Category Archives: holidays

Celebrate With A Birth Date

We all have one and so do our kids, parents, friends, and other family members. Around here we have more than others or at least we celebrate more than others. However this is one topic I’ve failed to post a lot about… birthdays.

I recently read about the ‘new minimalist’ birthday trend called ‘Fivers’. I laughed a little as the article explained the trend and how it worked. Basically, according to the article I read, you have a birthday party and ask the guests not to buy a gift but they may give a card with $5.oo, if they like. This money can then be pooled for a larger gift of the child’s choosing, used for an ‘experience’, or saved for a later date.

Sounds great and I’m so happy to see so many people jumping on board with this idea. I just thought I’d share how we do birthdays here which is how we’ve done birthdays for awhile now. Now don’t get me wrong, there is NOTHING wrong with the way anybody celebrates birthdays but we do things a bit different than most.

When my older kids were younger we did do the traditional parties… cake, ice cream, and gifts. Sometimes I would have two parties instead of four as they had birthdays close together and sometimes we would just do one big party.

Most of our parties were just for family and a few very close friends and they were never very big. The biggest one we probably ever had was in NC. We held an ice cream party for all four of my older kids. That was so much fun! We had everyone help to make homemade ice cream and then we had a variety of toppings. There was plenty of other food too but everyone always remembered the ice cream and how good it was.

There have been many times were I would plan a semi-elaborate themed party like the Sock Hop party we did several years back. It was so much fun and the kids really enjoyed it.

Nowadays we keep things simple. One reason is because William (and Caitlyn at times) has a very difficult time with birthdays. We have tried a variety of ways to help him but he always seems to have a MAJOR meltdown when someone else celebrates a birthday or receives a gift. It has been a crazy ride these past nine years… wow, I really can’t believe it has been that long since they first came into my life!

After discussing this with his doctors and trying SEVERAL approaches (we had plenty of opportunities to experiment with ideas) we decided the best thing was just to quit having parties… which wouldn’t have really been fair to everyone else so we came up with a compromise. Now we have a simpler ‘Birthday Routine’.

When a child has a birthday we always have it marked on the calendar so there is plenty of time to prepare for it which is important for William. He likes to know what to expect and when to expect it. He DOES NOT like change and a birthday means that someone else will be getting a little extra attention that day (ex: calls from relatives, cards, etc.) and that is a CHANGE for him.

On the day of their birthday I usually try to let the birthday child pick out a special dinner and we will have some cakes, cupcakes, or other special dessert. We sing ‘Happy Birthday’ and blow out candles too. We don’t normally have anyone other than just our family but on occasion some of their older siblings may show up but normally William is OK with this as he knows what to expect on a birthday now.

Check out this post HERE for some of the fun cake ideas that we’ve come up with.

Each child will get $5.00 from me and $5.00 from Mr. Awesome. We also try to take each child out to eat for their birthday. We will go to whatever restaurant they choose which is usually somewhere like Dairy Queen or Steak N Shake. They really like to get a special treat like a milkshake or a hot fudge sundae too. After we eat we will go somewhere so that they can pick out a gift with their birthday money.

Our ‘Birth Date’ may not be on their actual birthday but we try to aim for the  same week whenever possible.

This gives each child some special one on one time with me and gives them a chance to do things that they might not get to do when we are together as a group. They really look forward to our ‘Birth Date’ and they are planning out where they want to go months in advance. As they are getting older they also try to save up their money so they have more to spend when we go out.

Sometimes their older sisters or brothers will ask them what they want and they will get them something small that they have requested. They also get a small gift from grandparents and occasionally their dad brings them a small amount of money.

For the past few years this has been our ‘normal’ for birthdays and it has worked rather well. It might change in the future as the ‘social side’ of me has been dying to have a HUGE party… maybe I’ll just put that energy towards our first Polar Express Party in the cabin later this year?

