Month

March 2015

A little bit of (Coffee) heaven

Taking time to smell the roses coffee…

Life has so many wonderful things to offer. Each daily thing can be taken for granted, or enjoyed for a moment or two- like the alluring aroma of a freshly brewed cup of coffee. How relaxing it is to take in the hints of citrus, floral and woody notes before taking the first sip. There are so many things to be thankful for, and to remember them as well as enjoy each day. As a mom of 5, if there is one thing I have learned with having a larger than average family, it is important to fill ourselves up so we can pour out to others. If momma is running on empty then what is there to give, but impatience and frustration. What has worked for me is starting the day off right with an amazing cup of coffee, I mean good coffee! Let me just rave a little bit about my coffee heaven.

This past Christmas, my hubby knowing my love for a rich cup of coffee and full well knowing the chaos each morning brings as we serve up breakfast to all the kids, blessed me with a Delonghi Nespresso OriginaLine Machine

8887629447198The patented technology has the 19 bar system, forcing the water out at great pressure which creates the wonderful crema on top (which is that famous hazelnut colored foam). Just like the Barista’s make it with freshly ground beans. I mean we are talking a smooth coffee. This mean machine can make the perfect Café Latte, Macchiato, Americano (my morning ritual) to just a plain ole good cup of coffee. My kids often get me to froth them some milk and a flavor shot from one of the specialty syrups I have. They tell me it is better than hot cocoa, I will trust them on this- I will stick to the caffeinated beverages. In fact I had a friend over this past week and we each enjoyed a salted caramel macchiato with all the fixings just like Starbucks mmm…

My hunny and I were fortunate to get away on a 3 night/4 day stay in Calgary this past winter. We spent much of our time in Banff and Radium hot springs –

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It was during our stay at the Fairmont Palliser that I was introduced to the most delicious cup of coffee at the touch of a button. We had a Nespresso OriginaLine  in our room and the private penthouse lounge also featured Nespresso’s Vertuoline, where we enjoyed  Fairmont GOLD treatment. Waking each day to our own private buffet as well as enjoying a variety of canapés every evening.

fairmont gold

These days I reminisce about going back and recreating our stay, and every time I brew a gourmet cup of coffee I have fond memories of our time. Just the two of us. That does not happen very often- in fact it had been since we were married almost 10 years ago that we had been away for more then 24 hours (without kids that is).

As it is, this precious gift I received this past Christmas is the gift that keeps on giving! It is in the little things where happiness and contentedness is found, because together they are what make up the big things. Now to go and place my order for coffee online and have it delivered to my door within 48 hours! (How awesome is that?) I don’t even have to step outside my house to keep enjoying this dark rich beverage! Until next time-

Amber

 

Not that I speak in respect of want:

for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, to be content.

Philippians 4:11 KJV

 

Spring time free printables for kids

Finally! Spring is HERE. With April around the corner it is time to bring out the fun stuff.

I have searched the web high and low and have collected a few tried and true learning activities for the kids! Lets get right to them…

Fun on the Farm. Preschoolers practice cutting, gluing, puzzles and match ups. This package is awesome for 3-5 year olds –farmClick HERE to download your pack!

More from this website check out this link-  http://www.freehomeschooldeals.com/category/free-printables/

Spring time brings Showers, here is a game called RainShowers- a consonant blend game …

ConsonantBlendsGame

Click HERE to download this game

For more fun where this game is from check out this link-

http://filefolderfun.com/

Here is one the kids will love, maybe not the parents so much, ha! All about bugs pack!

Bugs

Click HERE to go to the website and download your bug pack.

Lets also throw in some fun play-dough mats for Spring and Easter!

playdoh mats

Click HERE to download these creative mats, laminate for more durability if you wish!

And some gardening Play-dough mats-

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Click HERE and HERE to download these pages.

My tots have also been really enthused with Bubble Guppies and Dora lately, so I downloaded a spring pack of coloring sheets and connect the dots of Nick Jr. you can click on this link to go directly to their website and get yours- http://www.nickjr.com/spring-activities/

I hope you all have fun with these activities and learning games as we are! Enjoy the rest of your weekend…

till next time, Amber.

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Joanna Eggs

 

“These are NOT Joanna eggs!”

Anyone who has ever seen ‘The Rescuers Down Under’ knows exactly the character/lizard being referenced to! Rescuers-down-under-disneyscreencaps.com-5481

Boy oh boy, do we have a Joanna in the house. With Easter fast approaching, the egg phenomena has been intensified. Our children have been thrilled playing with all the colorful plastic eggs I pulled out a few days ago, along with their Easter baskets as they ‘practice’ their egg hunting skills. 102049238.jpg.rendition.largest

It has definitely been a great past time, keeping them all busy. I am talking hours upon hours of ‘hunting’. There is much fun to be had in spring, with new life and new growth (a favorite time of mine to reflect on Jesus’ gift to us).

