Posts Filed Under A Grand Adventure


by bosssanders on July 6, 2015 with 3 comments

These are my FAVORITE resources!  I enjoy many books (MANY), but these are the ones I recommend everyone stocking their shelves with!


52 Fantastic Dates For You And Your Mate by Claudia and David Arp – EXCELLENT book, filled with fun date ideas (many of them can be frugal AND expensive, depending on how you choose to embellish.)


The Legacy Path by Brian Haynes – Create a spiritual legacy path for your children.  Great book with SO many easy-to-implement tips AND it’s easy to read!  This is one of those change-your-life books!

Raising A Modern-Day Princess by Pam Farrel and Doreen Hanna – perfect for parents of girls ages 8-15 (also great to begin reading early!)

Child of Wonder: Nurturing Creative and Naturally Curious Children by Ginger Carlson – You have kids?  Great, you need this book.

Words of Wisdom for Moms by Ginger Plowman – A GREAT flip-book of helpful discipline scripture and techniques

Reaching The Heart Of Your Child (Audio CD) by Ginger Plowman


Life Lines by Dave Meyer (Joyce Meyer’s husband) – Great book if you’re looking for some short devotionals to carry you through your day.  Not too preachy, not super in depth.  Short and sweet and lovely!

Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God by Francis Chan – If you ever doubt or wonder how much God truly loves you (I mean, truly…), check this one out.  It’s written so its reader doesn’t need a doctorate in theology or english to understand it and enjoy it.

Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From The American Dream by David Platt – Super good.  A must read.  –Especially if your name is Joel Osteen.  By the way, prepare to be a little uncomfortable as you read this book…but, it’s worth it!

Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of  a Woman’s Soul by John and Stasi Eldredge – You’ll learn more about yourself than you ever knew in this one.

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp – It’s all about thanksgiving and finding contentment into everyday life.  She doesn’t speak from a perspective of someone who has all of the riches, but of someone easily related to… someone who has had their share of heartache.  And even still, she’s found the secret we’ve all been searching for…

Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend – Teaches you how to create HEALTHY boundaries (and what those specifically look like) in your life.  Whether it’s your gossiping aunt Mable or creepy cousin Beck or manipulative in-law, this book tells you how to create boundaries.  GOOD STUFF.

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FAQ – The Homeschooling Edition, PART 2!

by bosssanders on July 6, 2015 with no comments

If you missed PART ONE, you can find it HERE!  Go on over and read the first part and I’ll wait here.

Okay, are you ready?

Here we go!

How do you weed through curriculum to decide?
I weigh several factors when choosing curriculum:

1.  The cost.  Also, what is the value of everything I’m getting?  If it’s a curriculum, is it priced in a way that is cheaper than if I bought it separately, and if the curriculum publisher wrote their own books, are they priced and of the same value as others I can get?  (Some families also choose materials with high re-sell value.  Personally, we don’t re-sell ours just because…I’m a nerd and …yeh.)  I don’t have a “that’s overpriced” amount…I just look at all of the things that are included and decide if I’m willing to/can pay that amount.

2.  Time to plan.  Some curricula require a LOT of planning and gathering.  Others are more pick up and go.  I prefer 80-90% pick up and go and 10-20% planning (in the form of special projects).  HOWEVER, I did more planning when we only had ONE child in school and I may be up for more (or not) when the kids can help a little more.

3.  Time to do.  How long does it take to get through a day’s worth of curriculum?  Again, I have 4 kids.  I can’t do 4 separate 8 hour days.  Mathematically, it just won’t happen.  I need a curriculum that VALUES my time and carefully chooses the BEST resources to help me teach them rather than lots of fluff and time-wasters.

4.  Does it fit in with our family values and beliefs?  We wanted something that would help us teach from a Christian background… THAT was important to us.  Whatever is important to you, make sure your curriculum fits in with that.

5.  Learning Styles – Does your curriculum utilize the learning styles of your children to help them learn?  We try to find curriculum/resources that bring in a little bit of everything.
- Visual (learn with pictures)
- Aural (auditory – learn with sound/music)
- Verbal (words in speech/writing)
- Physical (hands-on)
- Logical (logic/reasoning/systems/mathematical)
- Social (learn better in groups of people, with others)
-Solitary (self-study)

6.  Do you prefer a Charlotte-Mason or Classical approach?

7.  How does this Curriculum fit in with several kids in different grade levels (if applies)?  For example, some curricula are for ONE GRADE…so, trying to take 3+ kids through SEPARATE studies could be a lot.  Or, my favorite is the cyclical approach (like My Father’s World uses).  Go HERE for more info on MFW cycles.

8.  Do you need extra guidance to teach certain subjects…do you need teacher books that will tell you what to say verbatim?  Do you prefer certain subjects to be taught via online or dvd to your children?

9.  Do you want something “accredited?”  –This is not a big deal to us.  In our state, we are considered a private school and even if we choose to homeschool through high school, MANY colleges easily accept homeschooled kids.

10.  Do I have to depend on lots of library books?  Our library doesn’t have what we need by way of learning books MOST OF THE TIME…so, a super cheap curriculum doesn’t do me much good if I can’t get all of the (or most of the) books.  If you have a GREAT library and don’t mind being there a lot, this could be a great asset for you.

