Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Road Trip 2010: Cheap Entertainment

We started our road trip on Monday and spent several hours in the car taking a leisurely trip to Atlanta.  After dinner that night, Arin decided that she would like to visit a pet shop.  My girls love to look at animals and this is the cheapest, most convenient way to make that happen!

Grandma's Blankets

This past weekend we were able to visit with my grandma.  She gave the girls each a blanket which she had crocheted.  These are such special gifts!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Simple Pleasures

Sometimes the best things in life are lawn mower rides given by Papa!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Declutter Challenge: Stroller

 Last week, one of my dear friends told me that she needed a jogging stroller for her son and I was thrilled to pass this one on to her.  I haven't used it in about a year!
Total Things Decluttered:110
Things Left to Declutter: 262

Friday, March 26, 2010

Math Eggs

Arin's Egg Word Families were such a hit with her, that I decided to use the same concept to make math eggs.  Originally, I had planned to make only addition eggs, but a couple of weeks ago my brother and sister-in-law introduced Arin to subtraction and it has been her passion ever since.  On one half of each egg, I wrote a simple addition or subtraction problem and on the other side, I wrote three multiple choice answers.  Once she figured out what the solution was, she turned the egg so that the equation lined up properly.  On the suggestion of one of my readers (thanks Phyllis!), I put something inside the eggs this time.  In each egg, I put beans corresponding to the correct answer to the math problem.  This way, Arin was able to count the beans and self-check her answers.  This extra step was also a huge hit and a great addition that helped to vary the game's directions from that of the Word Families game.

Farm Field Trip

Today we met up with our homeschool group for a wonderful field trip to a local farm.  The owners of the farm were such sweet hosts and we had a truly delightful day.

First, they took several of the kids on a horse drawn wagon ride to their friend's old time feed store/farm.  Arin thought this was great.  Ella and I rode in our friend's van.  Arin is growing up and able to do stuff without her mama now!

While we were waiting for the kids to arrive, Ella happily picked pecans off the ground.

We saw lots of animals such as horses, pigs, chickens, ducks, wild boars, goats, turkeys, rabbits, and so on. 
I learned something new - pigs grow HUGE!  I have never been up close to a full-sized one and I had no idea how big they could grow to be.

It was also the first time that I had seen a brown turkey.

I am used to seeing this type of turkey.

Ella investigated some farm equipment.

We took a tour inside the feed store.
They bag the feed.

Then they weigh the bags and sew them shut.

Then they stack them in the store to sell.

Once the feed store/farm tour was over, we went back to the first farm.  The kids ran around, climbed on hay stacks, and took turns on the tire swing until it was lunchtime.

After lunch, the kids took pony rides.  This was the first time that Arin would ride a pony by herself and she loved it!
Today was such a fun day.  We had beautiful weather and made many memories with great friends!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Declutter Challenge: Five Minutes in the Garage

I don't have a lot of time to spend decluttering today, but like I mentioned yesterday, it is becoming addicting.  I am so happy to be getting rid of stuff.  It's only been a week since I started this challenge.  I had intended to get rid of 372 things in a year's time, but at this rate, I think I might hit that goal in only a month's time and believe me, that'd be even better!  I spent about five minutes collecting unwanted items from the garage.  I really should take a "before" picture of the garage because it is down right scary, but again, it's behind closed doors and you know what they say, "Out of sight, out of mind!".  It's never really out of mind, but certainly much easier to ignore out there.

In today's donation pile:

- purse (Not pictured and that is because my sister was here over the weekend and she needed a new purse, and guess what?  Yup, I just went out to the garage and found her one.  In this case, it worked out well because it fulfilled that "may need this one day" scenerio, which has proven to be the exception and not the rule.)
- floor puzzle playmat
- craft items x 3
- shower curtain rings
- handkerchiefs
- supplemental workbooks x 4 (I used to homeschool a little girl and I am not even sure how I ended up with her supplemental workbooks instead of her parents having them.  She's been back in private school long enough that it is time for me to throw these away!)
- 3-ring binder

That's another 12 items for today (109 so far) and 263 left to get rid of!

Nature Bingo

Melissa, O, & E from Chasing Cheerios sent Arin and Ella a wonderful care package several weeks ago.  Along with a couple of other things, they sent the girls a Nature Bingo card.  Arin LOVES to match things and she LOVES to play I Spy, so this game was perfect for her.  She LOVED it!  Ella stayed right by Arin's side the whole time, which was so cute. 

