Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Fab. Advent Chain Idea

(image via spelloutloud.com)

I discovered this awesome advent chain idea idea hereSpell Outloud is a blog written by Maureen, a Christian homeschooling mom of 6 and former teacher.  I've loved reading all her wonderful ideas. 

There are so many ways to celebrate the days leading up to Christmas and there are a ton of fun advent calendars that you can make or buy.  And I mean a TON!  This one is different from all the ones that I've seen.  I love how it really points back to the real reason for Christmas and the idea of reading a short verse from the bible that is relevant to this season. 

It's a free printable and is so easy to use.  It also made for great patterning and counting practice.  We can't wait to start this tomorrow!

Here's ours:

Monday, November 28, 2011

Still Here!

On a cool fall hike.  The kids' extra energy is forcing me to get out and explore
our local trails.  I didn't know there was so much here! 

Hey gang!

Just wanted to write a quick post tonight to let you all know, "I'm still here!".  I've really slowed down on my posts this month and I kinda knew this would happen.  When I started homeschooling in September, I wasn't sure how blogging was going to fit into our new schedule.  Needlesstosay... as much as I LOVE looking for  awesome design ideas, tackling a home project and sharing them with you... sleep, cleaning, and prepping for school has now taken the front seat.

I'm beginning to realize that homeschooling isn't just something we do for an hour or 2 every day, it's more of a lifestyle.  We've chosen to have our kids with us the majority of the time so that we can capture their hearts and shape their characters.  This means... not alot of down time for mom.  :)  It's hardwork, but I really relish being able to be the one to guide their learning and teach them so many amazing things about the world God has created.

I'm not giving up on blogging all together, but will allow myself to write and share when I have the time and when inspiration hits.  I've let go of the expectation that I have to post a certain number of times per week and I've also stopped incessantly checking my stats.  :)  I will continue to share new and inspiring things that I come across and would love to share about our homeschooling journey.  (which means I have to find the time to take some more pictures)  :)

We had a productive long weekend.  Our bellies were stuffed, caught up on some sleep, the Christmas tree is up (almost), got some good deals and I've made progress on our Christmas card.  

What's on your plate this season?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Brave, Tough and Inspiring

Did you catch this interview?  Before signing off for the weekend, I just wanted to encourage you to watch it if you missed it.  Diane Sawyer interviewed Gabby Giffords and her husband Mark on 20/20.  It aired on Monday night, and I'm still thinking about it.  I was moved.  The way they were able to document her progress from just days after the shooting to now was humbling, heartbreaking, inspiring and showed true courage and the amazing capacity of the human spirit to do the impossible.  It is true that bad things happen to good people.  Gabby is a great example that those circumstances don't have to overcome us, but rather shape us.

If you have a moment this weekend, check it out here.  You won't regret it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

My Favorite Things - Paper Source

Here's installment #2 of My Favorite Things.  Last week it was PB Teen and this week, it's Paper Source.  I'm so glad Paper Source came here to Seattle a couple of years ago.  Their selection of paper is amazing.  Their colors are true, crisp and gorgeous.  I especially love all of their printable labels and their own line of decorative papers.  Here are some of my other favorites for the holidays!


SMASH Date Stamp - $6.95
I love this stamp... great for any occassion. 
It stamps like the old school library stamps with month, day, and year.

Jonathan Adler Phone Cover.
This is fun!  Chic style for $26.95.
It comes in a pink, scallop print too.

This one is a bit quirky, but oh so practical too.$26.95
I think this would be a great gift for that OCD chef you know!

Personalized Notepads for $35.00.  Set of 5!   
This is exactly the type of gift that I'd love to receive,
but would never get for myself.

Paper Source is my favorite source for calendars.
They have tons of great options, here's the one I'm using right now.    
The PS Wall Art Calendar for $29.50. 
On the back of each month, it has a template to turn the artwork into tags,
envelopes, cards, and more. 

I always save the best for last...
This Mom Agenda is really a good one.  $47.95
My friend bought one and got to see it in action. 
It is well laid out, clean pages, full month views,
plus extra space for activities and to-dos.   
It is the perfect combination of fab. and function.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

November Crafts for Kids

I can't believe we're only a week from Thanksgiving and I've hardly gotten a chance to get down our Halloween stuff.  Honestly, I just tossed our pumpkin today!