Back to the eggs… A much loved breakfast food at our house is eggs on toast. We have a certain 2 year old who has a fascination with eggs. They may as well be eagle eggs, and she- the lizard. Here is where the ‘Joanna’ comes in…

For as long as I can remember our certain Miss S has loved eggs- whether I am baking, whether I am trying to fry eggs on the stove, or simply have them sitting in the fridge- tucked away in the carton. They are NEVER safe.

This morning for instance, whilst we were all snuggled among the comfy pillows on the couch in our living room, my coffee in one hand, going over our English lesson with the olders and enjoying the story to go along with it, I look over my shoulder and have quite a sight to see. Within 2 minutes  Miss S who was supposed to be watching our life saving ‘Dora the explorer’, was instead mixing up eggs. Raw eggs. Multiple raw eggs. On the floor. On the chair. On the table. On the wall (say what?!) I know… I now have officially changed her middle name to Joanna, which suits just nicely. It has a nice ring to it too, when I am using my ‘firm mommy voice’. The even better part? She answers to it…

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So now I am on the hunt for some ‘eggtastic’ activities to go along with this newfound love of eggs. One example to go along with Easter is to color a hard boiled egg with permanent marker and then try washing it off- it is impossible. We (and our sin) represent the ‘stained’ outside of the egg. Once you peel off the outer shell- all becomes white again and looks completely new, but is changed. A great visual around Easter for kids to grasp this precious gift. I also found these great printables of decorated colorful Easter eggs with scripture verses on them, along with a pocket you can fold and glue to hold them all in. Click on the links below for these ‘Eggtastic’ Scripture verses-

EggVerse1

EggVerse2

EggVersePocket

Also, if you are looking for some great worksheets for Good Friday and Easter Sunday coming up here is a good one (2 pages) –

Easter-worksheet

Thanks for reading my blog and I hope you all have a great weekend, with that I will leave you until next time!

Amber

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

2 Corinthians 12:9

 

Falling off the band wagon

 

How did it happen? Things were going smooth and very productive…

In the blink of an eye, just a few changes to our weekly routine has us all over the road map. Now how to get back into the groove? It all began last week…

Take 2 cranky and miserable toddlers, one who decides to be up all night, for several nights, a hubby who is out of town all week, a pile of laundry and organizing to do, along with fitting in our school work. That makes for one fried tired mama, also sums up week one of our derailment. Going into the next week- the hubby who is driving back and forth from out of town all week, cranky toddlers- but this time not because they aren’t feeling well, oh no- that would be too easy. All because they want to LIVE outside, in the mud. However they feel the need to cry every time mud gets on their mitten, or they cry because they refuse to walk across the yard to the play center, the ground is too uneven with melting snow you know! Our oldest being under the weather all week with a trip to the hospital for her on Friday, all was well in the end. Sigh, and at the same time, this is what life is all about. Also equal parts of why we chose to homeschool in the first place…

Learning to live and experience life together. During these past 2 weeks I was able to help out some dear friends and spend some wonderful snuggle time with their cute children- the kids thought it was a great time because they got a crash course in ‘How to entertain preschoolers/toddlers 101’ (like they already don’t know that, but its much more fun to entertain other peoples children ha!) instead of dreaded math time (dually noted that we finished all required math by the end of these past 2 weeks and will still finish ahead in May). We also had a spur of the moment trip to Wal-Mart not by choice, to purchase those necessary diapers that were needed, and the kids got a lesson in money management. Balancing their accounts while spending a small sum of their allowance, yet still saving for something bigger. (Our daughter is currently saving for a horse, and our first born son is saving for a BB gun. Go figure!) Throughout homeschooling this past year our children have also had the amazing experiences of being able to go to the old folks home and help them decorate their common hall for Christmas, bring soup or cookies to someone (their ideas also) and spend time outside every single day or hour it was nice out.

All in all I am so blessed to be able to show our kids the important things in life while still accomplishing their daily school work. Currently we are doing Canadian History, Science ( touching on geology, astronomy, hydrology and meteorology), Geography, Language Arts, Reading, Math and researching on a topic of their choice each week, as well as weekly journal time and music class every Wednesday morning that is run by a music teacher who volunteers her time to teach all the kids that are homeschooled in the area- they performed beautifully at our Station Arts center in town at Christmas time… Of course lets not forget to address the dreaded but common question- ‘but do your kids get socialized?!’ Our kids are the most socialized people I know, they are able to start up a conversation and engage with their grandparents and 87 year old great aunt and her friends and be captivated by the stories, to striking up a conversation with that kid they have never seen before at the playground- but is their new best friend before we leave. If that’s not enough we also have a great playgroup in town I am blessed to be a part of Tuesday mornings, where the kids meet up with other homeschooled children (also cousins!) and can hang out and have creative play time, and we haven’t even touched upon horse lessons, piano or seasonal sports etc… However through it all our lifestyle is relaxed! We are never rushing to and fro, never on a certain time schedule and in the end it all gets done. Early too- we will be finished our formal studies by the end of May leaving June-September open to enjoy our few nice summer months.

