Thursday, August 10, 2017

PreSchool at Home '17-'18




 We kicked off our school year this week! 


We had several attempts at the obligatory "first day of school" piciture. None were fantastic, I was in a hurry to leave to get to a work meeting and all of them include the flashlight Ada insisted on having #2yearoldLife





So far, school days are going very well! Teaching both of them and juggling the slightly different lessons takes much more time than I thought it would, so our school days are going to have to be early starts and at home well into the afternoon. 



Ada napping turns into a perfect time to do one on one activities with Cora that require more of my attention and direction.
 

I feel like I've had a full time job just getting everything gathered and ready for the school year. I am loving our tactile letters and they turned out to be so much easier than I expected.


 This year we decided on ABC Jesus Loves Me for the curriculum. It is a free, online curriculum but you have the options to purchase different books etc to go with it. So far we've bought the lesson plans so I'm not constantly opening up web pages and bouncing back and forth or writing down things that I can just reference from a book.



I love that the lessons all revolve around teaching the children about Christ and the Word. Right now we are learning about Creation and from that we have the chance to talk about different colors, shapes and concepts (like zero... that's a tricky one to teach a 3 year old!) 

Ada was pretty excited about the new printer! 
 
We also broke down and bought a printer. I really need one for work, so it wasn't just a school purchase but honestly I'm excited to easily get what I need. I hate printers and find them to be very finicky and a general pain in the rear, so we'll see how this goes!  

I'm loving our homeschool station where I'm storing everything we need for lessons. 

 Best thrift store purchase I've made in a while! I hope to do a post on how I've set up for lessons and our schedule soon!


I'm linking up with these lovely ladies. 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Weekend Recap - reptile surprise


I kicked off the theme of this weekend on Thursday. I scheduled myself off from the birth center so I could be home for our new driveway gravel to be delivered.

We selected recycled asphault, it's supposed to be less dusty and it's inexpensive so win win! As they delivered we got our quote on getting it spread and it was four times the cost of the gravel! I am a big fan of supporting small businesses and I understand that services have lots of hidden costs and it's important to charge a living wage but oh my gracious. Let's just say we will be figuring out spreading the gravel on our own!


As the kids played in the new gravel I sat on the phone for 3 hours trying to get a dig test done by people who had never heard of a dig test. We suspected a water leak in the front yard but last week our small, "oh that's probably a water leak" became an "oh my gosh, we have a huge water leak that must be dealt with". We had hoped to put this project off because we knew it meant running an entire new supply line to the house.

Friday I had a doula interview with a potential client and while the kids were with my dad I ran child free errands.


I picked up an old television hutch for $20 from a local Goodwill to become our homeschool central. I've been gathering and putting things away since getting it home. After John got home Friday evening we went to town and finished school supply shopping. We've decided to do ABC - Jesus Loves Me with both girls this year and I'm scrambling around to try to get started this week.

A post shared by Rebekah (@bekah.jane) on

On Saturday morning I took the girls to church where they hung out with other children while I attended our Summer Rendezvous.




It was exactly what I needed in life right now! Fellowship with other moms, lessons on thriving in life, facing and dealing with anxiety and fear and some fun arts and crafts!



I'm trying to figure out what else I can emboss! I see the embossing heat guns and powder at our local thrift stores all the time but I've never considered getting one before.


When the girls and I got home after a quick gatorade run at Target John and my brothers Robert and Jacob were hard at work on the water line. Our ground is a very hard rocky clay dirt that even with the rented trench digger it took 5 hours to dig the supply line.





We worked well into the night Saturday and finally went over to my dad's house to sleep since we didn't quite have water supply to the house again.

That's what 1/2 a Ton of sand looks like! There was another half under it... turns out putting a ton (litereally) of sand in the truck was a poor decision. 


Sunday we managed to sleep right through church. Poor John and my brothers were all so sore (and sunburnt). We got up late and headed right back out to the house to work some more. Satuday afternoon and a good bit of Sunday we were in and out of the house and my children (and likely an adult or two...) are apparently incapable of closing doors behind them. I'm pretty sure I said "we don't live in a barn, close the door" around 100 times.


