Friday, September 2, 2016

It's Not Too Late To Join Beachbody's Healthy Bet and Earn Cash!

***I am a Beachbody Coach so if you choose to purchase a program or Shakeology from me I will be earning a commission. This commission will help pay for my girls' theatre stuff this fall. So, if you want to help us out, Thank you so much. If you don't, you can get it anywhere Beachbody is sold***

As you may or may not know I am a Beachbody Coach. I started using the products and fell in love with them! I have lost almost 55 pounds, have increased energy, less cravings and my blood sugar numbers are looking better. After trying out the products for a month and seeing the changes in my own health I decided I wanted to help others, so I became a coach.

For the first time ever Beachbody is doing a program, Healthy Bet, where they will give everyone who completes this "bet" an equal piece of the $1+ million pot! Beachbody is betting you and me that we will fall in love with getting healthy!

Do you have to be a coach? NO

Do you have to lose a certain amount of weight? NO

Do you have to be super fit and skinny? NO

Do you have to log a certain number of minutes of exercise or steps or whatever? NO

Do you have to do a Beachbody workout? NO

Do you have to log sweaty and gross photos of yourself? NO

So what is it and what do you have to do? Keep reading 'cause I'm gonna give you all the juicy details! And you'll see it's so simple and easy to get a piece of the pot!

First let me give you the dates of the program: September 5th - October 2nd

Week 1: September 5 - September 11
Week 2: September 12 - September 18
Week 3: September 19 - September 25
Week 4: September 26 - October 2

To get a piece of the pot you have to qualify with a few things:

1. Participate in an active Challenge Group on the FREE My Challenge Tracker app and register in it before midnight on September 5th. This app is so easy to use even me who is sometimes technology challenged was able to figure it out without a problem! It is available for both Android and iPhone.

2. Log a minimum of 5 Shakeology's each accompanied by a Shakeology photo. It can be a pic of just the shake by itself, you drinking it, or even preparing it.

3. Log a minimum of 3 workouts. Any kind, any length, Beachbody workouts or not, walking, swimming, lifting weights, etc.

4. Be 18 or older and a legal resident of the US or Canada (excluding Quebec)

5. Have at least a basic Beachbody membership--which is FREE

That's it! It's so easy! You can do this!

If you would like more details (no pressure or obligation), have questions (again no pressure or obligation), or want help choosing a program comment below.

You can also shop at my Beachbody website!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

5 Tips To Turn A Reluctant Reader Into An Avid Reader

My youngest Emma use to be a reluctant reader, until I discovered some tricks that have made reading more enjoyable to her.

As many of you know, we are avid readers. My husband and I love to read and so did our oldest, Miriam. So, we were concerned when our youngest was more of a reluctant reader. We read to them all the time and they were always surrounded by books. We have so many books in our home, that we do not have a "home" for all of them!

So here is a list of the things I did to help our reluctant reader become an avid reader.

1. Let Them Choose What To Read! This may seem like a no brainer but we often don't let them make the choice. We try to "help" by offering this or that book. Let them browse and find what looks interesting to them.

What got Emma into reading was a comic book series, "Tiny Titans." It looked good to her and she picked it out completely by herself. She devoured these comics and would reread them over and over again! A highlight when she was younger was when she got to meet the creators Art and Franco at Comic Con! She brought every single copy, even the ones without covers and that were falling apart so they could sign them.

2. A Special Book Just For Them One trick I discovered completely by accident. I had picked up some books at a library sale, can't pass up a great deal on books. I usually pick out books with one or the other of the girls in mind but I tend to give them to them all together. Well, that day I happened to show my husband the books first and had told him why I chose each book and who I was thinking would enjoy it. So, he told our girls that mommy had picked out some books special for each of them, so when I got home Emma met me at the door bouncing up and down and asked what books I had gotten special for her. I gave her the books I had picked out thinking of her and she sat down and read them! So, giving them a special book especially for them might help.

3. Fewer Choices Half the time during school I pick out what we will be reading/studying and the other half of them time I will let the girls choose. Well, what I pick isn't always what they are most excited about but when I would let them choose Emma would take forever and she would start whining about not knowing what to pick. Which would lead to me getting frustrated, just pick a book we have a ton! Then one day I chose a few books for her to choose from and asked her to choose from those, which she happily did and sat down to read no whining and no tears. Lesson learned, sometimes too many choices can be way too overwhelming for a beginning reader.

4. Reward Them for Reading I came up with the idea to chart the books we were reading and give them a reward when they reached a certain level. Sometimes it's a toy from the dollar store, a candy bar at the grocery store, picking a craft to do together, picking the movie for movie night, picking dessert, or anything else I come up with. As you can see it's usually inexpensive as well.

Here is what their reading charts looked like when they were younger.

They can fill in the squares by coloring them or with a sticker. Because Mia was a more advanced reader she had to read a few more books than Emma to reach each level.

To solve the problem of having them reading the easiest books to fill up the most spaces faster I came up with a point system. Each book was given a certain number of points determined by me based on difficulty as well as their individual reading levels. Also they are allowed to read the same book again but it loses one point each time it is read, so if a book is worth 3 points the next time it is read it is only worth 2. We did have some books that were so ridiculously easy that they are worth 0 points. They love to see their charts filling up as well as getting their rewards.

Now that they are older we keep a reading log.

5. Read Aloud With Them No matter how old they are reading aloud with them is still a great way to introduce new books and genres. This is a fun way to spend time together as well.

Kind of a spin off to this tip is listening to audio books. We do a lot of driving in the car to classes and such and have discovered audio books for the drive!

Do you have any tips to helping a reluctant reader become an avid reader?