I suppose in the end our derailment and falling off the band wagon only meant living life a little bit more, experiencing other things and learning to ‘go with it’.

Enjoying it all in a stress free environment knowing that we may not have gotten the ‘required’ school work done I had wanted accomplished that day, but instead we learned more valuable lessons about life and experiencing it all the while getting the formal studies done by the end of these past 2 crazy weeks. (Or just sum up every week!) Here is an example of what our normal day looks like…

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Yeah… we had put the paints ‘up’ out of reach…
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She made sure to include a couple other partners in crime this time… red paint.

 

Each new week brings forth surprises and the unexpected, the most important thing we have learned thus far is to enjoy the ride and not sweat the small stuff.

Thanks for coming by! Till next time,

Amber

18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

Hug them close

Every now and again we hear in the news something that resonates within us…

There certainly is tragedy all around, we know this, it is hard to miss. Sometimes however, something extraordinarily tragic happens that hits close to home. Especially when involving a child. I used to dwell in anguish for these families, and the pain they must be experiencing. My heart hurt something awful. One day I realized that in doing so I was being held captive by fear. Yes it is important to feel, mourn, empathize. We can not stay there though, for if we do, nothing good will come of it. When I now hear about a tragic happenstance or unfathomable evil, I now pray and learn. Pray for the families and those affected around them and learn to appreciate the days I do have with my loved ones. As well as hug my children a little longer, be a little bit more patient, linger over them and know that I have no say over the future- but I am living in today and can control the choices I make in this day.

It is said by many, many moms who are old hats at this parenting thing, to not worry about the little things- leave the dishes, enjoy the crumbs on the floor- heck put some in your hair while your at it! Those things will not matter 20 years from now when wishing to hold little ones in your arms again, waiting for that child to run full speed ahead at you to hug you tight (and possibly choke you in the process or hit some unmentionable area causing great pain- but that’s not the point, back to the point…) The point is that they may not be there at all. So enjoy each day you have with your children. Live each day like there was no other…

Yeah, Ok- we have heard that a lot-  real life is so much more chaotic when you are in the thick of it! So how on earth are we supposed to not let those crumbs bother us as we feel them between our toes? Or as we try to prepare a snack our sleeves get all sticky from the leftover residue on the counter, and wait- I don’t have a clean knife to cut the fruit up anyway! Well, I certainly have my awful days too, but I have found (through many trials and error- ok more error than trial ha!) a few tid bits that have been working for us as a family with 5 kids- a nanny!  Just kidding…

Life saver # 1.) Chores- Kids are more capable than we give them credit- and are happy to help out, especially when there are goals (allowance, reward, gaming time). So start setting up daily chores- routine is key and it will become habit, as well as fast and efficient with their daily chore- which then boosts confidence and self esteem in accomplishing the task. 

Life saver #2.) Walking away- to the clean room in the house. Just hanging out in a tidy room (even though the rest of the house may feel catastrophic!) will help with balance and put things back into perspective, whatever clean room that may be- a living room, bedroom- whatever room happens to be tidy at that moment. Bring the kids in there and start a puzzle or read a book. They will have had one-on-one time, you felt good giving it as you looked around and saw things were tidied, and voila the kids are now content and you are free to start sweeping the house room by room until all is in order again.

Life saver #3.) Outdoors- there is nothing like fresh air, even just to take out the garbage, or on nice days- a walk to the park. However long you are outside, you will feel refreshed when you come inside and be renewed to tackle whatever is beckoning you. Just remember its the journey when going for a walk with the kids. I learned this one the hard way- getting irritated at the kids for going too slow and taking forever to get to our destination. I may have forgotten it was the time to spend together- not just at the park, but exploring on our way there and back. (If you find a solution to the painstaking 20 min it takes to actually get everyone dressed and outside however, let me know!)

Life saver #4.) Support system- I am so blessed to be surrounded by wonderful, loving individuals who care about me, my marriage and my kiddo’s. They aren’t looking into the corners at the dust bunnies- and goodness knows if they were I would tell them to get the broom and clean it themselves! Ha! That’s what surrounding yourself with like minded individuals is all about, they are there to build you up, not make you feel bad. Fight for those friendships/relationships when you have them- they are invaluable!

Life saver #5.) Chocolate- Well kind of. Who doesn’t like a special pick-me-up when you need a boost? I would also add in a gourmet cup of coffee, but that’s my preference. Find what you enjoy and indulge once in awhile, we all know how wound up tight us moms are most of the time. Its ok to enjoy something that isn’t half bitten into or slobbered on (without the kids knowing, its even better- how risqué! )

The point:

Ok so this is just what works for me. Feel free to try one or all out for yourself. What it comes down to is all of the things I mentioned above release the tension and pressure that builds up inevitably every day, routine and chores help make the household run smoothly- giving us more precious time to spend with those loved ones. Quality, memory building time. FInd what works for you and leave all the rest behind. Enjoy the sunny day and go outside to play- the dusting can wait for a rainy day.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day,

Amber