Like Father, Like Son

I love taking pictures.  I like capturing a moment in time, a look, a gesture, a smile, the big and the small moments in people’s lives.  So when we went to our pastor’s house this past week for a Baptism/BBQ/Pool party it goes without saying that I brought my camera along. 🙂  Towards the end of the day they had a cannonball/biggest splash contest.  Everyone had their own technique from my daughter’s pencil dive:


to this little guy’s karate kick:


to superman (who hit the water just like this (can we just say ouch?!)


It wasn’t until we got home and I was looking through pictures that I realized my husband and son jump the same way.  What can I say, this was obviously a like father like son moment. 🙂




Jonathan has a very green thumb.  It’s probably a good thing because I’m pretty sure both of mine are black. :-\   I seem to kill any plant I touch but they thrive under his care.  I recently started cutting some of the flowers to bring inside.  They’re so beautiful!







Summer Thoughts

School let out about a week and a half ago.  I love my job and enjoy our routine for the winter months but I am absolutely loving summer break!   I think it’s nice having variety to our schedule.  When I was home all the time I enjoyed summer but I didn’t fully appreciate it as much as I do now that I’m working.  I am so grateful for this time now.  I find myself standing outside in the sun with a breeze blowing across my face and stopping just to feel it all and thank God for the moment.

Even though it’s been fairly cool out and the pool water is in the low 60s my kids have been swimming every day the sun shines.  Brrr,  not me.  You’ll find me sitting in the sun near the pool, book in hand.  I’m using the time to rest, tan and catch up on some reading 🙂

It’s not all fun and games though.  I have a to-do list for the summer that is 33 lines long and still growing.  I’m catching up on projects around the house that I haven’t had time for and enjoying the satisfaction of seeing things come together.

Thank you God for this refreshingly wonderful time in my year!

Sunburns and Sunburns – Thank God for Burn Spray!


Well, it’s been a while since I’ve written.  School has finished for the year and summer is in full swing.  Cookouts, swimming, outdoor fun.  We love it all.  Unfortunately my skin does not.  My husband teases me that my skin just does not like the sun and he’s probably right.  I burn easily.  We spent the day at the beach last week and even with sunscreen I fried.  Some of my children even got sunburns and that’s a rare occurrence for them because they are blessed enough to have their daddy’s skin. 🙂

When I told some friends how badly I had burned one of them shared her sunburn recipe and it worked really well.   I am never without this stuff in my house now.  Lavender essential oil and aloe are both great for burns and the peppermint oil provides a soothing, cooling feeling to the area instantly.  We all healed very quickly when using this.  I also love the fact that because it’s a spray you don’t have to touch the burned area at all because who really wants to rub something on a burn?  Ouch.

Even though this recipe was originally for sunburns, it is good for any kind of burn.

Burn Spray:

1/2 cup of water

10 drops lavender oil

10 drop peppermint oil

2 T. aloe gel

Mix everything together in a spray bottle and spray over the sunburned areas whenever you need some relief.  Any kind of spray bottle will work but because essential oils do break down plastic I recommend using glass if possible.  This is mine:

A Tour of My Planner

Remember how I mentioned that one of my New Year’s resolutions was using a planner?  Well, I have been using one…and I LOVE it!!  I can’t believe I have gone so many years without using one.  It goes with me everywhere now!  So….ready for a tour? 🙂

Before we start our tour, I should say that I got many of my ideas, if not most, from the Giftie Etcetera blog.  She has some super ideas and I highly recommend reading through her planner posts!

I bought a pretty red Franklin Covey 3 ring planner.   It’s hard to see in the picture but it has a pretty floral design along the side.


There is a pocket with several slots on the inside of the front cover.  Anything waiting to be processed, or papers I need for later (like directions to someone’s house or a party), are tucked into the back pocket.  I call this my inbox.  I use post it notes a lot so I keep a small stack of post it notes in one of the slots so they are easy to get to whenever I need them.

The first thing in the binder part is a semi clear plastic divider.  This is my dashboard where I leave little notes to myself….things I want to looks up, shopping lists, etc.  I see it every time I open my binder and I change them out regularly.

planner dashboard

I made dividers using a piece of printed scrapbook paper for the front and a piece of solid cardstock for the back.  The two were laminated together and then I added tabs to them.