Friday, July 1, 2016

Practicing With PicMonkey

***Disclosure there are affiliate links in this article. By clicking on them I do earn a commission, or you can just go to whatever website you want and I don't earn anything. Totally up to you!***

I have always wanted to have a nice camera but was overwhelmed with the choices and pricing. We actually received a super nice camera as a gift for my hubby putting in over 15 years at his job. I love it! So I have been practicing with it, doing some free courses on how to use it, etc.

PicMonkey Photo editing made of win I just started dabbling in picmonkey. I used older pics and started dabbling with making collages. And then started working on making pics for Christmas gifts. And now have started putting quotes on them. I want to use my own pics with quotes I like!

Here's a couple I made yesterday. I think they're adorable!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

7 Day Slim Down

***Disclosure I am a Beachbody Coach. By purchasing from my website I do earn a commission, or you can just go to whatever website you want and I don't earn anything. Totally up to you!***

I am trying to lose wight to get healthier overall. I want to be able to get off my diabetic medicine, feel better, and have more energy.

I hit a plateau in my weightloss and I was getting pretty frustrated. I had lost a total of 40 pounds but I couldn't seem to get under 190.

Then I decided to do the 3 Day Refresh from Beachbody. I started using Beachbody's Shakeology and Piyo and saw such great results. I feel more energy and less cravings and I have been losing weight. I loved these products so much that I became a coach. But I had not tried the 3 Day Refresh.

The 3 Day Refresh is meant to be a kickstart to your weightloss so I figured that I needed a kickstart to get me off that plateau. With this program you drink Shakeology, a Vanilla Protein Shake, Fiber and then some healthy small vegetarian meals.

My hubby joined me in this challenge. By the end of the 3 days he had lost 10.2 pounds and I had lost 6 putting me at 188!

I knew when I went back to eating more normally that I would initially gain back some weight. I gained back 4 pounds. But started losing them again and as of today, 1 1/2 weeks after completing the 3 Day Refresh I am back down to 188!!!!!

I am starting a challenge group and would love to have you join me.

We will start the 7 Day Slim Down after the 4th of July! After you fill up from your Independence Day BBQ we will gain freedom by shedding some weight!

Cut off to join me is Monday, June 27. Your commitment will be 7 Days and $35. What do you get for it?
1) Personal motivation from yours truly
2) SEVEN meals
3) Meal Plan
4) Workout tips
5) Personalized Exercise Plan
6) AND a secret Facebook group where we will keep each other accountable
If you know you need this... comment below right now & commit.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Camp Fundraiser

***Disclosure there are affiliate links in this article. By clicking on them I do earn a commission, or you can just go to whatever website you want and I don't earn anything. Totally up to you!***

Every year our church has girl's camp for those girls who are 12-18. And every year they do a fundraiser to help off set the cost of attending.

This year's theme was Alice In Wonderland. Mia was the Queen of hearts and Emma was the March Hare.

They had a spaghetti dinner and this year they added a sauce cookoff. They also had a bake sale and a Texas Auction going. And the girls provided entertainment with little scenes from Alice In Wonderland that they acted out throughout the evening.

The evening went well and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. And bonus, they made almost all the money they needed for camp!

My husband and daughters really enjoy Alice In Wonderland both the book and the Disney movie.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Pet Series - Brandy the Old Grumpy Cat

***Disclosure there are affiliate links in this article. By clicking on them I do earn a commission, or you can just go to whatever website you want and I don't earn anything. Totally up to you!***

We have 13 pets! Crazy I know especially because my husband doesn't like animals and is allergic. But the things he does for us. My girls and I love animals so we might have gone a little overboard. I thought it would be fun to introduce you to a member of our pet family one a week as well as some funny stories.

Our older cat was our very first pet, well if you don't count all the fish that have died. We can keep a hamster alive for 4 1/2 years but can't keep fish alive past 6 months. :(

Back to our adorable cat, we rescued her years ago when we were still living in our apartment. It has been 9 years since we took her in. She was declawed and fixed and was being beat up by all the stray cats in the apartments. We started feeding her on our patio and the girls would play with her. Then she started leaving us "gifts."

It started out slow, just every once in a while, a dead mouse, a bird, or bunny would end up at our patio door. Then she started leaving something about everyday. I can do any live animal, dead animals, that's when I call my hubby to take over.

My sweet hubby decided that he would take allergy medicine so we could let her in the house. And thus our zoo has begun.

She was so happy to be inside that she pretty much let my girls do anything. You'll give me a house and food? Sure, you can dress me up in doll clothes, carry me like a baby, carry me around so my back paws are dragging on the floor because you're so short! She is the sweetest cat alive!

We went out and bought her all kinds of cat toys but she wanted nothing to do with them. We soon learned that she was not into playing, she just wanted to be held and loved.

She purrs almost continually and only meows when she wants attention or help with something.

All the usual cat stuff you hear about, this is not Brandy at all.

Then we bought our house in 2010 and started adding to the zoo! Our next addition was a puppy and she was not happy about this puppy wanting to play with her. She soon put the puppy in it's place when she bonked her on the nose with her paw. The puppy whined as if this was the most horrible thing that had ever happened to her. But from that time on when she entered that room she would enter slowly, looking for the cat.
After the puppy grew up and lost some of that puppy excitement Brandy and her soon became happy housemates and at times almost seem like they are friends.

One day they were both out in the backyard. The dog was running around and Brandy was sitting there staring at the ground with her tail swishing. All of a sudden she let out a meow and the dog came running over and started digging. Then Brandy moved to a new spot watching, let out a meow after a while and the dog came running over to dig. This went on for a while until the dog got a gopher! They had been hunting the gopher together!

Then we got the kitten last year. She does not want to play with her but all the kitten wants to do is play. The dog will even go and intercept the two cats when the kitten is bugging the Brandy too much.

