Thursday, February 6, 2014

Kiddie Lit


Now that Wesley is a fully formed functioning kid we have stepped up our bedtime reading choices. Here are our favorite things to go through in the evening, that is when we aren't skipping them because we've been out late (again!) and we have to go to bed right now or you are going to be so sleepy tomorrow!! I mean....that never happens.

Anyway, first up isn't really a book but it does promote thinking skills and great conversations. It's called Q&A a Day For Kids. It gives a prompt or question every night, and then the questions repeat for 3 years. For example on February 5th it might ask "When were you proud of yourself recently?" and then you answer that same question in 2014, 15 and 16 and watch how your child's answers change and mature.


We started this activity in March of 2013, so we are about to start round two and I am very excited to see how she processes the questions as a 5 year old. When we first started I really had to dig some nights for answers that made sense. But after a few weeks I figured out the random answers were way better and completely stopped leading her. By December she even started answering for herself!




So after sticking with it for 11 months I give this bedtime book a big two thumbs up! And it runs about $12 on Amazon.


Our next go to is the Jesus Storybook Bible. This is by far my favorite bible for kids. And maybe even adults. We have been through it twice now and I tear up almost every night. The way that Sally Lloyd-Jones breaks down the passages in such an understandable way, that always points to Jesus,  it's just fantastic. No more cheesy Daniel in the Lion's Den picture books that paint him as the hero, when God did all the saving! No more kids bibles scaring them into thinking you have to be perfect for God to love you by just saying over and over again how to be good and obey.

(disclaimer: I have never seen a kids bible that directly says that, I'm just saying sometimes that's how kids feel about the bible, and grown ups too)


If you don't own this book I cannot recommend it highly enough. It is just a wonderful way for children to process a very complex text deeply and on their level. There are a ton of resources out there that pair with it as well, if you are looking for more with an older child. It runs around $10 on Amazon.

My next favorite story we are reading a lot of right now is called Paper Bag Princess


For parents raising a little girl who is obsessed with all things princess, very much to our chagrin, this is the perfect book. Because when I say chagrin, I don't at all mean I don't love dress up, make believe, Disney, or girly girls. I don't like the superficial princess--- the one who has an attitude of entitlement or an idea that a Prince gives your life meaning.  And I have to hand it to Disney, they have done a pretty great job flipping that stereotype lately with Princess and the Frog, Tangled and of course the end all be all Frozen! ( More on that one soon!)



So back to the book. I hate to ruin it for you, but **Spoiler Alert** the princess saves the day in this one. But that's not why I love it, because a lot of stories are doing that lately. I love it because not only does she save the Prince, she also exposes him for being superficial and entitled! When she gets to him, dirty, disheveled and left only wearing a paper bag he tells her to go fix herself up to look like a "real princess". To which she replies "Ronald, you look nice, your clothes are neat, your hair is fixed, you look like a "real prince"....but you are a bum." Love it!! 

And FYI this story was published in 1980, so they were on it years before the princess craze!

It is $5 on Amazon, paperback, and I highly recommend it for girls and boys!

My last recommendation, for now, for children's story time is a set of cards my best friend Alexis got Wesley for Christmas. They are called Tell me A Story and there are actually several sets to chose from. We have the fairytale mix-ups set (because it has a princess card in it, duh!)


This is a great game with limitless possibilities for creativity. You just select a few pictures and then make up a story using those pictures for your child. It shows them they are allowed to create the story, which they need to be taught. They also start to notice sequencing and story structure- that all stories have a beginning, middle and end, which they will be expected to understand in Kindergarten. 

After a few tries at it, pick cards for your child. Let them create a story for you. Wesley has never disappointed, she has come up with the most creative plot lines, I thought she would just regurgitate our stories or known stories for a while-- no way. She even does character voices, it is hilarious! In fact we all get so tickled some nights it actually turns into a bad bedtime habit because she can't calm down! Whoops...