Planner dashboard 2

Planner sections







The first section in my planner is a month on two pages.  I used planner pages from a Day Timer (because they are pretty 🙂 and then I added some color using washi tape and my label maker…this also serves to cover the extra boxes in my calender. 😉   To make it easy to flip to the month I am currently in, I use a pretty magnetic bookmark.  To keep things organized I color code as much as possible.  That way I can see at a glance what I have scheduled for school, family, appointments, ect.   When writing in my calendar I usually use erasable frixion pens.  I LOVE these pens!  Do yourself a huge favor and buy a set; you will not regret it.  I only have one pen holder in my planner however, so when I’m out and about I only keep the black pen with me.  When I enter something into my calender with a black pen I try to add a colored mark-it dot next to it so it’s still color coded.   When something is rescheduled, I cross it out and write the date it was rescheduled to next to it.   To make it easier to write the information needed in the boxes, I use codes to abbreviate things.   For example, when writing in things for family members I use the first initial of their name.

Planner months 1

The next section in my planner is the weekly section.  It took me a while to settle on something that worked for me so until recently this section was fairly unused.  I have figured out what works for me now so this is my current set up. At the beginning of the week I fill in the dates, my workouts (on the right hand side of each day’s section) and write 1 2 3 4 below it since that is how many of my 24 oz. cups  of water I am trying to drink each day.  Each night I try to take a minute to fill in the To Do section of the next day.   If there is something that I was supposed to do that day and it didn’t get done, I copy it into the next day and place a check mark next to it.  This lets me know that it’s already been carried over.  If it gets carried over a second time it will have two check marks.  If it ends up with a few check marks I know I need to either plan on doing it at a later date or make it a priority.   During the day, as I complete things I cross them off.   The top corner of the page on the right isn’t for any day of the week…it’s just a blank box…so I have begun writing task that I want to get done soon in that section of my weekly pages so I see them as I plan my days during the week.  And again I have a pretty magnetic bookmark in place to make it easy to find the page I’m on.

Planner week on two pages

After my weekly pages I have a section called “Future”.  Because I only keep a few months in my planner at a time, anything that I need to plan beyond that gets written on this page.  Then as I add those months into the planner and transfer those notes onto the monthly pages.   When possible I color code them, otherwise they get dots next to them 🙂

Planner future pages

Next comes my projects section.   These are things I am currently working on…fitness, blog posts, work projects, reading lists, prayer lists, etc.   In order to make these easy to find I write a-z down the side of the page.  As new projects come up I write them in the front page and then on a sticky tab that I place next to the corresponding letter.  This enables me to just add more projects as they come up and still be able to find everything easily.

Planner projects

 Below is an example of what a project page might look like.  While I do color code my list on the front page, I don’t color code the actual projects pages.  I use whatever color I feel like using or have handy at the moment 🙂

Planner projects example

Next comes the Files sections.  This is where I put stuff that I want to have on me, but that’s isn’t actually a project – just information.   I have our routines in here, a page of inspirational stuff, personal goals, etc.  This is set up the same way as the projects section:

Planner files

One of the things I am keeping track of in my files section are the paint colors I use in my house.  That way if I need more paint or want to match something , I have the paint swatch and information with me.

Planner files example

The next section I have is Contacts.  I am keeping important phone numbers in here….doctor, dentist, insurance…anything I might need while out or filling out papers for field trips, etc.

Planner address and phone number

Then I have a section for Finances.  I plan on creating a separate planner specifically for our finances and budget stuff so there isn’t a ton of stuff in here.  I have a page for keeping track of our children’s accounts.  (I cannot count the number of times they have asked me how much they have in their accounts while we are out shopping and they are trying to decide whether or not to purchase something.  Now I can easily let them know.  I also have a page for my Christmas money where I can keep track of how much I am setting aside throughout the year for Christmas gifts.   Anything I am saving up for gets added here.

Planner finances

The last section of my planner is Supplies.  I have a zipper pocket holding my stickies, dots and bookmarks.  Then I have a velcro envelope with a post it note pad inside and my color code posted on the outside.  I also have a velcro envelope holding my post it notes.  And last of all the back cover of my planner holds a note pad, which I use to keep a running list of things I want to get done at some point.