Brandy knows her name and will come when called even if she is outside. She comes faster if you have her favorite treats!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Third Marriage Trap--The Togetherness Trap

***Disclosure there are affiliate links in this article. By clicking on them I do earn a commission, or you can just go to whatever website you want and I don't earn anything. Totally up to you!***

So with this trap you can go two ways, spending too much time together OR not spending enough time together. And usually each person in the couple has a different idea of what being together is.

Does being together consist of being in the same room together even if your just watching TV? Or does being together mean to you spending planned thought out activities together? Neither one is wrong, you just need to communicate to your spouse what your definition of spending time together is.

Togetherness is the emotional bonding that couples have with each other. Too little and you have can have a major problem. While too much can also be destructive. You need to have a sense of couple identity and only you and your spouse can decide what that means in your relationship. Don't compare your togetherness with another couple's, they might need more or less than you do.

Yes, I'm going to get spiritual here, include the Savior and you Father in Heaven when deciding how much togetherness time you need as a couple. Pray about it. Seek heavenly guidance. Commit your love to your Savior's keeping.

As a stay-at-home mom I have found it hard to have my own identity at times away from the home, the kids, and my husband. If you are having trouble with your identity as an individual find some hobbies that are your hobbies. I have this blog, sewing, baking for fun, my Beachbody business I just started, etc. What do you have as your hobbies?

But we also can't spend all our time focused on ourselves and our identity. Finding a balance can be so difficult!

Talk together as a couple and figure out what togetherness means for you as a couple and work on having that bond. But also allow each of you to have your own hobbies.

How do you find balance in your relationship?

Twelve Traps in Today's Marriage and How to Avoid Them

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Pet Series - Lotty the Kitten

***Disclosure there are affiliate links in this article. By clicking on them I do earn a commission, or you can just go to whatever website you want and I don't earn anything. Totally up to you!***

We have 13 pets! Crazy I know especially because my husband doesn't like animals and is allergic. But the things he does for us. My girls and I love animals so we might have gone a little overboard. I thought it would be fun to introduce you to a member of our pet family a week as well as some funny stories.

We got this kitten in October. My girls were doing a Halloween show at the local community theatre called Stage Fright. The kitten was found in the theatre one night after rehearsals.

She thinks of herself as a scary hunter but if any of the other animals come towards her most times she jumps back in fright. She's a bully, until confronted.

She has a ton of energy until you put her harness and leash on. Then she becomes dead weight and unmovable.

She tries to play with our older cat but the older cat wants nothing to do with her!

The dog on the other hand likes to play so that is Lotty's playmate. The dog will even go and intercept the two cats when Lotty is bugging the older cat too much.

Our older cat never cared for toys. But we need a lot of toys to keep her attention and for her to get out her energy. This is one of her favorites:

Just when you think that you've had enough of her, Lotty will do something so cute and precious that you forgive her all her craziness from before. Except for my hubby, he thinks she's pure evil! ;)

Thursday, May 12, 2016

We Are Monsters - Stand Up And Fight

My daughters were in a play called "We Are Monsters." They had a great time and made lots of new friends.

Below is a video of one of the songs from the play. My oldest daughter, Miriam AKA Mia, is the one who starts the song with her solo, she is a Vampire. My youngest daughter, Emma,is a gargoyle, the tallest gargoyle.

The Vampires have red shirts and capes. The gargoyles have gray shirts, bow ties, and headbands with floppy balls on top. There are also humans, in the black shirts; werewolves, in brown shirts; and a monster named Oozy in a green shirt.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Book Video--Once Upon A Time, A Bit Earlier . . .

So my hubby made a video about his book that's coming out in a few months, "Once Upon A Time, A Bit Earlier." It is a middle grade fairy tale book, but it's not your normal fairy tales!

It has just over a week to go on it's kickstarter campaign.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Second Marriage Trap--The Tradition Trap

***Disclosure there are affiliate links in this article. By clicking on them I do earn a commission, or you can just go to whatever website you want and I don't earn anything. Totally up to you!***

The second marriage trap that Brent A Barlow talks about in his book, “Twelve Traps In Today's Marriage,” is the tradition trap.

The tradition trap can manifest in two ways. The first is in thinking that your marriage has to be that way because it has always been that way. The second is thinking that your marriage needs to be like your parents, grandparents, or how it's been in the past because it has worked for them for years.

First off the roles in today's marriage has changed from how it has been in the past. More households today have to have both spouses work to make ends meet in today's economy.

Fortunately since we have had kids I have been able to stay home and raise them while my husband goes to work to support us. I have done jobs from home, like direct marketing, babysitting, etsy, etc so even when I am home I am also working. I also homeschool our daughters which is a job all in itself. And as my girls get older and more involved in things the less of our school actually takes place at home!

In the past housework was primarily done by women but we see an increase of husbands stepping in and helping with the housework. Just this week while I was at a rehearsal for one of my daughters' play practices my husband was at home doing the dishes so I wouldn't have to worry about them later.

What changes can you make in your marriage to make it work for you without getting stuck in the same rut that isn't working for you.

Wishing and hoping for a better marriage is good because you realize that changes need to be made. But you can't just wish and hope you need to work to make those changes.

It is a huge myth that your marriage will like cheese or wine and get better with age! You will not suddenly wake up one day and find that it has improved with no effort form you and your spouse.

If you are sitting there going yeah my spouse needs to change so much but you don't know how to approach them about the changes that you feel need o be made let me help you out about how to approach them.

When you come to them and start the conversation about things that need to be changed don't have a huge list start with the things that are needing to be changed. Start with just a couple.

It might be a good idea to start with things that aren't huge so you as a couple will feel empowered that you can make these changes when you see these smaller changes being made.

