Monday, December 28, 2015

Erin Condren Planners

Are you a planner like me? If you are then you need to check out Erin Condren and join the planner world! I have been using her planners for a few years now. I LOVE them! When you have a family as big as mine you need lots of room to write and Erin's planners meet that need! Today I felt giddy to pull the new one I ordered in September to start writing our 2016 plans and schedule! I consider this a staple for the year and gift to myself! The best part about it was I got $30 off of my 2016 because she has an amazing rewards program!

I LOVE how you can personalize the covers. You can also make or order new covers to fit the seasons. Who doesn't love personalization?!?!? These also make a great gift!

The calendar layout provides big spaces to write which are a huge plus for me!

The Erin Condren Life Planner also has weekly layouts. I use these to make dinner menus, record exercise, or write memories for my kids baby books!

There is also a section with several lined pages to journal or keep notes!

Included are stickers that fit nicely in the calendar layout to mark appointments or birthdays.

I LOVE the pockets too that are included as well as the perpetual calendar.

Lastly, I love the zippered pocket included with the planner.

The best part about the Erin Condren Life planner though is her rewards program!! Use my link to signup and receive a $10 OFF coupon for your first purchase! Then check out her rewards program so you can TOO earn rewards!!

There are also Facebook groups that are dedicated to Erin Condren. If you decide to purchase one look up Erin Condren on Facebook.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

It's starting to look like Christmas

How fast Christmas snuck up on me!! This year we decided to forgo our normal ornaments on the tree and let the kids make decorations. The twins are in such a chewy curious stage....chewy is an understatement. Oh my gosh I have NEVER had children who chew on everything in sight. The furniture, toys, their clothes, cabinet knobs, and even me a few times (their teeth hurt!!). I'm bringing up a set of beavers for sure. So we didn't want glass balls or our keepsake ornaments to end up looking like a puppy attacked them. When we went camping the kids collected pine cones to decorate the tree with. Then Riley and I had a date night and afterwards went to Michaels to grab a few fun items to make ornaments. On the Saturday after Thanksgiving we spent all day at the table crafting. The kids and I were in our true elements! Crafting with my kids is my happy place...besides shopping, lol! Riley told me later that he had so much fun! Brady helped me make 30 feet of dot garland. He punched out circles and I glued them onto jute ribbon. They colored wood ornaments and made bead bake ornaments with Riley. My favorite though are the pine cone people!

Britney drew this for me!

Ben's ornament

Brady's ornament

Our elf Milton Jingles was so good to bring the kids pajamas, a movie and a game!

When I look at the tree I think about that Saturday when the Christmas music was playing, my kids were crafting at the table, and how happy they were to decorate the tree!

After Christmas shopping we went to Red Robin. It wasn't to cold so we ate outside and enjoyed the night air and the Christmas lights!

Bundled up at the restaurant!  

Longtime no updates...

Time has just flown! We have been so busy at our house. Today I am at an all day appointment for Britney (she is in another room and I'm in the parent break room) and I'm so happy I brought my laptop. Perfect time for an update!!

