Swimming Lessons

By the end of last summer, Mauryn was a little fish in the water. She loved swimming lessons and could not wait to go back to Miss June's house this summer.

The first day of lessons arrived, she got her suit on, picked out her towel, and headed towards the car. As we drove she became more hesitant and was pretty adamant that she was not going to take lessons. I thought once we got there she would be fine. Oh boy was I wrong. Mauryn clung to my leg and started crying. She did not want anything to do with the pool.

I placed her on the edge, sat next to her for a minute, and then snuck back to sit in a chair. Once lessons started she was fine and as each day progressed she became a LOUD leader in the class.

Her favorite thing in her first session of lessons was wearing goggles. I can hardly take it with her in those goggles.... cuteness!

The one thing she was determined not to do in her first session was to jump off the diving board. It wasn't because she was scared, she was just being stubborn. Mauryn cheered on all her classmates as they jumped off the board and was thrilled for them. On that last day, I got her to walk with me to the board and out to the end. I looked and her teacher, picked her up, and dropped her in. She didn't cry, she didn't scream, she just looked at me and said I am not doing that again. I know it might seem mean but what I am learning about my spunky little one is that she is anxious and nervous about trying new things and change but with a little prodding she ends up loving whatever the new activity.

By the time we were at the end of the second session of lessons, she was the first one to volunteer to go off the board and asked how many times she could jump off. She LOVED it!
Landon took lessons both sessions as well and he is just part fish. If he could be in the water swimming all day in the summer he would be happy. He likes nothing better than getting his face in and swimming around. His favorite activity at swimming lessons is jumping off the board and trying to get people wet with his big splash.
This year his newest skill was learning to dive. He may have struggled a bit with some of the strokes but the boy can dive!

Summer, we will look forward to your return when we will spend a few more weeks at Miss June's pool splashing, laughing, playing, putting our faces in the water, diving for starburts, jumping off the board, learning to swim, and making great memories.

Random Fall Stuff

One of the items on my to do list over our fall break was to take the kids out for a little photo shoot in hopes of getting a picture for our Christmas card.

We set off on a sunny, cool fall morning for a stroll on a greenbelt close to our house. It is one of our favorite spots for biking and walking. One of the kids' favorite activities while on the greenbelt is to feed the ducks and see all the animals.

I stowed some bread in my purse so we could feed the ducks after we finished taking pictures.

we couldn't leave the greenbelt without giving the friendly little goats some love as well
since it is fall/halloween my kids were asking for some new themed shirts
i love finding new recipes and sara posted about some fun recipes involving candy corn. i thought i would try this one since i had everything on hand. i am not a huge fan of candy corn on its own but in a mix with peanuts and m&m's or in this candy corn bark it is perfection!

to make the candy corn bark crush up 14 oreos
a cup and a half of pretzels
add 3/4 cup of candy corn
melt a pound of almond bark and spread over the top. add 1/4 c candy corn to the top and set to harden in the refrigerator
then break apart into smaller pieces and enjoy!
i didn't have holiday oreos with the orange cream but they would be pretty and add some color. i also didn't have any brown or orange sprinkles but they would be so fun or you could use candy melts instead of almond bark and buy them in a color for fun. this was a super easy, quick snack to throw together.


Mauryn's Twins

Back in late summer or early fall, when an American Girl catalog came in the mail, the bitty twins {or "tins" as she calls them} caught Mauryn's eye. She talked about the twins daily for months. She wanted a boy and a girl with blonde hair.

Mauryn loves to play with babies. She pretty much has one in tow every day. They are bundled, fed, changed, and loved on.

For Christmas my parents gave Mauryn the twins. She was just a little bit excited!

She had names picked out for the twins before she even received them, Addie and Eli.
While Mauryn was hoping and dreaming about the twins her biggest concern was where her twins would sleep. She only had one baby crib and the "tins" would need a bed. I set out on a quest to find a bed for her babies. I found this wonderful bed with trundle on etsy {oh etsy you never fail to deliver!}

I ordered the bed and a set of darling girl bedding.
then i attempted to make the boy bedding myself. attempted is the key word here. the sheets and pillowcase were fairly easy

the quilt, oh how the quilt caused me so many issues. i finally just accepted it and realized my three year old didn't care she just wanted a blanket for her baby.
but one blanket wasn't enough... i have put together a few more blankets so the babies always have a blanket in order to be wrapped up
the twins sleeping in their beds {addie is just covered with some random fabric mauryn took from my desk, hence the need to construct some cute blankets}
i was never much into dolls and either was morgan but little miss mauryn loves her babies. it is so fun to see her mothering her little ones.


