Monday, February 29, 2016

This Week's Goals & Recap

Since we ended up not having therapy one afternoon we enjoyed a great last minute trip to the museum center! 

Happy Monday everyone!  Hope your day is off to a great start.  We enjoyed a glorious weekend filled with a Family Life Weekend to Remember conference, time spent with family, and enjoying the beautiful weather.  This morning has totally felt like a Monday!  Our electric went off in the night and stayed off until almost ten o'clock this morning.  I'm thankful it is back on now and we have chosen joy today.  Here's what our week looks like!     

Last Week's Goals
Marriage, Mothering, & Family
1.  Attend a wonderful date with the happy hubby.  We had a glorious time spending the weekend together at a Family Life Weekend to Remember in Cincinnati!  If you haven't attended a Weekend to Remember I would highly recommend it.  We had a wonderful time.  We also squeezed in a quick trip to Newport Aquarium, dinner at Newport on the Levee, and a visit to the Omnimax to watch the new National Parks movie.  
2.  Take the children on a nature walk one afternoon.  The kids and I  had a great time walking along the creek last week.  The current was moving so fast!  
3.  Enjoy one (that's right only one) therapy appointment with Evangeline this week!  Eek!  I'm super pumped that we only have one appointment this week.  That means that we should have at least one or two days when we won't be leaving our home at all.  Our therapist was sick so we didn't attend any therapy sessions last week.  We ended up heading to the local museum center.  

Homemaking
4.  Write two letters about medical bills that were higher than expected.  I'm requesting an itemized bill from the billing office where I had some labs drawn.  Oh the fun grown up things you get to do!  
5.  Spend an hour working on Eli's quilt  I had a nice time working on Eli's quilt this week.  

Personal 
6.  Spend some time playing the piano five days this week.  I practice every week but I would like to dive into a more regular practice time again.  (For those of you who also play an instrument, when do you sneak in practice time?)  I would also like to jump back into some classical arrangements that I haven't enjoyed in quite some time.  I think I ended up only practicing about three days since we were away for the weekend.  I did spend some time working on some Bach arrangements.  
7.  Finish Jesus: Experiencing His Touch by Kay Arthur.  I'm hoping to finish this by Wednesday so I can pass it along to a friend at church.  I will complete this study this week!  
8.  Read The Bee Friendly Garden by Kate Frey & Gretchen LeBuhn.  I am almost finished with the book and I feel very encouraged to work harder on planting varieties that attract bees.  

Ministry & Friendships
9.  Spend an hour catching up on some much needed correspondence.  I wrote a few thank you notes and sent a number of Get Well Cards.  I also had the children make cards for my grandmother who recently had surgery. 

Other:
10.  Spend time organizing materials and forms for my piano business.  I have a new piano student starting tomorrow so this felt like the perfect time. 

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This Week's Goals
Marriage, Mothering, & Family
1.  Attend one or two therapy appointments with Evangeline.  (One of Eva's therapists is sick today so I'm not sure if we will be able to make up the appointment or not.)
2.  Enjoy an at home date night to celebrate our dating anniversary this evening!  We started dating on Leap Day 8 years ago so today is actually our "2 year dating anniversary" since it only comes around every 4 years!
3.  Take the kids swimming at our local gym or enjoy another such outing.

Homemaking
4.  Finish building the float bed where I start seeds for our garden.  This year I am hoping to have a nice large garden.  My sweet sister Bekah, Elijah, and I built most of it this weekend but I still need to add plastic, the heater, and most importantly I need to start planting seeds!  I will be spending a lot of time this week planning my garden and preparing to order seeds.
5.  Spend at least an hour sewing on Eli's quilt.  I would also like to start sewing a dress for Evangeline using Simplicity 1449 this week.

Personal
6.  Attend a check up one afternoon.
7.  Enjoy a fun crochet night with some friends.  I am about halfway finished with a cowl for myself.  I would also like to begin working on a baby gift for a friend.  
8. Finish reading Side by Side: Walking with Others in Wisdom and Love by Edward Welch.

Ministry & Friendships
9.  Take a meal to a friend who recently broke her leg and had surgery.

Other
10.  Write three blog posts this week.