These card sets run about $10 on....wait for it....Amazon.

These are the things we are reading/doing to keep bedtime fun and creative. 

What are your favorites? Anything calming...cause that's were we are lacking!


I leave you with what she actually does at bedtime, in case you thought from this post we picturesquely sat and read and grew smarter every evening.









Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Intervention::Addicted to Costume Parties and Contests

At what point to you grow out of the dress up phase of life?

*Note::All pictures for this post were narrowed down to after college years, none involving a play or theater, we simply dress up a lot. If I included theater pictures we would be here all night. 

I don't think anyone who knows us will ever wonder again why dress up is Wesley's favorite game.






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Yep, we have a problem...........

Gallery Wall

I refuse to apologize for not blogging for exactly two months today. Number one cause none of you care, it's not like I say things that are that riveting. And number two I haven't had time because I was busy doing fun stuff I'm not sorry about.

Whew! Now that that's off my chest.

Gallery Walls. Ahhhhh decorating. If you have known me for long you know that decorating my house stresses me out. I never know how to make a decision, I don't want to be matchy matchy, but I'm not bold enough to be daringly different. I'm a dork.

Luckily I live in the age of Pinterest and I surround myself with snazzy decorating friends who I can copy :)

So when we sold the piano, and got rid of, sold, moved the antique buffet ( anyone want a antique buffet?) that weighs a bazillion pounds, we ended up with a big blank wall in our dining room. I had a collection of pictures and mirrors I liked, I just had to get them in the right order.......






I also ended up cutting up newspaper in the shape of all my decor so I could tape it on the walls and move it around until it was exactly right, but somehow I have misplaced that picture of my insanity. I did use the trick of laying a blank piece of paper under my finished arrangement and drawing it so I knew where to tap all my nails in on the wall! That was a very helpful trick, thanks Pinterest!





 So here is the finished wall.



I still feel like it is missing something.....I want something that is not in a frame. Something that will add dimension and a different texture to the wall. But for now I love it. Gallery Wall = done!


What do you think? What would you add? Where?


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Remember the time I got married...

Nine years ago, on a warm December day, much like today actually, Matt and I got married. Looking back there are so many things I would change if I had to do over. I would have picked different bridesmaid dresses, sorry girls... I would have had simpler LIGHTER flower bouquets. I would have spent more money on a photographer with more experience. I would have had a bigger reception that everyone stayed at to dance the night away.

But I was so young. And really didn't want to spend a lot on one day. I think even then I knew the wedding wasn't the main event. It was just a fun formality. These nine years have proven that point. It was a great day. But it hasn't even come close to my favorite day with Matt Washburn. 

Thank you to all the family and friends who were there to support us and who continue to play a huge part in our marriage. And thanks Matt, here's to 99 more.


 Here 9 things I remember looking back. 
  • My dress didn't fit. I had to tug all day because it kept sliding down. The bridal shop talked me into ordering a size up because they swore they ran small. But of course I dieted and exercised like crazy for my wedding day and by December 4th it was THREE sizes too big and we didn't have time or money to alter it. So in all the pictures it's sinking in instead of fitted. '
  • I was oblivious to what anyone else was doing all day. Apparently the flowers were wilted and someone fixed them, a bridesmaid forgot her ribbon sash and went to Hobby Lobby and bought/improvised another, my 3-year old brother in law got lost in a giant pile of leaves minutes before picture time. A cell phone rang during the ceremony.  There was a tacky Christmas tree contest on the lawn in front of the chapel that day, I never noticed until this picture was developed. And someone, maybe a groomsmen, listened to the SEC championship game during the service on a head set.

  • Someone, that was not an actual lady of the night, wore a sexy Mrs. Claus outfit to my wedding, including fishnet stockings and thigh high black boots.
  • My mom's friend told me it wasn't too late to run while I was waiting to go down the aisle, and Matt's sister (also a bridesmaid) assured me it was indeed too late.



