Oh my goodness, the past few weeks have been so super busy… but then again it seems that we are always so super busy anymore which is something I definitely want to work on because this Momma is exhausted! Anyway, hopefully, we will see the rewards of some of the projects we’ve been on and will be able to share them here soon.
The past couple of weeks we have been doing some major cleaning and organizing around here. I started in the storage shed where I bought a couple of big shelves from Sam’s Club when they had a special going on for Memorial Day.
The kids wanted to make bunk beds out of the shelves and I’ve seen some Pinterest ideas where they have used them as such but I needed them for organization. They did go together fairly easily which was a good thing. I put both shelves together one morning and then worked on the shed for a couple of days. Here is a rather embarrassing picture of the shed before:
As you can see, it was nearly impossible to find anything without moving a ton of junk beforehand.
I can find my square dance outfits easily and the kids love having space where they can play with some of the neat homeschool resources they haven’t seen before. I do need to sort through a lot of stuff and donate a bit but I am so happy that I finally have all of my homeschool stuff in one place! Really, you just don’t know how happy that makes this Momma! Continue reading Super Busy Start To The Summer→
It seems that every week is a crazy week around here lately and I know that part of that is probably my fault for trying to squeeze so much into my days. It’s definitely a juggling act around here with the kids, homeschooling, square dancing, blogging and the list of things that need to be done to keep up house and I then I add in things like trying to revamp some of our favorite recipes to make them healthier, working a couple of part-time jobs from home to earn a little extra income and trying to start up my own notary business. Yeah, no wonders things are so crazy right? Not to mention I’ve signed up for a multitude of online classes like the Positive Parenting Solutions which has really helped out when I remember to use the tips and tools I’ve been learning about.
Sigh… parenting is hard. When you add the special challenges of raising two special needs children (ODD, ADHD, Down’s Syndrome and a few others) to the mix it can be even harder on some days. It may be because I am making some progress with our class that I am seeing a little bit more rebellion or ‘testing of the waters’ but whatever the reason it has been quite the challenge here lately. It is enough on some days to make a Momma wanna through up her hands in defeat but I know that God is here and He is going to help us all get through this.
They’ve also learned some important lessons about obeying rules and right now I have a couple of little girls who have lost some privileges and are under constant supervision similar to what Laura experienced at the beginning of our On the Banks of Plum Creek Week 1 Lesson Plans.
We haven’t finished all of this week’s lessons as this week has been a bit busy and it was hard for some people to get back on the school routine. We still have a few like skills lessons which include our new Herb Fairies books and some dog training lessons from Lucky Dog Lessons: Train Your Dog in 7 Days. These might not be things you’d normally expect to find in your school lessons but the kids asked for them so I have included them to keep them interested in learning. Plus we can all benefit from these lessons and I find them pretty enjoying myself.
The best part of our homeschool experience this week is at the bottom of the post so you can keep reading or scroll through to find out what it was.
Getting back the week we’ve had, we had an amazing day at the zoo last weekend followed by a birthday party at my sister’s house. The kids had a lot of fun and a bit too much sugar that day. We had to deal with the after effects for a few days afterward. No fun!
On Monday we had our usual square dance and then back home. Tuesday I decided to make a grocery run with my favorite Walmart Grocery Pickup service. Mr. Awesome had announced that he was starting a new diet after I had already made up my grocery list so that meant we needed to run into the store for a couple of last minute items. I already had the menu planned out as well so I just decided to tweak a few of the recipes to make them a little more diet-friendly and healthier for everyone. Be on the lookout for some upcoming recipes that we have been trying out.
I know we can’t undo all these years of unhealthy eating in a day but we can make one change at a time to become a little healthier every day. I also know that my kids will be learning how to eat healthier and hopefully, they will pass some of these habits down to their kids. I’ve added some healthier options to our breakfast menus like omelets with mushrooms and a side of sauteed spinach. While Mr. Awesome passed on the spinach at breakfast I did manage to sneak in some greens and A TON of veggies at dinner time. That’s not potatoes on that plate but you wouldn’t know it if I hadn’t told you.
