Thursday, December 19, 2013


Chester must've made a friend with one of our toys last night. We found him this morning having a tea party with Cinderella. I wonder where he'll turn up next?

Merry Christmas!!!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Our 'Elf on a Shelf'

Wow, it's Christmas time already. Can anyone believe it? I feel like it was just New Years.

Dan and I weren't to fond of this "Elf on a Shelf" idea when it first came out. But what parent wants their children to miss out on something....especially something like this?!?!

When we first met our Elf, Chester, we knew it was a perfect match. Chester is of course watching the kids and making sure that they are behaving, and in true Elf on the Shelf fashion wreaking havoc all over the house. Check out what our elf has been up to. And make sure to visit us to see all of his little tricks ;)

Chester's first visit to our humble abode

Chester getting in trouble with some of our toys.
Merry Christmas :)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

"I am going to be president because I want to change things."

Two days ago I was riding alone with Booger on the way to my moms. He turned to me and said "Mom, why don't you run for president? You have great ideas and you could make a change." I replied, "Well thanks bud, but politics aren't really my thing." I thought that was the end of it, but nope....Booger then said, "I am going to be president because I want to make a change." He then informed me that he wasn't happy with our current president because of the way he made others feel. He said that people should want to follow our president and not be waiting to elect a new one. He went on to tell me how lying was not right and that you can't spend money you don't have.

Astonished by how much thought he had put into this I then asked, "What would you do different?" This is the part that had me in tears, he said, "I would pray and I would talk about God. The people need to hear about God. At every speech I give I will start by preaching." I was amazed.

Trying to keep the conversation going, I asked how he would help people because praying and preaching is wonderful and necessary, but your actions speak louder than words. His response, "Well, I have heard a lot about creating jobs. So I would want anyone who has an idea to come and talk to me at the white house. I would want to know their whole plan, what they are going to make or what they will be doing, how they are going to make it or do it, how much it will cost, and how many jobs it will create. If I like the idea I will help them get started. If I don't like the idea, or it isn't right yet, I will help them figure it out."  My son without knowing described a proper business plan.

At this point we arrived at my mothers house and the conversation was over because there was little boy fun to be had. But in those 10 minutes or so, I learned so much about my not-so-little Booger. He is passionate and he can see that our world, our country and those around us are not happy. He is already thinking of ways that he can make a difference. I am not sure if my son will ever be president but I know beyond a shadow of doubt he is going to change lives. He has already changed mine.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

A four year old.....

My little bean turned four. Some days it makes me cry, other days I am filled with joy because the Lord has chosen me to be her momma and I get to watch this funny, spunky, curly-headed beauty grow into a beautiful young lady. Her birthday party was a hit. She says that she enjoyed it very much, although she did miss a dear friend of hers who was unable to attend.

Here is a sneak peak at the party.

What a wonderful day spent celebrating a wonderful little girl. The past four years have been wonderful my sweet baby. I am excited for many more birthday's and celebrations with you.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Curriculums.....where to start?

When I started homeschooling Booger he was about 3. I would just sit with him on the floor and do puzzles and repeat letters and letter sounds etc. When he reached the age for kindergarten in our state the hubby and I decided to keep going with homeschooling. Thinking we would take it year by year. The first year I purchased different curriculum's,1 for math, 1 for reading, 1 science, 1 health,1 bible, 1 social studies/history. Adam and I worked together great for the first 2-3 months then it became a struggle and I decided to step back and reevaluate my approach. I was trying to re-create a school environment because that's what I was used to. I bought him a desk and everything. When I relaxed and let him lead me he was able to learn more.

The next year I decided to use a different curriculum that was a little more all inclusive. It included a full lesson plan book for science, social studies, geography, bible, art, and music. I only needed to add in language arts and math. I have enjoyed it. I would be lying if I said I haven't. And the kids have done well with it. But the kids and I like rabbit trails. I like rewriting the curriculum because I like to teach what the kids want to learn. Don't get me wrong there are some things that we HAVE to learn but if we spend a few weeks on something that should've taken a day or so there is nothing wrong with that. I want to let my children's interests drive us to learn more. So, here is the question? How to get more without spending a small fortune, or a large fortune for that matter. I mean really, curriculum is SUPER expensive.

This spring and summer I started thinking about what it would look like to write my own curriculum, to utilize the friends and free resources around me. Then I learned about other moms who do the same thing. One mom even makes her curriculum available to others for free online, I have taken a lot from her. I have just a few more days of writing and preparing and our first two months will be drafted. I say drafted because being part of the Crazy Criswell's means that plans will change and life will get a little hectic. And there will be some, okay a lot of rabbit trails. Wish me luck. Our 6th year of homeschooling starts in a little over 2 weeks!!!!!