For the last few years during the month of November, our family has tried to put more focus on being thankful in the every day. November has turned into the thankful month.

Although I would like thankfulness to be ever present in our home and daily lives, it just isn't always that way when the busyness of life takes over. I hope {and pray} that each year as we slow down and really focus on what we are thankful for, that spirit will start to carry over and be present every day. It will just be a part of who we are... thankful, grateful, giving, loving, and focused less on ourselves and more on others.

The first year or so we wrote on a piece of paper what we were thankful for and then stuck it into a jar that served as a candle holder/centerpiece on our kitchen table.

Then last year, I made a quick paper chart for the month of November. It worked well but I wanted to create a more permanent chart that we could use from year to year.

During our fall break, I made a visit to JoAnn's and purchased some fall fabric to make our thankful chart. I collected six different fabrics and cut them into squares for 30 pockets.

then using the same fabric I cut out the numbers 1-30 to place on each pocket. Even though I was doing the cutting and sewing I wanted the kids to have some type of ownership. I let them help pick the fabrics, create the layout of the squares, and choose what fabrics to use for the numbers.
after the numbers were cut, I sewed the numbers onto each square. They aren't perfect, I didn't turn under the edges to make a nice finished square but I like the look of it being a little more rugged and imperfect... its what i love about things that are handmade.
after all the numbers were sewed on, i then sewed each square onto the canvas type material
after all the squares were sewn on, the kids filled the pockets with these cute little thankful cards. {it was only $1 the day i purchased them - thanks to the tip on this blog. there is no way i could have come up with cards that cute so it was worth the $1 plus, ink, and cardstock}
the cards are numbered 1-5 .... since there are five people in our family we will each list something we are thankful for each day. you could come up with five things each day as a group as well. or give each person a day to list five things they are thankful for... there are many possibilities.

how do you encourage thankfulness with your children?


for birthday week. {two girls, two birthdays, two parties, and one "family" dinner}

invitations: check
party wear: check
party supplies gathered: check
activities planned: check
goodie bags: check



One - Fourth.

It's how far we are into our school year, and I have yet to post about it.

We just finished up our two week fall break, although it wasn't much of a break other than not having a schedule during that time. We did accomplish many things on our to do list which was nice and I know we all appreciated having a few unscheduled days. One of the things I did over break was organize photos on our computer. While doing that I realized how many summer posts/pictures I have to catch up on so you may be seeing summer long overdue summer fun!

Off the rabbit trail and back to school.....

School this year is looking a little bit different at our house. We have made a few changes that seem to be making our school days/weeks run more smoothly. Here is a little glimpse at what is happening:

* we changed our history/science curriculum. for the past four years we have used a theme based integrated curriculum called konos. i loved the concept and the curriculum but we did not have the time each week to do the lessons to their full potential or collect all the materials/books needed to do the lessons. i started researching at the beginning of the summer to find curriculum that would fit our needs. we are now using apologia science and diana waring's history {we are doing ancient world right now} so far we are enjoying them both.
* i changed morgan's math curriculum to one that involves a dvd lecture. this has been a great change and causes less stress over math. yeah!

* we joined a co op that meets once a week on mondays. morgan and landon attend three classes while mauryn is in a preschool class. i help in the nursery one period, help in cotillion one period {this could be a whole post on its own}, and have one period free. the kids love going to co op and are learning so much in their classes. i think it is a good opportunity to experience learning from different teachers.

* the one thing i have struggled with since landon started kindergarten last year was splitting my time between the two kids when they are working on subjects that we do not do together such as grammar, math, and spelling. i knew i had to find a better way to organize our day so it would flow smoothly.

enter the idea of work boxes. all of my kids {even mauryn} have a tub. in the tub are hanging files that are numbered. in each hanging file is a file folder that contains either the book for a subject or a card telling them what to do {practice piano, have a break, eat a snack, read, etc...} when the kids finish their work for that folder they attach their number on the front of the file box so i can monitor where they are with school for the day.

i love the work boxes! i think my kids like them as well. they can visually see that they need to get through each day {mauryn's folders are not numbered she just works through her box... i will be adding numbers later this year}. the number one for both kids is science/history which we do together. number two is handwriting. while they do their handwriting i read to them or we work on our bible lesson. the numbers three to nine are different for each child. it is set up so that one child is working on independent activity while the other child is working on something that might need more help from me. we may not have a set time schedule for each subject but this system seems to be working very well for our family.


