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. 🙂



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!

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. 🙂





Happy New Years and Resolutions

We have entered a new year and like a lot of people I have been thinking about what I want to accomplish in this new year.  I am going to share a few of them with you today because I am planning to blog about my journey in these areas through this next year. 🙂

1)  Spiritual Resolution: “Stand on the grace of God.  Surrender daily and trust God” – Pastor Peter    This is something our pastor shared this past week and it really resonated with me so I’m making it my motto for this year. 🙂

2) A planner is in my future!  I use my kindle for SO many things but when it comes to organizing and lists I’m a paper and pen girl.  I have tried and tried and tried to use apps for this stuff and still nearly every time I grab a piece of paper and pen instead.  This year I am investing in a binder type planner and putting it to use.  I ordered one but you’ll have to wait to see what it’s like until it arrives and I start to set it up. 😉

3) I am getting in shape!  I am done with being 40 lbs overweight…SO done.  Enough is enough.  It’s time to kick this body into gear and get healthy again. 🙂  I quit my gym membership (I know, that sound counter productive but it’s really not!), joined a fitness challenge group that is starting up on January 13th, and bought a home dvd program that I’m pretty sure will push me to my limits. 🙂

There are other smaller goals (aren’t there always 😉  but these are the top 3 big ones that I am starting on right away.   I’ll be sharing my journey with you as I go.  I am so excited to get started!  Happy New Years!

Back Again and Life at Home

Well, I wasn’t expecting to go offline for such a long time!  The funny thing is that my last post talked about how I was taking back my house and I could post the same thing now.  School is back in session and I have been busy “taking back my house” again.  It’s looking nice now and I’ve got to tell you, I am loving being home 🙂  What a difference it makes being home while the children are in school!  My house is clean and organized, we’re eating better, I exercise regularly and life just feels a lot less stressful.

A lot of people have said to me “What are you going to do with yourself all day?!” and “It must be nice to have all that free time” but it’s not really like that.  I don’t stop, despite the fact that my daughter thinks I lay in bed and read all day while she’s in school.  lol  I think I’m just the kind of person who could never be bored because I’m always finding things to do and I’m always busy…it’s just a different kind of busy now because I can focus on different things.  I always have projects going. 🙂

And speaking of projects…I tackled a big one this summer, which is why I’ve been off-line so long.  It took much longer than I was expecting but it’s beautiful and I’m really happy with the way it came out. 🙂  What was it?  Our bathroom.  Our teeny, tiny ugly bathroom got a transformation this summer 🙂   Here are a couple of before pictures:



It was awful and tiny, with no linen closet.   We gutted it and started from scratch and I’m still amazed at the difference.  We didn’t make the room any bigger but yet it is SO much more spacious!  Here is what it looks like now.  I have a linen closet!


I LOVE my new shower so much!!



(The trim around the window doesn’t match the rest of the room yet because we are going to replace the window so I’m waiting until that is done to change the trim.)


The toothbrush cubbie:


Notice that other than the ironing board cover that I still need to replace, there is no blue in the room? 😉  I was SO happy to get rid of that horrid blueness!

So that’s is some of what I’ve been up to.  I already know what my next project will be and it involves moving walls….this is why I’m never bored.  lol

We’ve Decided

I know I’ve been quiet on here but life has been anything but quiet these past couple of weeks.  We did end up making a decision regarding school for next year.   We did a bunch of research and talked to friends who have children in our local school and decided it was time.  We registered all of our children for next year and I gave my notice at school.  We have peace that we’re doing what’s best for all of us and we’re excited about it.  Our children got a tour of the school and got to see their classrooms.  That was exciting!  And they’re thrilled about riding the bus next year. 🙂  One of our sons has been going to the school every week for a month or so now for some testing and I have been really amazed at how different it is from what I was taught growing up.  The teachers are nice and really care about the children.  And after being taught that their primary purpose is to take the rights away from parents I was shocked when I went for a meeting about my son and they told me that it was my right to decide if I wanted him going through testing or not and that my opinion was the only one they cared about so I shouldn’t feel pressured one way or another.  I had so much support from them.  Absolutely amazing.  We are looking forward to next year!