What goals do you have for this week?  Are you planning to plant a garden this spring? 


Monday, February 22, 2016

10 Goals For This Week & A Recap

video

Happy Monday!  I hope you were able to enjoy the beautiful weather this past weekend.  We headed to the park both days!  It was simply delightful.  (I attempted to include a video of Eli at the park on Saturday pictured above.)  Here's how last week shaped up and my goals for this week.  

Last Week's Goals
Marriage, Mothering, & Family
1.  Attend three therapy appointments for Evangeline this week.  One was actually cancelled because our therapist was sick.  
2.  Take the happy hubby out on a date that I plan this week (weather & babysitter permitting).  This didn't happen due to babysitter constraints but we did enjoy some great family time in the afternoon all weekend.  
3.  Enjoy an afternoon playing in the snow with the kids.  Our week included playing in the snow and trips to the park!  
4.  Begin a new read aloud with the children.  Do you have any suggestions?  We are reading Who Was Daniel Boone?

Homemaking
5.  Start compiling all of our information for our taxes.  I just couldn't get motivated on this one.  I do have all of the papers mostly together.  I need to spend time adding up and recording many of our deductions.  
6.  Prep all of my fabric and spend an hour cutting out fabric for Eli's quilt.  (All of the fabric has to be washed and dried before it can be sewn.)  I cut out all of the fabric and started sewing!  

Personal
7.  Read 100 pages of The Witches.  When I found out this is due at the library it lit a fire under me and I actually finished the book.  

Ministry & Friendships
8.  Spend time catching up with a friend.    I spent time catching up with three friends this week!  How wonderful!
9.  Begin writing that letter to my friend who serves as a missionary overseas.  I'm still waiting on a physical address so I'm thinking I might just send a facebook message.  

Other:
10.  Spend an afternoon helping my grandmother.  It was nice to be able to bless my family this week. 
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This Week's Goals
Marriage, Mothering, & Family
1.  Attend a wonderful date with the happy hubby.
2.  Take the children on a nature walk one afternoon.  
3.  Enjoy one (that's right only one) therapy appointment with Evangeline this week!  Eek!  I'm super pumped that we only have one appointment this week.  That means that we should have at least one or two days when we won't be leaving our home at all.

Homemaking
4.  Write two letters about medical bills that were higher than expected.  I'm requesting an itemized bill from the billing office where I had some labs drawn.
5.  Spend an hour working on Eli's quilt.

Personal 
6.  Spend some time playing the piano five days this week.  I practice every week but I would like to dive into a more regular practice time again.  (For those of you who also play an instrument, when do you sneak in practice time?)  I would also like to jump back into some classical arrangements that I haven't enjoyed in quite some time.
7.  Finish Jesus: Experiencing His Touch by Kay Arthur.  I'm hoping to finish this by Wednesday so I can pass it along to a friend at church.
8.  Read The Bee Friendly Garden by Kate Frey & Gretchen LeBuhn.

Ministry & Friendships
9.  Spend an hour catching up on some much needed correspondence.

Other:
10.  Spend time organizing materials and forms for my piano business.  I have a new piano student starting tomorrow so this felt like the perfect time.

What goals do you have for this week?  Please, please do not let my shared goals intimidate you.   That is not my goal at all!  I share my goals as a means of encouraging others and personal accountability.  Different situations and different families mean that our goals will look very different from one another.  It's very helpful for me to think of my goals in categories so that I at least attempt to have somewhat balanced goals. 


Sunday, February 21, 2016

Frugal Things I Did Two Week's Ago



The snow was a welcomed interruption to our week last week.  We didn't receive much but it was enough to enjoy an afternoon of sledding and snow angels down the front hill.  I'm amazed (and a little terrified) at how fearless both children are when it comes to sledding!  We spent a lot of time this week just focused on simple enjoyments like hot chocolate, sledding, and spending hours reading books snuggled up under a cozy blanket watching it snow.

I was able to speak with one of Evangeline's physicians over the phone instead of actually having to drive in for an appointment.  The physician actually suggested this to me and I was thrilled to take her up on it!  Of course this saves tons of money and it also saved me at least four hours since she tends to run hours behind!  I was so thankful.

