbs she must have gained more muscle than me. 

My % decline of body was I believe less than 1%.  I am not positive as I didn't write all of the numbers down.  All in all in a matter of 6 weeks I lost 10 lbs. 

There is a part 2 to the challenge.  I am not participating. I need to focus in on my 1/2 marathon training and not be so worried about winning some extra money. 

Even though I didn't win a cash prize.  I still feel like I won.  My new jeans...are now too big.  I am back to wearing a belt.   My swimsuit is a little more roomier....and I just know I have a six pack that is getting ready to be uncovered....might have to draw some lines...but I know it is there somewhere:)  My goal is to lose another 10 lbs...and build some more muscle!

Here is my before and after pics...taken by my lovely Jocelyn. (we had to wear clothes that were light in weight).

and yes...I celebrated and bought myself a gourmet cupcake:)

ps.....If I can do can to.  Seriously. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

It is April! A few random thoughts from mwa!:)

It is April!  I actually really like the month of April for several reasons!  Not sure if it is my all time favorite month...but here are a few random thoughts I have about April!
Our family pic from Sunday.  No we don't dress up for church...ever.  Well maybe once a year.  We don't really have a lot of dress up clothes around here.

~~April Fool's Day!  I always think that it would be fun to prank my kiddos all day long and then April 1st sneaks up on us...and I forget.  Jocelyn has been talking about pranking her dad on April 1st for quiet some time now...oops forgot to remind her it was April 1st and he was out of town anyways.  One of these days I will think of something fun!:)

~~April means-- the first of two homeschool conferences!  I LOVE.LOVE.LOVE going to these.  It is like a mini-reunion for me.  It is a great weekend to hang out with friends.  Go out to lunch.  Visit awesome workshops.  Shop the exhibit hall AND have a little time away from kids!  My girls will be attending a 2 day conference while I am at I am excited to hear their stories.  It is next week...I can hardly wait.

~~April means--Green.  Can we get a boo for our dead grass...but I am fully expecting our woods to turn green soon and am gearing up to planting flowers. 

~~April means--the kids can play outside almost everyday!  Woot!   Weston is still a bit too young to be fully unattended, so sometimes it is hard to let him go.  He is "people" now.  They love eating outside...and they got to do that just yesterday!
~~April means--garage sales start happening!! Well I probably won't be hitting a lot of them this year.  The kids and I actually love going, however I am finding it much easier shopping on my online consignment pages.  It is like a garage sale 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  I have sold quiet a bit in the last 2 weeks...more than I would at a "real" garage sale here.

~~THIS April means--my weight loss challenge is soon coming to an end.  It ends on Friday and I am kind of excited to see how I measured up compared to everyone else.  Is it wrong to secretly hope that the other 61 women were total slackers?  There is over $1000 up for grabs for first place.  I kind of want to win that.  So far I have lost exactly...oh wait...that is a secret until the end....but lets just say I believe I am back to my wedding day weight.  So that is good.  I so can't wait to eat a cupcake.

~~THIS April means--it is only 1 month away from my very first half-marathon.  I am a bit nervous and a bit excited.  I really don't want to walk the entire thing...but think I may walk for a minute every few miles.  My goal is to run it in under 3 hours.  We shall see.  I am hoping to finalize my wardrobe decision this weekend.  Big decisions here people. 

~~THIS April means--that 2 family members will be getting baptized!  Some exciting stuff!  My nephew Grant accepted Christ as his savior last week and got baptized on Sunday.  He is 7.  My niece Reagan is gearing up to get baptized in gearing up to being baptized in a few weeks.  She is 8. I am almost done reading through the Bible and have been reading about all of the accounts of those who believe being baptized.  Such a sweet, sweet thing.  Makes me want to tear up.

~~THIS April means-- Spring cleaning.  I really do like a clean house.  My husband would probably disagree.  He is out of the country right now, so the house is a bit messy...hey I am busy spring cleaning and selling stuff...but I have gotten a lot of little done.  I have until Tuesday night to get things back in ship-shape. 

Speaking of being out of town....Sean has had to travel quiet a bit since we have been married.  At least a few times a month..  He practically lived in China our first year of marriage   I even shared news that I was pregnant with Joc via the internet because he was in China...sad...but I couldn't wait a few weeks to tell him.  But when he told me Cyprus?  What?  Where the heck is that? I had to google it right away.  I am not good with geography very well.  I was thinking Europe but couldn't picture it in my head.  Yup.  A small island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea.  South of Turkey.  He was not thrilled.  I wasn't either.  But ya gotta do what ya gotta do.  So far we are doing ok.  We just miss him.  We can facetime so that helps.  He gave us a tour of his lovely hotel room today.  All of the kids got to see his tired face. 

A random pic from yesterday...oh how I can't wait to drink a shake from McDonald's.  I  felt bad for leaving them in the daycare at the I had time to kill before meeting up to sell stuff...:)
Well that is all for now!  Totaly busy-ness coming up in the next few weeks!  But I am will help time pass!