Ready for a Baby?

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I recently had a conversation with a friend. She expressed that she wanted a baby but wasn’t sure she would ever be ready for a baby. Her sentiment reminded me of some of the best advice I ever received about being ready for children. It came from our priest during our wedding.

I don’t remember much of our nuptial Mass. It’s pretty much a blur that I spent begging God for my mother not to cause a scene. Thankfully, she didn’t. However, while I don’t remember the Mass clearly I do remember the key message of the homily.  The message was you’ll never be ready for kids. There will never be a perfect time to have children. If you wait for the perfect time; you’ll never have them.

That day I didn’t know how true those words were. I can look back at all three past pregnancies and this current one and tell you all the reasons why it wasn’t a perfect time to be pregnant. Why it wasn’t the perfect time to have a baby. However, while it might not have been perfect in our human time it was perfect in God’s time.

There is no amount of preparing that will ever have you 100% ready for a child. It doesn’t matter if it’s your first child or eighth. There will always be something that you didn’t plan for- that you weren’t ready for. However, when they place your baby in your arms for the first time none of that will matter. You will fall in love with that beautiful little person harder than you ever thought was possible.


A June Daybook

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Outside my window…

Summer is here finally. Our rental house has an amazing honeysuckle bush in the yard. Last summer when we moved into the house; it had already bloomed and died. I didn’t even realize it was out there. It was a pleasant surprise when it bloomed. I’ve greatly enjoyed the scent wafting through the open windows. We have been spending lots of time outside playing. Here is a photo I snapped of Antonio the other day. He spent a good half hour tossing the soccer ball into the goal and retrieving it.
antoniosoccer

The other day the boys had the opportunity to take a short ride on horses when we went out to lunch with friends. Paul and Thomas enjoyed themselves. Antonio didn’t want anything to do with the horse. Apparently, horses as far as he is concerned are the same as dogs. He wants nothing to do with them.
thomas- horsepaul-horse

I am thinking…

We are set to move in August. So, right now I am thinking about everything that needs to be done in order to move. Mark is busy designing and putting together a car computer/entertainment system. I’ll be perfectly honest I can’t tell you everything that it will do. However, we will have the ability to play movies for the kids on the drive to Illinois. I have a to do list of moving task and hoping that helps keep things nice and organized.

I am thankful…

There are so many things to be thankful for. I am thankful for our newest baby. He is our little miracle and I can’t wait to meet him. Just 7 more weeks! Guess we really do need to get on the naming business! I let the boys pick out his coming home outfit today while we were at the store. This was their choice. Paul wants to get matching shirts that say, “Rock Star Brother”
coming home outfit

Learning all the time…

Caterpillars and Butterflies have been the topic over the last week or so. We hatched our own butterflies using a kit from Insect Lore. In the last few days all five butterflies emerged from their cocoons. Thursday we’ll be releasing them.
butterfly

From the kitchen…

I recently bought a subscription to Build a Menu. So, far I am very happy with it. It gives me a lot of different meal options to choose from unlike other menu planning services. It builds my grocery list based off the meals I chose. We made a cheesy and chicken rice casserole last week. Mark and I enjoyed. The boys turned their noses up at it though. However, I’ll definitely be making it again for Mark and me. Just in a smaller batch.

I am working on…

We are switching to Primary Arts of Language when the new school year starts in September. So, I am currently working on getting all the phonetic games put together. I have heard wonderful things about this program and think it will be great for my hands on learners. I am trying to get everything prepped (it’s a lot) now vs. doing it as we go because I am afraid if I don’t do it all at once I’ll be tempted to abandon the program due to the idea that I don’t have time to sit down and make a file game.

I am creating…

I’ve started working on Baby Whoosh Whoosh’s stocking. I am also working on finishing the ornaments that are supposed to attach to Antonio’s stocking.

Around the house…
iron man

I am hoping and praying…

My prayers today and tomorrow go up for my dear friend Lauren; who is undergoing her second brain surgery in 6 months. I pray for her doctor’s hands to be steady, for a successful outcome. That she and her family find peace and trust in God as she goes under for this surgery.

I am Reading…

The kids and I are getting ready to start Monsters in the Attic by Dian Curtis Regan.

For my personal reading I’m currently reading: Life Simplified: The Minimalist’s Guide to Cutting Back and Simplifying Your Life by BJ Knight

Living the Faith….

As we struggle through another Sunday Mass with the boys I wonder if we are making an impact. I start to become discouraged that we are wasting our time. But then I see this and I know that we are making an impact.
faith

One of My Favorite Things….