How much prep & planning does mom need to do 1) before each school year 2) each week?
Really, it depends on which curriculum you choose.  I’ve tried some where I planned more than I was able to teach (so we decided to only use certain activities to supplement and have fun with).  What we use now is pretty pick up and go.  For ME, the most planning I do before the school year is decide which curriculum I’m using, which major school supplies I need (paper, ink, new scissors, pencil sharpener, binder, etc), and I glance through their books.  I make sure I have everything I need and try to get a bit of a feel for how the books work (we also try to start a couple of weeks early to give us time to learn how it’ll all flow.  This way, we can take one week and do it over 2 weeks and nobody is stressed, and by the end of 2 weeks, we’re ready to ROLL!  Also, I look over the main points of what we’re studying…like, for this year, we are studying biomes and countries/cultures.  SO, I’m on the lookout for cool things related (think: fun things from EPCOT countries and asking friends to bring back a couple of goodies from their travels).  I keep a running list as I think of things.  OH!  Also, I pick a planner.  Which, I have a favorite one, that’s free … so, I’ll use that until she quits offering it FREE!  For each week, I simply look at the materials needed for the week and make sure I have them and sit down at some point to write in grades.  If I want to add any extra things in (hello, Pinterest!), I will plan for that, as well.  Again, though, this is because MFW takes much of the planning and does it for you (but easily modified).

Will you homeschool my kids? No, seriously, that’s the question.  :)
This seriously made me laugh.  Call me.  lol :)

How do I get started?
I’m assuming you’ve already prayed about it and talked to your spouse… so, I’m starting AFTER that:
1.  Look up homeschooling laws in YOUR state.  I like this site:
2.  Find a support group for homeschoolers close to you.  We have a group and they have been awesome at walking us through questions, and it’s GREAT for doing things together as groups!
3.  Consider signing up with HSLDA – they are attorneys who work for homeschoolers and can answer any homeschooling LEGAL questions AND represent you if you ever need it.  They are a WEALTH of information.
4.   Choose your curriculum (see above for my tips for choosing curriculum)

Do you have any extra tips?
- pair older kids with younger kids as “learning buddies.”
- start a week or two early to get your “groove” on without stressing.
- Basics first.  Then, extras.  Do your math, language arts, history and science.  THEN the other stuff.  And, if it’s a really bad day… focus on the math and language arts.
- Don’t do anything for your kids that they can do for themselves.
- Have fun.
- Don’t compare.
- For more than one child, try giving one child an activity/work that they don’t need your help with while you teach the other child (math/language arts), and then vice versa.  It helps a TON in our house.
- Also, we really like  There is a free version PLUS an app (ipad).  It’s GREAT for 2nd/3rd graders and UP.  I plug in my 3rd grader’s spelling list once a week and she plays games all week to learn the words.  Then, at the end of the week, she does a test on the site (or, I give her one, depending on the week).  And, BAM!  Spelling is finished!

Do you have any tips you would give?
Have any questions?
I’d love to hear from you!


Week One, Days 1 and 2 – Goals, Workouts, Health

by bosssanders on February 22, 2015 with no comments

So, here we go.

I’m probably at one of the lowest points (barring first trimester pregnancy) of my health.  For MONTHS – I’ve suffered from weakness, tiredness, nausea, and hormones that shifted so much that for 1 1/2 months, I bled.  That came with it’s own side effects.  After MANY tests, we have an idea of what probably sparked the confusion and chaos in my body.  Turns out, it really does matter what we put into our bodies and how we treat them.

After getting a little of my strength back, I’m ready to move further down the journey to health.  I’m setting small goals.  As I reach each one of them, I will create a momentum and be able to reach larger ones.

My top 3 GOALS for WEEK 1:
1.  Drink 1 GALLON  (16 cups) of water each day.

(I drink 2 of these each day)

2.  Add CLEAN nutrition (soy-free, gmo-free, aspartame-free, whey-free) to my body.  This nutrition right now comes in the form of CLEAN smoothies loaded with healthy things my body needs (my nausea gets in the way of being able to handle much extra at this point.)

3.  Workout each day.  –I’m not worried about for how long at this point…5 or 15 minutes.  The point is that I’m doing it each day.  Each day, pushing myself a little further.  And, something more than a little walking. I need to build up my strength, but pushing too hard too fast will do me no favors if it sets me back on the couch for 2 weeks!

And… to get through the week.   It seems I’ve taken on a cold (the kiddos have it, as well, so I know it’s not just detoxing).
I’m also working on detoxing my brain… writing more and spending more time studying the Bible and meditating in prayer.  Creativity really releases so much for me.


February Mash-Up

by bosssanders on February 19, 2015 with no comments

So, I’ve been reading…

My husband read this book in highschool for a class and insisted that I read it.  I’m not sure how I missed this in school, but I’m glad I was able to read it now!  It’s definitely a good book.  AND… Lois Lowry has books that go with this one…so, we are excited to read those together.  HOORAY!  We are nerds, this I know.

I’m still working on my dear husband to try to get him to read 1985.  By the way, if you’ve not read that one, you should add it to your list, too.  It’s a GREAT read…and a little eerie at how some of the things have gotten pretty close to what was written so long ago!

In Other News

We were part of this mess with

For Valentine’s Day, my sweet husband ordered THIS beautiful bouquet:

Isn’t it pretty?  He spent so much time picking it out.
On Valentine’s day, he paced back and forth to the front door.  They promised to deliver by 7pm and everything seemed well and good.  There had been no communication to say otherwise from OR from a local florist and the money had been taken from his account and the order confirmation said it was due for delivery on time.

