Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Big News!

We are so very thrilled!!! And, I feel inclined to mention, this was completely intentional! I'm the youngest of four kids, and two of my sisters have four kids, so it's totally our norm! We always considered the idea of one more after E, and the time finally seemed right! We can't wait to meet this newest little one!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Chase's 7th Birthday!

How is it possible that I haven't posted about Chase's 7th birthday yet?? ((Spoiler Alert: Today is February 3, 2017, but I'm going to backdate this post to October 2016 so it shows up in the right spot on my blog!)). It was such a fun day with so many exciting ninja things that Chase loved! I won't do a huge recap in text here; as usual, I will let the pictures tell the story!

First up? The invitation! Simple and fun!

I was proud of the Lloyd (from LEGO Ninjago) cake I made. Lots of fondant (side note: did you know fondant is basically just marshmallows and powdered sugar? whoa.). I continue to learn about making and working with fondant every time I cover a cake with it, and this one was no exception! Chase requested a chocolate cake with cookies & cream buttercream filling, and he wanted it to look like Lloyd, his favorite character from the show. I did my best! :)

A few fun party accents: the LEGO Duplo napkin holder:

The LEGO utensil holder:

I let Chase choose the entire menu for his party. It will come as no surprise he picked a wide variety of healthy choices from across the food pyramid.

Ya, right.

Let's see... fruit snacks!

Granola bars!

Cheese puffs!

Fruit (finally something healthy)!

Veggie tray.

And of course, M&Ms.

Beverages were simple and included lemonade and bottled water.

Some of the lovely party decor, compliments of LO! I especially loved her Lloyd made from crape paper!

Outside, hubs had put together a Ninja Obstacle Course in the backyard for the party guests to enjoy. Chase LOVED it!

Practicing his ninja star throwing skills.

Such determination!

Go, Ninja Chase!

Time to sing and have cake! Love the big smile on this boy's face!

Make a wish, sweet boy!

Naturally, he loved opening his presents after the food, fun, and cake!

A special birthday decor addition from LO introducing all of the ninja!

What a wonderful day we had! We are so very blessed to have this amazing, incredible boy in our family! We love him SO much!! He is such a blessing... I just can't even put it into words!

Happy 7th Birthday, Chase!!!!!

Friday, September 9, 2016

An Open Letter to the Moms of the Girls on the Softball Team My Husband Coaches

Dear Moms of the Girls on the Softball Team My Husband Coaches,

Even though our season just began last week, and we’ve only played two games, and still have ten more games to go, I feel it necessary to help you help yourself be a gracious human being by sharing the gems of advice below:
  1. Please do not permit your daughter to arrive at a game with bronchitis. We appreciate you telling us that she loves the game that much — to show up with back pain and her chest on fire — but we aren’t interested in forfeiting the rest of our season because all of our players mysteriously contracted bronchitis. Boundaries can be a helpful parenting tool.
  2. If your daughter has been upset and in tears late into the night because she didn’t get to play her preferred position(s) in a game, that is not my husband’s fault. You need to help her learn to adjust her expectations. With 12 players on a team, you should have expected this. It’s called rotation, and it will happen a LOT this season. Please adjust your daughter’s expectations accordingly.
  3. Yes, you are correct: My husband does sacrifice a lot of time coaching our team. However, he cannot be expected to teach your daughter everything she needs to know to be an outstanding softball player in only 3 short practices. Parents should anticipate the need to practice with their daughters at home if they are interested in improving their softball skills. Even if they have been playing since they were 4, there’s always room for improvement.
  4. I’m sorry if your daughter’s confidence was so shaken by her position toward the bottom of the batting order in a particular game that she could not connect with the ball when she was at bat. Please see #3 above. Please also recall the previous game where she was one of the first 3 at bat, which resulted in the same outcome. Numbers don't seem to be the issue here.
  5. Regarding your daughter being heartbroken at the thought of not playing for an inning: We are talking about ONE inning. Because we have 12 players. And can only have 10 (sometimes 11) on the field at a time. And again, this will also rotate throughout the season. It will impact all of the players. Everyone’s daughter (including our own) will rotate throughout the season, and chill on the bench for a single inning. This is called life.
  6. Let me remind you: We’ve played only TWO games this season. Apparently you have not provided my husband with an adequate opportunity to demonstrate to you that players will rotate field positions as well as batting order during our remaining TEN games. I’m confident that even though it’s been hard on you to watch your daughter suffer so terribly, she will have plenty of opportunities to play her desired position(s) and bat right smack dab at the top of the order. Trust me. My husband knows numbers, and he knows how to be fair.
  7. We’ve had 3 practices and 2 games. While we appreciate your daughter’s desire to show that she is a good player, if it were in fact true, it would have already been demonstrated by now.
  8. Do let us know what you expect my husband to do when the other 10 players’ moms send him an email asking him to consider giving their child more opportunities on our team. I’m curious to know exactly how he is supposed to appease All. The. Moms.
  9. Thank you for asking but no, there is nothing you can do. My husband won’t be persuaded into giving your daughter preference over his other 11 players. All of these girls deserve the same opportunities, and will receive the same opportunities. See #8 above.


The Wife of Your Daughter’s Softball Coach

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Back to HOMESchool!

I'm so excited! We still have a few weeks of summer left, which we plan to wholeheartedly enjoy with plenty of trips to the pool, the movies, the museum, the park... lots of play dates and fun still ahead!

