Sunday, January 22, 2012

No More Girl Scouts

You know that thing when God starts bringing things to your attention, over and over... Until you figure out you need to research and pay attention? Yea, that.

It's happened for a couple of big things in our lives. Things like vaccinations and homeschooling. Things that you just have to listen to, you know you have to do it, it's not going away. I know that I am called to homeschool and if I put my kids into school it just wouldn't go well. So even on those days I am slightly jealous of other mom's,(who have lots of daytime, alone time, to clean their homes and run errands and plan meals....), I know I am doing what I am supposed to be doing.

It seems that I keep seeing posts about the Girl Scouts and what they stand for, who they are supporting with their income. There are video's about lifetime Girl Scouts who have started speaking out about what they are doing. After a lot of reading and searching and discussion with the hubby, I decided that we were probably not to be there any longer. I explained to Meghan some of what they are doing. That was not super fun. It's hard to imagine my little girl is getting to the age where we have to talk about these types of things. She was shocked and appalled, of course.

So we decided together to leave the troop. Not that our troop is teaching anything bad at all. We were in a Christian, Homeschool troop. It's just the fact that the money we spend on uniforms, badges and t-shirts and the money made from cookie sales is going to support things completely ungodly and not really supporting girls at all.

Meghan is sad that she won't get to go to regular meetings and have fun activities with the girls but we are looking into Keepers of the Faith clubs. We may try and start our own group. There is also Contenders for the Faith with is for boys. I think they might be able to work together somewhat but I need to research more.

I am still going with it's not always fun to be an adult. Sometimes I want to throw a tantrum myself and ask why I have to do things no one else has to do, but I know better. ;) I have always been a good girl, no matter what anyone says.

If you are interested in more information on what the Girl Scouts are doing, here are some links to get you started.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Week in Review 1/16/12-1/20/12

Oh it was great to be all well, nearly.  :D

Last weekend was great. Meghan and I had a mother/daughter day on Sunday. Sometimes it is nice to just take out one kid. You remember how easy it was back when there was one. ;) First we went to church and then she chose where we had lunch. She chose Olive Garden, can't argue with that one. We then went to see Chipwrecked, Meghan has really been wanting to see it and she hasn't been to the theater in years, really.

We also wondered around the Chandler mall. I haven't been in there in forever. It was fun to see what new stores there were and what stores were gone. I actually saw the Origami Owl kiosk. I knew they were in there but hadn't been to see it, although I have looked online lots, picking out the charms I would like. They also had a booth at our church boutique but again since I had a booth and was working it I didn't get to shop and see it. (If you have time go read Isabella's story on the site. I am just amazed at how big her business has gotten and she is about 16, she started it at 14. Amazing!)

I was excited to be able to look at everything in person. The girl working informed me that it was their last day at the mall. I knew they said they were going to stop having the spot there. So I decided to go ahead and start my locket. They are so pretty! Here is a picture of mine although I am not sure you can see the charms really well.

The charms I picked are
a wing, (for loved ones who have passed and my baby angels)
a pink sparkly heart, (love and family and my love of all things pink)
a vintage cross, (Jesus love)
a cupcake, (hello)
and a vintage cameo, (my "grandma" gave me one before she passed)

I love it! I do plan to add a pair of flip flops and an Eiffel tower though. :) They were out of those.
I was able to scrap a little bit last weekend too. I have pictures ordered and on the way so I can do some more. Here is a page I did.

So onto this week in school and other stuff.

Kaden and Ellie learned about the letter B. Kaden already knew what it was and the sound. Ellie was just interested in coloring it mostly. They also did some pages from a Kumon book we have. It's a cut and paste book but the first few pages are stickers. So they both did a couple.

I added this picture of one of Kaden's pages. He looks at the little picture up in the corner and copies it exactly. Ellie just stuck them where ever she felt like. She's cool like that.

The old laptop the kids use was having some sort of off week so here is Meghan using mine. She is laying on the floor learning about Benjamin Franklin. I guess she was comfortable. We are using a unit study from Amanda Bennett. It's a lot of fun and Meghan loves it. It is supposed to be a one week study but there is a lot there so we are going to use it for two weeks at least.

On Wednesday Meghan had her online American Girl Club meeting. She really likes them a lot! They are free club meetings with a teacher. The only bummer is I haven't found the American Girl books they are reading right now. They are reading the Felicity books. She has really liked listening in to the discussions though and answering some of the questions. They usually have some video's and a craft to do as well. The meeting is once a month. This one they learned about having tea and also how to make butter. Kaden came in to help make the butter, (Ellie was napping).

Watching the teacher and listening.

Shaking the cream and listening.

More shaking...

Kaden taking a turn with shaking the cream.

The finishing butter... yum!

