Tag Archives: memories

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!

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A Trip Down Memory Lane!

I survived my first plane trip and wanted to share a little bit about my trip down memory lane with all of you! Be prepared because as my Pop-pop would say, ‘This might take a while’.

Last week proved to be one of the most stressful weeks I can remember. I have been trying to refocus my life in so many areas. And on top of the everyday stresses of a large family and back to school worries I got the call that I really needed to head back to my childhood home.

While I call Florida home right now I was born in Pennsylvania. I grew up about an hour from Philadelphia in the mushroom capital of the world, Kennett Square.

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Funny the things you didn’t know, huh? We were also very close to the Amish and Mennonite communities. In fact several of my siblings were delivered by an Amish midwife.

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Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash Continue reading A Trip Down Memory Lane!

Midweek Progress: Vacation Pics, Unplugging, and Movie Night

**Please note this post does contain affiliate links to which I may, possibly, earn a small commission from if you click on and purchase an item. This helps to support to support this blog and my family. For full disclosure click here

Hey everyone! Yesterday I posted about the ‘Summer Slide‘ but I really want to post these vacation pictures. I really hope everyone had a great a Father’s Day weekend as I know we did. While we didn’t see the Altamahaha on this trip we did make some really great memories. (The Altamahaha is a local legend dating back for centuries.)

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Picture from: Deviant Art

It was a little stressful and chaotic getting ready for the trip but we all managed to survive. We went to the Altamaha Regional Park in Brunswick, GA. We stayed the weekend in one of their rental cabins while some of my family stayed in tents. I wasn’t quite brave enough to do this with so many kids in tow. Continue reading Midweek Progress: Vacation Pics, Unplugging, and Movie Night

Last Minute Craft: A Thankful Book

My kids have done an amazing job at sorting out their toys and straightening up around the house this morning. They even cleaned under the couch and the kitchen cart…. AMAZING!

DS5 is into so many things and his brain is always coming up with creative ideas. For the past week they have been going around the table at dinner time giving each person a chance to say what they are thankful for. DS5 wanted to take it one step further. He wanted a book, A Thankful Book to be exact, for everyone to write what they are thankful for.

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Continue reading Last Minute Craft: A Thankful Book

Family Outing: Jacksonville Zoo 6/10/2017

Well a couple of weeks ago I mentioned that we had a special outing planned. Unfortunately we did not get to go the weekend we planned to go because of the weather. We did go this past weekend and it was so much fun!

As you can imagine trying to take a many kids as we did (we took 7 kids, ages 4-14) can be a bit daunting but we managed. One of my sisters was also able to join us which helped out alot. Continue reading Family Outing: Jacksonville Zoo 6/10/2017

May 28, 2017

I pray you are all having a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. This past month has been extremely busy around here with this past week being the busiest of all. It has been a blast though and many memories have been made.

Our homeschool will be wrapping up this coming week with a special surprise outing planned as a treat. We are all looking forward to just having a little fun and maybe getting to relax a bit.

My youngest child just turned 4 this month! I can hardly believe how fast time has flown and how much has changed since the day we brought him home. My kids amaze me everyday and I am so blessed to be able to stay at home and watch them as they learn and grow.

My oldest son came to visit this past week! Yay! We had not seen him in almost 4 years because of his employment. He also brought along his beautiful wife, my first daughter in law, who I had not met before. We had such a great time. It was hard to say goodbye but I know that they will be back soon. All we can do is trust that God will watch over them and keep them safe along life’s journey.

Amongst all of the visiting, homeschooling, and other normal routines of the house I also had my square dancing. Ahhh… if anyone had told me a few months ago how involved I would become in square dancing I wouldn’t have believed them. I probably would’ve laughed a little but it is amazing how things can sometimes just fall into place.

Our club in Starke, the Silver Fox Squares, has been very busy and we dance every Friday night. We have also had some special dances, visitations, and other activities that we attended throughout the month including a Luau and a banner raid. I have earned two new dangles this month. As the publicity chairman for the club I am constantly busy with updating the sites, planning new events, and looking for new ideas.

In addition to the Friday nights, we also have dances and classes on Tuesday nights in Fort White. We have been trying to recruit new dancers and had a covered dish dinner on the first night of class. So far we have a couple of couples who have come to join us and we are looking forward to seeing some new faces this coming week.

And then we have the Clay Allemanders in Middleburg on Mondays. Our caller and co-caller from the Silver Fox Squares are the callers there as well. This club has also been extremely busy with the transition to the new callers and the fact that we moved to a new dance location this month.