Here is what we received:


That’s right.  Nothing.  We figured there MUST have been a mix-up.  Maybe someone wrote down the wrong address or maybe they were lost.  So, we called the company.  After waiting on hold for over an hour, we finally connected with a man named Harold.  (I have good reason to believe that was NOT his actual name, but whatevs.)

“Harold” said that there would be no flowers…ever.  That the local florist had been swamped and refused the order.  He said that they did all they could and the system had notes saying they contacted us and left messages.  We confirmed the number and email they had on file was correct… because there was no such call (missed or otherwise) in our call logs or any missed voice mails or emails.  It was a cop-out on their part.  And, instead of not taking the money for goods they couldn’t deliver… they took the money and didn’t bother to ACTUALLY contact us OR immediately refund the money.  They just kept it.

After about 15 minutes of “Harold” being VERY repetitive and telling me that 1) It wasn’t their fault and 2) there was nothing he could do and 3) repeating my name 5,000 times… I asked for a supervisor.  Multiple times.  I was put on hold for a total of 2 hours and 40-something minutes.  The line was disconnected 3 times.

While on hold, we used twitter and facebook, and while SAID they would get back with us to help us via social media…they did nothing but make it LOOK like they were handling the situation.

We chose to file a report with the Better Business Bureau.

After 2 hours and 40–something minutes, we finally reached  a woman who had blaring noise in the background and could not speak or understand English very well.  We were then forwarded to a manager.  This manager did promise to give us our money back.  She did not offer anything else.  We told her that we were very disappointed in the dismal customer service and quite frankly, it didn’t seem they wanted our future business.  Or, anyone that we knew.  She seemed to think giving our money back was a favor to us, and so we explained that technically, she didn’t have to process a refund, that the credit card company would side with us and that accepting payment and not delivering goods was considered theft.  Fraud.  We explained that we expected more from customer service from a brand we had spent money with in the past, and that as small business owners, we would NEVER treat customers the way they treated us.  We told her what would be expected as the LEAST to gain back trust after such an incidence.

Finally, after what seemed like a LONG conversation (keep in mind I’d been on the phone for almost 3 hours)…she told us that our money would be refunded, we’d get a “make up” bouquet similar to what we ordered, AND a $20 gift certificate.

I wasn’t thrilled, but it was better than nothing, so I said okay and we disconnected.

Several days later, a woman from the “VIP team” called regarding our BBB complaint.  For the first time, I spoke to someone who actually apologized for THEIR mistake.  She also listened and did NOT interrupt…not even once.  I repeatedly let her know that I know this wasn’t HER fault, but that we were very disappointed in 1800flowers.  I explained that the customer service we had encountered thus far had been horrible and that we weren’t sure we’d ever be ordering again…because the truth is this…

We have ordered flowers through them for Birthdays and Congratulatory events.  But, we’ve also ordered flowers to comfort others who have lost children and family members.  It’s one thing to mess up a Valentine’s order… but, it’s another to mess up something so special as a bouquet of flowers that says what words can’t, “I’m so sorry for your loss.  We are here with you.  We remember.  We will walk this with you.”  If you think I’m disappointed and annoyed by this mess up, then wait until you mess THAT up.  There are no re-dos.  We can’t always be where our family and friends are.  So, we send something that we hope can convey the message for us.

We explained that we weren’t sure we could trust them, now.  While we believe in extending GRACE…because EVERYONE messes up at some point.  WE also believe in being able to admit when you are wrong, apologizing, and making things RIGHT…especially when you own a business.   And, their customer support team had a hard time doing that.  WE don’t have 3 hours and several days to “fix” things every time we need flowers or a gift sent.  I’m not being PAID for that time spent.

For the first time, someone from the 1800flowers team agreed with me and seemed genuinely apologetic.  She wasn’t just trying to get me off the phone with a check by my name…she was actually listening.

She agreed that from what I described and what she saw in the system, it had gotten ridiculous.  But, it makes me a little sad because I’ve heard from so many people who experienced what we had and they never got up to “upper level” customer service.  Their money was refunded and there was no real apology or anything else.

After explaining that we would probably never use a $20 gift certificate with a company that so grossly disappointed us…because nothing on their site is $20 and there is NO WAY we’d be spending our own money so soon, she bumped the $20 to $60 so that we could try them again…on their dime.  You see, THAT is how you earn back trust.

She let me know that their “make up” bouquet was on the way.  My husband ordered this (with a balloon) originally

They were unable to replace it because they needed to ship from their facilities…
So, they said they’d send something similar in value and color.
They chose this…

I’m not a fan of all-mauve, BUT it was a nice gesture, nonetheless.  And, they were trying, right?  That matters.  So, I was pretty pleased and was interested in seeing how they handled this order and the next order.

Wednesday, I received this arrangement:

YESTERDAY… and the flowers were half dead.  They went immediately to water, didn’t set on my doorstep (got them right from the UPS drivers’ hands).  See the front flower…totally wilted.  The roses were drooping with petals falling off and brown already on the edges.  Not only were they half-dead, they were not anywhere CLOSE to being the same value.  My husband spent over $80 for flowers and a balloon.  There was no balloon.  He ordered a large bouquet… the one consistent in value is the exact one you see above this photograph.

I called the new VIP number, and again, this lady was VERY nice.  She apologized and wanted to try again.  She said this sometimes happens, but they want to replace it.  Instead of flowers this time, I chose a plant, hoping it would be able to fare a little better.

I should receive it Friday.

I’ll be updating.