Twice a week we drive to speech therapy for Paul and Antonio. We have been making this trek for 4 years now. Lately, Thomas has been passing the time taking photos with my phone while we wait. It has led to some of these gems.
boots cars


Less Stuff, More Living

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In January we decided we had too much stuff. We were overwhelmed with the clutter and general messiness of our home.  We started talking about looking at moving into a smaller house because realistically the large house we are in is too much for me to physically take care of. Thus, started the great purge!  We desired a home that can be easily kept clean without feeling like we have to clean all the time. We wanted to feel like we could just go hang out at the beach as a family without a long to-do list hanging around our necks stealing our enjoyment.

Some things were easier to purge than others. For example: I had over a dozen vases but I only ever use two of them. I got rid of all put the two that I really like and use often. A pretty purple vase and a crystal vase with tulips sculpted around the edge of it.  Another easy thing to purge was cookbooks. I simply boxed all of them up and out the door they went. I get so many of my recipes off the internet I couldn’t see a point to keeping the actual books. I bought a pretty binder and when I find a recipe that we like I print it off and file it in the binder. It has gotten rid of all the loose recipes and made it super easy to find a recipe without having to get back online and print another copy.

I had an entire box of formal dresses and accessories from when I was in high school. I had been holding onto them out of a feeling of obligation. I kept one timeless classic dress that fits nicely for any fancy occasions that might come up. I then contacted a local organization that helps provide dresses and accessories to girls who otherwise wouldn’t be able to go to their proms and other formal dances and donated the entire box.

Some things are harder to figure out what to do with. Things like yearbooks. I have every single yearbook from kindergarten through senior year. I don’t know if I want to keep them or if I should get rid of some of them.  The things that are the hardest to get rid of are the things with emotional baggage some of it good; some of it bad.  It’s been a learning experience to go through that sort of stuff. I’ve learned that as I let go off stuff that I had been keeping out of a misplaced sense of obligation or guilt that I feel lighter emotional and mentally. As our physical space becomes less cluttered everyone is happier.

I hope to have the great purge finished by the time we move in August. We want to fit all of our stuff; except what we need to bring with us in the suburban for our day to day living in a 16ft long by 8 feet wide and 7.5 feet tall storage container!


Downsizing to a One Car Family

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Some time ago Mark mentioned the idea of going down to one car. I promptly told him there was no way that was ever going to happen and that he was crazy to suggest it. It just wasn’t workable. However, after much discussion (almost 6 months’ worth) we decided to go for it. As of today we are officially a one car family.

Now, I realize in today’s society and culture the idea of anyone willingly being a one car family is kind of crazy. However, we were hardly using Mark’s car. He only drove it pretty much to and from work. Anytime, we went out as a family we had to take the minivan because not all the boys could fit in Mark’s car.  Even, on the rare occasion when we hired a babysitter to go out on a date we took the minivan because it was easier for me to get in and out of.. The amount of time he was driving it wasn’t worth the expense to keep and maintain it. Not, when we live as close to his work as we do.

So, for now he’ll either bike to work, take the car if I don’t need it or we’ll drive him. Though, given that I am not much of a morning person I don’t for see a lot of driving him to work being done! I know the biggest objection to the idea of one car is well, the kids and you will be stuck at the house. Trust me, I know. That was my biggest objection at first.

However, honestly, I am happiest when I am not running around like a chicken with my head cut off. I am happiest when I can stay home for part of the week. However, the idea of staying home; of enjoying my home is totally foreign to me.  The idea of slowing down is alien to me.  From the time I was 6 years old and started kindergarten I’ve always spent more time away from home than at home.  So, even though I’d rather spend time at home it is ingrained in me that I shouldn’t. It is ingrained in me that I should be out and about filling my time up with stuff that happens away from home.  Being a one car family will force me to work on this. It will help allow me the ability to stay at home more often; something that brings me peace and joy. It will help in our quest to simplify our lives.


Spring Time Daybook

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Outside my window…
Spring has finally managed to wrestle the wheel from winter. The temperatures are warming up and the pollen is out in force. Everything outside is sporting a nice yellow tint. However, as much as I dislike all the pollen I am immensely glad for warmer temperatures.