Monday, July 8, 2013

The start of a 4 year olds Party

So my little Beanie has been pretty open with what kind of party she would like. She wants a Minnie's Bowtique party. She wants the colors to be pink and purple and she doesn't want me stray from that plan. She is quite the little party planner.

So far I have made some cute centerpieces for the tables for under a 1$ each. I have made a Minnie mouse banner for under 3$ and a super cute Bowtique sign for 2$.

These were made from stuff I had around the house. Black poster board, pink and purple construction paper, small terra cotta pots, and popsicle sticks.

simple little invite:)

I picked up these super cute foam signs at the Dollar Store and wrote on them with puffy paint.

For 97 cents at Walmart you can get this plastic garland. Add some Minnie's silhouettes and cut out happy birthday letters.....all for under 3$

Close up of one of the banners.
Could she really be any cuter?
I get a little emotional thinking of my sweet Beanie turning 4. But, she is so excited and so happy looking at all the fun decorations. So, I am trying to be excited too, it's a bitter sweet excitement though.

Kind of a boring summer so far.....

We have had a very laid back 2013 so far, and it's dragging into our summer. It's not that I don't want to do super fun things. It's just that I am honestly enjoying being a home body....I never ever for one minute thought I would say that.

We have gone swimming and and done a few hikes but it's really been pretty quiet around here which is really nice.

On a side note,
This year I decided to write my own reading/language arts curriculum using a combination of different curriculum's I have found. I feel way more involved than I ever have, and now I have decided to go ahead and plan my own curriculum for science, social studies, bible and health too. I am using a combination of curriculum's that I have found but it's pretty exciting to be putting it all together. And the best part's going to cost WAY less than it ever has!!!
I will keep you updated on writing and preparing your own curriculum but so far so good.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The year comes to a close....well the school year anyway

It feels like so much has happened in the last few months.

To start we had our year end review. I was quite honestly petrified of our review this year. Our umbrella group who reviews us and reports all findings to the state changed some of their policies and instead of peer reviews they decided to go with using only a few reviewers to review all the families. With having surgery and being sick since January I was certain there was no way I would have enough work for the school year. It turns out that my being organized and also my mother's intuition in starting school mid August last year paid off. Not only did we pass our review with flying colors I was asked to be a reviewer and quite honestly I am completely excited and honored to hold that position in our umbrella.

Let's see, what else? Oh yes, both of our girls finished their first year of gymnastics and received medals for participation. Booger is doing so well in Karate, he is now a brown belt and will get to start helping with leading stretches and warmups for the class.

On mother's day I became an aunt again. What a joy it is to watch my little sister grow her family and become such a wonderful mother.

 Life is moving so fast, it seems like just yesterday, we just started teaching Booger his letters and were making some small decisions towards homeschooling. Now we've been at it for over 4 years and wouldn't change a thing.

Summer should be full of exciting things. I am trying to plan one big activity/holiday a week. Hopefully I will remember to blog about it ;)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

an inpromptu hike...

 Saturday morning when we woke I made pancakes, the kids all played and my dear hubby was enjoying sleeping in. Shortly after breakfast I went out to my car to get a water bottle that I use daily and I was excited to see that spring had arrived. It was a cool morning but I could tell that the afternoon was going to be simply gorgeous. I ran inside and into my bedroom where my hubby was still blissfully sleeping and quickly woke him up and asked him if we could go hiking. He, knowing how much I love hiking immediately said yes. 

I set off packing a lunch, a small first aid kit, (our last little adventure landed us in patient first), getting the kids ready and asking around to see if anyone wanted to join us. Once everything was in order we set off to pick up a sweet friend who we love and headed to Gun Powder Falls State park. The day was already gorgeous and I couldn't wait to get there. A small hiccup on my part made our drive about 20 minutes longer than it should have been but once we got started it was just wonderful.

Within minutes of setting foot on the trail the kids (especially Peanut) were skipping and running and loving life. Each of them had chosen a walking stick and were off to explore. They were climbing on fallen tree trunks, and several rock formations. They even found a snake in one of the crevices of one of the rocks. 
Not sure if you can see the snake but he is the black and yellow stripe in the very middle of the picture.
 About a mile into the hike we stopped at a stream crossing, ate lunch, climbed on rocks and got our feet wet. The kids didn't wear any shoes most of the day and loved climbing around barefoot. Our sweet friend spent most of the day helping our little Bean climb all over the place and I was thankful for the extra hands. Watching your 3 year old leap from rock to rock is a bit nerve racking and also quite exciting. I know she was having the time of her life.

 After stopping for lunch we made our way about another 0.2miles down the trail and found a beautiful swimming hole. We played here until it was time to go home. My wonderful hubby gave the kids rock skipping lessons and the kids played and played. They have some scrapes and bruises but that's to be expected. 

