Happy Birthday – Another year older

Happy birthday to me. I woke up to a special surprise this morning. When we went to bed last night we knew we had a two hour delay, when I got up this morning I was surprised by the news that we were closed. Apparently there’s quite a bit of blowing and drifting in the county. While I’m excited to spend my birthday home with my family (hubby was already scheduled to be off for the holiday) I’m disappointed that we already have our 4th day to make up and it’s only mid January. We spent the whole first week that we were supposed to be back after Christmas break snowed in.

I know it’s been a while since I’ve blogged. I just haven’t had much to write about. This school year has been a rough one. Just when I finally felt like my class had found their stride and were starting to get along, we got a new student. He completely disrupted the peace we had taken so long to find. He’s the kind of kid who pushes every button on the other students and staff. I’m trying very hard to love him and give him what he needs, but I’ll confess it’s completely draining. At this point I’m just fighting to make it through the year.

As far as our family life goes, we’re working on paying some things off and cleaning out stuff. I think this will be the year we go ahead and sell the baby stuff that we’ve been hoarding. We’re at peace with David being our only child here on earth. We know Zion is in Heaven waiting on us with my dad. We’ve got one more year of childcare and preschool costs and worries. Next year David will be going to kindergarten at my school. So hard to believe my baby boy is 5. We’ll be able to cut some big costs there and hopefully in a couple of years (we’re planning spring break in two years) we’ll be able to take him to Disney World for the week.

So life is good most of the time. I’m planning to get back to blogging. I miss writing. I miss getting all my thoughts and feelings down on paper. Hopefully you’ll be seeing more of me this year. Here’s to a great 2014.

Back to School

We’ve been back in school for 4 weeks now, and I’m trying to figure out my schedule and my class and find my gumption.  So I just haven’t been much in the blogging frame of mind.  I know this time of year always exhausts me – and I know I’ll find my groove soon (I hope) but until then I’m living day to day – sometimes hour to hour.  This group of kiddos has me struggling a little more than usual this year.  They’re great kids – I’ve got some real sweeties in the bunch, but the mix of kids together isn’t flowing as easy as usual.  I have a lot of very BIG personalities (which I love) and when you get too many in one room those personalities start to clash and crash and play off each other.  My first two weeks  were actually great – the week before this one was okay.  This week though – well it was rough.  I think the kiddos are finding their comfort zone – which equals more of their personalities coming through (not usually a bad thing).  By Thursday I was in survival mode – putting out fires where I could until I was completely exhausted and honestly heartbroken.  Heartbroken for my kids at school and my WeeMan at home.  (when you put so much of yourself out in your classroom sometimes there’s not much left for your big boy at home. )  In desperation I turned to my principal and cried in his office after work.  I’ve got a plan for next week – thanks to him.  I came home and cried some more to my husband and I prayed and asked my friends to pray too.  I know I’m just going to have to lay it  down for God – I’ll be spending a lot of time on my knees handing this school year to Him I suspect.  But overall I feel better – we wrapped up the week with a terrific study trip to the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo and I made myself a bracelet to help me remember to Lay it Down. I spent the weekend resting and laughing and eating and napping and laughing and putting myself back together.  And I’m looking forward to spending tomorrow worshipping and praising and laughing and resting some more before heading back on Monday morning.  

2 years ago

I know it’s been awhile since I blogged.  Not much to say.  Everything has been going along fine.  We’re back in school so it’s been crazy busy and to be honest I spent the last month of summer just soaking the time up with my WeeMan.  He’s growing like a weed – we had a frantic end of summer rush to find jeans in the next size because over the summer his 4’s turned into flood pants – and we were having trouble buttoning them.  Unexpected!  He won’t be 5 until December.  