I am thinking…
Simplicity. When we were first married and living in Texas our life was very simple. We didn’t have a lot of outside commitments and housekeeping was very simple. We moved to Virginia and added 2 more kids (soon to be 3) to the 1 kid we had in Texas and said goodbye to the simple life we had been living. For me I never thought that living a simple life was really a long term possibility. Before marriage I lived an incredibly busy hectic life. However, over the last year or so I have come to realize I crave a simpler life than what we have here in Virginia. Mark craves it as well. We have both realized we were happier with the simpler life we had in Texas. We have started taking steps to make that a possibility.

I am thankful…
I live with chronic pain and it can really suck. However, I am so thankfully that even though I hurt so much that I do not need to fear that I won’t wake up because of my medical issues. A very dear friend has some very serious medical issues. I pray daily that she can find the help she needs but it does serve as a sobering reminder of how much I have to be thankful for.

Learning all the time…
I am thinking about how I want to revamp our homeschooling. I’ve learn some valuable lessons this year on how Paul learns. I have learned valuable lessons on my own habits. I want to bring in more creativity into our homeschooling. I think the education I want to give my boys will be much easily achieved by living a more simplistic life- a slower more intentional life.

From the kitchen…
Snacks…I am thinking about snacks. It seems every time I turn around the boys have finished off something that was intended for a meal. So, I am trying to figure out better snack options for them.

I am working on…
Re-thinking our homeschool approach and planning for the upcoming year. I am assessing what worked well this year and what things need to be changed. I am using this free downloadable planner for planning purposes: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/412501647092080259/

I am creating…
I have been working on getting my recipes organized. I would like to ditch the cookbooks and keep all my recipes organized in one binder.

I am hoping…
That the newest physical therapist I am working with is right and his method actually brings relief to my pain. That it actually improves my pain like he believes it will. He thinks that he can improve/correct the issue in my shoulder. Not just offer a temporary band-aid fix.

I am Reading…
I just finished reading Sir Lancelot the Great by Gerald Morris to the boys tonight. They received it in their Easter basket. We finished the book in a week! Of all the chapter books we have read aloud this year this was their favorite. It was enjoyed so much that I will be ordering the other 3 books of the series very soon.

For my personal reading I have finished both Clutterfree with Kids by Joshua S Becker and Plan to be Flexible by Alicia Kazsuk. Both were thought provoking books and I highly recommended them both. I will be spending the next few days working through the assessment questions from Plan to be Flexible.

Pondering these words…
“Minimalism brings freedom from the all-consuming passion to possess. It steps off the treadmill of consumerism and dares to seek happiness elsewhere. It values relationships, experiences and soul-care. And in doing so, it finds life.” – Clutterfree with Kids


Easter Baskets 2014

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Easter is only a few weeks away and that means it is time for Easter baskets. I find great enjoyment out of putting together Easter baskets and things of that nature. However, with 3 kids it can become time consuming and expensive! Last year I switched to a family basket instead of individual baskets. It was wonderful! This is a tradition we will be continuing this year.

Growing up my Easter basket as a kid was filled completely with candy. From the start I knew that wasn’t how I wanted to approach Easter baskets. I wanted them to be fun but not filled with junk candy; that was bought just for the sake of filling the baskets. Thankfully, this approach was already well established by the time we found out Thomas needed to be gluten free; since, it’s hard to find seasonal candy that’s gluten free. Though, Peeps candies (including the chocolate covered ones) are!

I like to fill the Easter basket with stuff that was already planned purchases for the most part. That way there isn’t a lot of extra money going out the door. There are certain staples that go in every year like sidewalk chalk. My kids adore the stuff and we use it all up by the end of the summer. So, each Easter I replenish our supply. This year’s basket will have:

- The Easter Egg by Jan Brett. (I picked this up last year on after Easter clearance)
- The Weight of Mass: A Tale of Faith by Josephine Nobisso (school related)
- The Adventures of Sir Lancelot the Great (The Knight’s Tales Series) by Gerald Morris
- Butterfly garden (school related)
- a new matchbox car per kid
- Sidewalk chalk (I scored a better deal on Amazon than what the price was at our local Walmart)
- Thermos Funtainer water bottle for each kid. (I picked these up at our local Walmart/Target because they were significantly cheaper than on Amazon.)
-Octonaut’s DVD

So, what is going in your kids Easter baskets?


Slaying the Laundry Monster and not by becoming a Nudist.

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When I grew up laundry was a massive pile on the love seat. For me it was perfectly normal to have to search for a clean outfit every morning. This would be the reason why I seldom wear matched socks. I am cool as long as the socks are the same kind- crew cut, ankle, etc.