BUT... we've also officially started our THIRD year of homeschooling! LO is now in 4th Grade and my sweet Chase is now in 1st Grade! And of course my littlest one, E, is in Pre-Pre-K -- haha!

It's been a great start to school... once I was finally able to get my classroom in order! I'm such a neat freak and have such insanely ridiculous OCD tendencies that it seriously must take me about 12 times longer to do a few simple things than your average person. I seriously have issues. But at least I admit it, right?? ;)

So I took a few minutes today to take a few pictures of my classroom now that it's (A) clean and (B) set up for our new year. I know it won't stay this clean and organized for more than a few days hours, so I had to document it while it wasn't embarrassing!

I haven't edited the kids' first day of school pics yet, but I hope to share those really soon!

Enjoy a little glimpse of our Home Sweet Homeschool!

First up: The reason I do what I do. These three are my heart.

This year we will be focusing on learning to tell time on analog clocks, so I decided to hang one above our white board.

I'm not afraid to reward hard work with candy, so here ya go! Skittles are also super helpful with our math games! Yum.

I love my rolling cart from IKEA! I'm using it as individual bins for the three kiddos. Can you guess which one belongs to each kid? Shocker: You may notice -- Chase is phasing out his Mario addiction!

I love organized, color-coded paper. Special props to LO for her mad sorting and organizational skills!

LOVE artwork by LO. Such a fun addition to our schoolroom.

Classical Conversations timeline cards! We love these things!! And I'm madly in love with them in these binders!

And all the organizing Type A OCD folks unite in glorious song! Check out these art supplies, my friends!

{{deeply inhales}} Breathe it all in, folks. The glorious goodness of organized Crayola. Is there anything better?

Lots of art supplies! I may be hating myself for this later, but last year I kept all of the art supplies out of sight in my homeschool cabinet. The kids (LO) were constantly getting into it and (LO) leaving the door open and (LO) making it a disorganized mess and (LO) never putting things away, so I decide to embrace their (LO's) huge love of all things crafty and create an art center right in the middle of our schoolroom in plain sight. I'm hoping I'll have the ability to keep an eye on E to make sure these don't end up drawing on walls, curtains, furniture, etc., but we'll have to wait and see!

I'm literally in love with these storage canisters from Oriental Trading of all places. Math games beware! We are stocked in the ping pong ball, marble, and math die categories! Bring on the fun!

I {heart} organizing!

Whew. This one is gonna be a biggie this year! LO will be adding Essentials afternoon classes with our morning Foundations classes with Classical Conversations. I don't know a thing about it yet, but I did know enough to basically leave an entire bookshelf free for all of the materials we'll be using. :)

I decided to add a few things on the walls this year -- just for fun! LO & Chase already know the Presidents, and LO knows all of the states and capitals (assuming she remembers them all from when I taught them to her in 2nd grade), while Chase knows all of the states. I guess it's time to start teaching E his US geography now!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this ginormous laminated map I hung up outside of our pantry (there was no room for it in our schoolroom). I found it at Hobby Lobby for like $9.99 I think -- but I used their 40% off coupon and it was literally the best homeschool purchase ever! I'm excited to start working on our European geography this year!

Never one to shy away from the camera, I had to include a goofy pic of my silly E! This pretty much sums up how I feel about finishing the prep work for a new year of homeschooling, knowing that all of my hard work will soon be destroyed by eager little learners! I couldn't be more thrilled!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

LO's 9th Birthday Extravaganza: Part I

Happy 9th Birthday, LO!

We had such a wonderfully busy weekend celebrating a certain little girl's 9th birthday! She's been planning her party for several weeks now, and was responsible to oversee several of the details.

I'll include a bit of commentary with these images below, but just a heads up... this is mostly a montage of photos from her big party!

Here she is decorating the sea star cookies we made for one of the party favors.

Beautiful sweet girl! This is one of the pics I took of her in the seashell crown she designed for her party.

Her custom mermaid artwork!

The sea star cookie favors!

A lovely centerpiece project we worked on together. I loved the added homeschool lesson that came from this project!

Easily my FAVORITE centerpieces. Thanks, Pinterest!

Artwork also designed by LO. She and I worked together on the "9" covered with mermaid "scales."

My first attempt making homemade marshmallow fondant for a cake!

I was rather pleased with how the cake turned out. I learned a lot about what I did wrong, so that was super helpful! She designed the cake bunting herself.

Cupcakes with custom cupcake toppers using the birthday girl's artwork!

Chocolate seashells in "sand" (a.k.a. Golden Oreos).

Loved this punch recipe! Hawaiian Punch, pineapple juice, and Sprite!

LO decided to "bedazzle" the water bottles... ;)

Because every birthday party needs a Sundae Bar!

Yes, we bedazzled the forks and spoons...

One of her favorite decorations: the seahorse from Hobby Lobby!

My birthday princess!

Silly girl!

She wanted to light her own candle {very first time ever!}.

Yummy sundaes!

After the party at the house, it was time to head to the pool for more fun! Here's crazy Chase doing his thing!

LO with her sweet cousin!

More Chase!

And of course E had to get in on the action!

LO had a great time at her party and I think all of her friends had fun, too! It was such a wonderful day and was so much fun to focus on and celebrate my sweet girl. I just love her so much and I am so happy that I get to be her mom!

Stay tuned for Part II of her birthday extravaganza!