I’ve also done a lot of food prep so that we would have some healthier choices when we needed a quick meal or snack. We made a few boiled eggs and our own bagged salads for the week. I made one bag special for Mr. Awesome as he said he wasn’t ‘Popeye’ and he didn’t want spinach in his salad.
We cut all the lettuces, a mixture of iceberg and romaine, into bite-size pieces. Then we washed everything and spun it dry in the salad spinner. (You want to make sure it is as dry as possible before bagging it.) We layered a couple of big baggies with a paper towel and carefully placed our lettuce and spinach inside. Then we squeezed out all the air and sealed them. They have been in the fridge all week and still look pretty. (You will also want to change out the paper towel frequently.) The kids really enjoyed practicing some of the kitchen skills they’ve learned and it seems to make them more interested in trying out new things when they are involved in the process.
I also decided to try my hand at making some sourdough bread again. My first starter died when I neglected it a few months ago when I was sick. I wasn’t really feeling like attempting my own so I ordered some San Francisco Sourdough Starter from Amazon. It was quite easy to get the activation started by using the instructions provided. We’ve named our starter ‘Fran’ and she seems to be doing well. We’ve got some dough rising right now so maybe we’ll have a bit of sourdough bread to go with dinner tonight.
The kids are really excited about our new ‘sourdough baby’ and they keep checking up on her to make sure she isn’t hungry … lol. They even wanted to try out a new recipe for muffins using some of the leftover sponge we had from the bread dough. Here’s a couple of pictures of the batter and the finished product:
This recipe still needs a little bit of tweaking but I did manage to use some whole wheat flour with these muffins and I snuck some greens in there as well! The kids said they liked them but personally, I think they need a little something more before I want to share the recipe.
I was also excited to get my Grove order this week as I ordered several items I’ve never tried before. I did get the room spray for FREE and I love that it comes in a reusable glass bottle. You can even order the concentrated sprays to refill it.
The body wash smells amazing and the brushes have helped out a lot with some of the cleaning we’ve been doing around the house. I bought the washing machine cleaner to help get rid of the mildew on the refrigerator seals … yuck. It has helped somewhat but it may need to be used several times to get rid of it completely. I may cave and get some bleach to get rid of it because I just really hate seeing it.
The kids have been excited to observe the whole process but they were also very excited to let them go. This was easier said than done as a couple of them didn’t want to leave their little home. A couple of them have been spotted hanging out near the pond so we still get to see them just not as often as we did before. The kids are begging to this again.
Well, I guess I better finish up here as the boys are begging me to ‘let the dough out of the bowl’ so they can work with it. They already have some plans for bread and jelly when it gets finished!
We just want to wish everyone a very Happy Mother’s Day and we hope that you have a wonderful weekend!
Remember that sometimes motherhood, or even parenthood, is not the way we had it pictured that it would be and we can get overwhelmed and stressed but it is so much more rewarding than we could ever hope that it would have been!
Here’s a picture of our finished bread:
**This post does contain affiliate links to products and/or services that we use. We may earn a teensy weensy small commission (at NO EXTRA cost to you) if a purchase is made through these links. These links help to support our family, our blog, and our homeschooling mission.
WARNING: This post may contain a picture overload as I did take quite a few pictures while we were out on our adventures!
Over the weekend we had been invited to attend a small festival at Camp Milton where they were going to be having a battle reenactment. The time period was the 1800s which just happened to fit in with our Kirby’s Kids Academic Adventures and the Little House On The Prairie Adventures we’ve been doing with our homeschool so of course, I said we’d go. Plus it was a chance to see one of our friendly square dancers in action as he is an avid participant at these events.
I think we surprised him by showing up but he was more than happy to give us a tour through the camp and show us all the neat things they had out. They also shared some of their rations of beef jerky and bread with us for breakfast.
After the camp tour, we headed over to the village where we got to shop at the General Store. I bought a cone of brown sugar there for the kids to try out later. We also ‘priced’ some other supplies and staples while we were there.