When water was working again we went to town to grocery shop with two tired, grumpy children. I really don't like grocery shopping on Sundays, the stores just seem to be so crowded and the shelves seem to be more bare - just not my favorite way to spend the day.

We returned home and put away the groceries. Both girls had gone to sleep on the way home but Ada woke up as we tried to transfer her to bed. She was standing next to the dining table drawing when I turned around from putting something in the school hutch and realized with absolute horror that a snake was slithering right at her! At first the snake stopped for a second and I yelled at Ada to freeze but she was entirely oblivious to what was happening and kept stomping her little feet which seemed to aggravate the stupid reptile. I ran up and grabbed her and stood on the couch yelling for John (mind you Cora has slept through all of this one room away).

I took Ada outside and put her in her carseat and began planning an escape to my Dad's house. John grabbed the first tool he could (a post hole digger, so not ideal) and sought out the snake and got a few good blows in but failed to decapitate it which turns out is pretty key in killing one. It was definitely dying but it managed to get between the baseboards and floor where apparently we had a small hole and while he was coming to tell me it was dead/dying it escaped into the wall. :(

I took Ada to town to get the necessary supplies to seal up the hole it crawled up into and every single heavy-duty glue board that walmart had. John searched the house and under every single piece of furniture to make sure that we didn't have any other surprises hiding. After we got it all secured we went and slept at my dads house. So far no sign of the snake. Today our friend was out here helping us finish the water project and he thinks it was a garter (harmless) snake. They live even further out in the country and they deal with many more (and poisonous) snakes and he helped us strategically place the glue boards so I've agreed to sleep at home again.

We're pretty sure it came in through an open door at some point. I doubt my reminders about the door will be seen as nagging anymore... and suddenly installing a self-closing screen door jumped up on the priority list. Some days I really hate living in the country! Now that we've dealt with this, my Dad told the story of when he killed a snake in his kitchen (came in from the garage door left open), a friend told me about killing several in her garage, my brother remembers hearing of my grandparents having a snake get in their bathroom and my grandfather shot the snake leaving a huge hole in the bathroom floor.

 How was your weekend? Do you have snake stories that will make me feel better?

Friday, July 28, 2017

What's Up... Friday Fav's

Hi Friends, Happy Friday!

I have been itching to get back over here and write! My vacation posts are in the drafts folder and I'm working every chance I get to finish them up and post. I don't know how you all do this regularly with kids and jobs, hats off to you momma bloggers! Today my Friday Favorites is my What's Up Wednesday post that didn't make it to be published on Wednesday. #RealLifeYall



1. What We're Eating this Week
My goal with all things food right now is to not heat up the house! Tonight John will grill ribs and corn on the cob. Last night was spaghetti, Wednesday we ate out because I had a meeting that evening and Tuesday we had Baked Potatoes. We have sweet friends that just had their third baby and another fried who just had surgery so we did baked potatoes and fixings for everyone. I've had a busy work week last week and I knew that my cooking could be (and was) interrupted by births so the potatoes ended up being the only thing we actually cooked, the rest was pre-packaged food.


Baking potatoes in bulk in my grandmothers Westing House Oven is my favorite way to do them!

2. What I'm reminiscing about
Vacation! I am longing for a place where summer isn't so hot it can melt crayons, or burn little baby feet on side walks or make me want to leave my home state!




3. What I'm loving
I can't believe I don't have a picture of it, I swear every time I get one I think I need to take a picture of this for a "favorite" post! #badblogger Peace Tea. It's hot (notice a theme? Come on Fall!) and one of my favorite things to grab to cool off is Peace Tea!

(affiliate link) 

My favorite flavor is Caddy Shack which is tea and lemonade, I also really like the Georgia Peach flavor. John's favorite is Razzleberry (which I think is pretty yummy too!). I haven't tried the sweet lemon or sno-berry but I'll report back when I do!  

4. What we've been up to
Last weekend we celebrated Ada turning two!
(post in draft folder as well)


This week I've been spending my spare time around the house cleaning and purging everything in an attempt to make room for the new toys she got for her birthday.There really weren't that many, because we specifically asked the grandparents to just buy fall clothes, but not many toys in a tiny house is still too many toys! The back of my van has two big boxes of clothes donations to take to my favorite charity on my next trip to Denton and another couple of boxes that I'll take to the freecycle table when my Moms Bible Study starts back up.