When you have your list of things that you would like to see changed, make sure you have some stuff on there that you need to change as well and not just things that your spouse needs to change.

Lastly keep in mind when you are changing things things usually get worse before they get better. But if you can stick with it you can have the marriage you have always dreamed of!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Hubby's Newest Book--"Once Upon A Time, A Bit Earlier. . ."

***Disclosure there is a link in this article to the kickstarter campaign. By clicking on it my husband will get some of the money raised. Or don't pledge. Totally up to you!***

***Another disclosure a lot of these words are taken straight from hubby, Erik Peterson's own words.***

So my hubby, Erik, has a book that got picked up by a small publisher. The publisher is running a kickstarter campaign to get the ball rolling on getting it published. The illustrations are beautifully done by Meredith Moriarty.

If you don't know how a kickstarter campaign works read this paragraph. If you already know how it works you can skip this paragraph. Basically, someone makes something and they think it's really cool or in this case they find someone else who thinks it's really cool. But they don't have the funds to totally create this project, whether it's the person or in this case the small publisher. So they launch a kickstarter campaign to see if there are other people out there that think it sounds really cool and are willing to pitch in some money to help make the project get done.

I have a confession to make.

I don't love Kickstarter. And neither does my hubby. It asks people to buy a book they haven't read and that they can't even find reviews for since the book isn't out. It says, "Buy this thing right now that doesn't exist yet and just trust me that when you eventually get it, it will be good."

There's a chance you'll hate this book. Maybe you'll think it's too short and you got ripped off. Maybe you'll hate what he did with one character or another. Maybe something that he thought was charming, you'll think is cheesy. You all already know this.

Also, usually the cool thing about kickstarting something are is you get cool rewards like autographs of famous authors or dinner with a celebrity. We don't have any of that. We just have books. Though if you're local I can definitely get the author to sign your copy! ;)

But a bunch of you have already taken the plunge anyway. You've put hard earned dollars towards helping this book happen and getting a copy into your hands and homes.

That puts a knot in the pit of our stomachs and makes us want to do everything in our power to make this book live up to the faith you're putting in him. Granted I think that my hubby is more worried about this than I am as he is the one who wrote it.

It also makes us realize what an amazing, loving, supportive group of people you all are.

To all of you who have contributed so far, thank you so much. We appreciate your faith and generosity tremendously. I know Kickstarter is a weird way to do this. You're doing it anyway, which makes you the real heroes here.

So to those of you who aren't sure about Kickstarter, We completely understand. We don't like backing things on Kickstarter either. We're kindred spirits. ::Fist-bump::

We are doing everything in our power to make this Kickstarter different.

First, we've put a BUNCH of the art up already. You can see it in the video on the kickstarter page, and we'll post more. As you can see this blog post is sprinkled with some great art that actually comes from the book!

Second, we've put the whole opening of the book up already. You can get an idea of what it's like and what's going on. It's on the Kickstarter page.

And third, because Erik wants you to feel 100% confident that this book is right for you he am making this offer: comment here on the blog and he'll send you the first half of the book as a PDF.

Not the first three chapters, not the first 20 pages, but the whole first half of the book.

If you don't like it, no hard feelings, no obligation to buy the book. we're glad we saved you the money. Not every book is meant for everybody.

But if you do like it, and you want to read the rest, I hope you'll consider using weird Kickstarter to do it.

It won't have the pictures or the nice formatting (that all still has to be put together) but it will be the manuscript the way it looks in our word processor.

Again, to all of you who have or are planning to contribute to this Kickstarter, thank you. You are a part of this story.

Here is a little bit more about the book itself now that we have all that other stuff out of the way.

By turns charming, funny, exciting and thrilling, Once Upon A Time, A Bit Earlier . . . is meant for all ages. It's similar in size and length to something by Roald Dahl, Sid Fleischman, or Chris Grabenstein. It's a bit longer than The Mouse and The Motorcycle and a bit shorter than Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Our tale begins after the Snow White story we all know, as Snow White and her new husband discover the lair of the Dark Queen. When the Magic Mirror realizes the queen has been defeated, he is dismayed.

"I suppose I'll have to try again . . . earlier."

Suddenly, all the stories begin again! Only now, everyone is much younger. Snow White is a little girl. Rapunzel's hair is only long enough to reach the middle of her back. The three bears are still only two!

But that is not all that's changed.

When the Huntsman comes to take Snow White into the woods, we find it is because the Dark Queen has sent him to protect her!

As that change tumbles and collides into each of the other stories, Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, the Dark Witch, the Three Little Pigs--all of their stories are twisted and altered.

What's really going on here? What mysteries will be explained?

Perhaps we'll find out why there are so many versions of fairy tales . . .

And the ultimate question of why these evil sorceresses so desperately want all of these little girls dead.

Will they live happily ever after?

Help us Kickstart this book! Get a hardcover copy for $25 at the link below.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

First Marriage Trap--The Time Trap

***Disclosure there are affiliate links in this article. By clicking on them I do earn a commission, or you can just go to whatever website you want and I don't earn anything. Totally up to you!***

I started reading the book Twelve Traps In Today's Marriage and How To Avoid Them by Brent A Barlow. I am going to once a week talk about a trap that he talks about in his book.

The first trap talked about is the time trap. How often do we complain about not having enough time to accomplish everything? Yet we all have the same amount of time in a day or week. We often can find time for the things we want to do the most, the things we value the most.

We worry about spending enough time with the kids. We talk about quality vs quantity. Which is more important? But do we worry about if we are spending enough time with our spouses?

Building a family is not the same as building a marriage. Both require different activities. We need to to strengthen our bond between ourselves and our spouse. We need to spend time together as a couple.

What counts as time together with our spouse? Does watching TV together count? Puttering around the house? Eating meals together? Sleeping at night? Any family outing? Or does it need to be more quality time?