I'll start with Britney. I'm so happy to report we are one week from finishing our first semester of homeschooling! This has been the most rewarding and hardest thing I have ever done for my children. It takes lots of commitment and planning! When we decided to home school I was so worried I would fail her.  Would I be able to effectively teach her? Would she be happy? The list went on and on and on. I knew though that it couldn't be any worse than what we were already experiencing. There were days I wanted to pull my hair out. There were days I wanted to cry. There were days I would see the light bulb go off and I would feel like doing a happy dance! There were times I had to remind her my teacher hat was on and my mom hat was off. Mostly there were days that were amazing seeing my child make gains! Fourteen weeks in and I have seen my child grow grow and grow! I can't begin to tell you how much it has made me grow too. I do have the ability to teach her and teach her well. She has also learned to use her voice and say, "Mom I am not getting this." When she says this we stop, break and I come up with another way to explain it or search for a video to teach it. I LOVE all the resources online! Every Sunday I spend making out her weekly schedule, printing worksheets/activities and updating the spelling website. I only do one week at a time because if she didn't grasp something we have the freedom to keep working on it! She has a weekly folder numbered with whatever week we are in. Everything she needs for the week is in that folder. I have her tablet set to ding at certain times so she knows when to start, take a break, start again and stop for the day. Right before Thanksgiving we finished up a six week book study on Anne of Green Gables. She LOVED that! I noticed in most of her writing that she only used the adjectives "nice" and "kind" to describe people. So we were able to expand on the characters and by the end of the six weeks we had some nice new descriptive words learned. We even made Raspberry Cordials (a drink in the book) together to serve at Thanksgiving. After Thanksgiving we moved on to the book The Sixty-Eight Rooms and should finish that next week. We have had a great time viewing the miniature rooms online at The Art Institute of Chicago. Once Christmas & New Years is over we will be starting Tuck Everlasting. I've been reading the book in my spare time so I can be ready to help her with writing or ideas. She is also loving her outside enrichment classes. She just finished her last day of Vocal Techniques for 2015 and yesterday in Karate she got her first stripe for belt testing. Talk about a happy girl! She came out of the gym with a smile a mile long! So yes homeschooling is going great!! Friday we have theater tickets to see Frosty at Casa Manana. This is our second field trip to Casa. Riley is off that day so after the theater we plan to go eat lunch and do some shopping while Dad has the twins. Oh and before I forget... She is becoming quite the artist!! She has finally found her passion..... DRAWING! She is so good at it!

At Cane Rosso after seeing June B Jones at Casa Manana. We tried the bacon marmalade, argula and fresh mozzarella cheese pizza. It was amazing! We sat near the oven and it was so nice because it was cold outside!

Making Raspberry Cordial

My little artist

She drew Megan Trainor and the Peanuts. She couldn't remember Woodstock's name so she called him Chicky. lol 

One of weekly planning sheets
Casa Manana

Wonder Woman!

Now time for Brady!! Wow he is having a wonderful year at school. He has three of the best teachers which is an answered prayer! Yay!! He is being a little reader and loves to read parts of a new book to me and then say, "Did I persuade you to read it?" He is so outgoing and just the brightest light! His smile and blue eyes melt me! If there is a camera out he is has to strike a pose! How is he eleven?? We went camping (stayed in a cabin) for his and Ben's birthday. So FUN!! I can't wait for him to be home next year for school! He is really excited about it. He said, "Yay, no homework wasting my time after school." I am looking forward to that too. Homework is the worst after school! Buddy, I hate it too. When you come home I want to hear about your day and see you happy playing not doing three different subjects of busy work when we could be having fun. He is also in his school UIL Choir! We got to see him sing this last week at the cities Christmas event!

Storybook Parade (I made their costumes)

Benny's turn!! He too is having a fabulous year! He has the sweetest teacher and she truly loves him! I couldn't be more proud! He is doing so wonderful! This year (with the help of his teacher) his personality has just come out! He is so funny and wants to be apart of everything which is a definite change! I can't remember if I mentioned it or not but over the summer he was finally diagnosed as having high functioning autism. It didn't really change anything other than we were able to get him some extra services at school. He is just an amazing little boy and teaches me something new everyday. His laugh is infectious!
A Honor Baby!

My favorite picture of Ben and Riley.

Benny got glasses! So handsome

How are you eight mister?
The twins turn! Oh my gosh those two are a hoot! They keep me so busy! One runs one direction and one runs the other. They are night and day. They are so beautiful and I can't believe how blessed I am to be their mom (to all the kids!). They are doing awesome with their hearing aids. They wear them about 6-8 hours a day. The biggest problem we have is when they pull them out they go straight in their mouth. It's been hard to let my guard down when they are wearing them and it makes for a long day (along with homeschooling) because they gave up naps but I'm trying to remember it's a season. They are only this little once and I will never get this time back. Plus I have a the reminder that they will be starting school for hearing/signing in the fall and I'm trying not to have a break down that my babies will be in school. If I think about it to long and hard I cry. I have our local ISD hearing dept plus Early childhood Intervention that come weekly each. They are teaching me sign to talk to the boys. So far Brennen is the one to pick it up the fastest. So much to learn. There are some nights between home school, sign language and just family routines that I can't believe all that's on my plate.
Costco!! A must with our big family!

We loved the swings camping!



Christmas 2015

I know this is long so I will wrap it up and do another post after lunch. Britney is having some testing at the hospital today and we will be here until 4pm. So lots of time to write! :)