Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Back to reality...

We just got back from an amazing vacation in Colorado. It was such a great week filled with adventures. This week, we are doing a million and three loads of laundry, getting groceries, mowing, cleaning, etc plus Captain C started football camp to prep him for playing this fall. He's loving it but we are tired!

I will be back to posting normally again soon. I promise. In the mean time, here are some highs and lows of our vacation. I have about 200 pictures that I will try to get back to adding soon.

Some highlights of our week:
  • 70 mile ATV rides up over Haggerman Pass
  • our awesome guide, who took Terrific T with him and kept guiding us even with a flat
  • snow ball fights
  • 9 miles of white water rafting through Browns Caynon
  • fishing
  • grandparents
  • fires
  • waterfalls
  • hiking
  • collecting pyrite and convincing each other it's real gold
  • skinny dipping in a freezing creek(only one can claim to have done this...no names)
  • rainbows
  • hummingbirds
  • All you can eat ice cream for $1.50 (bring your own bowl and spoon)
  • s'mores
  • horseback riding through the mountains
  • gorgeous weather 
  • souvenir shopping
  • date night in town for me and Big Daddy midweek with the best steak dinner I've had in a long time
  • running into friends from church in the tiny town we were staying in!
  • windmills!

Some not so highlights of our week:
  • 22 hours of driving round trip
  • getting rained and hailed on while on the ATV ride - sooooo cold - the guide told us to leave him behind since he was slowing us down so I then had T and P on with me. Snug and cold.
  • 3 nose bleeds
  • 1 puking kid (motion sickness?? it was after those 8 hours on the 4 wheelers)
  • 1 passing out kid (need to get her in for that still to see what that was all about)
  • more mosquitoes than you can imagine
  • attacks of the killer swallows who did NOT want Wondermutt pooping on the petwalk trail that was near their nest! (OK, truthfully, when it wasn't happening to me, this was a highlight to watch. These tiny birds were vicious and scary and hilarious to video!)
  • Oh and our credit card was canceled mid week for some suspicious charges from June 22! Nice timing.

As you can see, the good far outweighed the bad and we had a fantastic week full of wonderful memories of our time together.  I love my family so much and love getting to spend time away together with them.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Wisdom from a child

OK, I'm going to be a little too honest here...this little sweetie with us now is trying our patience. She is hilarious and spirited and busy and so stinking cute. But we are also spending our days getting bit and pinched and spit at and yelled at and so on. It's heartbreaking that a toddler has seen enough to know these behaviors. I mean, my kids acted up with the best of them, but it didn't take much to reel them back in to reality. It's harder with this little princess.

Tonight at dinner, Princess P prayed for our food and said, "Thank you for *** getting to be with us. Please let her stay with us longer." This meant so much to me since P is the one that gets picked on the most out of all of us. She has so much love to share and is so forgiving.

I love to see Jesus in my kids and it's a humbling reminder to me of how far I have to go in my own walk. I know I have shared this video before, but P asks for this song all the time in the car. I love it too. A reminder of why we do fostercare.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Let's Talk Oils...July Update


Some friends (online and real life), my sister, my mom, and 9,000 other oily people went to the Young Living Convention last week and it's been cool to hear their stories floating around. They got to go to a YL farm and see how they grow all their own oils and process them themselves. YL launched a new website this week that explains why they are the leader in essential oils. I say that the proof it in the puddin'. You can say that you are the best, but proving it to me daily is what has won me over...and they have won me over. Here are some highlights of YL successes in June.

Migraines. Poor C had two migraines this past week. We were able to treat them totally with oils this time. He used Basil, Copaiba, and Eucalyptus on his neck and Frankincense on his temples and feet. He also took a morphine bomb at the onset of each one. He asks for that instead of 2 Aleve, which he used to take with migraines.

Chiggers. This one still boggles my mind! Paige came home from playing outside with a friend all day and had a few bites. Her friend had them too and we figured they were chiggers since they were right on the panty line (tmi?). She said they itched horribly. While she showered, I looked up in the Essential Oil Desk Reference and it said to put Thyme or Oregano (50/50 with a carrier oil) on it and the chigger (or it said it would work for ticks too) would back out. Figuring if less is good, more is better...I put two drops of Thyme AND two drops of Oregano with some coconut oil and rubbed it on them. After putting it on the second one, we looked back at the first on her belly and there was a tiny black speck on her white undies opposite it. She picked it up and said it was lint but I took it and it was jumping from finger to finger on me! It was a tiny, stinking chigger that had come out. It was so tiny we weren't sure if it was a chigger or lint until it kept moving around. If I hadn't seen it, I wouldn't believe it! So, So crazy! A friend came over a few days later with her grandson, who had horrible chigger bites. I mixed this up again and put it on him and she said the next day that all the ones we put it on were not itching anymore. We had missed a couple on his leg that we hadn't seen and those were still itching. I love that it helped so quickly and easily!!