I am also the caller’s assistant to one of the callers so I have been busy with a few other details as well. We went to visit the Grand Squares, in Gainesville, earlier in the month and I got to meet a lot of new people. He was also able to reconnect with some people he had not seen in awhile. Square dancing has definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone, in a good way, and allowed me to expand my horizons and meet a lot of new people.

My youngest son, and my oldest son and his wife, attended the dance this past Tuesday. It was a lot of fun to have some of my children there. My little one didn’t make it through the night before he curled up and fell asleep. My oldest however did seem to enjoy himself and caught on quite quickly. I hope to be able to expose my children to it a little bit at a time and eventually get them involved more with square dancing.

I have been trying to squeeze in some blogging between all of the different activities that are going on. I have so many drafts started that it would make you go cross eyed if you could see them. The topics are quite varied as well because I get so many ideas and just try to write them down as I think of them. I hope you all have enjoyed the ones I have managed to publish and I pray that you do find something that helps you or inspires you in some way.

As i write this and think about it I am completely amazed at the awesomeness of God! He has a plan for each of us and He knows what He is doing. He has been working in my life in so many ways and He has been preparing me for where I am now for quite some time. All I had to do was let go and trust Him to guide me to where I needed to be.

Well, my little one just climbed up on the stool beside me and is sneaking sips of my cold coffee. Another one has mentioned that he was ready for snack a minute ago so I will get off of here and set out some snacks for them to hopefully hold them over until lunch time. I pray you all have a blessed day and week to come!

Yellow Rocks (hugs) to all!

Links to club updates will be posted soon:

Silver Fox Squares: June 2017 Updates

Clay Allemanders: June 2017 Updates

March 16, 2017

I had planned on putting together a study unit for Easter, similar to what we had done for Advent, but it didn’t happen. It is still in the works and I will continue to work on it a little at a time. I’ll also be sure to share it with you all as well.

This Easter was a little crazy as I’ve had two children who have been consistently trying my patience on a daily basis. I know this is just a phase and it will pass soon but it had been utterly exhausting.

Luckily I have family and friends to support me and offer advice. Sometimes the best thing you can do is just take a step back and look at things through someone else’s eyes.

We have truly been blessed with the friends we have and there is one person in particular who has went above and beyond to help me lately. He may never know what a blessing he has been to me and my family over the past couple of months. He is so awesome with my kids that it is truly a blessing.

He is a constant source of encouragement and he motivates me to be a better person. The crazy thing is that we probably never would’ve met had I stuck to my idea of what I thought I needed. God knew all along and has so far exceeded my ideas and expectations, just as he always does. It is so amazing to see what God does when you let go and hand your life over to him.

So getting back to Easter, we didn’t do a big get to together or go visiting like we normally do. We stayed at home and had a small cookout with family. It was nice and it was simple.

My older kids did hide some eggs for the younger ones yesterday. The younger kids were too smart and found them all in a minute or two. This prompted the older ones to ‘up their game’ and rehide them so they could have more of a challenge. The challenge was accepted and they found them again super quickly.

It was time to eat after the second go round and everyone was starving. My youngest two surprised everyone with the amount of food they ate yesterday and the lack of complaining about what they didn’t want to eat.

Of course, the kids were all super excited and didn’t want to go to bed. They were hoping to see the Easter Bunny… and get lots of candy.

Well this morning they awoke to a big Easter basket on the kitchen island. It had a small toy for each child and some candy and games as well. I decided several years ago that doing one basket was much easier than individual baskets. I also want to try to keep the focus on the real reason for Easter which does not involve a bunny or candy.

After breakfast we had a mini lesson using our Resurrection Eggs that I found at the thrift store last year. I will post a few pics at the end of the post. We went over the meaning of each item and talked about the real meaning of Easter before letting them inspect the basket.

We didn’t buy new Easter outfits, I had thought about it though, as we could all still wear the outfits we bought for big sisters wedding last year. My dress hadn’t even been worn, or tried on until yesterday, as I had decided on a different dress.  I did find a couple of cute hats for the girls that match with their dresses too.

Later this afternoon, probably after nap time, we will make the Empty Tomb Rolls. I usually try to make them the day before but it just didn’t happen this time around. I will go over the Easter story again while we assemble the rolls.

Then hopefully we will get to color some eggs later on this afternoon as ‘Mr. Awesome’ has said he will come by later today to help with that. I will try to add some of those pics to this post as well.