What brought me back tonight?  Just reflecting.  Two years ago today was gut wrenching, heart breaking as we suffered through the end of a dream. On August 11, 2011 we learned our last round of IVF worked and our first round of beta levels were excellent.  On August 18, 2011 I began to bleed and have horrible cramps.  On August 25, 2011 we gave up hope of a miracle and admitted to ourselves what we should have known on the evening of the 18th – we had lost our baby, Zion Amie, before ever getting to say hello.  We fought the good fight.  We endured ultrasounds, blood tests, and all kind of tests to make sure he/she was really gone before I would take the meds to end what had already begun.  My heart shattered into a billion pieces as I knew that I would never hold that sweet miracle in my arms on earth.  For awhile – the darkness was so deep I didn’t know how we would ever find our way out and it’s hard to explain to a world that thinks our baby never really existed how something so tiny and gossamer can matter so much.  During that first year there were dark days every month – times when I cried for no reason and every reason. Times when I shouted and shook my fist and lost hope in a God that could show me a dream only to jerk it out from under us before we ever realized it.   Times when WeeMan was the reason why we got out of bed and kept it together.  People said it would get better with time.  When you’re in that deep dark place it’s hard to believe that they could have any idea what they’re talking about, and I apologize to them all for not believing, for thinking angry mean thoughts when they shared their words.  

After all is said and done, they were right it does get easier with time.  Last year the darkness didn’t come as often – it was still there.  But it was lighter and it was easier to fight through.  We’re marking the second anniversary of our loss of Zion and while my heart still aches for a baby I will never hold here on this earth, my anger has lightened, my bitterness has eased.  I will always miss my second miracle baby that I never got to know, but I know now that we can move forward through the ache and the loss – that someday I will meet my second child in Heaven.  I know that God’s plan isn’t always my plan and even though I can’t see the end result right now, I can move forward and trust that He holds us all in His hands.


Ugly picture to a new chalkboard

You probably remember this monstrosity I found at an estate sale last weekend.  


Great frame – ugly print.  Not to worry spray paint and chalkboard paint to the rescue again


Here is the frame after painting – It’s actually quite a bit darker than this.  Not sure why this picture looks so light.

Next step painting over the print with chalkboard paint.


Voila! A new chalkboard by the front door. 

Movie Night – Old School


We are fortunate to live in a town that still has an operating drive in theater.  Once upon a time there were between 4000 and 5000 drive ins operating in the United States.  The most recent count I could find on the internet puts the current number at 355.  There are only 14 operating in the state of Indiana.  How sad that this little piece of history will someday soon be no more.  

There’s just something about seeing a movie at the drive in.  Let’s be honest – the sound is pretty bad unless you play it through your radio (but then you might have a dead battery when the movie is over).  People could probably also argue that the picture may not be as clear.  But those things aside – seeing a movie at a drive in theater is an experience.  There’s a feeling of joy, anticipation, and awe that you just don’t get in the traditional big movie theater of today.  Where else do you get to the movie hours before it starts just to hang out and visit with friends and eat while you wait. Image

What other kind of movie theater has children running free on the playground equipment we grew up with.  You know the old school dangerous metal slides and the swings that were made out of wood and didn’t squeeze your bottom.


WeeMan spent time playing in the sand, sliding on a metal slide, and just running in the grass with kids he met there.


The sunset was glorious to watch while we waited.  My grandma used to say “Red sky at night sailor’s delight” She said that meant good weather ahead.


We decided to go traditional with our movie munchies – but our drive in offers everything from popcorn and candy to pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs, fries, and funnel cakes.  Can’t get any of those in the regular theater in town!


The movie starts off with everyone honking along to the song “Beep Beep (The Little Nash Rambler)” then the opening screens start to come up.  The first one requests that everyone stand while the National Anthem is played then there are the commercials and the refreshment stand ads and they are all vintage – every one of them.  How awesome is that.  I just wish I had better pictures so you could see what I mean.  

I guess maybe the movie is secondary to the experience of going to the drive in.  Last nights double feature was “Despicable Me 2” and “Monsters U” .  We paid $8 each for hubby and I and $3 for WeeMan.  That’s less than half of what we would have paid at the seven screen theater to see both flicks.  The movies were of course good – “Despicable Me 2” was the best of the two.  I just love the little minions!Image

Of course by the time we got home we had one tired little WeeMan.  In fact he didn’t wake up when daddy carried him up to his bed and tucked him in with his clothes on!




Olay Fresh Effects BB Cream

I was lucky enough to be chosen to receive an Influenster Sunkissed VoxBox.  Thank you Influenster!  I love getting to try new products for free.  Here’s what the Sunkissed VoxBox included – yaaay!


