Dear Baby Aaron

Baby Aaron

Dear Baby Aaron,

Happy birthday in heaven, little one. It just struck me, that you’ll be turning 4 up there today. That’s hardly a baby anymore, but calling you anything other than ‘Baby Aaron’ seems strange. As a four-year-old, I bet you’re roughousing all over those streets of gold with your friends. I can’t help but wonder… Are you loud and rambunctious? Or are you a bit shy and thoughtful?

Although we were not gifted with watching you grow up here, I’ve been keeping busy raising your older brother, Gabriel, younger brothers Matthias and Becket, and growing your mystery sibling, Eden or Judah (due July). I bet if you asked God, he’d tell you who it is ahead of time, but then, perhaps your patience surpasses mine. (We are related genetically, so perhaps I passed that impatient curiosity on?)

I wonder, do you keep up with what’s going on down here? Are you a part of the ‘cloud of witnesses’ watching us below? Or are you having too much fun learning your way around? I mean, I wouldn’t blame you. If you were a typical four year old, you may be more excited about your next adventure or that collection of angel feathers? Do you have a favorite fruit from the Tree of Life? I hear it makes twelve different kinds. I’m excited to try it!

I’m sure the line is long, but I recommend catching King David or C.S. Lewis if you’re old enough to sit through some grand adventure stories. Your brothers, Gabriel and Matthias, are serious fans of both, but we won’t have the pleasure of meeting them for a while. I’m assuming you actually can.

Whether or not you get this letter, I’ll be praying you have a bit of extra fun up there today. Give Jesus a hug from me and tell him I’m missing him too. Tell him {again} how grateful I am that he conquered death for us, so that we can officially meet again.

–Your Momma

January 11th, 2016

Last-Minute, Super Cheap, No Stress Thanksgiving Decor

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I’m in charge of hosting Thanksgiving this year. For the first time ever.

That’s right. I have people counting on me (an ex-vegetarian) to get a fully cooked turkey to the table. (Pray for me friends.) But all that aside…

I have such fond memories of a festive, warm and welcoming Thanksgiving table. It was always a thing of beauty, but never put together by my very, non-crafty self. That was left to either my artsy mother or my amazing sister-in-law (the one who takes trash and turns it into treasure by blinking). But this year, though I had a teeny tiny budget, little time, and no crafty bones in my body, it was up to me.

After hitting up the Dollar Tree and the craft section at Wal-Mart, I was able to put a classy tablescape together for about $18-ish dollars. Not too shabby, right? Here’s how.

After pricing holiday tableclothes ($14 minimum at Wal-Mart), I decided to settle on a Dollar Tree runner ($1) with a $2 burlap streamer (Wal-Mart wedding decor section) down the middle.

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These were fun and super simple to make, even for my barely-crafty self. You may already have two matching vases hanging around, and perhaps two matching candles too. Maybe some unbuttered, unpopped popcorn and black beans? Believe it or not, I didn’t. Just mismatchy vases, half melted candles, and my unpopped popcorn was buttered (yummy) and greasy. However, I did have some twine and black beans!

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If you’re making these harvest-theme candle holders from scratch, it’ll run you (from Dollar Tree)

$2 for two, matching vases

$1 box of popcorn

$2 for fresh white candles

So… $5 for both (and most of it’s reusable). Come to think of it, if you wanted to add another layer, I bet some green split peas would have made another colorful layer or two.

As the main centerpiece, I added a bowl-full of colorful apples! These were already in the house for me (FREE!) and we’ll enjoy munching on them later, I’m sure.

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Next, did you know that Dollar Tree sells charger plates? (I can’t figure out why in the world they’re called that. What do they charge, exactly?) Finding each of these for a dollar was the perfect highlight and meant we didn’t have to use place mats, which I purged a long time ago after never using them. Since we’ll be serving six adults, that meant $6 ($1 per guest).

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I settled our normal, pretty red plats on top (can you tell I like red?). Perfect.

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I picked up some whimsical holiday napkins, again at Dollar Tree ($1).

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And then, since having peoples’ names at their place setting is all the rage, I fell in love with these chalk-labelled, jar-style cups. Found at Dollar Tree, they came out to $1 per person/$6 for me total. Totally cute and reusable too. (They’ll be even cuter after they have names on them, but chalk is the last thing on our shopping list.)

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All that was left, was to add the silverware and stemware.

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Classy, yes? I feel like a grown up now.

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Bring on the good memories and delicious food! Happiest of Thanksgiving to you all!