I feel like we need to have time together just the two of us to talk without any distractions. No TV, kids, or cell phones allowed!

We need to spend time talking about more than just the mundane daily tasks and the kids. We need to be able to open up to each other and talk about our feelings, emotions, goals, dreams, and ideas. And we need to talk about each other and our relationship and how to make it stronger.

In the book he has a chart called the time test. Where basically you fill in how many hours a week you spend on various activities. 17 hours a week equates to about 10% of your week.

Most people spend 80% of their week in necessary activities like sleeping, job, household management, eating, child care, etc.

Most people will then spend 15% of the week on individual and recreational activities like sports/hobbies, exercise/healthcare, education/study, church/community, reading, TV, etc.

That leaves 5% to accomplish family activities and activities with our spouses. Granted some of the recreation time is being done with our families or spouses. But is it enough?

Most people will spend less than 2% of their week in marriage maintenance.

Are we as a married couple our own worst enemy? Much like delaying regular car maintenance can seriously ruin our cars, are we ruining our marriage by not doing the regular marriage maintenance necessary to keep it strong?

We demand and expect more of our marriage but the constant daily grind and routine wears us down. We end up losing patience as our expectations aren't met. We end up getting on each others nerves and tempers flare.

Weekly dates are good but what are we doing daily?

We need to take time each day to talk to each other without the kids, TV, or cell phones around as distractions.

We need to give occasional gifts, a weekend getaway, a vacation just the two of you to reconnect and show each other that we care. These things do take time and money but just like regular oil changes cost less than a new engine, these things cost less than a divorce does both financially and emotionally.

If you don't take enough time weekly as couple you will fall into the time trap. A time trap is 2% or less of your week spent as time as a couple. That's 2-3 hours a week or less!

If we can take 20 minutes a day talking we will already be at 2 hours and 3 minutes a week!

We need to use the 3 T's - Time, talk, and touch. When you are using your 20 minutes a day to talk hold hands or have your arms around each other or hug.

By doing the 3 T's everyday you will grow closer as a couple and your marriage will strengthen and your family life will be strengthened.

Twelve Traps in Today's Marriage and How to Avoid Them

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Children's Theater

My daughter's LOVE acting! They love being part of something bigger to entertain others. Sometimes this will get us in trouble as they want to be in multiple things at the same. We are coming to the end of that season, in just a couple weeks we will have a break from 5 different theater things they are involved in down to zero! This is a break that we all need!

One of the projects they are involved in is a Childrens Theater that has been put together by one of the directors they had worked with previously. He always wanted to have a group that would go around perform at different schools in the area. Since we homeschool they are able to be a part of this group.

It is a play called The Fairytale Network. They both play a pig in "The Three Little Pigs" bit, my youngest plays Baby Bear in "Goldilocks And The Three Bears," and they also play the part of moving set pieces or even being set pieces like trees.

They are having a great time!

They have 24 different performances of this one show! At this point there are only three more to go!

And as mom I get to drive them to all performances and rehearsals. And I put together and sewed all of their costumes. As well as do their hair, make sure they are packed, make sure school gets done, that they eat, and stay hydrated. . .As moms behind the scenes there is so much that we do! (Did you catch my little pun there?)

What do your children do that they love that you sacrifice time and possibly money to help them be a part of and achieve their goals?

Friday, March 25, 2016

FREE Kindle Book!

***Disclosure there are affiliate links in this article. By clicking on them I do earn a commission, or you can just go to whatever website you want and I don't earn anything. Totally up to you!***

First I want to apologize for being MIA! I got sick for about a week and a half and have been playing catch up ever since.

My hubby's Counting/Storybook for children is now available for free on Kindle until Monday!  I might be a bit biased, but I think it's extremely cute!

My hubby is super excited because yesterday it got into the TOP 100 on Amazon for free Children's Ebooks!  This really made his day as yesterday was a long day at work and he ended up coming home feeling extremely overwhelmed and discouraged.

If you get the book and have a chance to review it we would be really grateful.  There's some magical number of reviews it needs before Amazon starts taking it seriously!

No need to have a Kindle.  You can get the Kindle App and read it off your phone, tablet, Ipad, or computer!

There's dragons, princesses, knights and more.  There are things to count, to look-and-find, and there's even Easter eggs hidden in some of the illustrations.  Can you find them all?

Full color illustrations are done by Mina Sanwald.

What is your favorite illustration or Easter Egg that you found?

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Little Red Riding Hood and The Three Little Pigs

This is a play that my daughters wrote and then my oldest directed for her homeschool theatre class as well as a project towards her LDS Young Woman Medallion. Hope you all like it!

Friday, March 4, 2016

My Favorite Easter Candy

***Disclosure there are affiliate links in this article. By clicking on them I do earn a commission, or you can just go to whatever website you want and I don't earn anything. Totally up to you!***

Easter is less than a month away!  Easter has my most favorite candy of all time.  And while I crave it sometimes throughout the year it is probably best that it is available only one time a year or I would have even more problem losing weight and keeping it off.

Please tell me that I am not the only one who LOVES Cadbury Creme Eggs!  I also love See's Butterscotch Squares, which are available year round.

But the difference is I can get Cadbury Creme Eggs pretty much at any store around Easter time.  To get the See's I have to get in the car and specifically drive there.  Getting the See's is a deliberate choice that I make.  And let's be honest my laziness makes buying See's less frequent.

Getting Cadbury Creme Eggs happen a lot more often as my willpower at times is all used up and they're sitting right there calling my name.  Especially when they are at the register!

I even checked Amazon to see if it was cheaper to get that way.  If you want to order some and shatre with me, I won't turn any down!

What is your favorite Easter Candy?

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

A Great Friend!