Here’s where I’m at so far…

-’s main customer service line is worthless.
- I will only call the VIP desk from now on.
- If they can outdo themselves on the next 2 arrangements, I’d be willing to give them another shot… but probably never again on a major holiday.

- I would really like to see a grand gesture on 1800’s part to make right where they failed for the hundreds of other customers the way they finally have tried with me.  I’d like to see them initiate this and reach out to those people and not offer them the bare minimum.  They shouldn’t have to BEG to be treated well.  I’d also love to see better customer service, over all.  Nobody should have to wait almost 3 hours on the phone or DAYS for a response on a missing order.  I’d love to see their customer service staffed with people who speaks WELL and LISTENS even better.  –People who are interested in taking care of their customers.  As business owners, we need to understand that our customers MAKE US.  If we fail them, we fail our business.  Without customers, we can have the best products or services…and still have to close our doors.


As Of Today, January 23, 2015

by bosssanders on January 23, 2015 with 1 comment

*I think this photo is equal parts “creepy” and “funny.”  :)   I think it’s the glasses.

Outside my window…
It’s COLD – Golden grass and the sky, a blanket of overcast white.  Chilling breeze that cuts through, shifting leaves and branches as it goes.  There is no trace of the fluffy cotton-ball snow that fell earlier today.

I am thinking…

About creating a recipe/menu-planning ebook.  Every time I cook a dish my girls love (which is daily), they ask, “Mama, when I’m big, can I have this recipe, too?”  They’ve already decided that when they grow up and move away, they want a book filled with my recipes.  It makes my heart smile.

But, as many friends, family, and acquaintances have asked for recipe after recipe and menu ideas… I was wondering how much interest there would be in a menu-plan book complete with our favorite, tried-and-true recipes.  It would be under $5 and a fabulous help.  My system and these recipes have taken me a long time to compile and come up with, so I’ll be sharing YEARS of trial and error and hard work for just a few bucks.

I am thankful…

63.  for a local Church who believes in us and supports us and encourages us both.
64.  for an extra little smiling face who lights up our lives
65.  for artwork on the fridge by my darlings
66.  for friends who sit at the feet of Jesus with me
67.  for the opportunity to walk along someone else on the discovery to who Jesus is
68.  for a sound mind
69.  for giant floating snowflakes
70.  for warm, sunshine-y days

In the kitchen

I made my first loaf of braided Challah Bread:

And, for Home Ec, the kids helped me make some caramelized banana topping for our *fancy* cinnamon- raisin bread.  Yummy.

I am reading…

I just finished reading Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline.  It’s super good.  The kind that you don’t want to put down, good.

We/I am learning…

We are taking a break from countries and cultures for a bit and switching over to studying Creation to the Greeks.  We’ve been having lots of fun.

Around the house…

I’ve been implementing some of my goals for the New Year (you can see them HERE).  Scripture on some walls…

Bought this fun little chalkboard and will post some of my favorite verses.  This one has more color that I added to it after the photo was taken.

We’ve been working for a while now, with the kids, teaching them the fruit of the spirit.  When we saw this, we both new it belonged in our home.

We’re still SLOWLY working on de-cluttering and organizing.  SLOWLY.  :)

Favorite Things…

My Erin Condren planner FINALLY came in (I was counting down the days!).   I chose my cover and turns out, it couldn’t have been a better fit.  A friend of mine suggested skipping E.C.’s pens and going a cheaper version and buying Paper Mate Flair Pens…

You can buy them HERE.  You can also buy at Walmart for the same price.

They are PRETTY and don’t bleed through the pages…always a PLUS!  (Sharpies DO bleed…even the ones that say they won’t.)

So, I have those and some washi tape in my pink pencil pouch from Thirty-One (already had it).  The little notepad that you see is my prayer list.  I flip through it over and over and it helps remind me what’s on my prayer list.

“Pray without ceasing” – 1 Thessalonians 5:17

The only other “extra” I bought was the silver band you see above to keep my planner shut.  Had they not been sold out of coil clips, I would’ve bought those as well.  I like the idea of being able to clip in invitations, etc to my calendar week.

As a mom to littles who is constantly moving, I really appreciate the thick coil binding.  Planners come to my house to die…but this one is NICE!  It also came with this little zip pocket (right) and the perpetual calendar…and a folder pocket (dual-sided).  The perpetual calendar is a great way to list birthdays so EVERY year, you just grab it and put those dates in your calendars.

As you can see, all of the months are tabbed.  Here’s a month-view.  I chose a page I hadn’t filled much in yet just because, you know, this is the internet!

Here are my weekly pages.  I go back and forth between one verse for the whole week and a daily tidbit from Proverbs (corresponding the chapter to the day of the month.)  For next week, I really want to focus on Philippians 4:8.

You can also see the “headings” right under the numbered days at the top.  I have my week split up into categories that help us stay on track.

There are 8 blue droplets at the top of each day, as well, to help me keep track of water consumption.

I also use these pages as a homeschool planner.  And, family planner.

I used to use paper-planners all the time until hubs convinced me to try Google Calendar so we could all keep synced.  It seemed like the easiest way to keep track of our goings-on.  Until it began to delete and change times of events *insert horrified gasp!*  I have to say, even before that, I missed being able to see the whole month and week at one glance.  I like the way paper feels in my hands.  (I also prefer the REAL books to kindle books.)