Life is never going to be perfect and things are going to happen beyond our control. So we need to stop waiting for that ‘perfect moment’ and just live in this moment. Stop procrastinating and looking for excuses as to why you can’t do things. Instead focus on ways to make things possible in some way, shape, or form. Make those special memories and be sure to let each and every person around you know how much they mean to you.

We are living in uncertain times right now and we have never been promised a tomorrow. So take a moment to appreciate all that you have been blessed with and cherish this moment and time in your life.

I pray that you have all had a very blessed Easter!

It took forever to get a decent picture where almost everyone was smiling and (almost) looking in the same direction. Big sister didn’t want to wear her matching dress which was OK. The little girls had snuck into some chocolate while I was getting ready. They smeared their chocolate hands on the fronts of their dresses too. We got them spot cleaned and off to church we went. It was really nice to have 6 of my 9 kids in church with me today too.  While at church the same two girls tore holes in their dresses…. I will have my work cut out for me trying to repair them… but that’s life!

We did make some Empty Tomb Rolls after nap time. This was a fun experience and the kids helped assembling the roles while discussing the meaning of each ingredient. Then they had them for a snack.

We also managed to squeeze in some egg coloring! Oh what a fun day we had!

Life in 2016

Reflections of 2016

December 30, 2016

December 27, 2016

December 21,2016

December 6, 2016

December 5, 2016

December 3, 2016

December 1, 2016

November 28, 2016

November 27, 2016

November 26, 2016

November 20, 2016

November 18, 2016

November 8, 2016

Reflections of 2016

Can you believe that this year is almost gone? I can’t but I am ready to start 2017 with a fresh, positive, and energized outlook. I know in my heart that this new year will be better than last year. I also know that God has some truly amazing things in store for me and my family. I can’t wait to see what He has planned for us in the upcoming months!

We have been through alot this past year. The year started off really rocky. There had been some nasty rumors and gossip that caused us to leave our church and lose contact with some people. It was also filled with some nasty messages, hateful comments, and posts from people who chose to believe the rumors.

I’ve learned to forgive even if you don’t feel that they deserve forgiveness. Forgiveness lets you move on and heal from the pain.

My oldest daughter finished up boot camp and then DD17 and DS21 took a road trip to Missouri to bring her back home. Then we had a lot planning to do for DD19’s wedding. It was really hard to stay strong for my kids and my family but I refused to let the chaos and nastiness get me down.

I filed for divorce after being separated for nearly 2 years. It was a painful and difficult decision that I prayed a lot over. It was not the outcome I wanted but it was what needed to be done at the time to protect my family and myself from his behaviors and actions. We have come a long way since then and are working to be the best parents we can be to our children.

I am learning to be content in whatever situation I am in and wherever I may be. I will change the things I can change, focus my attention on God, and let Him handle the things I have no control over.

Our family got larger with the additions of a niece and a nephew, both of which I absolutely adore. There was a camping trip where I got to go salt water fishing for the first time and I loved every minute of it. This was a welcome relief prior to the stresses of the wedding where we had last minute changes that threatened to ruin the whole thing. I am pleased to say that it was a success and it is now a beautiful memory for us to cherish.

During those stressful times I found out who my true friends were and became closer to my best friend. She really came through for me when I needed her. I had another friend who also came through and was a lifesaver, quite literally, and he was the calm in my storm on a few occasions.

There was a brief romance where my already tender heart was shredded and ripped apart. This was harder on me than my divorce as it came at me unexpectedly and then it was over without any warning or explanation. I lost someone who I considered to be one of my best friends with the end of that relationship. I know that my questions will continue to go unanswered and I know that there would never be anyway to get back what it was that we had. It still brings tears to my eyes but I do treasure the moments we had.

I am learning that it is much easier not to question God when something happens but rather to embrace it and trust that He knows best. 

Then I attempted online dating which I quickly learned wasn’t for me. I did meet a couple of really nice people and I went on a couple of dates but we didn’t really click. I quickly found that dating by text is not for me either. I need to be able to see the person and hear their voice. I want to know that they are not a figment of my imagination. I did make a friend through the dating site and we still text on a semi-regular basis.

We had another camping trip where I took the five kids and myself. It was an adventure that we all enjoyed and thankfully survived. There was moment that I wasn’t sure if I would make it as I had fallen in the river. Luckily I had a life vest on and I was able to stay calm until someone was able to reach me. The crazy thing was that he was able to walk out to me but I was just a little bit too short to reach the bottom.I think I swallowed my yearly quota of river water that day.