Some old friends of our that moved were back in town for a visit, well both hubbies were at work, but us wives and our kids got to visit.  It was great to see them even if I was bone tired as I hadn't slept the night before.  The visit was too short but it was better than nothing.

It really hit home that I haven't had a friend like, Shonna, since she moved.  Don't get me wrong I have friends and I know a lot of people but I don't have the relationship I had with any of them like I did with her.

I miss that friendship.  She was the one person I could call when I was super excited about something, and she would celebrate with me. I could call her when I was so mad I wanted to kill someone and she would either talk me down or help plot their demise!  ;)  I could call her when I was so upset and sad, at those times she probably couldn't understand what I was saying as I was crying so hard, but she just listened.  We would talk nearly everyday!

She was the kind of friend that when I pulled both groin muscles, within days of each other, and when she asked what she could do and I said nothing she didn't listen.  Instead she came and got my daughters who at the time were 4 and 5 so I wouldn't have to worry about them.  And then of course we had to laugh hysterically about how I was able to accomplish this fete!

She was the kind of friend who could and would swing by, just because.  And she was the only one I would let in no matter what my house or I looked like.  No pretending I didn't hear the knock.

She's the one who watched my girls during the day when my hubby was at work and I as a leader had to help out at our youth's girl camp for church.  They were only 2 and 3 at the time.

She's also the one who helped out the most when I had my open heart surgery.  Family did help out and my mom flew in from Pennsylvania for a few weeks and my MIL watched the girls the week I was in the hospital, but Shonna was there through all of it helping out wherever she could.

She's the kind of friend I could call up and say let's go get ice cream or a smoothie or whatever.  Anything to get us out of the house for a little bit so we could refocus on our family and our roles when we got back home.

She's the kind of fiend when I didn't have a car and my hubby needed the car himself she would take me to doctor appointments.  And yes, there are always a lot of doctors appointments!

She's the one who was there for me when I was going through my depression.  She's the only person who I could tell exactly what I was feeling and thinking.  And she would listen with no judgement whatsoever.

When we only had one car she would call me up and say hey I'm making a run to Walmart, need to go?  And she would come and get me and the girls with her two kids in tow and off to the store we'd go.

These are just a few examples of what she did for me and how she touched my life.  She was always there.  I hope that I was able to touch her life and help her, even if it's just a portion of what she did for me.

And since she's moved I've been looking for a friend who I can have the same relationship with.  But even after all these years I have yet to find one.  I guess she is one of a kind!

Thanks for being a great friend, Shonna!

Monday, February 29, 2016

FREE Short Story By My Amazing Hubby!

You might remember me mentioning that my husband is an author.  Unfortunately he can't be a full-time author yet as we still have bills to pay.  But he will be some day!

He has had a few short stories published, they are more adult sci-fi and fantasy.  He has also had a children's counting book published.  He will be having a second children's book published in a few months.  This one is a middle grade chapter book.  You will definitely be hearing more about that!

If anybody would like to read one of his stories you can read one for FREE online at the Interstellar Fiction website.

The girl is loosely based on our daughters.  The dad in the story is loosely based on my hubby himself, he is not an animal lover at all.  And the animal the daughter finds is even more loosely based on our cat that was abandoned and we took in.  (Yes, we still have her and we are all still fine!) I did ask him why there wasn't character based on me and he said that I would have gotten everything taken care of in two paragraphs so there wouldn't be a story.  I'm flattered, I think!?!

Let me know what you think about the story!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Thanks, but. . .

A few days ago I did a blog post about my love language being words of affirmation.  This rings so true!  I want to hear this thing I just made looks or tastes.  Or how good I look, especially if I put time into getting ready.  Or how great my girls are.  Or. . .You get the idea.  I crave these compliments.

But what do I do when I get a compliment?  Like a lot of us I would say something like, "Thanks, but I totally messed up the hem right here." Or, "Thanks, but the cake looks nothing like I had imagined it would."  Or, "Thanks, but this old rag?"

How many of you have done this same thing?

I call it the Thanks, but syndrome.  I know it drove my hubby crazy!  I would tell him that he was biased or that he had to say those things because he loved me.  Here he was giving me a compliment, words of affirmation, things I craved and what did I do?  I would turn around and throw away that compliment.

It wasn't until I heard my girls doing it that I realized just how awful it sounded.  But I had no one to blame but myself.  After all they had learned it from me.  

I had to take a step back and reevaluate what I was doing.

Adding that but to the end of thanks can seem like a slap to the face or that you're telling them how stupid they are to think that.

And honestly if that's the reaction you get when you are giving a compliment why would you keep giving them compliments?

I started to make a conscious effort to say thank you and stop, not say anything else.  It was so hard and felt so awkward and fake for me.  Close friends and family have commented on how they feel better because I stopped adding but!

Am I perfect at this? Not at all.  In fact some days I revert back to my old habit of adding but. Old habits die hard!  But I am better than I was.  And hopefully just saying thank you will become the habit.

So, I'm giving everyone permission, (not like you needed my permission) to just say thank you.  No but or explanation or anything after.  Just thank you!  Who's willing to take this challenge with me?

Monday, February 22, 2016

Love Languages - What Speaks To You?

***Disclosure there are affiliate links in this article. By clicking on them I do earn a commission, or you can just go to whatever website you want and I don't earn anything. Totally up to you!***

I took the 5 Love Languages test at Gary Chapman's website  I also had my hubby take the test as well so we could talk about our results.

After being married for 16 years there was a lot of stuff that we already new about each other.  Things that we had observed over the years and learned from trial and error.  But, some of the stuff we learned about each other came as a surprise to us.