This approach to birthdays may not work for every family but it does work for us. It is also a great way to help manage clutter around the house. We don’t get a lot of toys so the ones they do get are usually ones they have chosen and they enjoy them a lot more. We also don’t have any more birthday MELTDOWNS!

At one point when we first brought the middle three kiddos to our home we tried to make everything extra special. Maybe we were trying to ‘make up’ for things they never had or things they had never experienced. In the long run we have learned that, even without the traditional parties, we have given them so much more.

Now they know what to expect, when to expect it, and they are prepared for it. They also know that they are loved and that they are each special in their own way. With the routines that we have created and continue to improve we are helping them have the sense of security and safety that they never had before.

It’s all about creating memories that they will look back on and cherish. Even though we don’t celebrate in the ‘traditional way’ we do make sure each one of them feels loved and gets a little extra special attention on their special day.

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A Look Back On 2018

So I’ve been posting quite a bit about my goals for 2019 but let’s not forget about all the good times we had in 2018. Sure, there were some sad times and some hard times but remembering the good times can help ease the pain of the not so good. Here’s a quick peek back on some of our pictures, posts, and activities from 2018:

Continue reading A Look Back On 2018

A Plan Of Action For A New You In The New Year

So a few days ago I posted about my goals for 2019. I’m not waiting until the New Year to get started because there is no time like NOW to get started on these goals. You don’t have to wait either and you can follow along with me on my journey to finding a simpler, happier, and better functioning lifestyle here in our little cabin.

It’s so easy to get discouraged with LIFE at times, I know because I’ve felt myself falling into a HUGE pit of discouragement lately. It feels like I just keep hitting walls in so many areas of LIFE and I just don’t know how to get past them. The one thing I do know is the GOD is in control and if there is something in my way HE can help me overcome it.

I also know that a lot of times our failures come from inside of ourselves. We get unhappy with things and want to change them but sometimes the change must come from us first. This can be hard to do and sometimes it can be hard to admit that we aren’t PERFECT.

Over the holidays so many people are posting pictures of their families. Many of these pictures seem to show PERFECT homes and families but behind the scenes can be a different story. In reality LIFE is MESSY in so many ways. I can tell you that my LIFE is MESSY for sure with so many kids and special needs not to mention that we HOMESCHOOL and LIVE in a TINY CABIN. Boy can it get MESSY. Don’t let those pictures get you feeling depressed or down. You can follow along with me, a normal (well, somewhat normal depending on you definition of normal) Momma, as I tackle some of this crazy mess we call LIFE.

Continue reading A Plan Of Action For A New You In The New Year

My 2019 New Year’s Goals

As you read the title you may be rolling your eyes because we all make resolutions but many of us, myself included, don’t quite keep to them or just never even start them. I know last year I had some really great ones that were not so specific but somehow they managed to slip away from me.

Part of the blame falls on some major life changes (big sister moved away/death in the family), an illness that took me a while to recover from, and LIFE which seems to get busier everyday. When you combine all of those with the fact that we had recently downsized and moved (from 2,000 sq ft to just barely over 600 sq ft) its no wonder I didn’t accomplish everything I had set out to do but I did manage to make a little progress in each area.

SO what are some of the top resolutions for 2019? According to an abc news article they are as follows:

  1. Lose weight
  2. Save money
  3. Travel
  4. Make new friends
  5. Get a new job or hobby
  6. Find love

Hmm… some pretty interesting resolutions. Have you thought about yours yet? I have given it a bit of thought and here are my goals for the upcoming year in no particular order:

Continue reading My 2019 New Year’s Goals

Is Food Causing You to be Depressed? What You Didn’t Know About How Food Affects Your Mood

Have the holidays got you depressed? Well, it might not be just the holidays… Check out this affiliate link for more information and find out how to use food to fight depression!

https://sl290.isrefer.com/go/depressionfood/happy2bmyownboss/

Counting Pumpkins… Yes, I Said Pumpkins

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This is gonna sound crazy but I wanted to take a minute and maybe give everyone a bit of comic relief or at least a chuckle. I also want everyone to see the not so pretty side of our home because I know that many people stress about the way their houses look, especially with so many guests and company right now, and they feel like they are failing.

