Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A Honeycrisp a Day....

Would you believe me if I told you I have never been apple picking until today?
It was our first time ever.

Alex works at the orchard and they gave him a certificate for 2 bags of free apples...
 ..OR a half of a bushel if you pick your own.
Last year, he grabbed the bags. This year I told him he has to pick so he gets twice as many honeycrisps!
{because he's an employee and they're HIS apples... I was thinking of him. cough.}

He said he's fine with the bags, but if his mom wants to pick..well. So of course...we did.
It was a perfectly perfect day. The orchard was gorgeous....and I had the best little helpers.

Frankie loved it! We turned around and caught him eating his first big apple ever.
He ended up chomping through the whole apple. and then another. and another.
and after we got home...another!

If you haven't been out to Edwards Apple Orchard, you must!
It is my favorite. {and not just because they have the best doughnuts on the planet}

They are amazing there and the owners are just the sweetest.
If you live far, it's worth the drive. If you live close, I don't even have to tell you...
.... I'm sure you've been there already. Everyone goes to Edwards!

Happy Fall Day to You.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

We do school at home.

Homeschooling #2

How do you do school when you have little ones running around interrupting?
Why, you let the Nanny take over of course.

Okay, so we don't all have a Fraulein Maria waiting upstairs in the nursery to sing to our children.
Real life...we do it alone.

Right now in our home we only have one little guy toddling around.
It's easier to teach since I have my older kids to help watch him.

It wasn't always this way though. It used to be me and five young ones.
When Tyler was in third grade and Alex was in first...
...I also had a four year old, a two year old and a six month old.

{Can you prevent babies from squirming off laps? ^^^ Yes, yes you can!
But that's a post for another time....and obviously something we are working on here. Ha!}

Here were 5 things I did to make teaching with little ones easier...
(Note: I said easier..Not perfect! ;)

1. Special "School Time" Activities.
{Special puzzles. Special coloring pages. Special toys.}

I incorporated the older kids watching and playing with the younger ones into the school day.
We would made a schedule together and I would let the older kids choose
which activity they wanted to do each day with a younger sibling.

While they played, I would teach the others.

The older kids learned how to entertain their younger siblings and keep them busy.
The younger kids learned to listen to and respect their older siblings.
I was able to teach without interruption. {for the most part}
Once they got used to this worked beautifully!

2. Flexible Scheduling. 
If you make a strict-to-the-minute schedule and expect little ones to oblige...'re in for a surprise. You must be flexible. Things are going to happen.
I've found it better to have a routine rather than a schedule.

Do the same things in order each day and don't let the clock dictate you too much.
Use "abouts" and "ishs" ....about 12:00. 12:00-ish.
Life is easier this way.

3. A Good Routine.
Speaking of like them. They like predictability.
They like knowing what's coming up next. They like to do the same things everyday.
It feels safe and comfortable.  Aren't we all sort of like that...morning coffee, shower...etc.

If something doesn't work out for the day...don't stress. It's okay.
I promise it isn't a big deal in the long run.

4. Be Creative.
Use nap time to teach. Teach in the evening. Teach outside or at the park!
Whatever works.

5. Stay Home.
The number one homeschool killer is being busy outside of the home.
When I stay home and stick to my routine....days run smoother. everyone is happier. everyone is healthier. {not joking..the less you are around the public, the more germs you avoid.Ha!}

The more you stay home, the more you will accomplish.
I find that when we are home more, we are less stressed and more at peace.

When we're running, running, is stressed, takes it out on dad and kids.
Dad gets stressed when mom is stressed. Kids get stressed when parents are stressed.
No one is happy!

The fine art of staying home is lovely. Take advantage.

These were a few ideas that worked for our family..if you have any ideas, please share!
Happy Schooling.

Monday, September 28, 2015

The tradition that is candy corn.

It's been a little tradition in our house for a long time...since my boys were wee little lads..
....on the first day of fall, we eat candy corn. Not sure how exactly it started...but we've stuck to it.
I only eat one or two's not really a favorite of mine...but the kids, they love it.

We buy a bag from the orchard and September 23 open it to pay honor to the changing of the seasons.

It's not as fancy as it sounds...
...really, someone just says "Hey! It's the first day of fall...we can eat the candy corn!"
Bag is opened up, we eat it.