Then the kids got a peek at the small cabin, it was even smaller than our house, and they had the chance to ask a lot of questions which they did.
(Sorry guys there was no Google in the 1800s … lol.)
After the store, we headed over to the small museum where we got to check out a lot of interesting items.
We checked out the school tent and bought a couple of toys, of course. Each kiddo had the chance to pick out a small wooden top and I also picked up a flute and a slingshot, what was I thinking?
Do you hate grocery shopping as much as I do? Well, it hasn’t always been like that for me but here lately it just seems like we stay so busy I can’t find time to get the shopping done. I do like to find deals but I haven’t had a lot of time for couponing either.
Another issue that we’ve had is that the path to our local Walmart, which is normally less than 15 minutes away, has been undergoing some MAJOR reconstruction and it is such a mess! I really HATE driving into town but that’s really the only place close to go too… what’s a busy Momma to do?
Well, a lot of our appointments happen to be about 45 minutes away from where we live and there just happens to be a Walmart on the way back home. Still, the idea of dragging 5 kiddos into the grocery store after we’ve been sitting for a couple of hours is not a pleasant one. Granted my kiddos are generally pretty well behaved but I’m usually ready to get home. Then it never fails that we get to the front of the store to check out and there will only be one checkout open! Seriously???
Here comes the part where I have learned how to avoid those grocery shopping blues, long lines, and guilt from buying way too much junk food. Are you ready? I’ve been using the Walmart Grocery Pickup for the past few months and I LOVE IT! I don’t use it every time and sometimes I go to Sam’s Club as they have a very similar service… Yes, I know I sound lazy and maybe I am a little but there are so many more things that need my attention and energy so anything that makes my life a little bit easier is something to love. Did I mention that the pickup service is FREE? Yep, I said FREE!
A big ‘Thank You’ to Daniel for helping us load everything into the van.
Right now you can give the Walmart Grocery Pick up a try and get $10.00 off your first order and Sam’s Club is offering a $20 e-gift card after you join. Yes, we will get a small little kickback if you order through one of my links and we appreciate anything anyone does but really we wouldn’t recommend these apps and services if we didn’t love them as well.
There are so many added benefits for us like saving money on gas and the time saved! Have you given it a try yet? If so, what has your experience been like? If not then you should go ahead and try it out!
I mean it! Click the link, add the groceries to your cart, select your pickup time (same day pickup is often available), and check out now!
As you probably know from reading our latest posts we have been staying CRAZY BUSY in 2019 just like we did before. However even though our schedules have been busy I have been trying to work in some changes, a couple at a time, to help us turn those wishes into realities.
My first wish of having the kids to listen better seems to be going along fairly well. I have been making it a point to work more one on one with each of them as I can. I have also not had to speak to them as much because I’ve went over what I expect and given them a list of rewards for when the goals are met or some consequences if they aren’t met.
I had also noticed that I was yelling more… ok, I felt like I was yelling. People sometimes laugh when I apologize for yelling because my yelling doesn’t seem like yelling to them… anyways I was having to talk much louder than I preferred and I didn’t like that. Did you know that yelling makes it seem like you aren’t in control? Well that was definitely not the message I wanted to convey to this little army I have here!
I also know that yelling doesn’t fit into the overall picture of wanting to create a more loving and peaceful home. We have a small home so when one or two people start yelling it begins to sound a bit like a busy coffee shop in NYC!
**This post may contain affiliate links to products and/or services that we use. If a purchase is made through one of these links we may make a small commission which costs you nothing extra and blesses our family so we thank you! For full affiliate disclosure please click HERE.
So if you read my post yesterday you know that we had some unexpected work that had to get done around the house. What you didn’t get to see was the post holiday mess the rest of the house was still in… yep, I’m gonna show you some really messy pics of our cabin because LIFE is MESSY at times and we aren’t PERFECT so our place gets just as MESSY as everyone else’s house, and probably more at times.