My favorite memory of the day happened just before hiking back to the car. Booger was in the swimming hole up to his thighs looking for good skipping stones when he slipped and fell into the swimming hole. The look on his face from the cold water was priceless. He laughed and we laughed. We had to ring out his clothes and I had to even let him borrow one of my shirts on the way back to the car. But he was having such a great time and I was loving every minute as well.

I can't wait until summer when we can travel to this spot and really get to enjoy the swimming hole and maybe even bring a few more friends out with us.

On Saturday we forgot about the laundry and the dishes and everything else that 'needed' to be done and spent the whole day just hanging out. We even enjoyed some delicious Cracker Barrel on the way home.  Thank the Lord for beautiful days, a gorgeous creation, wonderful family and great friends.

How did you spend your Saturday?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

An Explorer, Jack Frost, and a princess.

The last two days have been beautiful. My kids have been outside for hours and it's hard to pull them in for even a quick lesson. Today though they have a great story line to go with their play.

My son, is Jack Frost, without him there would be no fun. (We have watched Rise of the Guardians at least 5 times since I bought it last week.) He is helping an explorer (Peanut) to rescue the Princess (Beanie) who has been trapped in a tower. I am not sure why the Princess is trapped or why they are building a tipi, (yes I said tipi) but it's quite the adventure and who I am to get in the way of such wonderful imaginations.

Jack Frost trapping the princess

Apparently this princess can't wait for the explorer and is taking things into her own hands

My mother made this cape years and years ago, and without it I am positive that our adventures wouldn't be quite as epic.

Monday, March 18, 2013

A low key, super fun, St. Patty's Day.

I was raised Catholic, and while I don't follow the doctrine anymore, I still LOVE the stories of the Saints. St. Patrick has always been one of my favorites.

St. Patrick was actually born in England. He was sold into slavery at a very young age to the Irish. For many years he worked hard, one day he felt a calling from the Lord to escape from his bondage get back to England and become a minister. When he made it back to England he did just that. He then worked in the church, until again the Lord called him to go back to Ireland. The people there had a polytheistic approach to religion, and God wanted Patrick to bring the Good News of Jesus to the people. For 30 years Patrick traveled throughout Ireland teaching people about Jesus. To teach about the Godhead he used the shamrock, one leaf for each person in the Godhead, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. St. Patrick died on March 17, 458 (The year may be off a bit).

We celebrate St. Patrick's Day for St. Patrick in my house. We talk about the trinity and what St. Patrick did. We talk about evangelism and what it means to share the gospel. Yes, we wear green and enjoy stories of Leprechauns (if you know me you know I love fantasy and magic). But I LOVE the real story of St. Patrick even more. I would love that if when people remembered my name they said she did everything she could to share the gospel, and I think that's what St. Patrick wanted too.

I hope you had a wonderful St. Patrick's Day!!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Johnny Appleseed Day

We started our holiday a little late because of dentist appts that seemed to take hours. (Probably because my sweet little Bean screamed from the time she sat in the chair til they let her out of the chair)

Anyway once we got started it was lovely. We read a story about Johnny Appleseed and talked about Tall Tales. The kids even wrote their own tall tale about an adventure they had with Johnny Appleseed. I also was able to find one of my old favorite cartoons about Johnny Appleseed on Youtube, check it out here Next we planted some apple seeds and made apple pie, (the apple pancakes didn't happen because since my surgery I haven't been able to wake up before 10:30am.) All in all it was a fun day, and I am hoping that I am on the mend so that I can keep up with these crazy kids, for now, I think I need a nap.

Happy Johnny Appleseed Day!!

This is my go to Betty Crocker Cookbook...A wonderful apple pie recipe

 We planted our apple seeds in jars so that we can see the growth.
We can't wait to taste our yummy pie!!

Celebrate the next holiday with us!! March 17th is St. Patrick's Day! See you soon.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Fun Holidays

Do you know how many FUN obscure holidays are out there? There is some made up fun holiday for every day of the year!!! I have decided that I would like to start celebrating some of these holidays and maybe even make up a few of our own for the rest of 2013. I like the idea of celebrating the everyday stuff that makes life so great, and I want the kids to see that they can make each day special no matter what they are going through.

Tomorrow is Johnny Appleseed Day, Johnny Appleseed is one of my favorite American Folk tales. I love the lesson that is only takes one person to make a difference. I am picturing Apple Cinnamon Pancakes for breakfast and maybe some apple pie to take with us to our weekly bible study. (which I am sure will in turn make our bible study happy). I am hoping to keep up with posting about our fun holidays, and I am excited to see if others start celebrating the fun holidays with us. I will hopefully be adding a bible verse or story to go with each holiday, tomorrows verse is, "Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.” Matthew 13:31-33. 

So don't forget tomorrow is Johnny Appleseed day!!