NOTES:

If, like my husband, you’re curious where all food is going to go… We’ll be serving that buffet-style in the kitchen.

Also, if you’re looking for a free Printable, check out this one. All you’ll need is a printer, some twine or ribbon, some baby clothespins ($1 at Walmart), and about 5 minutes to cut them out and clip them together.

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ONE Thing You Can Do NOW to End Abortion

One thing you can do now to end abortion

I’ve been watching the horrors of the Planned Parenthood exposure for months. I’ve seen the grisly videos, I’ve read the appalling comments in support, I’ve heard politicians and media moguls plug their ears and point fingers elsewhere. I’ve felt the nausea of disgust and have the despair of hopelessness.

I nurse my child as I read the articles. I feel his little toes and trace his little cheeks with my finger, all the while wondering at the callousness it must take to reach a blade inside of a womb meant for giving life and chop a wriggling, pain-feeling child to pieces.

It takes a special kind of selfishness, to not want to ‘get fat’ badly enough, to hate being nauseated strongly enough, that it’s worth it to a woman to kill her own offspring. After you feel her body kick and roll inside of you. After you know he’s real.

It takes a special kind of greed to be the ‘provider’. To be the overseer of such an operation, that would tear, and cut, and scrape away the money-making bits from an infant and then put those pieces in a little glass jar for profit. Christ said it would be better for a man to have a millstone tied around his neck and thrown into the sea, than to hurt one of his little ones. There surely is a special place in hell for such deceitful ‘caregivers’.

But what can we do? Besides pray. Besides donating money to the whistle-blowers and freedom fighters. What can we do? What can we do NOW?

Would it help to adopt a child?” I asked my husband over dinner. “Would that make any difference at all?” He knew we would be willing. If the opportunity arose, to either claim a life as ours to raise or let it be killed, what other choice would we have?

But my husband shook his head. “No, the waiting list to adopt a baby in the US is years-long already. There are so many couples struggling with infertility. It’s not a matter of not having enough homes willing to take them in. It’s a matter of women not willing to be pregnant. They don’t want to carry an unwanted child.”

It’s too much work. They’d rather kill it.

But that answer hurts somehow. It means I can’t change things. I can’t make a mother carry her child against her will. Abortion is legal, after all. It means I must sit by. It means I must let it continue.

It’s easy to get lost in the helplessness. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by this world’s evil. I can pray, but what can I do?

Mommy, mommy! Look at my lego fort!” It’s my five year old, proudly displaying his newest citadel on the table. 

That’s nice, love,” I say, returning my eyes to the screen. I read on about the hopelessness.

Mommy, mommy! Mommy, look!” Gabriel is at my side now, not satisfied. Once he senses my full attention on him, his face beams and he crosses to the other side of the table. “This is where the bad-guy army lives. It is their evil fortress. And here is where the good guy army is. Oh, and here is where we fight.”

That’s a good battle scene, Gabriel. But who’s going to win?”

Gabriel smiles, as if the answer is obvious. “Why, the good guys, of course. Will you teach me how to build them a castle?”

Of course, the good guys will win. That’s what I always teach him, after all. Like Christ told the apostle Peter, “On this rock I will build my church, and even the gates of Hell will not prevail against it. ” (Matt. 16:18) That’s what the Angel of God told Joshua, and Gideon, and Moses over and over again… “Do not be afraid. I have delivered them into your hands.” (Numbers 21, Joshua 1, Judges 6)

Of course, the good-guys will win. It may not be now, but it will happen eventually. And then I realized… I may not be able to save other peoples’ children myself, the ones their own mothers are determined to kill, but Christ can use me to raise up mine.

I put down my screen.

Sure, Gabriel. Let me teach you how to build a castle.”

When you’re feeling hopeless about the world’s situation, when the darkness seems too much to bear… Here is one thing you can do RIGHT NOW to make it better.

Put down you screen and turn your face to your children. Teach them, love them, train them in righteousness. Lead them in the Ways that are better than the World’s ways.

Teach them to value life. Let them be the fearless voice exposing Hitler’s holocaust to the uninformed German citizens who lived just down the road from Auschwitz.

Teach your sons to honor and protect women, instead of using them and throwing them away afterward. Teach your daughters to find proper men, and not boys, and to give themselves to a single, trustworthy man wisely. Teach your daughters that it’s a privilege, albeit a sacrifice, to be the vessel of another life brought into this world. Teach them the value of such a miracle, no matter what discomfort it may provide.

Teach your children, so they can teach their children after them.