5. What I'm dreading
A friend posted on facebook that there are forecasts showing that fall will be unseasonably warm. I almost cried. I *need* fall weather!

6. What I'm working on
Cleaning the house, next week I'll be preparing a semester of homeschool lessons. I'm also about to go on call for the rest of the year until just before Christmas, so doing all I can to get us back into good routines and habits. Next weekend my brothers and John are going to tackle the beginning of the biggest plumbing project we've had in this dumb little house. I need the work done, but this could also fill the dreading category because construction isn't fun.

7. What I'm excited about
 We are getting a new driveway! We have some chores to complete before the gravel can be delivered so it isn't coming until next week, but I'm so excited! We have needed more gravel for a looong time but it's expensive and just not a priority for us. We actually saved more for our vacation that what we actually needed and we decided this is where we'll spend the "extra".



We literally got the cheapest material we could find that would do the job, it's recycled asphalt so it'll be black stones. I've actually heard great things about this material, most people don't like it because it's not pretty - I don't care, I just don't want to deal with mud anymore!
8. What I'm watching/reading
I haven't read anything for leisure since we got back from vacation. John and I just finished the new Netflix Original Series - Friends from College and really enjoyed it. We also finished the current season of The Ranch (Netflix again) and are working our way through the previous season of Game of Thrones. Just a disclaimer on all of these, none of them are family friendly! Friends from College has adult content (but is hilarious!), the Ranch is mostly a language issue and lots of alcohol usage. Game of Thrones, well that might be graphic along the lines of The Walking Dead...

9. What I'm listening to
The I am a C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N station from Pandora. We put this on our amazon echo dot and the girls love it! I listen to other Christian stations on Pandora but this one is particularly great for the kids, lots of the old school Christian Camp songs etc.

I am also loving my podcasts! I just finished season one of Serial and really enjoyed it. I had listened to S-Town first and I don't think this is as beautiful as that story but it's still good! I'm in Season 2 of Serial and I know it's gotten very mixed reviews but I'm trying to leave the politics out of it and just listen for what it is, a story. By the way, any time I'm listening to podcasts, I am listening with headphones, not out loud where the kids can hear.

10. What I'm wearing
As little as possible haha Mostly shorts and t-shirts on repeat. Occasionally throw in a pair of scrubs and that's my life lately!

11. What I'm doing this weekend
We are going to ride the train to the Fort Worth zoo! My girls love riding trains and that's something they occasionally go do with my in-laws. I usually can't go along because I'm always on call and Fort Worth is just too far from the Birth Center. Fortunately I was able to get a couple of ladies to cover enough of my shift on Saturday and I'm still in range for my doula clients so I get to go!

12. What I'm looking forward to next month
Oh I sure hope that next month brings cooler weather, but August in Texas - I'm not holding my breath! We will start officially homeschooling Cora for Preschool in the middle of next month! I've been working on preparing things and that's part of the motivation in cleaning house right now, trying to get everything organized and ready. I'm excited about the new beginning and returning to more of a schedule. I'm also hoping that I'll be able to reduce my work load at the birth center to spend more consistent time at home with the girls, it's such a hard balance.

13. What else is new
Just before Fathers Day (just a couple of days before we left on vacation!) I went to a playdate where we did Fathers Day crafts and let the kids play in the sprinklers. One of the other moms had this amazing bag. It was like Thirty-One (which we all remember when I sold 31, love it but it just isn't in my budget anymore) but bigger than any bags they have and so cute! I asked about it and they told me about a local co-op buy group and that afternoon my sweet friend Christy got me added to the group. Y'all, I love it! #takeallmymoney 

I have ordered my own of the big, glorious bags and I ordered a new purse (because the purse I'm carrying doesn't zip, not sure why this mom thought that was a good idea...) It's going to take a bit to get to me, but when it does I'll share pictures (I'm not sure that I'm allowed to share pictures from the group of the samples). This week I'm ordering boutique outfits for the girls for fall and a matching skirt for me and halloween buckets for both girls! If you're local to DFW, let me know if you're interested in joining the group!