I’ve been super-pleased with this planner.  It’s a little pricier than what I normally spend on myself, but considering that it’s now taking the place of both personal/family planner AND homeschool planner… it’s a great deal!  (Hubby bought an ugly black planner from the Office store that’s beyond simple and it still cost $23 or so. )

Want your own Erin Condren Planner?
Use my referral link and we will BOTH receive $10 off future purchases!!  Here’s my LINK.  In order for it to work, you will need to open a new account after you go to this link (it looks like the regular link but it knows you came from here).  Open your account and then, wait for an email.  You will get a welcome email, and then a bit later, you will get a coupon code!  Apply it to your order.  To get what I got, select LIFE PLANNER.  Then, customize to your liking!  Change the cover up, add font, pictures…whatever suits you.

Oh yes…another plus?  The cover is laminated…so sippy cup spills or babies who spit up?  No worries, mama!

Another Favorite Thing…

My new swimsuit.  Photo is CLEARLY not me.  :)  It’s advertised as both a cover-up and swim-dress, depending on where you look.  It’s swim-suit material and has great coverage in the right places.  I’ve been looking for a much more modest swimsuit for my after-babies body and I REALLY like this one!  (If you like it, you can find it at Macy’s by Kenneth Cole)

Moments I Want To Remember…


HAPPY NEW YEAR! (On This Day…12/31/2014)

by bosssanders on December 31, 2014 with 1 comment

Outside my window…
It is cold and the wind slices through like a sharp knife.  It is gray outside and when the sun rises, it will be a new year.

I am thinking…
So much has happened in 2014.
We went to Chicago and Disney World.  Spent much time as a family, having fun and enjoying each other.  We learned so much from homeschool.  Z and Ro learned to read and are now rockstars!  We had lots of FIRSTS.  We lost loved ones.  We lost one of our own (miscarriage).  We have had the opportunity to love and stand in the gap for others’ children.  We have loved big and offered ourselves up.  And, at times, we have cried hard – because loving big requires sacrifice.  My computer died.  And, I discovered another part of me and worked furiously to better my gifts to use for His service.  We waited on pins and needles to hear answers that we weren’t sure we were ready for…and then were relieved to find out I did not have cancer.  It’s been quite a year.  A year of hope, a year of LOVING BIG, great loss, FIRSTS, and a year of WAITING.  A year of learning and a year of discovery.

I am exhausted :)   We did well.

Each year, I like to sit down and look at the previous year.  Think about what we did well, what we didn’t, and how to improve myself and how to just do things better…self and family.  Usually, I have some things I want to experience or learn.  Like…new hobbies.  Or, places to go.

And, now, as I sit here with notebook in hand…I wonder if this will be the year that God answers two heartbroken prayers.  Or, if it’s a year of waiting and pruning.  I’ve felt really “off” for the past few weeks… these last few weeks have really spun me around… death of a dear family member, waiting for tests results (cancer and heart), test results for my little girl, computer crashing and losing over 300 files, etc.  It’s been a LOT.

But, I wanted to set some goals.  So, here’s what I have so far…

1.  First thing in the morning… I want to spend more time in God’s Word.  Lately, I’ve plugged it in whenever I could.  Sometimes, I missed.  I will start reading AT THE VERY LEAST … a Proverbs Chapter a day in the mornings to give me something to hold onto.  I need it like I need water.  Then, I will ALSO add in more in-depth study as I can, when I can.  (Which will still be 3+ x a week)
2.  Move more.  At least 5 minutes of yoga or stretching or exercise of any kind.  First thing in the morning.  Every morning.
3.  Be more consistent about my daily 3 things.  This is something I already do when I feel overwhelmed.  I make a list of 3 things I MUST DO that day.  If all else fails, I’ll have done those 3 things.
4.  Pick up/organize/trash 30 things each day.  Every little rubber band counts.
5.  Work on organizing my house.  And, cleaning.  After the holidays, it always feels a little “AHHH!” in here when it comes to the new clutter of “things” collected and boxes and trash and glitter.  I will work on one room a week in addition to our normal straightening and chores we do.
6.  Count my glasses.  Water glasses, that is.  8 8oz glasses a day is what I need.
7.  Get my stickies out.  When we lived at the other place, I had scripture SURROUNDING us.  We had to.  It was as important as air to us.  I will be getting those back out and placing them around the house.  I will work hard at memorizing scripture.  Because it matters.
8.  Stay unplugged for certain hours of the day.  I will check my phone/email in the morning, midday (approximately), and once in the evening.  I will give myself certain times to make phone calls/texts (social).
9.  Admire beauty.  My goal is to get outside more.  Every day.  At least once a day…even if it’s just to walk around the yard one lap after the kids are down for a nap.  Fresh air is good, and it’s great to be able to admire God’s creation.
10.  Go back to my “task days.”  I have a system for when I get overwhelmed… a day for laundry/cleaning (actually…one day and a half day), a day for creativity, a day for bills and sending cards, etc).  I want to do this more regularly.
11.  5 minutes midday quiet time with God.  Every day.  It may be more like 1 pm here.  But, just to sit in His presence.
12.  Create a daily celebration…something to make each day special.  I’m not sure what I want to do, yet.  Maybe light a candle after naptime for an early-evening snack and some pretty music for the kiddos?
13.  Take time each day to work on what God has called me to do.  (Writing.  Podcasts.  Teaching.)
14.  Add 3-5 things to my THANKFUL LIST each day — will be able to do this in my new planner!
15.  Prayer List Cards.  I was doing this faithfully but then slacked off.  I write prayer requests on a flip deck of note-cards and pray them constantly throughout the day.
16.  Take more photos.
17.  Learn some great hymns to sing as we go.
18.  IF we are still in this home… some paint and decor in my sad, dark bedroom!
19.  More of this:  Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.  –In my speech, in my thoughts, in my day to day activities.
20.  Grow in patience.