My mom & I enjoyed a wonderful trip to JoAnn fabrics during their 20% off sale.  I purchased fabric and supplies to make two gifts for friends.  I also snagged a fun fabric to make a maxi skirt for myself.  Although not very frugal I purchased fabric and batting to sew my first quilt.  I used as many coupons as possible and the remaining balance on a gift card.  Still I should have budgeted a lot more for quilt fabric!


We enjoyed a wonderful family afternoon to our local museum center.  We purchased a museum pass and were thrilled that they happened to be on sale at the time!  In our family we are huge fans of memberships to local attractions.  It would have cost our family $51 for parking and admission if we didn't have a pass.  The cost of a family pass pays for itself in exactly two visits.  I'm sure that we probably visit at least once a month so the pass is really a great bargain!  We have also taken advantage of our museum's reciprocity agreement and have visited both COSI in Columbus, OH and The Pink Palace in Memphis, TN completely free.

We enjoyed a fun family brunch for Valentine's Day with extended family.  For dinner we enjoyed our own family celebration complete with heart shaped straws and simple gifts.  I sewed pillowcases for the entire family as a Valentine's Day gift per Brandon's request.  I wasn't sure if he was kidding or not but I made him a Star Wars pillowcase regardless!  I also gifted Brandon a nice sweatshirt that I purchased weeks ago on clearance.


I crocheted the above baby hat for my friend's little girl.  This is only my second hat ever so please don't judge!  I was pleased with how it turned out.  I used Caron Simply Soft yarn and this pattern.  I made the flower following a video on youtube.  I also sewed a few burp rags to include with the gift.  Most of the baby gifts that I make for friends are local but this friend happens to live in Savannah.  (We are college buddies.)  I usually try to make smaller items when the gift will need to be mailed.  

Eli attended a 4H Cloverbud meeting.  He had a wonderful time and even gifted his project to the leader.  Secretly I was a little bummed he didn't bring it home but so thankful for his sweet, giving heart.

I shopped at Aldi for groceries following Eva's therapy appointment.  Combining trips always saves time and money!

What did you do last week to save money?  

Monday, February 15, 2016

This Week's Goals & an update on last week



We had a blast on a family outing to the local museum center.
Happy Monday everyone!  Hope that you enjoyed a lovely weekend filled with lots of love.  My weekend was filled with fun, love, and snow!  I'm looking forward to spending some time outdoors later this afternoon once our morning work is finished.

Last Week's Goals

Marriage, Mothering, & Family
1.  Enjoy a special family activity this week.  I'm leaving it up to the happy hubby to decide.  We had a lovely time at the local natural history museum.  
2.  Attend two or three appointments with Evangeline this week.  (I'm hoping that I don't have to actually attend one of the appointments and I can just speak to the physician on the telephone.)
3.  Spend time making Valentine's day cards with the children.   
4.  Enjoy special one on one time with both children this week.  Eli and I enjoyed a sweet afternoon time together building Smart Links.  I planned a fun mommy, daughter evening with Eva while Eli went visiting with Daddy.  It totally didn't work.  She was a crab for all two hours and didn't want to do anything fun.  How's that for keeping my goals super real this week?  
5.  Write a love letter to my husband or do something thoughtful for him.  I sewed him a Star Wars pillowcase.  No I am not joking!  

Homemaking
6.  Research various quilt patterns and decide which pattern I intend to use for a quilt for Eli.  I'm also hoping to make a trip to Joann Fabrics in the next week to look for fabric. My mom and I had such a sweet time together spending hours at the fabric store.  I did in fact commit to making a quilt for Eli.  Eek!   

Personal
7.  Catch up with a friend on the telephone. Nope sometimes it just doesn't happen.  
8.  Begin a new book.  I'm kind of stumped right now as to what to read next.  Does that ever happen to you?  I absolutely love reading but nothing is jumping out at me.    I started reading Stacy Schiff's The Witches.  

Ministry & Friendships
9.  Begin a letter to a friend who serves as an international missionary.  Nope.  Moving this to next week.  
10.  Wrap and mail a baby gift to a friend who lives out of state.  It should reach my sweet friend any day soon.  Super thankful for a kind husband who mailed it for me!  