Bonus Question: Favorite Thing About Summer
I love that summer mostly, has a slower pace of life. I love fall and spring but they always seem to be so so busy. I also love all the water fun! Granted, we mostly play in the water as often as possible to avoid melting in this ridiculous heat, but it's still one of my favorite things.


I take the kids to the splash pad about once a week, we usually just do the little one in our hometown but we have some big fun ones not far off that I just need to plan ahead a little bit and manage to do. We usually manage to actually swim once a week with friends and various play dates. The girls don't do enough actual swimming for me to fork over the money to pay a membership at a pool yet but I still love our pool days! 

 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

This and That - Life Lately

In a mostly successful attempt to be less attached to my cell phone I haven't been taking many pictures of life lately. Here's a run down of life the last couple of weeks! 


Memorial Day weekend should have been dubbed the weekend of cakes! Both my Uncle and my Mother-in-law have birthdays on the 26th. We celebrated John's mom's birthday on Friday with Italian food and a Red Velvet bundt cake with delicious cream cheese frosting. 

 Saturday we spent a good chunk of the day celebrating one of my cousins graduation from High School. He will be joining the Army at the end of the summer. We are so proud of him! 

Sunday was church and I was taking the girls solo because John was with my Great Uncle B and another Uncle for the Dean and Deluca golf tournament at the Colonial. For some dumb reason I had volunteered to bring breakfast for the girls teachers knowing I'd be solo-parenting that day and the morning went about as poorly as you'd imagine. I finally dropped the girls off with cinnamon rolls that had clearly been iced while too hot 30 minutes after services started. 

 Monday we celebrated Memorial Day with my Dad's family. The girls loved swimming with their cousins. Cora is still afraid of the water some, but if her cousin pulls her around in the water it's fine but Mommy isn't trustworthy apparently lol

I stayed up late Sunday night making my uncle a birthday cake/Memorial Day cake. I ran out of powdered sugar for white icing (thanks to the little helpers having dumped a few cups of sugar onto the floor) so rather than driving the 30 minutes to the store very late at night I whipped some up in the food processor. It was a little gritty but not bad! 


My Dad and Uncle continue the tradition their father started of buying a T-Bone steak for my uncle Ted for his birthday. They take it a little further than Granda had though... this steak was 2 inches thick and 38 ounces! It took some research just to know how to grill it! 


We've been making a point of going to the splash pad in town at least once a week! The girls are so tired and rest so well afterward, mommy loves it! It makes for a great mommy play date as we chat watching the kids (also super nice that they can't drown in the water) from the shaded pavilions. Sometimes I'll go without a scheduled play date and I sit back enjoying my books with Audible narration or pod casts. 


This past Saturday I co-hosted a shower for a dear friend! So excited for them and their sweet baby boy! 




We're rapidly approaching vacation and life will likely be pretty busy when we return so I'm enjoying the leisurely pace of summer for the time being! I'm off to the kitchen to make a few dozen breakfast burritos! 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

What's Up Wednesday

Today I'm linking up with these lovely ladies for What's Up Wednesday


1. What We're Eating this Week
We're going on vacation in a few weeks and when we get back we're jumping into a major kitchen renovation/repair project so all our meals are themed around cleaning out our pantry and freezer. Beyond staple items, no new food is coming into our house until after vacation & project!


2. What I'm reminiscing about
My google account on my phone popped up reminding me of what I was doing this week 2 and three years ago.

Last year on Memorial Day weekend with Ada in the pool

and two years ago
look how tiny Cora was! She still loves cuddling with Daddy to sleep.

3. What I'm loving
In January I was stocking up on lotions and such from Bath and Body Works during their simi-annual sale and I picked this one up.


I liked it, figured it would be a gift for someone but I recently pulled it out and I looove it! It just makes me so happy to put on lotion each day (which I'm not generally great at moisturizing).


4. What we've been up to
Packing, packing and packing! We're also doing some big cleaning and house purging since we're basically moving out to do our repair projects.