Planner supplies  PLanner supplies 2

Planner supplies 3

So that’s my planner.  🙂  I hope you enjoyed the tour and if you use a planner or are beginning to use one I would love to see it!

Our Well Loved Kitten

Last October we got a kitten and she has been a real delight to our family.  We call her Taffy but her full name is Princess Taffy.  It’s a compromise because the girls wanted to name her Princess and the boys wanted to name her Taffy. 🙂

She a super kitten, playful and yet really laid back when it comes to letting the children play with her.  It’s pretty funny sometimes. 🙂  And she’s spoiled – totally spoiled.  I sent a picture of her new bed to my sister recently and she said “I didn’t know cats like beds”.  This one does…but it must be soft and made of fleece or sherpa, it must have a ridge along the edge so she can lounge and have something to rest her head on.   She IS a princess after all 😉


And she really likes to lounge a lot…



Her favorite way to be held is just like you’d hold a baby. 🙂

IMG_2218_6366  IMG_2219_6367






And because we loves her so much we let her kick our shoes out of their place so she can play in the cubbies.



And hide away in our closet when she wants to get away from all the noisy activity 🙂


Over all she’s super playful and easy-going.  Unless you try to put presents under the Christmas tree, filling up HER spot.  Then you’d better look out because when she comes flying out at you, the tree may get tipped over…don’t ask me how I know :-\


Or if you try to keep things in boxes.  It’s like a challenge to her to see if she can get what ever it is out of the box…and she will NOT stop until she succeeds, even if it means eating her way into the box.


And water.  She LOVES water.  I have now added walking around the house checking for any cups of water that may be left out to my bedtime routine because she will go around knocking them all over so she can play in the puddles.  I have no pictures of this but trust me…it happens all the time. :-\   But we don’t mind , most of the time at least, because we love her to pieces. 🙂  Even my I-don’t-want-a-cat husband loves her…I have proof of that one 😉



And she in turn puts up with the crazy things the girls do to her 🙂


And doesn’t even try to hide the fact that she’s happy…so happy…being spoiled and loved on. 🙂





Week 3 of T25 and the Dreaded Scale


This weekend Jonathan and I lugged ginormous sap tanks through the woods, over a stone wall and under a crazy maze of waist-high main line and wire. Then we chipped away at a frozen layer of snow/ice with a plastic shovel (don’t ask) so we could lay down and level a platform (which we also lugged through the woods, over the stone wall and under the main lines and wire maze) to put the tanks on…

Jonathan: “This is MY weight loss program. It’s called maple season!”
Me: “Yeah but mine takes only 25 minutes and can be done in the comfort of my living room.”  😉

And now that I have been doing T25 for 3 weeks I thought you all might like an update.   It’s hard.  Like really hard.  At the end of the first week I ended up in the hospital with severe chest pains and after an EKG, blood work and a cat scan…it was determined that it was from my workouts and was told to take it easy.  I’ll admit that freaked me out a little bit.  I took a day off, stretched the next day and then started in again doing the modified version of the workout only and listening to my body when it tried telling me I was pushing too hard.  The first week is kind of brutal.  You end up really sore, but if you push through it the soreness doesn’t come back after that.  I wish I knew this a long time ago because I always eased up on my workouts when I got sore like that.  Had I known that after the first week it would be gone for good I would have kept going!  By week three the workouts were definitely getting easier and I started adding a little bit of the non-modified to it.  I am now at about 1/3 regular and 2/3 modified.  Woohoo!

Probably the biggest thing I have learned is to ignore the scale as much as possible.  It doesn’t want to move.  In three weeks I have only lost 1 pound.  BUT, I have lost over 7 inches and my clothes are definitely fitting looser.   So, if you start this program be sure to take your measurements and let that be your guide.  After all, the goal is to look good and be healthy when I’m done, not weigh a certain number of pounds.  It’s taken me some time to wrap my mind around that.  It helped when my coach said that she usually weigh 145 lbs and she’s been both a size 10 at that weight and a size 4.  Wow!  The scale truly is only one piece of the puzzle.  Muscle weighs more than fat so you may be heavier as a fit person but you will look better.  It’s such a different way of looking at it.  I no longer have a lb weight loss goal.  I have a size goal and body goals.