Superbowl Sunday

(Be sure to check out my post today on The Penny Hoarder for some helpful tips about how your kids can make their own money!)


Today was sunny and warm - in the mid 50's or so.  Not bad for Ohio in February!  My older three headed out for an afternoon bike excursion, which left me with my little Lena.  Forever trying to keep up, she insisted on a bike ride, too.  Let me tell you, she is getting fast!  I walked briskly beside her and was better for it, especially before settling into our evening of football and junk food.




Superbowl Sunday is quickly becoming a favorite excuse for a very late bedtime.  ("The Superbowl is only once a year, Mom....")

Welcome to game-watching at our house, complete with 4th quarter back walkovers.  Congratulations, Broncos!







To all of you visiting from The Penny Hoarder....welcome!!!  I am glad you are here and want to know you better!

To my regular readers, I must confess that my camera has collected dust lately.  I do believe that my head has been spinning consistently since school started, but I am optimistic that this post-Christmas break may slow it down some and cure this perpetually dizziness!  

(I did manage to snap a few Christmas morning shots.  Check out Hans's wrapping job for my gift...I think I might steal his gift-tag push pin idea next year. :)





I hope the season finds you well however you choose to spend it, and the last few days of 2015 are peaceful and restful for you and yours.  We wish you the very best in the year ahead!!!

The School Year is Underway - Ways We Work Fun Into Our Week



1.  We find one night that is free to spend outside, preferably one that has good weather! This week, we grilled hamburgers and ate dinner on the patio.  Sometimes we take a walk or a bike ride around the neighborhood.

2.  We don't over schedule the weekend.  While it is fun to have plans and see friends, I try to keep this manageable. We tend to do better when we have a good stretch of time at home with nowhere to be.  We really like to sleep in on Saturdays if at all possible!

3.  Between dinner and homework, we try to have conversations about meaningful stuff.  Last week, we prayed for a friend in New Hampshire who has been in and out of the hospital after a major back surgery.  She is 15 years old.  Last night, we discussed the presidential debates. Tonight, we celebrated my daughter's sweet 5th grade friend who took her final round of chemo today!!!  In the busyness of the everyday, I think it is important to look outside of ourselves at what is going on in the world and with those we care about.

4.  The kid's enjoy activities, so long as their homework gets done.  Currently we have one in piano, one in gymnastics and one in soccer.  That is plenty for now says this mama.

5.  We pack Nutella sandwiches on Fridays.....enough said.  :)


Happy Weekend to You All!

cold, gray, perfect day



We woke up to cloudy skies and temperatures in the high 50's, which is the perfect weather for a soccer game, which happened at 9:00 this morning.  My boy rocked the soccer field while we shivered and cheered and drank coffee on the sidelines.

And here is the amazing part.  The soccer game was the only thing we had on our schedule for today!

Most of our week runs crazy busy and scheduled to the hilt in half-hour increments.  While this isn't exactly how I envisioned life to be, it's how we roll right now and we are used to it.  Today was the lovely opposite and we fully embraced the nothingness.  It was cold and gray which was just perfect for having an excuse to fiddle around inside without feeling the least bit guilty for not doing yard work or getting fresh air.  

Oh sweet, melancholy day!   Thanks to you I made lots of comfort food that had way too much cheese and butter.  Thanks to you I read two chapters of my book while stretched out on the couch smack dab in the middle of the day.  Thanks to you I wore slippers and no make-up.  I opened up the windows so I could feel the chill blowing in just to give me an excuse to get out the quilts.

Yes indeed, we were cozy and content on this cool, gray Saturday.





Wishing you all happy weekend, whatever they may bring!

Swimming - It's What They Love













My kids are the kind of kids that could spend every waking moment of summer in the water, wearing wet bathing suits for days on end and not being the slightest bit bothered by it!  They have always been fish - all four of them.  Maybe it's because we had them in water when they were each very young, and abided by the theory that getting water splashed in one's face early on makes one comfortable in water for the long haul.  Or maybe they were just born with a love of water like I was and it's a generational thing.

No matter, swimming is their Number One when it comes to fun in the summer sun.  (OK, when I wrote this sentence I seriously did not mean for it to rhyme so perfectly.....HA! :)

Other than a mini swim team Rylen tried several years ago, we had not ventured into competitive swimming until this summer.  Rylen decided she wanted to be a part of the local summer swim team at the neighborhood pool.  My other kids were also interested, but juggling the different practice times that corresponded with their various age levels was going to be too complicated with my work schedule.  (I really am going to try and work it out for them all next year!)

So each morning this summer at 6:45 a.m., this oldest girl of mine rides her bike to the next neighborhood pool over to swim team practice.  It has not been easy every day, and  I permit the occasional "skip" day because after all, it's summer!  I must say, I have been impressed by her hard work and dedication to this little team and surprised by how much she is enjoying it.  Not because she doesn't love to swim, but because at the ripe old age of 13, most of her peers on the team have been swimming for years and are far faster than she.  She was bothered by her slower times for the first couple of meets and who can blame her?  Don't you remember when you were 13 and it felt like the whole world was watching every move you made?

Then it clicked for her that although she was not beating her teammates' times she was beating her own times, and it all came together in her mind.  She then learned to compete against herself and set her own personal goals. She felt the sweet rewards of her own private victories stroke by stoke and race by race.

She did this for herself.  She saw her hard work pay off.  She overcame caring too much about what others around her thought.  Yet she still heard her teammates cheer for her while she swam her little heart out all the way to the finish line!

That's my girl.  I am so proud of her!

Hello Mother...









It's church camp week!  For my two big girls, that is.  For me, it's a work week (sigh) and the littles are hanging out during the day with grandma.

I realized that with just Hans and Lena here with me this week (and no big sisters who are too "big" for kid's meals) we can take advantage of some various "Kids Eat Free" nights at some local restaurants!  Nice.  (You see?  It's clearly the little things for me these days, folks.)

I do miss my girls already and I am not the only one.  If you look closely at the picture of the goodbye hug between brother and sister, there are real live crocodile tears in the boy's eyes.  Imagine that!

Oh, and back in my day at this very same church, we as campers rode in hot, sweaty old church vans all the way to camp, which was about four hours away.  We were lucky if the vans made it the whole way without breaking down.  Nowadays the kids go to a camp that is only about 2 1/2 hours away....and they take a luxury charter bus?  What's up with that???  

Hope you are all enjoying this post-Fourth week!