I’ve been using the Olay Fresh Effects BB Cream for about a week now – and I am in love!  First of all the tube is huge compared to most face creams/ bases.  It’s a nice thick formula that goes on smoothly and lightly.  It doesn’t feel too heavy or greasy and it doesn’t take a ton.  I’ve also noticed fewer break outs since I started using it.  I think that’s because I no longer have to use a separate lotion with sunscreen under my makeup.  Olay has spf built in. The color also works well for me – it blends easily and isn’t obvious I’m wearing makeup – but it evens out my complexion wonderfully.  



So I highly recommend giving Olay Fresh and Flawless BB cream a try.  I received mine for free from Influenster – but I will definitely be buying another tube when this one runs out.  It’s quickly becoming a staple in my morning routine!


Farmer’s Market Wednesday


For today’s adventure we walked to the local Farmer’s Market.  This is WeeMan’s best buddy and future wife – at least according to them.  Image

There were fresh peaches

ImagePlenty of fresh zucchini and squash.

I came home with fresh green beans, cherry tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, onions, tiny little potatoes, and zucchini for less then $20.  Several yummy meals in the near future.


Of course we made time to stop at our new favorite hang out for a hand dipped cone – (mmmmm blueberry cream pie ice cream = divine) and a soda in a glass bottle.  They have an amazing variety of old time sodas.  They are also pickers and sell the kind of treasures I love.  


Rainy Days

It’s rained at least a little bit every single day for the last two weeks.  Lots of people around here are complaining, wishing the rain would let up.  





Not me though – the farmers and me are  thrilled with the rain.  Our daily showers are usually quick and light – not making things too wet, just wet enough for the most part. Image

Why am I so happy with all this rain? 



Because I can’t help but remember last summer at this time they were canceling the fireworks shows, camp fires and fire pits had been outlawed, my rain barrels had been empty for weeks, and my  poor yard and garden were brown.


In a few more weeks thanks to the nice wet days I’ll be using this basil and fresh tomatoes from my garden 


to make homemade bruschetta. Mmmmm my mouth waters just thinking about it.  



In the meantime, we’ll spend our rainy time splashing in puddles, working on crafts, reading library books, watching shows about ocean animals and dinosaurs, all curled up in our favorite hiding spots – even if that spot is inside a wicker clothes hamper filled with stuffed critters.


Strawberry Freezer Jam – better late than never

I know it’s been awhile since I shared about our strawberry picking trip. Remember this?Image

We came home with 7 pounds of these sweet red beauties.Image


It was HOT and I didn’t want to spend time canning and cooking berries.  Call me lazy if you must – but it was hot!  Enter strawberry freezer jam.

Strawberry Freezer Jam

Prep Time: 40 minutes, Cook Time: 0 minutes, Total Time: 40 minutes

4 C. crushed strawberries

1 ½ C. Sugar or Splenda (I used splenda b/c I wanted to share with a diabetic friend and I’m still trying to lose weight – I did adjust the Splenda to taste.  I ended up using a little less of it.)

5 Tbs. Ball RealFruit Instant Pectin


In a small bowl, stir together sugar and Instant Pectin with a fork until well combined; set aside.


Rinse the strawberries well, and remove the leafy green hulls. 


Crush the strawberries in a large bowl with a potato masher, or pulse 5-6 times in the bowl of a food processor until you can measure 4 cups of crushed fruit. Place the crushed strawberries in a large bowl and pour the sugar mixture over top.

Stir the sugar mixture until blended into the strawberries, then continue to stir for 3 minutes.

Ladle the jam into clean freezer jars, leaving ¾ inch head space for jam expansion during the freezing process. Secure the lids onto the jars, and let jam stand for 30 minutes at room temperature, or until thickened. Please note that Freezer Jam will have a softer set than traditional cooked-jam.

Serve immediately, refrigerate for up to three weeks, or freeze for up to 3 months.

I forgot to take a picture of the final project but with 7 pounds of strawberries I was able to make 2 batches and had 8 small freezer containers.  Plenty to share!