This world hates children. If they don’t kill them in the womb, they try to hand them off to someone else to raise. There is daycare and after-school care and summer camps to fill in every hole a parent might have to be responsible for. Mom and Dad’s joke about what nuisances their children are. They complain about how expensive they are. It’s becoming more and more common to just never have them in the firstplace because they may interfere with your career or dreams of independence and travel.

We resent children because they’re weak and needy. Yes, they always seem to need something from us. Whether that’s a drink of water for your toddler in the middle of the night or help with math homework in the afternoon when you were hoping for a bag of popcorn and a movie. It can be exhausting, and go against the grain of our self-serving nature, but that’s okay.

Because that is how we learn, as parents, to become more Christ-like. Don’t we always ask and need things of our Savior? And yet, he never tires of providing for us, seeing to our needs, loving us despite ourselves, and gently correcting us when we stray. Because His love is perfect. And that is what we are called to imitate.

Put your screen down and love your children now. Don’t just tell them you love them. Show them with your hands.

Pause your ‘grown-up’ article reading and make a lego castle. Make them that dinner you know they enjoy. Meet their eyes. Smile at them with your heart. Ask them sincerely about their day. It may seem like a little thing here and there, but it adds up, hour by hour, day by day, year by year, until they are grown and having children of their own. Teach them about Christ’s love and they will understand it better, because they understand their Mother’s.

Teach them to love children and value them as the blessing they are. Teach them to use their strength to protect the weak. Teach them not to fear evil, for the Creator stands on their side.

It’s a high calling, parenthood. It’s not for wussies. To represent Christ that way is a huge responsibility.

But it is world-changing. Literally.

Because a Christ-loving Mom and Dad can raise up several other Christ-loving wives, husbands, friends, coworkers, employees, and teachers for the next generation. They can impact pro-life/pro-murder legislation better than I can. What is a government, if not a reflection of it’s people?

And that is how we will end great evils like abortion. While the wicked kill off their children or never conceive them at all, we will multiply. And we will love them, train them, and teach them to do likewise. When given the opportunity, we will adopt theirs and raise them as our own.

Unless we let our guard down and allow them to steal our children by infiltrating their minds, our enemies don’t stand a chance. If it’s a numbers game, they’re doomed to failure. And that’s my plan for taking over the world. Or maybe it was God’s? Let’s use our hands to be fruitful, to multiply, to fill the earth and subdue it (Genesis 1:28).

So let me say this one more time… Here is one thing you can do NOW.

Put your screen down, and go show your children the love of Christ.

And even the gates of Hell will not prevail.

The Low-Mess, Low-Stress Sheet Tent (for Rainy Days)

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The weather was gross this morning. We slept in late (as late as the babies would let me), and even after downing a few cups of coffee, it was hard to get the motivation for a regular day’s work. The kids agreed with me, I think.

Normally, I love my routine of Breakfast, Clean-Up, School Stuff, etc, but every once in a while, it’s refreshing to ditch the routine and do something different. 

This morning I announced that after the breakfast dishes were done, beds were made, and teeth were brushed, we were going to make a SHEET TENT. Chores were done so enthusiastically!

Things You’ll Need:

  • A large sheet
  • A few pennies
  • A bag of rubber bands
  • Dining chairs
  • Throw Pillows
  • Tall, Sturdy Pieces of Furniture (optional)

The Process…

  1. First, circle the chairs. If you have a tall piece of furniture to jump-start things, that’s great (though not required). You’ll want to be sure that they’re close enough to each other, that the sheet covers the backs of the chairs.
  2. After spreading the sheet over the chairs, we use throw pillows to keep them where they’re supposed to be. If the pillows aren’t heavy enough, you can stack books to weigh the edges down. Or you can figure out something with the rubber bands.

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3) If you were wondering what the pennies had to do with anything… I like to use them as anchors, to help the rubber bands catch on the otherwise slippery sheet.

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And that’s the basic version! We do have a pop-up Castle tent we like to push into one side for a different room, but that’s a totally optional addition. It’s perfectly fun and adventurous without that!

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The boys like to gather their blankets, pillows, flash lights, (and their sword stash) inside for some extra fun.

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Want to know my favorite part about this sheet tent adventure? It only takes 2 minutes to put away!

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P.S. You may have noticed Gabriel’s new eye patch… Because Gabriel has amblyopia (a lazy eye), the doctor’s orders are to patch the stronger eye for 6 hours a day to make the weaker eye work for itself. Luckily, he rocks the pirate look!