One thing I know is that you can’t truly organize CLUTTER! Boy oh boy was it in abundance around earlier this week. I’m kinda embarrassed to show you all these pics but I really want to show everyone that you CAN change your LIFE one little step at a time. The important thing is to remember that the CHANGE must start somewhere and I know that LIFE can be so OVERWHELMING at times… these pics can prove that… but we can’t just sit around and wait for someone else to do something that we aren’t willing to do ourselves.
On the other hand I want everyone to know that our house has not looked this BAD in a long time. I know that HOARDING tendencies seem to run in one side of my family and that scares the crap out of me! Part Most of this was MESS was due to the post holiday chaos we had and the total LACK of ENERGY I had from not feeling well … but enough with the EXCUSES as I was determined to get past the PROCRASTINATION.
Over the weekend I had made a short To-Do List to work on and a couple of the first items to tackle were the kitchen and the bathroom. However the closet became number 1 priority when the kids demolished some of the shelving… you can read about that project HERE. Here’s the BEFORE of the kitchen:
You can see breakfast prep was ongoing when I took this and it was so hard to accomplish anything with the CLUTTER laying around. Mr. Joey wanted to help with breakfast so I did a quick tidy to make room and let him work on some Pancake Poppers for a quick breakfast.
We made one batch of blueberry and one batch of sausage… yum!
After breakfast I did a quick cleanup and had the kitchen back to a semi-normal state within 20-30 minutes… YAY!
Then I tackled the bathroom which took another 10-15 minutes. I could feel myself running out of steam really quickly though. I crossed off those two items and another as the kids had helped change sheets and tidy up the loft area as I cleaned in the kitchen and bathroom. Then I attempted to tackle the next area which was in the Main Room
This pic was actually from Thursday before I got to work on paying bills but honestly there wasn’t a whole lot of change from then to Sunday. I did start on it but got interrupted with something or another and that was pretty much the end of the cleaning for the day.
However on Monday I had a new PLAN OF ACTION. We needed to get started back to school work but I knew that there was no way I would keep anyone’s attention with all the stuff sitting around just begging to be discovered.
So I made an executive decision that for now our group studies will be completed Tuesday-Thursday. The kids can work on independent or one-one tasks on Mondays and Fridays. This change also included a temporary change in our Laundry and Cleaning Routines as the majority of those tasks will be completed on Mondays and Fridays as well. So far so good with this change and we’ve actually been able to accomplish quite a bit more in the cleaning and school areas.
Our first task of the day was to get this tree put away…
Most of the other decorations had already been packed into totes the week before so we just had to make room for the tree decor. Then everything was taken to the shed and neatly put away.
Then to get the table put back up. I put Joey to work on bagging up the random grocery bags around the house so we can reuse them.
I set to work on straightening up my bedroom… this is what it looks like after getting back from a dance. I usually have the little boys in here to change and the girls use the closet to get ready. This means I can’t get in there to put away anything so it ends up piled on my bed… sigh.
After a bit it looked much better except for the basket of laundry sitting there… but hey, at least it was clean laundry. I went ahead and checked the bedroom off the To-Do List as well, but as you will see in a bit that may have been a bit premature.
While I worked in the bedroom the kids cleaned up the floor where the tree had been. They also worked on organizing their school cubbies so we could have a fresh start for the next day. They also put away some of the items that had been cluttering the table. Things actually seemed to be getting MESSIER instead of cleaner!
They also worked on straightening up the TV area as there were dirty dishes, controllers, toys that needed put away.
We were on a roll and our next mission was to get rid of all the boxes sitting around. Most of these held Christmas gifts that needed homes. Now that we had straightened up most everything this would be an easier task to accomplish. But first Jacob thought everyone should have a quick snack of candy canes from the tree… lol.
Again things seemed to get MESSIER before they got better. This table became a sorting place for EVERYTHING. I opened a box, sorted out what needed to go where, and then we took care of EVERYTHING we had out at the moment before moving to the next box.
Here is another pile that had to get sorted as well.