  • I forgot to put my veil over my face to walk down the aisle, after I had specifically bought a veil to do that with.

  • I shook and bounced up and down so much during the service during one of the prayers my pastor had to tell me to be still.
  • I got the giggles when that happened and couldn't stop laughing during the unity candle song.




  • Matt blew a snot bubble when he hugged my Mom at the end of the ceremony


  • We were both exhausted by the end of the ceremony and just wanted to lay down and watch Saturday Night Live. Which is what we did.




 What a great day, as a matter of fact, I wouldn't change a thing.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wordless Wednesday::My Brother Got Married!
















Bandwidth Error:: Looking for Grace

Lately my brain has been giving me the error symbol. You know the spinny wheel that just goes and goes and then the program your running has to force quit. Sometimes it's a bug, but sometimes it's a memory problem. It's not that your computer can't remember, it's that it is so busy remembering everything else you can't start anything new, even if you really want to. You have to go in and close out other programs, empty your trash, and clean up your desktop before you can move forward.

That's me right now. In this phase of my life, my bandwidth is full. Every moment of my day is not full, but my mind is and I can't quite keep up with everything I'm suppose to anymore.

But here's the thing, I love it! It's a great phase.

My husband and I are best friends and we want time together to talk and laugh everyday.


I have a fun 5 year old (WHAT FIVE!) and she does fun things all day long that I want to be a part of.


I have a cool job, where are teach kids the joy of music and help them discover their own talents.

 I have an amazing church that I get to call my home, where I am reminded of the gospel and challenged to live it. I get to help lead our children's ministry with amazing volunteers and leaders.

I have a shameful amount of genuine, close friendships that others can only dream of, people I truly want to spend time with daily.

I love to craft and sew and make.


And I have a beautiful home that we have been in the process of reorganizing and redecorating.
Before
After
Oh and I want to run 13.1 miles on December 7th so I have to make time for training!


So right now this post sounds like bragging, but I'm just trying to be honest. When we rush around and talk about how stressed we are, how busy we are, how overloaded.....when we go in and try to figure out which "programs" should be closed to free up space and memory.....what do we mean?  I'm asking myself. Because lately when people ask me to do something my first response is "I don't have time" 'I'm too stressed." But I'm not too stressed.  I choose all the things I'm doing because I want to do them. Even if they run me ragged.


I ask simply for grace from family and friends. If I forget to call, or email, or blog, or I can't come to your get together that weekend. I'm not too stressed. I'm not to busy for you, in particular. I'm just living. I'm making room for as many programs as I can. Cause life is fun, and I want to magically do it all at 100%. But there are {cliche} only so many hours in a day.

So, I may be stretching my memory card, but that's not going to change any time soon.



How do you fit it all in? 

What helps you prioritize? 

What tools keep you on track to not forget anything?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Our {Fake} Campout

Fall weather means it's time to spend as much of your life outside as you can! But being the technology junkies we are it means, moving things you love like Alabama football games and The Wizard of Oz outside with you.

Enter homemade drive in movie theater.


 

Here's how we did it, not rocket science. And it cost $0, because everything we needed we found around the house.

1 piece of plywood, laying in the attic. 1 white bed sheet, stuffed in a box in the attic. And a staple gun. That was our "screen"

Then I found hooks and metal rings in the basement that attached to the porch decking to hang the screen up.

Then we hooked up our projector to our laptop and voila!




And now that we have the set up, we are looking for every opportunity to get outside in nature and watch TV.

Like a kid's first "Wizard of Oz" experience!

 But this time I ramped up the outdoorsy experience. I added a fire pit, hotdogs on a stick and marshmallows for roasting! That's downright camping y'all. I mean, as long as you define camping as having a bed, blankets, access to a fridge, bathroom and wireless internet, right?










I think I earned a merit badge on this one, for reals.