Adventurous Movies, Episodes, & Learning Shows for Little Boys

Adventurous Movies and Shows for Boys

I haven’t watched many Barbie movies in my life. After growing up with three brothers, I now find myself with three little boys of my own to raise. This means there’s a lot of “Can we watch a fighting movie?” and “Does it have superheroes?” questions that pop up when I pull my movie case out.

Speaking of my movie case… Here’s how I organize my DVDs. We have a case for adult movies and a case for children’s movies.

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Nice and simple, and it takes up so much less space than having all the cases on a shelf somewhere.

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When I’m choosing a kids’ show, I don’t want it to be a waste of time. I want them to learn something. Sometimes that may be math or language skills, but other times, it may be character development or the reminder that good always conquers over evil. Boys, especially, thrive on action and adventure. So let’s give it to them, and use it to teach them wonderful things!

Save the princess! Protect the kingdom! Slay the dragon! Be kind to others. And maybe learn some math, history, or science while you’re at it.

What it takes for me to avoid a show? Usually, the primary reason is that the main character is a bad example to my children, but there can be other reasons too. Some common complaints of mine are when shows…

  1. Show the main characters disrespecting/disobeying their parents and getting away with it/Portray the kid characters as brilliant geniuses and the parents as bumbling fools.
  2. Show the siblings or friends constantly bickering. (I want my children to be friends with each other!) 
  3. Making thievery (Aladdin), laziness (Garfield) or other immorality look funny or admirable.
  4. Too much crude humor (There are enough farting jokes around here as it is, thank you. We need no additional inspiration)
  5. Any annoying cultural propaganda… Like when animal lives are portrayed as being of MORE value than humanity (cough, Brother Bear, cough).
  6. The presence of ghosts/spirits/using magic to contact the dead as being friendly or harmless.

Movies are our modern day Storytellings, and STORIES CHANGE PEOPLE. STORIES TEACH PEOPLE. I want to be sure that’s for the better.

Firstly, let’s hit the academics…

LEARNING SHOWS (for great preschool supplementation and some guilt-free movie time):

LeapFrog’s Letter Factory (how both my boys learned all their letters and letter sounds by Age 2)* The Letter Factory is unfortunately not on Netflix, but is totally worth buying.

LeapFrog’s Word Factory (for once they know their letters)

LeapFrog’s Numbers Ahoy! (pirates and math, yay!)

LeapFrog’s Math Adventure to the Moon (space ships and math, hurrah!)

LeapFrog’s Let’s Go to School! (basic counting, letter review, calendar skills, and telling time all in one place)

Those have been my favorite LeapFrog episodes. Some of the other LeapFrog ones on Netflix are kind of boring/repetitive, but these usually go over wonderfully!

Blue’s Clues: Shapes and Colors 

Boz: Thank You God for Colors and Shapes (Boz is basically a Christianized Barney character, so presents the Colors/Shapes as gifts from God)

Boz: Thank You God for Friends and Helpers (good episodes on working hard and helping others)

The Magic School Bus (Digestive system, Solar System, Eco System… you name it! This kids’ science show is awesome.)

The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That ( Similar to the book series and informative too! If you like the hatted cat, then this show’s for you!)

Octonauts (This show is just too much fun to seem like an educational show, but it really, really is! I’ve learned so much about real sea creatures myself from this show, and so have my kids! Science for the win!)

Special Agent Oso (Portrays necessary life skills like shoe-tying or bed-making in an adventurous way!)

Super Why (Super heroes and early reading.)

FAVORITE ‘FOR-FUN’ SHOWS:

Phineas And Ferb (Such a delight to kids and parents. Part of what I love, is that the brothers have a good relationship and are kind to their sister throughout it all (even though she’s always trying to bust them). Both Phineas and Ferb are respectful of their parents too, though the same cannot be said for their sister.)

Dinotrux (Another recent discovery. It has dinosaurs and trucks involved at the same time. That’s a guaranteed little boy audience right there.)

Puss in Boots (Because of the quirky plot lines… And the sword fighting… And the Antonio Banderas. Okay, my kids don’t really care about Antonio, but it makes it more fun for me)

Animal Mechanicals (Kinda lame graphics, but my boys love this show. Corny, mechanical characters and how they strrreeeech, fly, race and build to get stuff done. Nice and short, nine-minute episodes, and all the characters work together nicely!)

FULL LENGTH MOVIES

The Penguins of Madagascar (A recent favorite. So funny. So charming. Totally worth YOUR time, as well as your child’s)

Phineas and Ferb the Movie (watch the episodes first!)