But it's fun nonetheless...and everyone looks forward to it.
Thus the tradition continues.

 We had a bonfire this celebrate birthdays... dad. two of our boys. {one who turned 18!!!}my brother. and a good friend of our's.

Everyone gathered around the it.
...and as I'm typing this I realized I NEVER ate a s'more! How did that happen?
Ugh...I want one now.

Outside has been perfect. Tomorrow brings rain and cooler temperatures.
It's always exciting this time of year...closing up windows. baking cinnamon muffins, crunchy leaves.
Everything is cozy. It's pretty to look outside.

I'll miss our clothes drying on the line and picking fresh herbs for my cooking...
...but I'm looking forward to tucking everyone back inside, playing Frank Sinatra and
warming our house with our wood stove.

I love the changing of seasons...I'm thankful we have all four here.
{Please remind me I said this during March-May..okay? Ha!}

Hope your week was off to a good start.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

We do school at home.

Homeschooling #1

I am often asked about homeschooling.
Why we chose to do it? How we do it? Do we like it?
Will I teach through high school? Do I have a college degree?

It's such a big subject to write about, I wouldn't be able to fit all I want to say into one blog post!
But I want to share. It's one of my favorite subjects to talk about.

Homeschooling our kids is something Jeff and I have always been very passionate about.
There are many reasons we love it and I thought instead of writing a 500 page novel,
I'll share a little bit each week. Does that sound okay? Perfect. Then let's do it.

When I'll look back on the raising of our children 100 years from now,
homeschooling will definitely NOT be a regret! In fact, it will probably be my favorite part.

I know not everyone has the option to homeschool...
...I am very thankful that we have been able to.

Our oldest just graduated last yes, you CAN homeschool through high school.
He starts college this fall.  After so many years, it's strange to not hand him a lesson plan.
{or go over the one he came up with...this will be a topic for another time}

I am currently teaching four of my six kids....five if you believe "you homeschool from birth".
Which...I do! All parents "homeschool" for a little while. ;)

However, to clarify, only four of the five will be using pencils and sharpeners this year.
One will be trying to eat the pencils and sharpeners.  Ha!

Have a great evening.

Monday, September 21, 2015

How to eat a yellow bean on Monday.

Oh how I love the Midwest. I dream of living in other places sometimes...the ocean, the mountains...
...mostly during the late winter/early spring months. Ha!

But the Midwest, it's just so perfect during the fall and that's when I love it here most.
The crisp mornings, the sunny afternoons, the bright orange leaves on my maple tree, the apple orchards, the cinnamon doughnuts...

This past weekend brought us gorgeous, perfect, perfect weather!
It was hard to be inside even for a minute.

We spent a big part of Saturday at a farmer's market on Lake Michigan.
Much of my Saturdays this summer have been spent at farmers markets...I love it.

I love markets. I love everything about them.
The people, the atmosphere, the talk of produce...I have learned SO much over the past few years.

...and this is how you eat a yellow bean on Monday.

Happy Day to You!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

I WON!!! I WON, I WON! ...and then I didn't.

We were listening to a talk show on Moody Radio.

The lady with the nice voice said..."The 7th caller wins..."

So I dialed. It rang.
"Congratulations, you're the 7th caller" ....said the lady with the nice voice.

ME?! Really? I won?! on the Radio?! Who wins on the radio?! Me, that's who!!! Yay!!!

"Please hold. I'll be right back to get your information."....said the lady with the nice voice.

4 minutes goes by. I can hear the {slightly delayed} live show.

Wait...did I just get disconnected? NOOOOO!!!!!!
I'm the winner. Winners can't get disconnected, right?

Wrong. I was disconnected.

Soooo......I did what any respectable winner would do....I called back.
53 times.

I heard only a busy signal.

I was no longer the winner.

Well, I'm a winner in my heart. and that's what counts, right?
Haha! Right...I want my book!!! I won a book and tickets to an upcoming event.


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

I just wanted someone to jump me.

Monday started out like this and pretty much has remained the same into today.

Yesterday I dropped Alex off to work at the orchard. Tyler was working with Jeff.
The rest of us ran over to the book store to buy a few books we needed for school...
....because school started yesterday. Ha! Really...HA!