The 5 Love Languages as described by Gary Chapman are:
                                        1.  Words of Affirmation
                                        2.   Acts of Service
                                        3.   Receiving Gifts
                                        4.   Quality Time
                                        5.   Physical touch

My highest one was words of affirmation at 10 points.  Which was closely followed by acts of service which was only one point behind.  This totally made sense as I crave compliments, whether it's about I look, something I made, or even how well my girls did at something.  Another sure fire way to win my love is when someone pitches in and helps without me having to ask for it.

As an example I love it when my hubby and I go somewhere and when we leave my hubby will say, "Well, once again I was the luckiest man there."  I love that he loves me enough to feel like no matter who else was there that I am still the one for him.  Shouldn't every man feel like they are the luckiest man just because who they are with?  And vice versa?

My hubby's #1 love language is physical touch.  This was not surprising to me at all, this was actually a full 4 points ahead of his second one.  Physical touch encompasses all touch not just sexual touch.  He loves to hold hands, rest his hand on my knee while driving, hugs, Sitting close to each other on couch, etc.

What did surprise me was to find out that he had a big fat zero for words of affirmation!  It's not that he doesn't need to hear the words, it just means that the quickest way to his heart is not words.

Suddenly things began to make more sense to me!

When he would get into a writing funk, work funk, or whatever funk and is discouraged or lacking confidence about something, guess what I did.  Yep, I fed him words of affirmation!  Did this help?  No!  So what would I do?  Feed him more words of affirmation.  Which would cause him to feel like I didn't understand hi, and he would get more discouraged.

Which would leave me feeling like he was taking things way to seriously and allowing these things to get to him and affect him d=for too long.  And when he was in these funks it would affect all of us and after awhile I would get upset that he was being so selfish and only thinking about himself.  And a lot of times I would end up fuming and think, "Suck it up, Princess!"

And of course he could sense I was upset with him which would cause him to pull back.  And because he was pulling back I would pull back and just hope that he would get himself out of whatever funk he was in faster than the last one.

Oh what a collusion we were in!  (Check out Anatomy Of Peace to learn more about collusions, how we get in them, and how to get out of them.)

My hubby has a some writing deadlines coming up and one that just passed.  These deadlines will usually have him going into a lack of confidence funk.  Instead of throwing words of affirmation at him instead I just gave him a hug and held him him.  I consciously made sure that I was touch him more often in those days when he was super stressed and keeping my mouth shut more!

He went into his office and wrote and got that first deadline in on time.  Without the usual worrying and questioning that he usually does.  He just did it.

Granted he could be learning how to deal with the stress easier but I can't help but think that my being willing to learn what he needed the most helped.  I stopped talking his ear off about how he could do it I was able to give him the physical contact that he needs to fill his love bucket!

What is your love language breakdown?  Why not hop over to and find out?   My break down is:
                          10 Words of Affirmation
                            9  Acts of Service
                            6  Physical Touch
                            4  Quality Time
                            1  Receiving Gifts

They also have a love language test for kids that I am so having my daughters take!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Attitude, It May Not Be Everything But It Is A Lot!

You've all heard the saying, attitude is everything. I am going to disagree a little here. Yes, attitude is a lot but if something truly terrible happens to you that sucks and you should be able to express what you are feeling. Whether it is sadness, anger, hurt, whatever. You need to be able to express yourself, or you become a fake person that no one wants to be around. But after your initial expression of what you are feeling is done then attitude becomes everything.

You get to decide whether you are going to do. Are you going to continue to wallow in whatever you are feeling or are you going to grab yourself by your bootstraps and move on? You can let the pain fester inside you until you are such a miserable human being that no one wants to be around you or you can decide to see the positive.

I personally can be a very fake person to the world. Everything is always "hunky dory" when you ask me how it's going. It doesn't matter if my dad's in the hospital, my car broke down again, Christmas is coming and we just heard that the Christmas bonus we count on to pay for Christmas won't be given this year, my girls have 3 different theater things going on,. . .you get the picture. Life is always grand! Granted there are those people that just ask out of politeness and don't really care so giving them the standard, "Everything's great!" will work in those situations. But for people who truly care and are my friends I don't need to pretend with them. (But if your eyes start to glaze over as I'm talking I understand that I put more value in the friendship than you do so I'll go back to giving you the pat "Everything's great!" answer.)

But on the other hand I can't spend the whole time bemoaning my sorry lot in life because then you will start to avoid me. Am I the only one who will turn and go the long way to avoid certain people at times?

I think you need to find a balance between the two. (If someone figures out that perfect balance please let me know as I am still trying to work this out myself.)

And sometimes I need to shake myself and say, "Snap out of it! What do you have to be grateful for in this situation." And sometimes that is all I need to start seeing the positive and consequently be a happier and more enjoyable person to be around!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Schoolhouse Rock

***Disclosure there are affiliate links in this article.  By clicking on them I do earn a commission, or you can just go to whatever website you want and I don't earn anything.  Totally up to you!***

My hubby grew up watching Schoolhouse Rock and still sings the songs to this day.  We didn't have TV when I was growing up so I only saw a couple episodes here and there in school.

When we, my so supportive hubby and I decided that we were going to homeschool the first thing he said we HAD to have was the Schoolhouse Rock dvds!

We have used them and still do use them many many times throughout the years.  When my daughters were younger they would watch them for fun.

Just last summer while visiting family in Northern California one of the local colleges was doing Schoolhouse Rock Live.  My kids and hubby were so excited that his Aunt bought our family tickets to see the show as a birthday present for him!

It was a great show and such a fun evening and the whole weekend they talked about what songs were and included in the play and which of their favorites from the dvd were not.

So if your homeschooling or just looking for good educational dvds I highly recommend Schoolhouse Rock!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Making Memorizing the Multiplication Tables Fun!!!