I’ve had many more episodes of the gossip mill. There were days and weeks that I felt I should just write a soap opera about my life. I finally realized that the problem wasn’t really with me but with the ones who were starting and spreading the rumors. This was a big turning point for me and the way I handled the stress and drama from those situations. I also had some painful revelations about family and friends.

Then there was the flu bug that hit us around Thanksgiving. I was upset that we were not able to visit with family but fortunately God did give me the strength and supplies to make our own impromptu dinner. I wasn’t able to eat but I made up for that at Christmas dinner with my daughter and son-in-law. That was definitely a dinner to remember as the police showed up twice!

I have learned to be ready to receive a blessing at any moment and any time.

These are just some of the ups and downs of my past year. There have been a lot of firsts like the salt water fishing, a low country boil (I actually had twice this year), and online dating. I can say that I have lived, loved, been loved, and have been truly blessed. Life has taught me a lot about myself, relationships, and God’s will for my life. There have been many surprises, good and bad, but all in all it was a wonderful year.

I hope you can also look back on the past year and see what has happened. Take a moment to reflect on what you’ve experienced and then think about what you want to experience in the 2017. I pray that each and every one of you will be blessed abundantly in the upcoming year. I pray that God will touch your lives and supply your needs, whatever they may be.

 

 

 

Making Childhood Memories Count

I came across this while reading the other day. This really is something that we need to think about. Our children are only little once and the time we have with them is so precious. They grow up so very quick.

I know how hard it is to juggle all the responsibilities of being a single parent. Some days it’s really hard to get to everything that we feel needs to get done. Sometimes we just feel so overwhelmed and maybe we get a little grouchy. Our kids can feel more like an annoyance or distraction at times.

We must remember that they should always be a priority. It is such an awesome gift and responsibility to be a Momma. It can also be so demanding at times, I know. Just take a minute and read this poem to get a little insight on life through a child’s eyes.

Only One Childhood

I stopped to watch my little girl busy playing in her room. In one hand was a plastic phone; in the other a toy broom. I listened as she was speaking to her make believe little friend And I’ll never forget the words she said, even though it was pretend.

She said, “Suzie’s in the corner cuz she’s not been very good. She didn’t listen to a word I said or do the things she should.” In the corner I saw her baby doll all dressed in lace and pink. It was obvious she’d been put there to sit alone and think.

My daughter continued her “conversation,” as I sat down on the floor. She said, “I’m all fed up, I just don’t know what to do with her anymore? She whines whenever I have to work and wants to play games, too. She never lets me do the things that I just have to do?

She tries to help me with the dishes, but her arms just cannot reach… And she doesn’t know how to fold towels. I don’t have the time to teach. I have a lot of work to do and a big house to keep clean. I don’t have the time to sit and play — don’t you know what I mean?”

And that day I thought a lot about making some changes in my life; As I listened to her innocent words that cut me like a knife. I hadn’t been paying enough attention to what I hold most dear. I’d been caught up in responsibilities that increased throughout the year.

But now my attitude has changed, because, in my heart, I realize… I’ve seen the world in a different light through my little darling’s eyes. So, let the cobwebs have the corners and the dustbunnies rule the floor, I’m not going to worry about keeping up with them anymore.

I’m going to fill the house with memories of a child and her mother… For we are granted only one childhood, and we will never get another.

Everything we do is being taken in by our little ones. Do we want them to have memories of us cleaning and running around like a mad woman all the time? Do we want them to remember all the times we got upset about spilt milk or chocolate handprints on the wall? Or do we want them to remember when we took the day off to go to the park and have a picnic lunch. Maybe they will remember the time we spent showing them how to make a proper mud pie.

So please remember to take some time to create memories with your children. Find ways to spend time with them and take time to spend with them. Try to find a balance between the housework and the fun times. You will all appreciate and cherish these memories later on in the years.

December 5, 2017

Good morning ya’ll! Today is a work in progress for me. I woke up with a bad case of vertigo and then both of my legs were asleep! This made it quite a difficult, and probably hilarious, trip to the bathroom as I really had to pee. Anyway I am feeling much better now, Thank you Jesus!, and our morning is going along quite smoothly. I am almost afraid to say that as I don’t want to jinx myself.