Epic (This movie didn’t get enough press when it came out, but my boys love it. It can be a little intense, but there’s a lot of gorgeous scenery, self-sacrificial love displayed, awesome elf-like warriors fighting ugly bad guys, and the main character learns to respect her father by the end, which counts as a good moral lesson in my book)

Peabody and Sherman (Punny, clever, and adventurous. Good moral lessons and lots of peeks into history! Great fun)

Aristocats (I grew up on this one, and it remains a family classic. Just good, clean animal fun with great music)

Peter Pan (Another classic. It’s hard to outgrow this one.)

Ice Age (A cute tale of a few animals helping a baby find his family. Very, very witty, clean, and… the squirrel!)

Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas (If the presence of a ‘goddess’ as the bad character doesn’t bother you too much, Sinbad is a great, Swashbuckling fairytale where a thief learns how to grow in character and lay down his life for others. My biggest complaint? Marina should have totally chosen to marry Proteus. I mean, what was she thinking?!)

Prince of Egypt (Because it’s a ‘mostly correct’ version of a great bible story, and then… THE MUSIC. Garsh, the music, people! You can’t have your child grow up without that soundtrack in their lives.)

The Emperor’s New Groove (Because it’s hilarious. And because the main character learns how to think of others above himself. Also, it’s hilarious.)

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (This is a very dramatic movie that can be intense at times, but so worth watching if your child can handle it. The main villain says he’s hunting down gypsies to ‘smite the wicked’ in the name of God, so that’s a downer, but you can point out to your child how hypocritical he’s being and how he’s definitely not acting like a Christian at all. It’s important to note that there is also a GOOD priest character in the movie, that saves Quasimodo’s life in the beginning (also in the name of God) and fights for his protection until the end. Also, the MUSIC IS AMAZZZZZING)

The Swan Princess (A classic prince-saves-the-princess tale, with wonderful music and witty dialogue)

Hoodwinked (Good music, clean fun)

The Incredibles (A family who bickers together quite a bit in the beginning, but learns to get along together by the end. Also, with super powers)

Finding Nemo (It’s bad to disobey your Daddy, boys. When Nemo did, he got kidnapped by a deep sea diver and his Dad had to go through a whoooole lotta work to get him back.)

So now it’s your turn… Any favorite shows or movies your family has been watching?

The Bathroom Closet Makeover (for only $7!)

Bathroom Closet MakeoverWhen you move into a new house for the first time, it can be overwhelming. Mainly, because EVERYTHING needs to be organized at once.

To keep from becoming overwhelmed, I narrowed things down to one project at a time. I divided my home into twelve parts, and assigned a part of my home to each month of the year. The idea is to get everything {kinda} organized by the end of the year. More on that method HERE.

I am working with a limited budget (and working around and over and under three, under-age-5 hooligans) so progress is slow, but as long as there’s progress, I’m happy. When the disorganization in by bedroom closet starts to annoy me, I can comfort myself by reminding myself that that’s NOVEMBER’s job. I’ll get there. Slowly, but surely.

For the month of September, I’ve assigned myself the bathrooms. Why? Because that’s where my disorganization has recently been driving me crazy. Have you ever tried to fish around in an extremely disorganized medicine cabinet at two in the morning, while holding a crying, feverish toddler? It’s not fun.

That’s why my bathroom closet, but my medicine shelf in particular, was a top priority. I love how deep and spacious this closet is, but it’s very easy to lose things in the back.

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The towels on the top shelf were always spilling over. Because I’m short, it’s difficult to pile them nicely once they get higher. We also have about two favorite towels that we use over and over, so most of them were just hogging space.

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First things, first. I emptied everything. And, um… Don’t let your baby help organize medicines. It’s not safe and they stink at categorizing. Pretty much, not a great idea. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME.

IMG_8395Then, with $7 worth of Dollar Tree baskets, I sorted everything by category. In my family, we do a mix of pharmaceuticals and more natural methods, so I found it more to-the-point to sort by problem than by brand/type. Next time my kid has a fever, I’ll know exactly which basket to pull out and have all my options right in front of me.

IMG_8402For some categories, I added these little nesting baskets (also found at Dollar Tree), to help me separate things better. I separated my Infant treatments from my Child ones, our prescription meds from regular OTC ones, and used them to sort our little measuring cups, spoons, and thermometers, like so…

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Of course, what use is it to sort stuff into categories if OTHER people (ehem, husband…) can’t read your mind later? Great excuse for making labels, I say!