We brought out the activity bags I made for Kaden a while back. Well some of them were done in a swap with other moms. Ellie joined in on some of the activities this time. Kaden did a bunch of them.

Thursday was the National Popcorn Day. I bet a lot of you didn't know we had one of those. :)
We made popcorn in a paper bag which I didn't know you could do until I saw another homeschooling mom post about it. We put some of our homemade butter on it. :)

I also bought Amanda Bennett's Popcorn Unit. That will be a fun one to do! It's has been on sale this week too but the sale ends tonight.

They watched a movie and had popcorn in the living room. So after they were done we needed to vacuum and Kaden wanted to do it. He did a really good job and I hardly had to do anything... bonus!

We still didn't get as much done as I would have liked but it went really well. We learned a lot about Ben Franklin and Meghan is ready for more. Kaden doesn't feel done when he finishes what I have for him so I need to give him a little more. We are working in a few things this weekend too that is learning and fun in one and still in the themes of the week. I'll share those next week. :)
Have a great Sunday!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

You Must to Watch This Video!

I just had to share this. The story of how this woman basically saved herself by knowing what to eat. She is sharing it so that we all learn how to eat better and become healthier.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Fun With Pictures

Kaden humming into the Wii microphone.

My cute Ellie Belly

A very grown up looking Meghan.

Ellie wanted red toes. Such cute baby toes. She surprises me every time she asks for a "red M&M"  or wants to find the R's on the page I am reading.

Meghan made bubble wands from pipe cleaners.

Over December when the kids colored or drew pictures I hung them up. I took pictures before taking them down so I can see and remember them but but not have to save every project. :)

Nathan has been collecting state quarters for a while. I found him the collecting board to put them in. He was very happy about that and got it out for him and the kids to add the quarters. :)

This post proves that learning and fun can happen even when everyone is sick and I did no school with them for 2 weeks. :) Carry on!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Yes, It's A New Year!

I know I am a little late! We have all been a little under the weather. Actually a lot under the weather. We are finally getting over it and Meghan and I are actually going to church tomorrow. We haven't been able to go for about 3 weeks, I think. I've really been bummed about being sick because with it being a new year I was ready to get back to school. We had one day of school before everyone started dropping like flies. I am excited that this coming week we can get back to it!

I really like when New Year's rolls around. I don't know why because you can reevaluate and change things whenever you want but something about a new year makes it easier. Either way I have been reflecting on how 2011 went and what I wanted to change. Most of my focus for this is on my business and on how our homeschooling is going. These two things are a huge part of what I do daily and are related as well.

My business hasn't been earning me a great amount especially for the amount of time I have been putting into it. I pushed myself all year to do as much as I could and get my name out as much as possible. I also took every order that came my way except maybe a couple. God has been working on me with this. I have been worried about our income and worried about having a plan. I need to trust that God knows what is going to happen and will take care of us. I am going to stress less about the business and do more with the kids. I feel big relief now that I have allowed myself to relax about it.

There are a couple of charities that I have been donating cakes to over the past couple years as well. It was really getting hard because of how busy I was and also because the cakes they needed kept getting larger, but I wasn't going to stop. Well He has seen fit that those groups are no longer having those events because they had just gotten so big. I loved doing it but I see this as a sign also that He wants me to slow down a bit and not be spread so thin. They will have a few events throughout the year I can help with but it will not be a regular occurrence.

All of this is of course related to the kids and homeschooling. I know for sure I was called to homeschool them. So that needs to be my first priority. When my business is too busy then the kids don't get as much of my time as they need. I have decided to not answer the phone in the mornings at all, and if I do lose orders because of it I am going to be ok with it. I will check email once in the morning and then return phone calls and emails in the afternoon. I am also going to be more selective about the orders I take. I will raise my minimum order as well. The orders I take need to be worth my time.

To be honest sometimes I wish that I didn't have a business. It's a lot to keep up with and a lot of work. While I love doing it, all the little things, (taxes, paperwork, returning calls, etc) are hard to keep up with and take so much time away from my family. When I stopped doing it 4 or so years ago it was because I was burned out. I try to tell myself that it would be the same as having a job only I get to do it on my time and at home, but I do miss just homeschooling and taking care of the kids only. Of course, when I wasn't running my business I missed creating the cakes too. I am striving with God's help to strike a balance this year and I feel good about it. We never know exactly what the future holds and I trust The God has a plan for us!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Chex Winner!

I am very sorry I am late posting the winner. My entire family has been sick, including me. So I have gotten a little behind.

So without further delay... the winner of the Chex Party giveaway is ...