Hot Air Balloon Festival

When I first set eyes on Boise, it was a beautiful June morning five years ago. Lance, the kids and I had arrived late the night before and had stumbled into our hotel room. We awoke that morning to bright blue skies filled with hot air balloons. It was amazing. We stood outside for a long time just watching the balloons float in the sky. On a morning filled with anxiety {we were going to meet a realtor to look at houses}, the sight of those balloons gave us a sense of calm and peace.

There used to be a hot air balloon festival in Boise but since we have lived here the organizers had stopped running the festival.

This year over Labor Day weekend some members of the community who had missed having the hot air balloon festival decided to start a new tradition. We made it down on the Saturday afternoon/evening of the festival. There was a great turnout of people sitting on blankets and chairs looking at the balloons and enjoying time with their families. At dusk they lit the balloons... the sight was spectacular.

We can't wait to go again next year!


Shakespeare Festival

I love to read and it is something that helps me to relax and unwind. Over the course of the summer I got back into a reading groove and have read quite a few books. One of the books I read was Donald Miller's A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. It was a book that has changed me and challenged me.

In the book, Donald Miller talks about making memorable scenes. I am not intentional about living a good story or making memorable scenes. I get too caught up in the little stuff like laundry, errands, clean floors, paying bills, and balancing a budget. These are all necessary, important things but they shouldn't take priority over living life.

Shortly after reading this book, our neighbors asked us if we wanted to head out to The Shakespeare Festival in Boise. It was a last minute request and my immediate reaction was no. We had not planned for it, we needed to find a sitter, and there was a list of projects to complete around the house. My list of excuses was a mile long.

The theme of the book resonated with me and after some prodding/begging/encouraging/ convincing from our neighbors we decided to tag along.

This was the first time Lance and I had been to The Shakespeare Festival. The play takes place in an outdoor amphitheater. Most people arrive an hour or so before show time to picnic at your seats. The night we attended was beautiful summer evening. We enjoyed great food, great company, and a strange and interesting play. The experience was worth it and I know we will go again next year. Thanks Bergs for encouraging us to attend!

Are you a planner/organizer or are you more go with the flow/impulsive?



One of Landon's chores in the morning is to feed our dogs. After being in their kennel overnight the dogs are really excited to get outside and have their food. Our dog Harley will jump on Landon to get his attention. This really frustrates Landon. The other day Landon came up with a plan for feeding the dogs, he puts on his football helmet, baseball gloves, and mouthguard. His dog feeding armor!
We have been in survival mode since we started school at the beginning of August. Putting on our own armor to make it through each day/week. We have survived our first two months of school and we are now on our fall break.

There have been a few changes with school and our schedule which had thrown us into survival mode. At the end of last year I was feeling a little overwhelmed with some of our curriculum and decided to research and make changes over the summer. Although the changes have been really good, it is taking time to learn the curriculum. We also joined a co cop which meets once a week {more on that later} which the kids are loving. It is a change and is one less day we are doing school at home so I have had to adjust my planning to accomodate our schedule change.

The biggest change has been with Morgan's gymnastics schedule which has changed at least two times since we started school. We have had to be flexible and adjust our schedule to accomodate her practice schedule. I think they have FINALLY finalized the schedule for the fall so I think once our break is over we can settle into our routine for the rest of the year.

I am hoping and praying that we are able to get into a good routine now that schedules that are out of our control are now in order. I am a fairly, okay really scheduled person so the not knowing and changes in schedule have been hard on me.

My to do list over our two week break is LONG. I have so much catching up to do around the house and on this blog. Since this is supposed to be a type of journal I am planning on catching up on some posts and now that I have a schedule I am hoping to find more time to be able to post. It will help to be somewhat caught up and not feel so overwhelmed with how far behind I am in posting.

Okay, I have rambled enough. We are alive and well.... ready for two weeks of resting, relaxing, and catching up. If anyone is still out there, be on the lookout for numerous posts in the next few weeks.