Here are the goals that I hope to accomplish this week:  

Marriage, Mothering, & Family
1.  Attend three therapy appointments for Evangeline this week.  
2.  Take the happy hubby out on a date that I plan this week (weather & babysitter permitting).  
3.  Enjoy an afternoon playing in the snow with the kids.  
4.  Begin a new read aloud with the children.  Do you have any suggestions?  

Homemaking
5.  Start compiling all of our information for our taxes.  
6.  Prep all of my fabric and spend an hour cutting out fabric for Eli's quilt.  (All of the fabric has to be washed and dried before it can be sewn.)

Personal
7.  Read 100 pages of The Witches.  

Ministry & Friendships
8.  Spend time catching up with a friend.  
9.  Begin writing that letter to my friend who serves as a missionary overseas.  

Other:
10.  Spend an afternoon helping my grandmother.

What goals do you have for this week?  Will the weather have an impact on any of your goals?


Saturday, February 13, 2016

January Sewing & Crocheting Projects


Ah winter.  The perfect time for staying home and crafting!  As I have mentioned before I am thrilled to spend most of my winter hibernating.  I catch up on sleep, read a large amount of books, and spend lots of time sewing!  On snowy days I also try to squeeze in a good deal of sled riding.  

My month began with a simple sewing project for my sister-in-law Amber's birthday.  I sewed her an aromatherapy bag out of the cowgirl fabric (shown above).  


 The speech pathologist that Evangeline sees on a weekly basis will be having her baby any minute.  Both kids had a lot of fun helping me pick out boy fabric for the gift.  I had a great time catching up with a friend while I pinned the blanket together.  Our therapist was absolutely thrilled with her gift.  This type of flannel blanket has been one of my go to baby gifts for literally the past ten years!  It measures 1 1/4 yards so it is a nice size that can even be used during the toddler years.

To sew your own large flannel blanket you need to purchase two matching fabrics each 1 1/4 yards.  Simply place wrong sides together and fold the selvages to the inside.  Sew around entire blanket.  (If you are new to sewing I would recommend that you iron down each side about 3/4" to make this project a little more simple.)  This blanket is nice and warm and is just the perfect size.  I made one for both of my children and it was always one that I reached for first.


Anyone new to crocheting is sure to make a handful of dish cloths and I am no exception.  I think I made at least five in January. I made two for my mother-in-law as a thank you for watching our children while Brandon whisked me away for the weekend.


Eli's red scarf which really started my whole adventure into crocheting is pictured above.  This was one of the first crochet projects that I made.  I used a nice chunky yarn which has been keeping him warm despite all of our snow.  


My sweet friend Laura was kind enough to also teach me how to do a scallop stitch while she was visiting.  I made a fleece blanket first for Evangeline with the scallop stitch along the edge (not pictured).  I also made the butterfly blanket pictured above for one of my friends.  

I guess that wraps up my month of sewing and crochet projects!  This month I am hoping to continue work on a few more crochet projects like a baby hat and a cowl for myself.  I'm also planning on spending a little more time at my sewing machine.  I will be making another walker bag for my grandfather and hopefully something else.  I'm kicking around the idea of finally sewing a quilt so it could be quite an exciting sewing month!  

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Monday, February 8, 2016

This Week's Goals (& an update on last week's goals)

Elijah enjoyed putting copies of John & Romans together while we visited Bearing Precious Seed last week. 

Last week was such a great full week.  We did so much together as a family and I was thankful to accomplish over half of my goals.  That's a great successful week in my book!  The entire family was blessed with a full week packed to the brim filled with fellowship with other friends.  This week we will be focused more on staying at home and hopefully enjoying a good snowstorm.


Last Week's Goals

1.  Attend two therapy appointments with Evangeline.  I also want to spend some time evaluating what is working best in regards to Eva's therapy.  Brandon and I made the decision to move Eva's speech therapy (for feeding) to every other week).  Evangeline is doing better and I am looking forward to just a wee bit more time.  Eva's speech therapist is on maternity leave for a few months so it was also the perfect time to change therapists.  After waiting for six months they finally have an opening for therapy at a location closer to our home!  I am super excited about the change!  Hooray!