Once, I was married laundry was fairly simple to keep up with at first. There just wasn’t that much. However, 3 kids down the road and I had my own Mt. Laundry. It felt like I was constantly washing clothes and searching for clothes for people to wear each day. It was exhausting. I was starting to get very depressed about the pile of laundry that was a resident in my living room. However, the pile is no more!

At the beginning of the year Mark and I started talking about downsizing. We wanted a more minimalistic way of life. We felt we were drowning in stuff. A big thing was clothes…..they were simply everywhere. We had Mt. Laundry in the living room. We also had random piles in our bedroom and even in the kids’ room. So, over the last few weeks I have been purging our wardrobes and simplifying them.

The first thing I did was weed out all the wrong size kid clothes. There was a ridiculous amount and I am ashamed to say they were cycling through the laundry room on a fairly regular basis. Once, I had done that I set out to get the kids’ wardrobes to a manageable size. This is their summer wardrobe per kid:

-1 pair of blue jeans
-1 pair light weight activity pants
-7 shorts*
-7 shirts*
-2 polos for church wear
-1 button up dress shirt
-1 pair of church pants
-1 pair of church shorts
-2 pairs of pjs*
- 1 swim suit
-2 packages of underwear for those that are potty trained
-1 package of socks
-1 light weight jacket

Shoes for each are: rainboots, crocs and sneakers.
*Note: Two younger kids have a couple extra pieces to account for accidents.

This brings me to a total of 80 clothing items; not including socks/underwear. It does include the few extra clothing pieces my younger two have. It sounds like a lot of clothing but when you take into account that it is for 3 kids it isn’t.

Mark and my wardrobes are still works in progress. However, by purging the wardrobes I greatly lightened my laundry load. While, I was purging I also took the opportunity to catch up on Mt. Laundry and bulldoze it to the ground. I even matched the socks! Once, I was caught up I wanted to put a new system in place that would prevent Mt. Laundry from every growing again.

I looked at our weekly schedule and decided that Tuesdays and Fridays were going to be laundry days. Each day I will watch 3 loads of laundry. Tuesdays is made up of: kids, adults and towels/rags. Fridays is made up of: kids, adults and Mark’s uniform stuff.  Once a month I wash all the bedding (kids bedding is as needed). I wash diapers as needed throughout the week; normally 2 times a week. By doing laundry twice a week and having small wardrobes the loads aren’t huge. I no longer have to wait for Mark to carry the heavy laundry baskets upstairs for me. I fold each load as it comes out of the dryer and then bring it upstairs and put it away. I have the boys help.

I never thought it was possible to not have a Mt. Laundry but it is! I did laundry today and didn’t dread it. Even though we were out of the house all day running errands it was easy to wash the 3 loads. The night before laundry day before bed I start the first load. This way when I get up in the morning it can be moved to the dryer and I can start the second load. This allows me to have a good start on laundry by 8 am. I also don’t take a load out of the dryer unless I can fold it right then and there. If I can’t fold it I leave it in the dryer. I also have a rule that at the end of each laundry day the dryer is empty.

All the boys clothes neatly put away.
kids laundry

 


Little Bit Extra

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There are many ways that you can easily make money while going about your regular life. I use several different programs to bring in a little extra; mostly in the form of gift cards. Amazon gift cards are my favorite.

Swagbucks: I collect swagbucks and then “cash” them in for Amazon gift cards that I use towards Christmas. I usually earn one $5 Amazon gift card each month bringing my total for the year to $60 in gift cards. I earn that $60 simply by playing on my computer. I earn swagbucks through a variety of ways. Taking a few minutes to do the daily poll and checking the tool bar, putting in the swagcodes when they pop up, couponing and using swagbucks for my internet searches. I can also earn swagbucks via referrals.

Ibotta: I started using Ibotta this past January. It’s a phone app that you earn rebates on groceries like milk and bread. So, far by simply checking the app after I grocery shop and redeeming rebates I have earned $10.50. Not bad for 2 months. This is another program that you can earn extra for referrals. The money can be cashed in for gift cards or my personal favorite sent to your paypal!

Bing: This is a new program I just recently found that works in conjunction with the Bing search engine. You collect credits by using the search engine and then can cash them in for gift cards or swagbucks! I will be cashing mine in for swagbucks to get more Amazon giftcards (You use less swagbuck points to get a gift card there than you do to get an Amazon gift card using bing credits. Therefore more bang for your points!) They are also currently offering a great deal if your friends sign up using your referral link- 500 bing credits.