You aren’t failing anything, trust me, if failure were based on the way our houses look on a day to day basis then I’d be one of the biggest failures there is! Then I also seem to let people down at times because they have a certain image in their heads of how our large homeschooling family life is. This weekend I realized that a lot of people really have different opinions and ideas when it comes to these matters. I promise, we are just ordinary people, doing ordinary things, on a larger scale in a small cabin… lol. Have you noticed the blog name change? Kirby’s Korner will now be dedicated to  square dancing. 

Continue reading Counting Pumpkins… Yes, I Said Pumpkins

Soaked Apple Cinnamon or Cherry Almond Baked Oatmeal Recipe (A Make-Ahead Breakfast!)

Do you need a quick and easy make ahead breakfast idea? One that’s simple and healthy? Well, then have I got the recipe for you! Check out this affiliate link for a recipe that may soon be a family favorite in your house!

https://sl290.isrefer.com/go/SAO/happy2bmyownboss/

It’s All About The Fudge!

**This post contains affiliate links for products we use. These links don’t cost you a thing but help to support our blog and our family when a purchase is  made through a link we’ve posted. Thank you!

Yes! It’s that time of year when I make a lot of FUDGE! I’ll probably be sick of Fudge this time next week but it’s good stuff and everyone loves it so much that they request it every year.

In case you haven’t tried your hand at making Fudge or if you are just needing a couple of good recipes I’m reposting the links to our favorite varieties down below.

I’ve tried a lot of Fudge recipes in the past as we always loved my mom’s Fudge. When we moved to Florida we weren’t as close to my mom as we once were and I had to figure out how to make it for my family… well, it was either that or spend a fortune in gas driving to visit grandma everytime we got a hankering for Fudge!



The kids and I went shopping today for supplies and I’ve ordered a few really cute tins to put the delicious treats in. As soon as the tins get here we will get started in the kitchen.

I promise that these recipes are fairly easy to make and we always have great success with them. I love that the base recipe can be changed for different flavors and this makes it one of my favorite candy recipes ever!

Here are the links to some great Fudge recipes:

My mouth is craving some FUDGE! We hope you enjoy these as much as we do! If you have a favorite Fudge recipe or Christmas Candy recipe please leave a link in the comments below as we’d love to give it a try!

7 Easy Steps To Simplify Your Life Today

**This post may contain affiliate links which help to support our blog and our family.

I had originally written this series of posts in honor of National Simplify Your Life Week, which falls during the first week of August, I decided to make a short list of 7 easy steps that almost anyone can use to simplify their life starting today. With the New Year fast approaching I thought it might be helpful to post this again for anyone looking to simplify their life and have more FREE time.

Now I’m not talking about anything drastic like selling everything you own and moving into a small secluded cabin with no electric. This actually sounds like a really good idea to me right now but my kids wouldn’t really like that. The tips below will not only help you to simplify your life but they will help you to be more efficient.

Click on each link for more information and helpful tips.

  1. Take Care of Yourself
  2. Reduce Your Screen Time
  3. Learn to say NO without feeling guilty
  4. Declutter your closet (and your house)
  5. Get Organized
  6. Set Up Routines
  7. Pay Off Those Debts and Bills

I wish you the best of luck with getting your life simplified! Let me know, in the comments below, of any tips that you have used to simplify your life.

Click here to get started on Step 1.

Start your  FREE account with the  Wealthy Affiliate program.

 

 

 

 

Large Family Planning Calendar For The New Year

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

I know most of us are probably not ready to think about the New Year as we are in the midst of holiday choas right now but with as many kiddos as I have I am always looking ahead. There are doctor appointments, dentist appointments, birthdays, and so many other events that I need to keep organized.