Well... I admit, I don't think we're going to get around to doing any Thanksgiving decorating around our house.  I think this year, we're going to slide right into Christmas decor... hopefully sometime soon!  :)

In the meantime, here are some fun craft ideas I rounded up from familyfun.com.  I featured some crafts last month, in October, and I thought this might be a fun monthly feature that hopefully you find helpful.  There are a TON of great craft ideas out there and I thought it might be nice to be able to go one place for just a few fun ideas each month.  Just click on the name of each craft for a direct link to the directions.

(a great way to use up some left over Reese's Pieces from Halloween!)

(how cute are these guys?)

Lastly, I love these Thankfulness tags from Jones Design.

(via jonesdesigncompany.com)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

My Favorite Things - PBTeen

The catalog season is upon us!  Have you started getting catalog after catalog in the mail?  I have to admit, as environmentally friendly as I try to be, I love getting my home decor catalogs in the mail.  I love to see what's new, spot trends and mostly, how the rooms are styled.  Again... some people like to cozy up with wine and a book.  Me?  I like my catalogs with a hot chocolate or a hot apple cider  :)

So.. as we start rolling ahead with the holiday season, I thought I might share My Favorite Things with you once a week.  These will be my picks for gifts or for yourself from some of my favorite catalogs.  We're starting with PB Teen this week.  I've been really loving PB Teen this year.  I find their items fun, chic, more affordable and very versatile.  Many items transition well from kids rooms, tween rooms, office and more. 

So, here we go...

(all images from pbteen.com)

They have a great selection of jewelry boxes this year! 
Not to mention some cute jewelry too!
This small Leather Jewelry Box is $39.
And go for the monograming!

I find this small, round silver jewelry box so sweet.  This is something a girl could have forever!  Only $25!
Get it monogramed too!

I'm always keeping my eye out for some stylish clock/radio options. 
This one is sleek, sophisticated and could work anywhere! 
This is the Wood Rockin Alarm Clock $139.

These felt pillows are great!  On sale now for $19.99 to $29.99. 
Again, this would be fun anywhere.

This Fleur Duvet really caught my eye.  It comes in black too.
$64- $99

I'm loving decals and chalk these days.  This is a good one!
This one is $59.  Also comes in a dry erase version.

I'm a sucker for cool pillows and typography. 
These ones are $35.  Not bad at all!

Lastly, my fave! 
Letter pillows... love monograms and the boldness of the black and white. 
Only $29.  Very Jonathan Adler-esque... at a fraction of the cost.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Naps and Schedules

I have to admit, before I had my own kids, I did not get the big idea about naps.  So, I totally understand if you tune out right now if you don't have kids.  Just scroll to the bottom for a link to some great planners and organizers.

For the last 5 years, naps and bedtimes have certainly played a big part in dictacting our family schedule.  Here are some of our battles:

  • can't go out because we have an infant who takes 2 naps
  • need to head home quick to catch someone's afternoon naps
  • we're coming late because they napped longer than we thought
  • kids can't sleep at night because they're napping too long
  • Dah!  They just fell asleep in the car!
  • should we drop a nap?
  • should we just shorten the nap?
  • Lastly... what about MY naps!  :)

Well, in the past 2 weeks, we've had an admittedly small change in our family schedule, but to me, it has been a change of epic proportions.  My #2 has stopped napping in the afternoon, which caused us to change our bedtime routine... long story short... All 3 of my little ones are out by 8:30 and I've found 2 extra hours in the evening that I've been missing for the last 5 years!!  :D 

So, needlesstosay, I've been enjoying my evenings and have been a little lazy.  I can hang out with the hubby, catch a show, even do some work on the computer, tidy up AND be in bed by 12:00!  No more 1 or 2am for me!  Is this the way the rest of you have been doing it all this time? 

Ok... I admit, this is probably revolutionary to only me, but boy, I feel like I've won the lottery and have been given a true gift of time. 

Lastly, I do have something helpful to share.  I came across this site with some great family schedules and checklists that you can download for free.  LOTS of good stuff.  Check it out!


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