The other day I posted this pic on instagram. It was storming and I couldn't sleep so I gathered several things into the suit case. In the following days, Cora (or Ada, I'm honestly not sure it wasn't her...) got my phone and sent the picture to so many people in my facebook messenger. So many people were confused and I keep finding new people the picture went to! Thanks kids...

5. What I'm dreading
I really don't have anything coming up that I'm not pretty pleased about. I even flipped through the calendar to find something to dread... I guess this is a good thing!

6. What I'm working on
Schedules. We're going to work on our routines for the fall when we officially start home school for Cora over the summer to hopefully find something that works for us.

7. What I'm excited about
Our vacation!! I can't wait! We will be visiting upstate New York and then joining my family in Washington D.C.

8. What I'm watching/reading
I just finished reading (well, it was on Audible) Crazy Rich Asians and loved it! The sequel, China Rich Girlfriend is on the top of my to-read list for vacation! I can't wait to get back from vacation and review the books I have been reading!

I have a new Audible credit, any recommendations? I will likely listen to it on vacation while the kids are screaming in the back seat...

9. What I'm listening to
I've recently been bitten by the podcast bug! My favorites right now are Sorta Awesome and The Happy Hour! Earlier this month I also binge listened to S-Town. It was amazing! (strong language and intense themes heads up). I have found a few new podcasts that I'll listen to this summer - I'm always open to recommendations!

10. What I'm wearing
I've been doing some shopping in preparation for vacation & have so many new fun outfits!

My favorite new shirt is from my Nadine West Shipment


11. What I'm doing this weekend
John will be umpiring a big baseball tournament in town so I will be solo-parenting. On Friday I'm going to Plano to see their new birth center! Saturday I'm co-hosting a sweet friends baby shower, I can't wait to help bless her and their bundle of joy! Sunday we don't have anything scheduled but church, but I will hopefully be a house cleaning machine.

12. What I'm looking forward to next month
Next month is going to be *very* busy for me work wise. Honestly, I'm going to get back from vacation, buckle down and get through the month. We have some fun things planned with the girls for my days off and I'm looking forward to finding a new routine and normal for us as we enter the fall!

13. What else is new
Not much! We're just working to maintain the status quo around here and that's a-okay in my book!

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Trying Nadine West

I recently posted about how disappointed I was with my first Stitch Fix shipment
Facebook was running a sponsored post for Nadine West that if you did a survey about why you wanted the service you could save the $3 styling fee. 

I was pretty pleased with my first shipment. First of all, it's only $3 shipping/styling fee so even if I don't keep anything, no biggie - I'm not out a ton of money. 

I received 2 shirts and 2 pieces of jewelry in this month's shipment. 


My first shirt, I'm honestly not a fan of but by the way they did the style profile where I clicked images of graphic tee's, I can see how they would think I would like it.



This shirt was $28.11 In my opinion much more reasonably priced! 
I sent it back with some feedback about what images on my shirts I will/won't wear.

My second shirt was my favorite! 



The front of the shirt is *very* sheer as in if you're standing close you'll see my bra & everything under... but I'm almost always wearing a tank or nursing top under my shirts so while that wasn't my favorite, it's not a deal killer for me! Love the floral style. This shirt is $26.86 & I decided to keep it!

You can kind of see in my awful photos that I have on a nice statement necklace - this was one of the pieces of jewelry I received this month. It's cute, goes nicely with this shirt and I like it. I don't love that it costs almost as much as the shirt ($24.99). I have a similar style necklace and in my thrift shopping trips I frequently see very similar necklaces for $5-ish so I decided to pass.


My necklace and bracelet from this shipment. The bracelet was nice enough, but just not really my style. It was $16.99 The stones were nice and weighty and I felt like the price was pretty reasonable for it. 


I love that you get several days to send the items back. I received mine on Tuesday and didn't have to send it back until the next Monday. Much more realistic than the 3 day turn around that Stitch Fix asks for.

There are a couple of things that I feel like they're still working out as a new company. It wasn't easy to find where to put my feedback on each item. You click shipment history, on the left side you can click the shipment which is hyperlinked and that's where you can find a place to give your feedback. I just feel like this should be on the front page of my individual profile in a really obvious place. 

Overall, I'm really happy with the experience and will use Nadine West again!