Nasty eye. I had a blocked oil gland in my eye that started a couple of weeks ago. It hurt so bad to even blink. The last time I had this, it got so big I had to go in and have it lanced. I passed out. I'm probably the only person who has ever walked into the ophthalmologist and left in a wheel chair. So embarrassing. This time, I decided to try frankincense on it. It was inside my lower eyelid, and I know not to put oils in my eye, but I decided to give it a try. I'm a rebel  like that. I did that two time and then just put Frank on the outside of my eye by the lump for a few more days and it is almost gone. It doesn't hurt anymore and I can't tell it is there unless I look - I can still see it but SO much better. No lump or pain. Each time I put the frank on, I covered it in coconut oil after a couple of seconds. I'm not telling you to do this at all or recommending oils in your eyes, just telling you what worked for me. :)

Spazzy dog. The 4th does a number on poor Wondermutt. Last night, she was following me around and under my feet all night. I started diffusing Peace and Calming in our room with her and she went right to sleep. yay.

Those are just a few things that stand out in my mind from the month. We all still use oils daily. T asks for them when he starts getting stuffy from being outside too much. P asked for them when she burned her finger on fireworks. C asks for them for his migraines. Big Daddy even admitted to using Thieves when he was starting to feel puny this past week and was out of town. I'd say we are sold. I am still loving rosemary on my face and pine or lavender on my nose when I'm starting to get stuffy.  I love helping others find out what they can use to cut out the chemicals and artificial everything in OTC things. If you have any questions, I'm happy to help if I can or point you in the right direction. Here are my other monthly posts if you want more stories of how the oils are working for us.

I order on the 8th if you are local and want anything, I can get them for 24% off the retail price and I'll pay the shipping too since I"m already ordering. :) Just let me know.


Monday, June 30, 2014

1/2 way through the year!

It's hard enough to believe that June is already over, but even harder to hear that 2014 is halfway over. How crazy is that?!? I really wish time would just slow right down.

I'm starting to look ahead to next year's school now. I think I was in denial that we would ever have to do anything again after May...but I was wrong. We have done a few things here and there (mostly finishing up Math and doing review items) but not done a full day's work all summer. The kids are taking their achievement tests this week, so they are not wanting to do much else. It's hard when we have to do them in nap times only...no way I would try to get them to test with little hurricane M awake.

We have family visiting and just finished two weeks of swim lessons. T and P are becoming really good little swimmers. They loved the lessons!

Little miss will have been here one month tomorrow! I'm hoping to keep seeing progress in her as she realizes that she is loved, even when she misbehaves. Tonight, when I was putting her to bed, she initiated the "I love you" that I tell her every night. YAY. She always wants to sing "Sweet Jesus" when we go upstairs to bed and sings it to her dolls when they are going to sleep. She calls every dog she sees Wondermutt's name and all of our kids are called Terrific T. We are working on that - lol! She is very imaginative and sings and sings and sings...I wish we knew what she was singing. We are getting an eval with Sooner Start on Wednesday to see if she is delayed in any areas that we can help her with. Her case worker is great and really gets things done!

We also finished up our annual renewal this week for foster care. Hard to believe we were certified a year ago. I still need to do a physical but I was telling our worker how much harder it is to get all these things done with a 2 year old than it was last year without one. lol. Changes everything!

OK - just wanted to recap what's going on around here. The days do fly by but we are busy and having fun. Growing and learning. I started a new Bible study on the fruits of the Spirit that I'm really enjoying. Caleb and I both are doing one and keeping each other accountable with them. He's doing the Not a Fan one and really liking it he says.

Here's to the second half of 2014 not going by quite so quickly!

Saturday, June 21, 2014


I joined a challenge from 100happydays.com to post a picture of something that makes you happy for 100 days in a row. It's good to look for happy things, some days you have to look harder than others, but there is always something we can be happy for.

Here are a few of my happy posts from the past week. Want to join me? You can start anytime. I'm posting mine on instagram.
Diffuser bracelets from Sacred Arrow
No words needed

New curriculum to review

Flag Day
Finding money when cleaning my desk

Happy Hour after a dr visit.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

It is well...

I woke this morning with this beautiful old hymn running through my mind. I have way too many friends that are suffering right now with sicknesses and other things. It is so reassuring that whatever my lot, it is well with my soul. Physical stuff will come and go. One day, the clouds WILL be rolled back like a scroll. Praise Jesus! The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend....Is it well, with your soul?
 When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.  
It is well with my soul,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!
And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Review - Learning Wrap-Ups/Learning Palettes