THIS YEAR (2015), I want to GROW DEEPER.  Deeper in church (involved).  Grow in my spiritual gifts.  Deeper time with my kids and my husband (separately).  Grow in patience.  Deeper in community (relationships and service).  Grow deeper in the relationships I already have and those I hold dear.  Deeper in personal study, prayer, and peace.  Grow deeper in making our home a home full of love, peace, and acceptance…and hope.

I am thankful…
51.  For “supper club” friends and great conversations around the table, eating delicious food.
52.  For do-overs.
53.  To not have cancer.
54.  To have amazing doctors…and friends…
55.  For people who talk me down from my proverbial “ledges” when my “freak-out” starts to show up.
56.  That we were able to save so many files when my computer crashed… photos of loved ones and many files with hard work
57.  Laughing so hard that tears creep from the corners of my eyes
58.  Health of my babes
59.  for a husband who tries mighty hard…over and over again.
60.  For a husband who thinks I’m funny and laughs at my jokes.
61.  For a husband who forgives easily.
62.  For people in my life that inspire me.

In the kitchen…

Chicken is in the crockpot, to be shredded and refrigerated for tomorrow night’s Chicken Pot Pie.  Tonight?  Nachos, Jalapeno Poppers, Pizza, and Chicken Wings it is.

I am reading…

Hubby and I are reading this together in the mornings.  We alternate between topics often.  We enjoy growing “together.”  Really helps us stay on the same page.

We/I am learning…

Ro and Z are finishing up their first grade reading stuff.  La is learning multiplication facts (BLAH!  I have them down but hate drilling her as much as she dislikes being drilled.  Yet, it’s something I really want her to know!)  Mimi got the big 3 IXL as one of their Christmas gifts, so we’ve had fun practicing math online and earning points.

We calculated behavior points and grades for December and Ro earned student of the month!  We are super excited.  (When a kid is student of the month, they get a prize.)  A little extra incentive to get rid of some unwanted behaviors we saw creeping in…as well as enticing certain students to do their work…and TRY!)

Around the house…

It’s New Year’s Eve and yet, it will probably be an EARL Y night for us.  I think last year (or maybe year before?), we were all sick and in bed by 8pm!  So thankful we are not sick, but we may still hit the hay early!

A favorite quote…

One of my favorite things…

Erin Condren Life Planners!  These are so PRETTY and neat!  They have TONS of styles.  I ordered one for 2015.  They are a little more than what I’d typically spend on your average planner, but these things have lots of room to write and I plan to also use it for homeschooling, so win-win!  You can personalize them, choose different fonts/quotes/designs and even add photos of your family!  SO STINKIN’ COOL!

Want one?  Click HERE.  You’ll get $10 off for using THIS link (and so will I!)!


Vulnerable Love

by bosssanders on September 8, 2014 with 1 comment

Once upon a time, a little baby was born.  Not just any baby, but the Savior of the world.

I wonder how Mary felt when the Angel Gabriel first showed up… I mean, she was there just minding her own business and then, POOF!  There’s this glowing dude in her space.  The Bible actually says she was afraid!  Wouldn’t you be afraid if someone just POOFED into your room?  I mean, not only was some strange man in her room, but he was glowing!  I would’ve been scared, too!

And, then… Gabriel told her to not be afraid.  And, she wasn’t.  He told her that she was going to have a baby!  Yay!  Wait, not yay.  Mary was engaged to Joseph, but she wasn’t married yet.  Which means, having a baby outside of marriage was NOT a great idea.  You see, God created sex as His gift for marriage.  It’s supposed to be opened after marriage.  Sex before marriage is like opening a Christmas gift before Christmas and then having nothing to open on Christmas.  And, well… because you generally need sex to make babies… well, Mary’s pregnant tummy would NOT go unnoticed by the villagers.  I wonder if the thought fleeted through her mind of the danger … back then, a woman pregnant out of wedlock could be stoned to death!  Regardless of any fleeting thoughts… she told the angel that she was God’s servant and He could do with her what He will.  Brave words.

Mary became rounder and when, Caesar Augustus required them (among others) to come to Bethlehem to be registered, she and Joseph went.  I can’t imagine riding on a donkey from Galilee to Bethlehem.  What is that?  Like, 100 miles or so?  On a donkey.  Pregnant.  I can imagine the sweat pouring down her face and back and the nausea creeping up.  I bet her legs and feet were swollen and every little lurch was inconvenient, at best.  Tired and worn, they finally arrive… to find there were no rooms.  How disappointing that would’ve been!  Finally, a merciful heart offered them the only place he had left… a stable.  I’m not sure if you’ve ever been in a stable or barn before, but it stinks of manure, is dusty, and NOT the vision of cleanliness.  Jesus was born, swaddled in fabric (which had NOT just been bought from Walmart and washed in Dreft), and laid in a food trough.  For food.  And, because they didn’t have bleach and such, I’m guessing it was simply dumped and given a good swipe and hay/straw was dumped in.  By the way, have you ever been on a  hayride?  Have you ever felt hay or straw?  Even separated by fabric, it itches and scratches.  Not the ideal place for a baby…and yet, there Jesus was.