Our calendars keep our day to day activities running smoothly and help to keep us prepared for upcoming events. They are vital to keeping this Momma sane!

What features do you look for in a calendar? I know I like it to have enough room to write things in the blocks. I also like to have the moon phases and holidays on the calendar.

Do you like the stickers or not? I kinda like the idea of stickers and it helps me to tell at a glance what we have coming up if there are stickers on it.

While I absolutely love my Cozi mobile app and I always have it pulled up on my laptop. I keep everything from appointments to recipes on my Cozi calendar and my family members all have access to it as well. I still like to have a wall calendar as well so that I can refer to it quickly if I’m on the phone or if Mr. Awesome needs to double check something he can refer to it as well.

This led me to check out Amazon for some new planning calendars today. There is such a selection to choose from I’m really not sure which one I want to get yet but here are a few of the ones I’ve found:

Continue reading Large Family Planning Calendar For The New Year

Happy St. Nicholas Day 2018!

**This post may contain affiliate links to products we use.

Well the countdown to Christmas has officially started here. The kids are super excited after St. Nick stopped by sometime late last night. They had left their stockings on the table before bed and woke up to a big surprise!

They had been talking about our previous St. Nicholas Day celebrations and how they forgot to put their stockings out last year… Oops!

Don’t worry… that heater was not on ‘HEAT’ as we only have the flames going this morning  but it has been doing great job at keeping us warm and cozy so far.

St. Nick did not disappoint with a variety of small toys, coloring books, and other holiday items plus a tiny bit of candy. He also left a couple of new books and a holiday music cd for them. They are looking forward to a midday snack of gingerbread cookies and hot cocoa too!

He didn’t forget about the grownups either and even left a small gift for Nanny J and Papa O. He left Momma some much needed kitchen items, some holiday jewelry, and CHOCOLATE!

Santa had even decorated a little bit and put these cute covers on the chairs.

And he must’ve met up with the UPS man at some point to grab our new Advent wreath for us. It had been stuck in delivery status as the driver couldn’t locate our house.

It is so much prettier than it looked on the internet! I had a hard time deciding what color to get but thought this was a good choice even though it isn’t the traditional Christmas colors. Now we are just waiting for the candles to arrive. After all this excitement it was time for breakfast:

This year I added the chocolate chips to the pancakes while on the griddle for our Santa Claus PancakesI forgot to pick up some fresh strawberries and blueberries so we made do with what we had here. I also didn’t realize that Mr. Jacob had added a couple of extra chocolate chips to Santa’s beard… lol!

The kids thought they were cute and very yummy. Later on we will be watching a few videos about St. Nick and taking a little about the history of Santa Claus.

If you want to check out some other activities please see St. Nicholas Day 2016 for some additional links.

Happy St. Nicholas Day everyone!

Our Favorite DIY Christmas Decorations For Kids in 2018

Have you been crazy busy this first week of December? How many of you have finished your shopping? How many haven’t bought the first gift yet? Well, I have been busy and my shopping is somewhere in between the two but I have a few ideas here that the kids can help with and they could double as really great gifts for grandparents and family members too!

Some of these links are affiliate links but there is no extra fee if you purchase through these links… it just means we may get a teeny weeny kickback which helps support our blog and our family.

I also have a TON of ideas saved on my Pinterest… my newest board is Christmas Crafts 2018. Here’s a screenshot of just some of the ideas I’ve found:

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I think we are going to get really busy with crafts so be sure to keep an eye out for lots of pics! If you aren’t feeling crafty or just don’t have time to shop for craft supplies then check out the following links for Amazon deals that can be shipped right to your home and most of them include everything you need to start crafting and keep the kids busy while you finish your shopping!

The neatest Christmas crafting idea I found is this Tree Mendous Ornament Decorating Kit:

I’ve got this (and an extra for a gift) in my Amazon cart right now plus a set of extra ornaments to go with it. Continue reading Our Favorite DIY Christmas Decorations For Kids in 2018