2.  Enjoy a wonderful field trip to help make Bibles.  The children and I enjoyed a wonderful field trip to Bearing Precious Seed where we helped put together copies of the books John & Romans.  I was pleasantly surprised at just how helpful both children were.  We also had a lot of fun playing the game "Ten Questions" while we worked.

3.  Take the entire family to the gym for a night of exercise and fun!  The happy hubby and I enjoyed a great hard workout.  My arms were so sore the next day.  We also took the children swimming when we were finished.

4.  Complete some sewing alterations for my aunt.  I finished all of the alterations and even delivered them!

5.  Finish crocheting a baby hat for a friend's little girl.  You can see pictures on my instagram account.

6.  Finish reading Educating The Whole Hearted Child (or at least read 100 pages).  - I read about 30 pages.  I'm absolutely loving this book but it is definitely a book to savor.  

7.  Exercise three times.  I put in two good workouts this week.  

8.  Continue studying through the Gospel of Mark.

9.  Finish organizing songs in my binder of funeral arrangements.   I'm so thankful to have a nice collection of songs organized.  I have enough for at least 30 minutes right now.  I plan on adding songs to this binder as I continue to learn songs that would be appropriate in a funeral setting.

10.  Attend a baby shower for one of my childhood friends.  It was an absolute blast!

11.  Have a blast at a dinner party that some of our friend's are hosting this weekend.  I am so thankful for the blessing of good friends in our life.  We had an awesome time at our friend's home.  We also ended up having friends over to our home on Friday night which was great.

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This Week's Goals

Marriage, Mothering, & Family
1.  Enjoy a special family activity this week.  I'm leaving it up to the happy hubby to decide.  
2.  Attend two or three appointments with Evangeline this week.  (I'm hoping that I don't have to actually attend one of the appointments and I can just speak to the physician on the telephone.)
3.  Spend time making Valentine's day cards with the children. 
4.  Enjoy special one on one time with both children this week.  
5.  Write a love letter to my husband or do something thoughtful for him.  

Homemaking
6.  Research various quilt patterns and decide which pattern I intend to use for a quilt for Eli.  I'm also hoping to make a trip to JoAnn Fabrics in the next week to look for fabric.  

Personal
7.  Catch up with a friend on the telephone.
8.  Begin a new book.  I'm kind of stumped right now as to what to read next.  Does that ever happen to you?  I absolutely love reading but nothing is jumping out at me.  

Ministry & Friendships
9.  Begin a letter to a friend who serves as an international missionary.  
10.  Wrap and mail a baby gift to a friend who lives out of state.  

What goals do you have for this upcoming week?  Are you hoping for snow?

Thursday, February 4, 2016

January Reads


I hope that your week is going well and you are curled up with your own stack of books.  I'm reminded once again what an awesome time winter is for reading!  We have only had a little snow but the weather was bad enough in the middle of the month to keep us snuggled up under blankets for a few days.  It's amazing how many books you can finish when you are staying home.  I really enjoyed reading all of the following books in January.  

Voyage of the Vikings (AIO Imagination Station Books) by Paul McClusker and Marianne Hering: This was our first Adventures in Odyssey Imagination Station book and we absolutely loved it!  In this book we were introduced to Beth and Patrick who travel back in time via the Imagination Station to the time of the Vikings.  This book is actually written for young readers and I look forward to Elijah possibly reading this book by himself next year.  I read this book aloud.

The Bears On Hemlock Mountain by Alice Dalgiesh: The children and I were absolutely captivated by this book that I read aloud.  Jonathan and his family live at the bottom of Hemlock Mountain.  One day his mother asks him to climb over the mountain to borrow a pot from his aunt who lives on the other side of the mountain.  This book deals with a child's fears and the courage that it takes to overcome them.  We enjoyed this book so much that I will be looking to add it to our home library in the future.

The Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgiesh: This was the first book that we read aloud by Dalgiesh.  It is the delightful tale of young Sarah Noble who accompanies her father to the frontier.  They build a house in Indian country and then her father must leave Sarah while he fetches the rest of the family.  This is an excellent introduction to chapter books.  I think both early readers and entire families would enjoy this book together as a read aloud.