This is one of my favorite stories.  Why?  Because, you see, God is the maker of the universe.  He is great and BIG and nothing is bigger than Him.  He could’ve sent his Son as a strong knight into a palace with fine riches to rule… but, He didn’t.  He chose a vulnerable, defenseless baby.  Not only did Jesus come as a baby, but He went to a POOR family who wasn’t even married yet (at first).  His first bed was an animal trough.  He lived in what we would call the ghetto.  His parents poor and working class.  And, because that’s not enough… He spent much of his life with little to no valuables.  His friends died.  He was betrayed by people he loved.  He was spat upon.  He was hated.  And, in His last days, He let them beat Him with leather straps with sharp rocks/nails attached that ripped at His skin.  He walked with a heavy cross on His back and crown of thorns on His head placed by mocking hands.  He let them hammer those nails, nailing Him to the cross.  He let them.  At any point, He could’ve jumped off.  With a single word, He could’ve squashed them all.  But, He didn’t.

Do you know why He let them?  Because He loved YOU so very much.

“Do you remember the story I told you about Abrahaam and Isaac that I told you?” I said.

They all nod.

“Well, Jesus came to be the lamb for us.  He let Himself be a sacrifice so that whoever comes to the Father through Him would be saved.  Forever.  Z, Jesus died for you…you are so incredibly precious to Him.  He knows your name and he loves you SO much.  La, Jesus died for you, too.  He knows you and made you…he knows how many hairs are on your head.  And, Ro… Jesus died for you.  He thinks you are marvelous.  And, AJ… Jesus died for you and you make His heart so happy.” I said.  And, for the first time, a little boy from Africa heard that not only did Jesus love Him, but that He would pay the ultimate price for him.  That HE was worth it.

Z looked back at me with tears welled up in his eyes as he fought furiously to hold them back.  Yet, they jumped over his big eyelashes and splattered down his cheeks.  As I knelt at his feet, I looked up and said, “But, Z, I’ve not told you the best part, yet.  Jesus isn’t dead.  You can’t REALLY kill (and keep Him that way) Jesus.  Because, 3 days later, he rose from the dead.  And, He did that for you, too.  And now,” I say, with a big grin on my face, “Jesus is sitting on God’s right side.  And, someday, we’ll go and join Him and have a fabulous feast and party and it will truly be magnificent.  Jesus loved you then and He loves you now.  And, this… this is why mommy and daddy love Jesus so much.”

Then, La looked over and said, “It’s okay, Z.  I cried last time when mommy told me, too.”

There are days when I feel like homeschooling may make me lose my mind, but these little moments… these.  They are the nuggets that make it all worth it one hundred times over.

And then, from the corner, a tiny voice pipes up:  “Mommy, please show me how to get Jesus in my heart,” Ro says.

Today was only supposed to be a 2 minute Bible Story from the Jesus Storybook Bible, but turned out to be so much more.

filed under A Grand Adventure, Family

As Of Today, August 18, 2014

by bosssanders on August 18, 2014 with 3 comments

I am thinking…

My brain is running through a bunch of different courses right now.  You really don’t want a tour.

First, I feel like I owe an apology…or, at least an explanation, as to why I basically dropped off the face of the Earth for a while.  A couple of months ago, we found out we were pregnant and excitement was high.  Then, we lost the pregnancy.  It’s been a two-month journey back to “mostly normal” – my body, hormones, emotions…everything was severely messed up.  In the thick of it, we were/are trying to shield our children from this loss.  (We hadn’t told them we were pregnant yet.)  Then, we received a call to foster and we did – time was short but it was honey to my aching mama’s heart.  It was good.  Hard when we had to say goodbye only a few days later…but, good.

Also on my mind is…homeschool.  I’ve got 3 VERY different kiddos and I’m trying to find where we need to be for language lessons.  Currently, we are doing First Language Lessons – which is perfect, I think, for my 5 year old.

For my 7 year old boy, I need something that starts with BASICS and then moves relatively quickly for a while.  He’s SMART…he just doesn’t have the basics of English all down since you know, he has lived in Ethiopia for most of his life.  For my 7 year old girl, I need something that isn’t super repetitive.  She’s a smart kid.  And, for ME… I think I need a good mix of charlotte-mason and good ol’ worksheets…or, just worksheets for this part.  We’re using Spelling Power for spelling (for the 7 yo daughter) and MFW for 1st grade reading for the other two and that’s working perfectly.  I did find these in grades 2 and 3:

They don’t actually TEACH, but are more like review.  –Which may be just fine since I know the lessons, but really just want something to help me track.  I’m also looking at as an option.  So many options!  What are your favorite resources?

Also spinning in my brain are crafts for Sunday School and Family Home Evening Lesson ideas (which is our non-LDS version of things)

I am thankful…

151.  our Walk To Emmaus team
152.  Our church
153.  A 3rd grader who can read really well and do some of her homework self-directed AND help her siblings
154.  Locked doors and “grown up” ice cream bars (i.e., with caramel and belgium chocolate and way too expensive to give a 3 year old)
155.  Garlic, Thieves oil, Lavendar and Citrus oils for this cold that is trying to bring me down.
156.  Sweet new friends bringing supper over tonight just because they are that awesome.
157.  My body starting to act semi-normal again.
158.  Tickle wars with the babes
159.  Air conditioning
160 Thunder storms that lull me to sleep
161.  Great friends

In the kitchen

I made a smoothie for my lunch and fried bologna sandwiches (they love) for the kids for lunch.  That’s about all I’ve got for you, today.  :)

I am reading…

Just finished this:

Really great book and it comes out on shelves in September!  If you’re struggling with who and what the world tells you to do as a Christian woman, like you just don’t measure up, and are failing miserably… this book is for you.  It’s honest, funny, and a healing balm for the worn-out soul.