I have the Christmas music playing, the kids have had breakfast and are playing quietly in the play room, there has been no tattling, and the kitchen is clean. DS4 brought the hamper to the laundry room (without being asked), loaded the washer, and took the hamper back to his closet. What is happening here? Did I mention that DS21 was home and carried the trash out to the road? I really hate doing that task and I am so thankful he was here and that he took care of it.

Instead of questioning, I will just thank the good Lord for his blessings and enjoy this moment of blissful peace. These moments are few and far between but I am thankful for each and every one of them. What are you thankful for today? Take a few moments and think of at least five things to thank God right now for. You will feel so much better. Often times we remember Him when we need something but we forget to thank Him when things are going good.

Is there someone in your life that you are truly blessed to have? Let them know how much they mean to you. Do a little something special to show them how much you appreciate them. This will not only make you feel better but it will also encourage them and lift them up. The holidays can be really stressful for everyone for a variety of different reasons and you never know when your actions or words can be just what they need to go from having a bad day to having a great day!

In another note, I am also working with a couple of different companies to receive some products for our homeschool activities and for my special needs son. I will be reviewing these items and hopefully showing how we use them in our daily life here. I am so excited for these opportunities and pray the God will continue to bless our family and use our lives to bless others.

 

Routines

I know, we’ve all heard about how important routines and schedules are. Some of us may have every minute of every hour planned out on a ‘perfect’ schedule while others would rather just have a  ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ kind of routine. I’ve always been kind of in the middle while I can say that at different times of my life I have leaned more towards one side than the other.

How do we find a balance? Well, the answer is not the same for everyone, every family, or every situation. For instance, there are some children who thrive on strict routines and schedules and they don’t like change, I have one of those children. Then there are some families who are extremely busy with things, maybe a home business, and there is no way that they could guarantee that they would be home by 5:00 every day to eat dinner. Then we have work routines where sometimes there are deadlines and things that must be completed in a certain time frame.

I went through a period of time when I was really sick. I went from being a vibrant young wife and mother (who also held down a 40 hours + job) to almost being bedridden. I had a couple of different surgeries, followed by infections  and long recuperation periods. These illnesses triggered an autoimmune response in my body and I have been plagued by chronic pain ever since. I had been diagnosed with scoliosis, DDD, herniated discs, IBS, GRD, hiatal hernia, migraines, and fibromyalgia among a long list of things.

My doctors prescribed a cocktail of medications to help with the problems but those medications caused lots of side effects. I was extremely fatigued, developed seizures, and was constantly having various rashes and other conditions that couldn’t be explained.

During this time my housework really suffered. My house wasn’t a total mess but it did get pretty bad. The more I tried the worse it looked. This caused major problems between my spouse and I. I was trying to keep up with the inside of the house, the outside of house, the garden, the animals, and the kids. I was OVERWHELMED!

Then I found an index card system for housework. They also have a book called Sidetracked Home Executives which I never bought but maybe should have. I immediately jumped in and began to use the system. I tweaked it here and there to make it work for our family. I then developed a similar system for work and it made an amazing difference in my productivity levels.

Unfortunately my spouse wasn’t as thrilled with my new found method. I could never keep our home as ‘show place perfect’ as he felt I should. The marriage fell apart and I moved with my four kids to our current home. This is where I found FlyLady, who has been a life saver to so many people. (You may want to check out the site for yourself.) A lot of the routines I will list below follow along with her basic plans. I again tweaked them to work for our family.

My house is not ‘show place perfect’ nor will it ever be. My house is lived in and it shows. I do get a lot of compliments like, ‘I would never know that you had so many kids here.’.  I’m not quite sure what they expect my house to live in but I am pleased to surprise them.

The outside of my house is a bit of a mess and I am working on that. Many people have stopped as they thought I am running a daycare. I guess I kind of am in a way. Some of the mess is beyond my control as it doesn’t belong to me.

I really believe that everyone should be proud of what the Lord has blessed you with. Be content where He has put you and make the best of it. I pray that you will find some helpful tips and suggestions as you read through the links. (If a link isn’t working I probably haven’t been able to work that on it yet, but keep checking and I will get them up.) Please remember to use these as a guideline for setting up your own routines. If something isn’t working then change it and make it work for you. Don’t get discouraged!

Getting Routines Started 101

Morning Routines

Kids’ Morning Routine 

Daily School Routine

Afternoon Routines

Evening Routines

Weekly Routines

Monthly Routines

Yearly Routines

Laundry Routines

Yearly kids chores by age

Age appropriate chore charts

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FlyHelper | Personal Organizer for Android