It might have been a bit time saving to have sorted all the boxes at once but we had William helping out and he gets OVERWHELMED easily and then it gets a bit HARD for anyone else to get anything accomplished as you have to keep redirecting him.
I had received a ton of new school supplies from Santa… he knew just what I need, right? We also got lots of new books and William really wanted to read all of them. In the process I lost a book I had pulled off my bookshelf earlier in the day… my mistake, as I should’ve waited until we were finished with the clean up. You just might laugh, like Mr. Awesome did, when I show you the book I lost:
But anyway as I sorted the kids carried things and put them away but some items got piled on my bed… it appeared that my bed also had become a playground at some point in time. This time the MESS actually looks worse than it was.
Once most of the items had been sorted and carried to their new homes, or at least in the general area of their new home, Ms. Bella made some yummy PB&Js for the crew. As you can see everything was looking much better.
Even the bedroom looked pretty good…
As I was carrying things out to the shed I noticed something in the pond…
I had to call the kids out to take a closer peek… such a cute suprise!
I had a couple of more things to get organized and look at like this organizer I had gotten for Christmas:
And these new books that we got for our homeschool…
We also got a few more books that everyone is excited to read like this one here:
As I worked on setting up the organizer and putting away these items the girls wasted no time getting to work making some headbands, bracelets other items now that they had room to work at the table.
Then the UPS man brought my Grove package… another pleasant suprise!
I am really loving the Mrs. Meyers cleaners and have started to try out some of the other products which you can also get on AMAZON. Once I got all of these put away I worked on a little redecorating as everything looked so BARE.
I pulled some of the peacock decor out of my bedroom for now…
The gold peacock was something Mr. Awesome bought for me last year and that little pig was one I painted many, many years ago when my older kids will young.
I moved the flowes basket from the kitchen to this window. This is where my new napkin holder is sitting as well as the new globe that we got for Christmas.
It also lights up to show the constellations which is so NEAT!(I don’t know why but this made our homeschool seem so much more ‘official like’… lol)
In the kitchen I took down the cornice that was up there and put up this really cute tray I found with the after Christmas clearance at Walmart.
All in all we had a really good day and with the kids helping out as much as they did I didn’t get too overwhelmed nor did I completely wear myslef out as I have been doing a lot lately.
We didn’t do a deep cleaning or major reorganizing. We did find a HOME for EVERYTHING and we did PURGE some items as we went along. There are still things that need to be done but the HOUSE feels so much BETTER now and I’m not constantly looking for things… other than that book that hasn’t resurfaced yet.
That’s OK as the wonderful UPS man delivered me another copy today… so maybe if I find the old one I can BLESS someone else with it.
The biggest thing with all of this was to just get STARTED. Another big thing was to not get sidetracked with the fact that everything wasn’t being ‘cleaned properly’ or organized exactly the way I wanted it. If we had stopped to rearrange and/or clean every book shelf and cabinet along the way I would still be working on this project.
Now that we have everything situated we can get back to our regular cleaning tasks, even though we have changed the routine the tasks are still the same, and EVERYTHING will get clean in its own time. My main FOCUS was just to get a bit more organized as I couldn’t find anything over the past couple of weeks. Even though I lost my book and it still drives me a little batty wondering where it might have went its not that big of a deal in the BIG PICTURE.
We accomplished the GOAL that we set out to do and we can create a new PLAN OF ACTION for our next GOAL. For us this wasn’t a HUGE task to deal with as our house isn’t that BIG to start with. The MESS really did look worse than it was once we got started on it. If you have a bigger house then you might just need to FOCUS on ONE AREA at a time… not the whole house. If the task is still too BIG then focus on a smaller area at a time… break that elephant down into small pieces and work on them one at a time. A little progress is BETTER than doing NOTHING at all.
If you need a little motivation or encouragement then be sure to reach out to me via email or on Facebook in the Kirby’s Kabin Blog Group I’ve just started.
Have a great day and stay tuned for a look at our first couple of days with our new homeschool schedule!