Hearing Jesus Speak To You In Your Sorrow by Nancy Guthrie: I realized that Guthrie had walked through intense seasons of sorrow while working through one of her Bible Studies in the Seeing Jesus in the Old Testament series.  Two of Guthrie's children died only months after they were born.  I knew that this was a book that I needed to get my hands on.  It has been a wonderful,healing balm to my soul as I have slowly read through this book the past few months.  It is not a book that you can breeze through quickly.  Rather this book needs to be savored and chewed upon in small pieces.  If you or someone you know has been going through a season of sorrow I simply cannot commend this book to you enough.


Jesus: Experiencing His Touch by Kay Arthur:  I have enjoyed studying the Bible using Kay Arthur's inductive Bible Study methods for years.  I still remember how inductive Bible Study helped me to really dig deeper into God's Word.  This was my first time working through one of her Forty Minute Bible Studies.  The idea behind this series is that they can be utilized in a group setting with no former preparation on the part of the participants.  (Of course the leader does need to prepare.)  I think this is a wonderful idea since many people are scared away from Bible Studies when they find out that a certain Bible Study requires one to two hours of homework per week.  I would be surprised if the actual study could be completed in 40 minutes.  It seems a lot more likely that this would take a good hour.  Overall I have been pleased with this Bible Study and have enjoyed working through it.  Please note that I did receive a review copy of this book from Blogging For Books.

Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne: We have only read the first seven chapters but we have been delighted to read the tales of Pooh Bear.  I am looking forward to completing this book in February.  (This book is one thousand times better than the Disney series ever thought about being.)

Idiot's Guide to Crochet by June Gilbank: As I mentioned before, I have spent a lot of time in January learning to crochet!  This has been one of the best learning to crochet books that I have borrowed from the library.  So good in fact that I'm thinking about actually purchasing one for myself!  The photographs are wonderful and the explanations are clear.  If you are new to crocheting this is a book I would definitely recommend adding to your library.

Educating the Whole Hearted Child by Clay Clarkson with Sally Clarkson: I've been reading this book every spare moment for the past two weeks and still I am barely half way through it.  It is a complete gold mind filled with thought provoking ideas for whole hearted education.  I am positive that it will quickly become one of my favorite books about home education.  I'll try to share a complete review in February.

I decided to set a reading goal of reading 52 books this year.  I'm an avid reader so this should be enough to stretch me just a little this year.   I've also finally jumped on the goodreads bandwagon.  How have I been missing this for so long?  Feel free to friend me if you are a friend or avid reader.

What books did you read in January?  Did the weather cause you to read more or less?  One of my favorite ways to choose future books to read is by the recommendation of friends so please share! 


Monday, February 1, 2016

This Week's Goals


We enjoyed a wonderful date walking along the grounds at "Ashland" the estate of Henry Clay.  Unfortunately it was already closed for tours but the grounds were simply stunning.  
The happy hubby and I just returned from a wonderful trip to Lexington, KY.  We also attended a wonderful conference as part of our get away.  It was wonderful!  I feel so refreshed and ready to tackle my week!  I hope that your Monday is off to a great start!  Here are a few of my goals for this week:

Mothering, Marriage, & Family:
1.  Attend two therapy appointments with Evangeline.  I also want to spend some time evaluating what is working best in regards to Eva's therapy.
2.  Enjoy a wonderful field trip to help make Bibles.
3.  Take the entire family to the gym for a night of exercise and fun!

Homemaking:
4.  Complete some sewing alterations for my aunt.
5.  Finish crocheting a baby hat for a friend's little girl.

Personal:
6.  Finish reading Educating The Whole Hearted Child (or at least read 100 pages).
7.  Exercise three times.
8.  Continue studying through the Gospel of Mark.

Ministry & Friendships:
9.  Finish organizing songs in my binder of funeral arrangements.
10.  Attend a baby shower for one of my childhood friends.
11.  Have a blast at a dinner party that some of our friend's are hosting this weekend.

I'm also on the lookout for some book recommendations?  Do you have any suggestions?