As soon as Andy got home, Arin was telling him all about the Nature Bingo.  We weren't able to find everything on the card, but it was a lot of fun just the same.  Arin has already asked when we can go and play it again!  We are taking a trip next week and I think we'll pack this game and play it again while we're in a different state!

Thanks again Melissa, O, & E! This game was a huge hit!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

It Felt Like a Miracle...

Something HUGE happened last night.  My dear, sweet Ella Jane has never, not even one time in her life (almost 17 months) slept through the night - that was until last night!!!  She went to bed between 8:00-8:30pm and didn't wake until 7:15 this morning!  I never go to bed early, but I was able to sleep straight through from midnight until 6:00am.  That's when Andy woke me and I realized it was the first time since laying my head on the pillow that I had even stirred.  It was a wonderful feeling to get six straight hours of sleep and I am hoping it will start happening more frequently and for even longer periods of time!

Declutter Challenge: 5 minute decluttering

In the first round of my declutter challenge, I said that I would be dropping the unwanted items off at Goodwill on Friday.  We had company all weekend, so I never got around to it on Friday, or the next day, or the next...but today, I have to run into town, so I will be taking the stuff with me.  The more I play this game, the more excited I am to play it.  I am thrilled, really thrilled to be getting rid of my clutter!  Woohoo!!!

Since I know I am heading to Goodwill this morning, I wanted to gather a few more items, but I also didn't want to spend all morning looking for stuff, so I set the timer for five minutes and gathered as much as I could in that amount of time.  Ok, so I sort of cheated because all I really did was go to the garage and grabbed a box and unpacked it and look at all the unused treasures I found!  It feels good that I am no longer going to be taking up space with unwanted stuff.  Maybe one day I will have enough room in our garage to park our vehicle!!!

Items I am donating today:
Pairs of shoes x 4 (technically I am getting rid of 8 things here, but will count it only as 4)
Olive Oil bottle
Hot sauce/salsa bottle
Drink Glasses x 2
Throw Rugs x 2
Icing spreader
Picture Album (This was by far the hardest thing to get rid of today.  It wasn't hard to get rid of because I thought I might use it one day, because I know that I rarely print prictures, but it was a handmade gift given to me when Arin was born.  Homemade/handmade gifts take a lot of thought, time and effort and that makes them so special.  However, I knew that it was going to waste not being used at my house, so I brainstormed with my sister-in-law this morning and she said that her youngest daughter (who loves princesses) would be delighted to have it.  So I feel good knowing that it'll brighten someone else's day and be put to use!)

Items being donated: 12 (97 total)
Items left to be donated before March 2011: 275

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Enjoying the Warmth

The girls had a great time playing outside tonight while Andrew and I sat on the deck and talked.  We are loving this beautiful weather!

Declutter Challenge: Round Two (Linen Closet)

Today was clean the master bathroom day, so while I was in there, I took advantage of the time and decluttered the linen closet.

Here is the before picture.  I know - YIKES! - but it is so easy just to throw stuff in there because it's always behind a closed door.

Here is the after picture.  Not a huge difference, but definitely more tidy.  Andy noticed it right away when he got home from work.

I didn't get rid of too many things today.  What is going into my donation pile is:

- bedskirt (This was hard to part with because my sister made it for me, but I haven't used it in several years and am not planning on changing my bedding in the near future, so I decided it was time for it to find a new home.  If I ever need a new bedskirt, I am sure my sister will make a new one for me or better yet, teach me how to make one myself.)
- fitted sheet
- table cloth
- cloth napkins x 3 (not sure what happened to the fourth one)
- unopened bottle of baby oil
- unopened bottle of cocoa butter
- unopened bottle of lotion
- unopened bottle of baby powder

So that is 10 things I have removed from my house today (85 things total) and 287 more to remove before March 18, 2011!

Teaching Little Sister

Today is laundry day and Arin loves to separate the clothes into the proper piles.  This morning she asked if Ella could help too.  I recently read a blog of someone that was a homeschool graduate.  As part of her curriclum, her mom used to have her and her older siblings teach the younger siblings a subject.  I thought that was a great idea to have the older ones teach the younger ones, so I told Arin that Ella could help if she taught her how to put the clothes in the right piles.  It was so cute to listen to Arin.  She'd pick a piece of clothing out of the basket and hand it to Ella and then point and tell her which pile to put it in.  She'd follow Ella to make sure she was doing it right.  When Ella would get it right, she'd say, "Great job!"  If she didn't get it right, she'd have her redo it and put it where it belonged.  A couple of times she pulled something out of the basket and said, "Ok Ella, this is a tricky one!"