**This most may contain affiliate links to products and/or services that we use. These links are provided at NO EXTRA charge to you, and in some cases they may offer a special discount or offer, but we may receive a small commission from any purchases made through these links.
This might sound a bit scary to some of you as it did to me, at first. Last year I started doing a few ‘Click n Pull’ orders from Sam’s Club and I loved the ease and convenience of the whole process. Not to mention the time (and $$) it saved me by not walking the whole store every time I needed something. (Don’t you hate it when stores move something and it takes FOREVER to find it? I’ve found that stores have been rearranging EVERYTHING for the holidays and I spend so much time trying to find our ‘regular’ items it’s not even funny!)
Well, some of you may already be familiar with the Grocery Pickup service offered at some Walmarts but I hadn’t had the chance to give it a try although I really wanted to. After shopping with all of the kids last week and realizing how hard it is to get around some of the stores this time of year I figured now is as good a time as any to give it a go. Continue reading Strangers Did My Grocery Shopping This Weekend And I’m Glad!→
Money is a big cause of stress in many people’s lives. So it would only make sense that getting rid of debts and bills can help us to simplify our lives and reduce stress. Credit cards and online shopping make it is so easy to buy things and accumulate debt without realizing it. We see something we want and we buy it and then we regret it when the bill comes in.
If we can learn to live a bit more frugally then we can learn to buy less, want less, be more eco friendly, simplify our budgets, and reach our financial goals of being debt free. We can’t do a lot about what has already been done but we can work towards simplify our lives to prevent the stress from these debts and bills.
One way we can do this is by setting up automatic deposits and payments. You can have your paychecks automatically deposited and you can also set your bills on auto pay. By doing this you can get those bills paid while preventing late payments. If you want to save a little bit more then you can even go paperless which will help to cut down on paper clutter and mail. All of this adds up to less stress and a simpler life as there are fewer things to worry about.
I have found that I can not only simplify some of my shopping but save time and money while helping the planet by using subscription services and the convenience of online ordering for some things like cleaning supplies, household supplies, groceries, essential oils, and other items. My favorite place to use are:
Google ExpressGet $10 off your first Google Express order and have one less errand to run! Use promo code: 5EK6F7555
Now if you have already overspent and just don’t have the money to cover the bills then that is another story. That can lead to a lot of stress. You can set a budget and work on learning to only buy what you need. You may also want to look into ways to bring a little extra income. Many of these places I listed above also offer affiliate or referral bonuses which can help out too.
I really like the simplicity of the Wealthy Affiliate program. It not only teaches you the ins and outs of affiliate marketing but helps you to set up your own website. With the company’s ‘pay it forward’ attitude there is a constant supply of support from other members who have been right where you are right now. Go ahead, check it out, and sign up for your FREE account right now.
This was the last step of my Simplify your life series. I hope you found some of the information useful. If you implement these easy steps into your life you will find you have more FREE time for quality moments with your friends and family. Good luck!
Sunday was DS15’s birthday! Yeah, he is growing up. I am so proud of all the accomplishments and progress he has made over the past few years and I know that he will continue to learn and make progress in the years to come.
In case you don’t already know DS15 has Down’s Syndrome, ADHD, and several other disorders that can make life quite challenging at times. These challenges have been hard for me to overcome sometimes as a single parent and they can overwhelm anyone at times. Life has definitely been a roller coaster over the past few years. Continue reading Youtube, Yellow Rocks, and Yamato’s→
**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. For full disclosure click here.
So late Wednesday night DD18 decided she needed to go to Walmart to get a couple of things. Normally I try to wait until I do my weekly grocery trip but she insisted it couldn’t wait.
I hadn’t planned on buying anything but once we got there I realized that I needed to grab a couple of items just in case I didn’t make it back later this week. We were good on groceries but I needed a couple of items for when we go hunting the next time. (I’m hoping it’ll be this weekend.) I’m sharing what I found in the event you may also be looking for some gifts for any hunters you may know. Continue reading Midweek Walmart Trip (Hunting Supplies)→