Learning Wrap-Ups Review
Learning Wrap-Ups provided us with some super fun products for our family to review recently. We received all of the following fun educational items:
3rd Grade Reading 1 Base Center Kit ($61.99)
3rd Grade Math Learning Palette 1 Base Center Kit ($71.99) 
Learning Wrap up Basic Math Intro Kit w/o CD ($44.99) 
Learning Wrap up Vocabulary Intro Kit ($35.99)
10 Days to Multiplication Mastery Wrap up and Book Combo ($12.99)
10 Steps to Addition Mastery Wrap up and Book Combo ($12.99)
When we got the box of goodies, we didn't know where to begin. Everything is so bright and inviting and it doesn't seem like school when it all looks so fun! I had selected products that I thought Princess P would be using but Terrific T and little Buzz ended up using them along with her. YAY.
The kids grabbed the Math Learning Wrap-Ups first. These are fun, QUICK review of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division math facts, and one that is all fractions. These come with a little idea book on how to use them besides the obvious of just doing the wrapping. Both T and P sort of freak when they are being timed on something *sigh* so I didn't do much timing, like a lot of the games suggest. I had them see how many times they could do them in 3 minutes or had them just do them a certain amount of times and they loved it. Often I would just tell them to get a certain wrap-up and do 4 of the keys, or whatever. This is a totally flexible and easy way for kids to review their work. The mat set comes with 5 wraps-ups so both T and P could be doing one and little Buzz could be playing with another one and staying out of trouble. lol. These are perfect for kids who are just learning, or are wanting to get quicker and review their facts. The fractions were a fun change from just the facts. I loved them.

We also enjoyed the Learning Wrap up Vocabulary Intro Kit. It's the same idea as the math wrap ups, but  comes with 4 of the keys sets: synonyms, homonyms, compound words,and antonyms. Like the math ones, these are self correcting. They do their key and then flip it over to see if they were correct. I had heard of the math wrap ups, but not the vocab ones and loved them. There were some on there that really made us think and it was good for the kids to learn some new words. This also came with ideas on how to use them.  I like that these are so mobile. We often grabbed a few when we were heading to the store or anywhere and they could do them quite a few times before we got there. There are no little pieces to lose and the review was great...but they both really enjoyed them so it wasn't like work. I'm doing workboxes this upcoming year and these will definitely be going in there as a "break" in the day. You know I love when "breaks" are really learning in disguise. ;o)
One of the things I was most excited about was the 10 Days to Multiplication Mastery. Princess P is just learning multiplication this year so I was intrigued with how this would work. The set has a 62 page consumable student workbook and the multiplication wrap-up.  Each day, you are supposed to master one or two multiples...for example, on day one it is 1s and 2s. Day two it's 10s and 3s. You spend time using the wrap-up over and over and over for that number and time yourself to get quicker, then do workbook pages. We found that it was a LOT of time to spend each day so broke the days in 1/2. We are also still doing our regular math curriculum and it wasn't being fun to do math all day. lol As I mentioned above, P hates being timed. This time I made her suck it up and sat with her, timing her on my phone. She tried to get upset about it but surprised herself that she was doing the whole keys in less than 30 seconds. They have you set a goal and she said the longest - 1 minute - lol. This was incredibly good for her self esteem to be forced to be timed and to succeed. YAY!  I'm not sure she has them all totally mastered just yet, but is way closer than she was before we did this. She is answering them faster and by doing them out loud while she wraps them, she is using all three learning styles: auditory, visual, kinesthetic at once!
We were also blessed with the 10 Steps to Addition Mastery. This is just like the multiplication one and is great for review for my kids. I didn't spend as much time on this one since they are further past it, but for younger kids, this would be excellent as a supplement to their math curriculum!
  And now on to the Learning Palettes. These things are so cool!

Each set includes the base and all these little colorful circles. The little boxes each include 12 cards with 12 questions (challenges) per card, so 144 questions in a box (like that quick math? I did the wrap-ups too!).

The 3rd grade Math set has 6 boxes of cards and the Reading one has 5 boxes. That's a lot of variety for the kids.

To answer the questions on the cards, they use the colored circle and place them around the base in the correct spots. I love that this is another self-correcting "game." After all the circles are in place, they flip the card over and the colors should all match. Little Buzz did his on the back side only and matched the colors. It was so fun for him to "be big" like the kids and he was actually learning too...colors! T and P both did these also. T liked them because they were "easy" and I liked that it was really good review for him! P really had to think on some of the questions. Some of the math problems she would normally have worked out on paper, so was getting frustrated that I wouldn't let her use paper and pencil for them. You definitely could work them out on paper, but I chose to use this as a practice for standardized testing that we will be doing in a few weeks. I showed her how to rule out obviously wrong answers and narrow down her choices. Once she did this, it became more of a game and she wasn't stressing anymore. The reading ones were really good for review too - so many topics are covered that you could use these year round along with your Language Arts and Math curriculum.

Phew - that's a lot of things to review and it was so much fun. These were all fantastic supplements to our curriculum that I know we will continue to use. Now that they know how to use them all, they require really nothing from me (woot!) so are great for when I get a phone call or am helping C with his work or taking care of a little one. These will be kept with our school supplies or in work boxes for just those times and we will keep using them all.
The Learning Wrap ups website ( www.learningwrapups.com ) has recently been updated to include a homechool products category. This category includes individual products and kits that are appropriate for Homeschoolers. Essentially it simplifies your navigation through the website so that it is not cluttered with our larger kits that are designed specifically for classrooms and schools. 
You can use the code HOMESCHOOL in the coupon code all purchases will receive a 20% discount.
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