To make some classy labels on the cheap, I printed off my categories in a fun font and taped them to some pretty paper.

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Then I covered them with contact paper (the cheap way to laminate) to make them water proof. IMG_8409

Then I attached them to the baskets with some velcro tabs so they’re fully removable (or swappable) later on.

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Seven dollars and about an hour later, my shelf looked like this.

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And the towels like this…IMG_8419I downsized to only a few towels (about what we use each week in this bathroom anyway), and stashed the rarely used ones on that difficult-to-reach, super-high shelf. That way, they’re not clogging up our frequently-used space, but we can still get them down if we have guests or (god-forbid) the stomach flu strikes and we need a gazillion more.

Someday (maybe on next year’s circuit), I’ll slap a bright paint color on my closet walls, so it’ll be truly pinterest-worthy. It’d be an extra $12, I priced it! Not terrible, but we’re counting pennies this year and I want to use those $12 elsewhere. For now, I’m content with my $7 baskets.

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One last thing I did was attach a dosing-reference sheet on the back of the door. Children’s Tylenol is my family’s go-to thing for teething, fevers, pain, etc. (Don’t yell at me, natural-treatment peoples! It works for us!)

Anyhow, my kids are always changing their weights (probably because I keep feeding them), so dosing instructions aren’t something I feel confident memorizing.

IMG_8424I put it in a page protector and attached it with another one of those fancy-velcro-tabs. The thing I love most about page protectors is that you can use dry erase markers to write WHATEVER YOU WANT to on them (like dosing times) and wipe it off later. Love.

IMG_8426Now that I can find things when I need them, I consider this organization project a success. Here’s me taking control of my home, one closet at a time!

It’s Been A While… And I’m Baaaack!

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As you may have noticed, I’ve taken quite the vacation from my blog. About 8 months-worth, actually. A lot has happened in those eight months. Enough to keep me busy, busy, busy (in a good way) with all sorts of life changes. However, I have sorely missed you, my readers, and all that encouraging interaction. I’m hoping to return now. If not with a vengeance, at least with some sort of more predictable visitation.

So what has happened lately? Quite a bit.

We moved into a serious fixer-upper (moldy floors, neon-colored carpet, you name it), but you’d never know from looking at it now. It’s not the most organized thing in the world yet, but it’s clean and smells nice now and (dare I say it?) is starting to look a bit classy. Now that we’ve reinstalled about everything (new floors, painted every wall, tore down rotting walls and door frames, installed new, unstained countertops, whew!), I think I can return to what I really love to do… ORGANIZE it! Cleaning and organizing really are different categories in my head. One, I put up with because I like the results, but the other I really enjoy. I’m very much looking forward to this next home stage, as well as sharing lots of pictures of our progress!

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BEFORE

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AFTER

 

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BEFORE

 

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AFTER

Also in the last year, we’ve adjusted to life as parents of THREE boys instead of two. Becket’s arrival on Christmas day (a few weeks before our move) did nothing to encourage dutiful blogging. (But he sure is cute!) And apparently he’s eight months old already.

When you sit down to do the math, it calculates out, however I still can’t figure out how that really did happen…

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Um, also, and I’ll just leave this here… I got the opportunity to run off to England and Scotland for a few weeks.

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The upside? I didn’t have to pay for our plane tickets. The downside? My husband had to stay behind due to work. So… Maybe I was a little bit crazy, but how could I turn down paid-tickets to Europe?

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Back in my regular, ol’ American house, by the end of this year, I should have a 5 year old (Gabriel), 3 year old (Matthias), and a 1 year old (Becket) in our home. Isn’t that crazy? And with my oldest turning five, we have another exciting undertaking on the horizon. Age 5 kinda means Kindergarten! Whoop, whoop!

I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned it before on the blog or not, but both my husband and I were homeschooled growing up and LOVED it. We hope to homeschool our children as well. Up until now, I’ve dabbled in some preschool fun (as much as my short-attention spanned toddlers seemed interested), but Age 5 is when I’m determined to get more structured. I’m talking lesson planning, beginning math, early reading… Let’s start this party! I’ve been looking forward to this since before he was conceived.

I should be posting the occasional Kindergarten and Preschool (since I’m going to start a relaxed version with Matthias this year) organizational post too.

So… Home organization, Preschool/Kindergarten-ish things, and whatever else happens along the way. I’m happy to be back. I really have missed you guys.

What have YOU been up to lately?