So we purchased what we needed, left Barnes and Noble, buckled into our car and....
tick, tick...nothing. The battery was dead. Why? I have no idea.

Alex needed to be picked up at this point. {Thanks Mom and Caitlin for rescuing my child....}
Frankie was way past needing a nap. The kids were hungry.
{Cupcakes from the bakery quickly became lunch...Stop judging.}

What on earth was I going to do?
I have no idea how to jump a car!

So we walked to Chiccos to ask the nice ladies with fancy necklaces for the number to mall security.
Maybe they could help?

....Should you ever need to know, mall security does not jump cars.
They used to, but they aren't allowed anymore.

Sooo...we walked to Sears Auto.
Certainly an auto place filled with capable men would be willing to help out a mom carrying a baby with 4 small-ish children, right? It was only a quick jump that I needed.
They are an auto place that fixes cars.

Nope! They told me my car was too far away.
Too far away? I was across the parking lot. and no other customers were in the store.

Let me tell you, I can not imagine my husband EVER turning away a lady who needed help!
Ever. He would have figured out some way to help her. and he doesn't even work at an auto store.

Anyway, we left and walked back to our car.
I was ready to cry. Over an hour had passed.

I found a sticky note on my window that had the number to mall security on it.
Not sure who left it, but I was hopeful and called thinking maybe they changed their minds.
They once again said they couldn't help.

At this point I finally did what I should have done in the first place....
...Pray! We prayed for someone to come and help us.

Well...God only took about 3 minutes to answer our prayer.
The car in front of us drove away and an older couple parked and happily jumped our car.

When will I learn? God was just waiting for me to ask...He wasn't going to leave us stranded.
I can't tell you how thankful I was.

It's just been one of those's only Tuesday. Yikes!

I need to just let things go and sometimes I just don't know how to do that.
I put all this pressure on myself to conquer the world in an impossible amount of time....
Satan sneaks in and cheers me on telling me I can do it, I can do it!
...and when it doesn't happen I get cranky.

God says..You can't do it all alone...but you can through me...
....yet I continue to ignore that little fact and turn into a stressed out mess.

I'm one of those people who want everything right NOW!
I think it's called a lack of patience? ;) Yeah...I'm not good at patience.
It's just not a strong point of mine. it's not any point of mine.

But I'm learning.....Yeah, No. Not really. Ha!
It sounds good be a person who is on the road to being patient.

I wish I was. I wish I was one of those ladies that had oodles and oodles of patience....
"Oh honey, don't worry about painting, we can do it in the spring."

No...that's not me. I'm more...
"It's only $6,500.00 for next day shipping?
Well of course I'll pay, I need the shoes...what idiot would wait 3-5 days?"


To sum up this post.

1. Make sure your car battery doesn't die in the Barnes and Noble parking lot.
2. If it does...pray first, not last.
3. Don't go to Sears Auto for help.
4. Don't stress over a messy living room and broken window and dirty dishes in your sink.
5. Liz is not a patient person.

...and as I scroll through the pictures I put up here I see how great and blessed of a life I have.
If all of this were to be taken away from me...I wouldn't care if the office was clean or dirty.

....and a big thank you to my Mother in Love for buying a zoo pass for the year.
There are a lot of happy cousins!

P.S. My beautiful friend Sophia is asking for help writing a song.
It's a lovely song...but she's in need of lyrics. Take a listen and if you have any ideas, let her know!


Thursday, September 10, 2015

As we wrap up summer...

This is it.
Though I still have tomatoes in the garden and our pool is sparkly blue...

...from here on out it will be Fall all the way on this blog as we usher in the next season.
Get ready for apples and pumpkins and sweaters and cider and cinnamon doughnuts and
scarves and cornstalks and colored leaves....and so many other fabulous things.

I don't decorate my house until September 23 though.
It's sort of a personal tradition. I like to have specific decorating days...
..the Christmas tree goes up the day after Thanksgiving. Valentines Day is February 1....
...Silly I know, but I like it that way.

I'm sure the weather will probably have us sweating a little bit more...
...but fall will be on our minds and chili is on the menu for tonight!
{or tomorrow depending on how this day goes. Ha!}