We/I am learning…

*I* am learning patience, apparently, for today ;)

Around the house…

We are all getting sick, so no crafting or fun stuff today.  More like, pushing through what school we can muster.

Favorite Quotes…

“Not my Circus, Not my MONKEYS.”  — don’t know who to credit it to, but love this quote about not getting sucked into drama.  “Not my circle!”

filed under A Grand Adventure

As of today, July 25, 2014

by bosssanders on July 25, 2014 with 2 comments

I am thinking…

Hubby took us all to the drive-in movies last week for our date night (we shared it with the kiddos).  It’s my week again, and I’m thinking… go-karts and laser tag.  Or, wine trail.  Decisions, decisions.

I am thankful…

141.  For books.  I REALLY like books :)
142.  For friends who encourage.
143.  For friends who know me well enough to when I’m struggling and call me out on it.
144.  For ibuprofen.
145.  For the internet and the world of learning (FREE) that it opens up to us!
146.  Online shopping!  Our favorite diapers are from target, but we don’t have a target!
147.  Also…amazon prime.
148.  African drums.  I really love the sound…
149.  Dead mosquitoes.  Not live ones….just dead ones.
150.  Not being killed for my faith.

In the kitchen

I have a new recipe for y’all.  It’s one of our favorite (and EASY) breakfast casseroles.

Sausage, Egg, Crescent Roll Casserole

- 2 cans crescent rolls
- 2 pkgs sausage
- 1 dozen eggs
- 8 oz cream cheese

Grease a 9×13 casserole dish.  Cook sausage.  Drain.  Then, combine room temp cream cheese and sausage.

On bottom of 9×13 dish. unroll crescent rolls and cinch along perforation marks.  Pour in sausage/cream cheese mix.

Whisk 12 eggs and scramble in pan.  Add this on top of sausage layer.

Cover with another layer of crescent roll dough.

Bake for 20 minutes at 350 F

I also made some cucumber sandwiches (1 cucumber diced, 8 oz cream cheese, 1/3 c mayo, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, and a 1tsp of dill – mix it all up and spread onto sandwich bread), cucumber “salad” (1/2 vinegar and 1/2 water to cover, a little sugar and pinch of salt –then in fridge for an hour or more).  We are using the cucumber “salad” for our Norwegian meal and we had cucumber sandwiches and bacon-tomato sandwiches today for lunch.

In my “cooking therapy” yesterday, I also put together a yummy new casserole.  It began as a squash casserole, but then morphed into a one-dish-dinner.  Not too shabby.

I am reading…

Hubby and I are still reading Kingdom Man and Kingdom Woman by Tony Evans together.  –definitely the type of book that makes me want to sit and read with highlighter in hand!

We/I am learning…

We just finished studying Norway.  Today, we finished up with some Norwegian candy and a geography review of Europe.  We’ll close our study up with a Norwegian meal this weekend – super excited!

Around the house…

Dreaming up ideas for our master bedroom…  to turn it into a lovely retreat instead of a dark cave


As of today, July 14, 2014

by bosssanders on July 14, 2014 with 3 comments

I am thinking…

So, last post, I wrote that I was curious about what my hubby had planned for date night.  He definitely delivered.

He created an AWESOME “getaway” with sheets and blankets and pillows.  He made an elaborate tent with candlelight (it was safe, I promise) and we had a movie night.  We needed an at-home FREE date, so this was PERFECT.

For my turn, I had one of the kids deliver this to hubby:

But then, in a duck and fire move, I accidentally hit him in the eye.  Almost blinding your husband puts a bit of a damper on the evening.  So, in an effort to be a little safer and low-key (no more blinding), I brought out the game RISK that I’d bought to surprise him.  We had a lovely evening of taking over the world and of course, I let him win he won.

Also… a public safety announcement:  If you try this date… wear sunglasses.

I am thankful…

133.  Date nights with my husband.
134.  First birthday celebration for a sweet little boy…even though he’s 7.

135.  Clean water
136.  For fresh peaches
137.  Meals delivered
138.  Six hours without tears.
139.  sweet baby smiles

140.  The millions of funny moments that fill our days…

In the kitchen

Jambalaya tonight.

I am reading…

Hubby and I are reading Kingdom Man and Kingdom Woman by Tony Evans together.  –Only a couple of chapters in on each, but already the sort of book that makes me want to sit and read with highlighter in hand!

Also, this (still):

We/I am learning…

We’re studying rainforests and S.America, still.  I officially have 1st and 3rd graders here, now!

Around the house…

Dreaming up ideas for our master bedroom…  to turn it into a lovely retreat instead of a dark cave

Favorite Quotes…

After being told that a person needs a specific call to missions, “Nik Ripken” says, “Well, it appears to me that you all have created a ‘call’ to missions that allows people to be disobedient to what Jesus has already commanded all of us to do. ” (Insanity of God)

“God may have to give instructions about the location — the WHERE. But there is nothing to negotiate about the command to go – God has already made our primary task perfectly clear. ” (Insanity Of God)

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filed under A Grand Adventure