Affiliates Links: A lot of companies offer affiliate programs such as Amazon. Mark and I have an Amazon store front called The Blue Duffle Bag. It’s just like shopping on Amazon and we earn a little bit back. Also, when you order something from a link on my blog we earn a little bit back; all which I appreciate immensely.

Lastly, credit card rewards. I know this one isn’t for everyone. However, we pay for everything we can using our credit card to rack up reward points and pay it off each pay period to avoid interest. We redeem our points for cash back. In the last two years we have earn back $450!

If you are interested in signing up for any of these I would appreciated if you used my referral links.

Swagbucks: http://swagbucks.com/refer/trghig
Ibotta: http://ibotta.com/r/TKEkBA
Bing: http://www.bing.com/explore/rewards?PUBL=REFERAFRIEND&CREA=RAW&rrid=_08008bad-35e1-1a38-5104-b5e4105f4cfe
Our Amazon Store: http://astore.amazon.com/thblduba-20


Early Retirement…. say what? (And some DIY recipes!)

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Mark has been talking about retirement for a while now and had started working on a retirement account. He had even mentioned the idea of early retirement several times. Originally it was mostly just discussion but than in December he came across Mr. Money Mustache…..All of a sudden the talk about early retirement became much more earnest and he wanted to put a plan in action to achieve that. His plan meant living very very frugally. It meant saving an immense amount of money now.

At first I was very resistant of the idea. I already felt like we were living frugally. I already felt; when compared to how I was raised that we were saving a lot of money. I didn’t see how we could follow the lifestyle that Mr. Money Mustache advocated and still have a happy enjoyable life filled with rich experiences.  I’ve slowly been getting more on board with the idea and the plan. Though, I am sure Mark wishes I could climb aboard the Mr. Money Mustache boat a little quicker!

While, I was exploring his website I came across an article entitled “Are You Cleaning Out Your Own Wallet?” It hit home especially when Mark and I sat down to review the financial picture of the past year and go over the budget for the upcoming year. I was shocked at the amount of money I had spent over the past year on household cleaning supplies and personal supplies. I started looking at what we were buying and started considering what we could do to cut the amount of money spent in those areas.

There wasn’t a lot to cut in household cleaning supplies. I can’t cut out dishwasher soap or laundry soap. We need trash bags. In personal care products there was room to cut but even then there wasn’t too much room. I am not a woman; who can embrace never shaving and being super hairy! I can’t buy the cheapest shampoo and conditioners because they leave me with horrible dandruff. Dandruff that is so bad my scalp will start to bleed. I can’t use super cheap products on my face because they cause me to break out.

So, since there wasn’t a lot to cut by not buying the products I had to start considering ways to get said products at a more reasonable cost. I started scouring Pinterest and found some fantastic do-it-yourself recipes for things like dish soap, laundry soap and some of the personal care products I use.

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At first I was a little skeptical about how well some of these alternatives would work. However, I am pleased to say that they all work just as well as the mainstream store bought items and in some case like the dishwasher soap better! So, without further ado here are the recipes!

Dishwasher soap found over at Wellness Mama’s blog.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients and store in an air tight container.
  2. Use 1 tablespoon per load as needed.
  3. For an extra boost, add a few drops of dishwashing liquid (only a few!!!) to the powder before closing the soap container in the dishwasher.
  4. You can also add white vinegar as the rinse agent, though honestly, I forget this most of the time and it still works.

I used an old pickle jar. I have been beyond impressed with this recipe. I have not added any liquid dishwashing soap when using it. This has cleaned my dishes better than the expensive dishwashing tablets were! With the amount that I made and how little needed per load this is going to last me forever!

Laundry Soap found here at How Does She do That.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (4 lb 12 oz) Box of Borax- Found in the detergent aisle
  • 1 (3 lb 7 oz) Box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda- Found in the detergent aisle
  • 1 (3 lb) Container of OxyClean- Found in the detergent aisle. (This is optional but I highly recommend adding it)
  • 2 (14.1 oz) Bars of Zote Soap- Found in the detergent aisle (we chose to do pink for the scent but the white would be just fine. You can also use Fels Naptha)
  • 1 (4 lb) Box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda- Found in the cooking aisle (You could also get two 2 lb box, we couldn’t find the larger 4lb box when we went)
  • ·         1-2 (55 oz) Bottle of Purex Crystals Fabric Softener- or use 3-4 bottles of Scentsy Washer Whiffs.

Instructions:

1. Grate zote soap with cheese grater or food processor.
2. Mix all ingredients together in a large bucket.
3. Use 2 -4 Tablespoons per laundry load.