The Zookeeper! Congrats! I will email you shortly. Thank you to everyone that entered!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Pen Pals

We have had a bit of a rough weekend here. Luckily Nathan gets an extra day off this week because he came home sick on Friday. He is going to live but the extra day will be good for him, since he has just rested all week. Ellie and Meghan have a touch of it too but not too bad. Tomorrow I will be putting away all the Christmas decorations and getting all the school stuff out and ready for Tuesday. I decided to get started tonight and made this.

I found this idea at Mama Jenn's and thought it would be a great thing for Meghan and I to do. She copied it from someone else and so on. I am not sure where it originated. ;) I will be putting it in one of her workboxes on Tuesday when we get back to school.

It is just a journal, (notebook) that I covered in pretty paper. We will write letters to each other back and forth.

I copied the letter she used as well for the first entry.

Dear Meghan,
Would you like to be my pen pal? Instead of mailing letters to each other, we can keep them here in this notebook. Does that sound like fun?
I will write to you and then leave the notebook on your bed. Then, when you want to write me back you can begin writing on the next page and leave the notebook on my bed when you are done.
You can write about anything! It can be funny or serious! Just write about whatever is on your mind! 
I am so excited and I hope that you are excited too!
P.S. Write back soon! :-)

I think that Meghan will have a good time with this. I can not wait to see what she wants to talk about and love the idea of writing practice too. :)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Foodie Trends

You know by now I am a huge baker. :) I love trying out new recipes when I have time too. I was sent some cool information from Betty Crocker through My Blog Spark I wanted to share. These are baking and food trends. You can find all the red hot trends on Betty Crocker but I wanted to share my personal favorites here as well.

Trend: Double Desserts

Taking two desserts and mixing and mashing them together is one of our favorite trends. Things like pie shakes, cookie stuffed cookies, and pie-filled cupcakes deliver a whole new kind of delicious. It’s a 1+1=3 kind of thing.

Recipe: Pumpkin Pie Cookies

Pie, meet cookie. Cookie, say hello to pie. When two all-time favorites come together, you get Pumpkin Pie Cookies, the star at your next holiday cookie exchange.

Trend: Boozy Baking

From booze cakes to cocktail pies, bakers everywhere are bringing
the bar into the kitchen. A titch of tequila or a skosh of scotch whiskey
 adds a serious shot of fun and flavor for the over 21 crowd.
We’re loving these boozy baked goods!

Recipe: Boozy Bourbon Chocolate Cupcakes

Taste for yourself what the buzz is all about! A bit of bourbon,
a hit of coffee liqueur and some vanilla vodka-spiked frosting make
 these sophisticated chocolate cupcakes the ultimate “holiday helpers.”

Trend: Food Craft

The kitchen is the new craft room. With food as their medium,
clever cooks are making amazing edible food crafts that are as
good to look at as they are to eat.

Recipe: Chocolate Coal Lumps

Naughty or nice, everyone will love these easy cho-coal-late
treats. Cocoa Puffs® cereal dipped in melted chocolate and
 marshmallows create these tasty stocking stuffers.

Check out all the fun trends in food!

“Update the Traditional Cookie Exchange: Host a Chex Party Mix-Change!” (Plus Win it!)

What is the one thing you for sure have on New Years Eve? Snacks! Thanks to My Blog Spark and Chex we had a Chex Party for New Years Eve! It was lots of fun and so easy. There are so many recipes using Chex for lots of fun snacks! The favorite was the Chex Muddy Buddies, of course. The kids love it!

Here are some more recipes though and all of them are yummy!
The Original Chex Party Mix
Chex PB and Chocolate Blast
Chex Pumpkin Pie Crunch
Hot Buttered Rum Chex Mix
Chex Caramel Chocolate Drizzles
There are MANY more recipes here.

What is great about these recipes and most of the Chex recipes is that they take about 15 minutes using the microwave. Since I have been so busy with baking for my business and then Christmas baking I really didn't want to do a lot of involved snacks. These were perfect!

The prize pack provided by Chex and My Blog Spark included these cute Chinese take out containers for sorting and taking home the mixes. Fun!

Now for the fun part! You could win a prize package and host your own Chex Party Mix-Change!

Your prize package will contain:
  • 2 boxes of Chex cereal to create Chex Party Mix recipes

  • 5 featured Chex Party Mix recipes

  • 10 takeout containers so your guests can take their Chex Party Mix to-go

  • $20 gift card to purchase recipe ingredients and decorating supplies

  • There are three ways to enter.
    #1 Leave a comment and let me know what event you will host your Party using the Prize package.
    #2 "Like" Chex Mix on Facebook. Leave a 2nd comment letting me know you did.
    #3 Share this giveaway! On your Facebook or Blog. Leave a comment for each place you shared.

    Winner will be chosen via on January 8th, (2012 yes it really is!!).
    Thanks and good luck!

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