First, I want to apologize for not posting for a while, I have been sick a with a cold.  It doesn't sound like much but immune system is so bad that anything I get hits me harder and longer than everyone else.  I'm still sick but at least I am starting to have more energy and feeling better.

I remember when I was in elementary school and hating 3rd grade because that is when we had to memorize our multiplication tables.  It was so hard for me!  I remember failing timed test after timed test to the point that I would have to miss recess to retake test after test after test until I  passed.

Because of this I had a fear of math and especially teaching math.  I remember this was the one thing that worried me while I was contemplating homeschooling my two daughters. How would I teach math?  But I really felt that the answer to my prayers was that we were suppose to homeschool, so I trusted in the Lord and jumped in.

And almost jumped back out just as quick.  The first math curriculum we chose was a horrible fit for us.  The next two as well!  And this was just Kindergarten and first grade math what was I going to do when I had to teach Algebra or Geometry!

Then we found Math U See, and this math curriculum just clicked for all three of us!  Finally, math was making sense for the first time ever for me and my girls were learning as well!  I really think that the curriculum will make it or break it for you as teacher especially if it is a subject you feel you aren't so good at.

But when it came time to memorize the multiplication tables my girls struggled with this as well.  At first I just made worksheet after worksheet up so they could "practice."  This only frustrated them and me as well.  And I started to have nightmares of being back in 3rd grade and having to pass the timed tests and failing, but this time I was an adult trying to squish into 3rd grade desks!  I knew I couldn't keep doing this or they would end up hating and fearing math as much as I did.

I was doing some research and reading and came across where it was said that sometimes a student that was having trouble memorizing things needed to do a physical activity while saying it aloud.  A light bulb went on and here is a list if some activities we did while memorizing our multiplication tables.

1.  They would jump rope while saying the facts over and over so if we were working on the twos table they would say, "2 times 1 is 2.  2 times 2 is 4. 2 times 3 is 6," and on up.

2.  We would play catch in the backyard with a ball.  I would start out and say, "4 times 3,"  And toss the ball to one of my daughters, she would answer back with, "12,"  And then she would state the beginning of some multiplication fact and toss the ball to someone.  Whoever caught it had to answer it before tossing coming up with the beginning of another multiplication fact and tossing it to someone to answer it.

3.  I wrote on our driveway in sidewalk chalk the sum/answers to all the multiplication facts we were working on.  I would start by taking turns calling on each one and giving them the fact and they would have to run and stand on the answer.  Then when they got good at that we moved up to them standing beside me I would give them each a different fact and they would run to their answer and stand on it.  Then we progressed to they would both be running for the same one.

4.  We would play card games like Go Fish, but when they would lay down a match they would have to pick a fact and say it and answer it correctly.  So if they laid down 2's they would have to say, "2 times (any number of their choice) is (the answer)."  We did this most of our games whether it was the number that came up on the die while playing Chutes and Ladders, or how many spaces they got to move in Candy Land to get to the next red space.

5.  They would bounce a ball repeating the multiplication tables much like we did with jump roping.

By doing this they got the multiplication tables memorized without being in tears over worksheets!

What are some things that you have done to help your children conquer a hard subject or idea?

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Best Things Journal

I think as we view society and our role in it it can become pretty discouraging.  We have so much too do everyday and so many hats to wear or roles to play.  Life can seem so overwhelming!

I don't know about you but I find myself getting so discouraged and focusing on what didn't go the way I planned or what didn't get done at all!  I end up feeling so defeated and end up having a pessimistic view of life.

I heard somewhere that each day that if we write in a journal the best thing that happened to us that day it will help us focus more on the good.  And by focusing on the best things that happen we will be able to be grateful for all that we have instead of focusing on what we don't have.

I love this idea so much and am going to implement this in my daily life!  What's the best thing that happened to you today?

Sunday, January 10, 2016


We've all heard to get what you want you should make a dream board and/or visualize you with what you want.  The concept behind this is that if you visualize yourself already with these things then you will trick your brain into thinking that you have these things and you start acting as if you do.

This never worked for me.  I ended up focusing too much that I didn't have these things and ended up feeling more depressed about it.

I was listening to a webinar with Richard Wiseman and he talked about this same thing.  And he said that visualizing yourself with these things is not as helpful as you might think.  Instead you should visualize yourself going through the process, not the end result!  This makes so much more sense to me!

He uses the example of giving a speech in front of a large group of people.  Instead of visualizing a standing ovation at the end, that chances are won't come anyway, you should visualize yourself walking out onto the stage, starting your speech, etc.   This will help you nail your speech better than visualizing you getting a standing ovation!

I think that this will help me so much more than visualizing me at the end with what I want.

I am ready to start visualizing what I need to do to make these things happen!   What are you going to visualize?

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

It's Okay To Be An Imperfect Superwoan

As women most of us have many roles that we assume.  There is the role of wife, mother, friend, daughter, cook, taxi, nurse. . . the list goes on and on.  we have so many roles that it is sometimes hard to juggle all the responsibilities.  we can end up feeling overwhelmed and stressed to the point that we feel unable to accomplish everything that we must.

I am a perfectionist by nature.  As my list of responsibilities gets longer and longer I have learned that I have to be okay with being imperfect.  After all who among is perfect?

I have friends and family that tell me they get tired just thinking of all I do.  They say that I always seem to pull everything off with style and finesse.  I hear that I must be a superwoman, and I just end up laughing.  For what they don't see is the imperfection and break downs that occur when I am at home.  No one gets to see all that, except my husband, poor man!

And when he tells me to take a deep breath, that I don't have to be perfect and sometimes just okay is good enough, he gets accused of not understanding or caring.  What he is trying to do is make sure I give myself permission to be imperfect.

We have to learn to be okay with being Imperfect Superwomen!