Note: I used Fels Naptha soap and a grater. I also left out the purex crystals.

Now, onto the 2 personal care products I have started making. The first one I started making was make-up remover. I am thrilled with it because unlike the store bought make-up remover it doesn’t leave my skin feeling slimy afterwards. Instead, it feels nourished. The other product I started making was a face scrub. It is very similar to the expensive face scrub I like from the body shop but so much cheaper to make!

Make-up Remover found over at Frugally Sustainable

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup distilled water
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dr. Bronner’s unscented baby-mild liquid castile soap (I used citrus scented)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

Instructions:

  1. Combine ingredients in container
  2. Shake well
  3. Dampen cotton ball to use
  4. Store in airtight container and shake before each use.

Oatmeal Honey Face Scrub found over at Dabbles and Babbles

Ingredients:

  • Two parts oatmeal (ground up finely in a blender or food processor)
  • One part honey
  • One part sweet almond oil (or coconut or olive oil – which ever you prefer)

Directions:

Mix everything together until it’s a thick sticky mixture. Feel free to add a little extra oil or even a few drops of water if it’s too sticky or clumpy. Smooth onto face and rub into skin for a couple of minutes and then rinse off.

Note: I used olive oil.

I use this nightly! Absolutely, love how it leaves my skin feeling.


Early February Daybook

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Outside my window…

It is finally warming up some. The last week was snowy and ridiculously cold…at least for this Southerner.  However, the boys are sad that the snow is gone. By the end even Antonio had gotten into having snowball fights…well at least standing and throwing the snowballs (that daddy provided) at daddy.

I am thinking…

Thomas’ birthday is coming up and I am clueless as to what to get him for a gift. Antonio’s gift was easy last month. I also have Paul’s gift already picked out for him in April. However, I am stumped for Thomas. That seems to be how it always is.

I am thankful…

That we have access to modern medicine. The beginning of last week found the entire house battling a cold. I ended up having to take both Antonio and Thomas in for breathing difficulties. Antonio had croup and Thomas was simply having issues because he had been coughing so hard. I am also thankful for a good primary doctor for myself; who was able to put my mind at ease concerning some headaches I have been experiencing. He is also quick to help me do what needs to be done to manage my si-joint and back pain.

Learning all the time…

We’ve spent several weeks study bats after Paul watched a Magic School Bus episode on them. We checked out every kids book the library had on bats. Here were a few of our favorite non-fiction picks:
Hello, Bumblebee Bat, Bats and Bats (Usborne Beginners Nature). Fiction wise our library didn’t have much on bats. However, they did have Stellaluna. Paul liked it so much he requested we purchase our own copy.

From the kitchen…

I am desperately trying to rein in the grocery budget and I am not sure I am having much success in that area. We shall see as the month goes on. I stocked up on Jule’s gluten free flour at the end of last month. I used it to make blueberry muffins and they were a hit. I am hoping more baking will help lower the budget. I am also being more strict about the amount of snacks the kids can eat during the day in the hopes of getting them to eat better at meal time.

I am working on…

De-cluttering. We are hoping to downsize to a smaller house or apartment when our current lease is up. Downsizing to an apartment means needing to purge and reduce the amount of stuff we have. I am not having much success purging kid toys. So, I am considering moving all the toys out of the playroom and having the kids “check-out” the toys when they want to play. Then I will use a spreadsheet to see how often each toy is checked out; hopefully making it easier to figure out what isn’t really getting played with.

I am creating…

I love the idea of little passports but I am not so crazy about the price. So, I am setting out to make my own version using free resources off the internet. I am also working on building up a craft box now that Paul and Thomas are showing an interest in crafting. I’ll blog about our craft box later.

I am hoping…

That spring arrives sooner than later. I am so tired of winter and being cold.

I am reading…

I am currently reading Castle in the Attic aloud to the boys. It’s been very nice to re-visit some of my favorite childhood reads with the boys over the last few months.

I am listening…

To silence occasionally broken by Antonio talking to Daddy.

Around the house…

Trying to get to a point where everything is maintenance cleaning only. So, far I’ve had good success in the dining room, kitchen and playroom. Still need to get the rest of the rooms in the house in order.

One of my favorite things…

Watching the light bulb moment when one of the boys gets a new concept.

This week’s plans…

Speech for Paul and Antonio
Occupational Therapy for Paul
Lots of visiting with our friends before they head out of town for several weeks
Antonio’s 2 year well check-up
Weekend movie night with the family. Movie selection: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2.