Thursday, January 26, 2017

Carpool Book Club {01/26/17}

Today I'm linking up with sweet Narci for her Carpool Book Club!  I love reading these kinds of posts and getting ideas for new books to read.  Goodreads is awesome for keeping track of books I want to read as well as books I've read.

I realize this is a bit nerdy #talknerdytome, but I love to read and for some reason writing about it motivates me to make time to read.  And hey, whatever it takes.  It's so easy to put reading on the back burner and not read at all.  And well, then I'm really missing out.  Maybe you'll find a book that you want to read yourself!

by Elin Hilderbrand
Winter Storms is the final book in a trilogy and I couldn't wait to see how the story wrapped up.  I read the first two books (Winter Street and Winter Stroll) this past winter, but had to wait for this third book to be released (and then a few more months for life to slow down).  I love that these books take place largely around Christmastime and are such easy reads.  I'm a bit sad the story doesn't continue, but the author did a great job giving closure to all of the storylines.  Reading this series has also made me want to visit Nantucket with my husband someday!

by Lauren Graham
I couldn't have loved this book more!  Gilmore Girls and Parenthood are truly my two most favorite shows of all time.  Needless to say, I'm a huge Lauren Graham fan!  I listened to this book on Audible and it was read by Lauren Graham herself.  It was so enjoyable to listen to Lauren read the book and I laughed out loud several times.  It's interesting because I've been hesitant to try Audible because listening to a book (versus actually reading it) felt like cheating.  I'm not really sure what kind of make believe book reading police I was afraid of disappointing, but thankfully I had a friend encourage me to try audible recently (Hi Kristin!) so I decided to go for it.  (It's amazing how much I was able to get done while listening to it!)  I'm sure it will just depend on the book and the author and who reads the audio version, but listening to THIS book couldn't have been a better choice.  It's smart and funny and sentimental and hearing Lauren say all the words herself made it perfect.  So if you're a big Gilmore Girls or Parenthood fan I'd highly recommend this book!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Kids' Christmas Program

We had a fairly uneventful first half of January mostly due to the fact that my sweet Emma was sick for about a week and a half.  So there were lots of cuddles and playing at home for us.

I did manage to sneak away for a few hours for supper with some of my besties.  Chatting and laughing with them is one of my most favorite things.

Daniel and Atika braved our apartment even though Emma was still not feeling well so we could hang out one more time before they headed back to Florida.  We miss them already!  I loved getting to watch Atika's play Daniel had recorded.  She was born for the stage, that one! 😉  And Clara loves getting clothes, books, etc. that Atika has outgrown!

making sauerkraut with Daddy

still smiley even when she is not feeling the best

Clara and Davey love having a real life dolly to play with!  They are always setting up play areas for her.

Emma had her first outing in over a week when she was finally starting to feel better.  Auntie Heather's hat she got for Clara is being put to good use once again. ;)

This sweet boy plays with his Imaginext guys and other figures pretty much nonstop.  Michael helped him make a couple wrestling rings and he often has the figures facing off.  He shakes the "ring" till all but one of the figures fall out, thus declaring the champion.  When he does these wrestling matches one on one he carefully place the guys into a winners' circle and a losers' circle.  It's pretty adorable.

just a couple of sisters playing 💕

Emma trying brown rice for the first time.  She's showing more and more interest in food.  Cucumbers are by far her favorite!

Clara and Davey's Christmas program at church was rescheduled for January 15th due to the weather at Christmastime.  Don't worry, we took our tree down shortly after this. 😉

Clara and the kindergarten class ready to go on stage! 😊

Love these sweet friends.

I love watching all the kids perform their songs!  It's so sweet!

Clara was all smiles when she spotted us in the audience (red dress, second row on the left).

Davey did SO GOOD during their rehearsal before church.  For some reason it didn't occur to me to take pictures during the rehearsal.  Something bummed him out after rehearsal.  (He was crying when I went to go check on him right before church.)  So that coupled with being up on stage in front of everyone and just the fact that he's four and was over it at this point, he didn't get into it too much during the program.  It was a bit of a bummer because we had been practicing the kids' songs at home for weeks and he would always exuberantly sing them, but what do you do.  Did anyone happen to take pictures during the rehearsal??

The preschools' individual song was "This Little Light of Mine" and Davey and Clara sing that song to Emma on a regular basis if she's the least bit upset and it usually works to calm her down. 💕

Clara saying, "Christ is born this day."  So proud of that girl for saying a line up on stage in front of everyone!

duck duck goose with friends after church

Davey was all smiles then. 😊

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Show and Tell Tuesday: Steal and Splurge

Hello Tuesday!  Today I'm linking up with the lovely Andrea for her fun Show and Tell Tuesday series.  Today's topic is Steal and Splurge: How your family saves and what you feel is worth the splurge.

Steal: No cable
We canceled our cable and our beloved DVR this past summer to save money and work toward our financial goals.  I rarely watched TV live anyway, but I would record shows on the DVR to come back and watch later.  And I loved getting to fast forward through commercials!  After we canceled it I really didn't miss it much until this past Christmas season.  I'm being completely serious when I tell you it was a major bummer not to be able to DVR all of the Hallmark Christmas movies. hahaha  I LOVE happy Christmas movies.  But I survived and watched the ones I could find online.  I think my hubby is missing watching a lot of the sports games as well.  We purchased an inexpensive digital antenna so we do get a few channels.

Steal: Old phones
Michael and I have older smart phones.  We save over $50 a month on our cell phone bill just by not upgrading them.  My phone is actually still the same phone I got when I first got a smart phone probably about four years ago.  I think we were late to the smart phone party to begin with just to save money as well.  I will say it is a bit of a sacrifice though because the camera on my phone is pretty poor quality and if you know me at all then you know that's not cool.  But I usually just bring my big camera with if I know I'll be wanting to take pictures.  And Michael's phone was obviously dropped without the case on it, but hey, it still works.  We're riding them till the wheels fall off.

Steal: No car payment
Speaking of wheels!  We paid off our previous car several years ago, but when I was pregnant with Emma we knew we were wanting to sell it and get a van.  We were determined not to take a car payment on though!  So we pretty much only looked at what we could afford to pay cash for and ended up finding a basic Honda Odessey for sale in our little town.  We are loving the extra room that vans offer!  It doesn't have a lot of "bells and whistles," but it gets us safely from point A to point B.  Totally worth not having a car payment!  This is not our actual van (grabbed this picture online), but it pretty much looks like this one.

Splurge: Family pictures
We definitely place a high value on having our family pictures taken annually.  Pictures are super important to me in general, but I'm usually the one behind the camera documenting the special moments.  Having our picture taken by a photographer allows us all to be in some pictures together and the quality of the pictures usually far exceed my own photography skills.  We've gotten more pictures taken during the first year of each of our children's lives as I always buy a maternity to 1 year package.  Babies change so much that first year and I love having their sweetness captured along the way.  I cherish these pictures so so much!

Side note: I have my pictures backed up on an external hard drive, but I don't have them on any sort of cloud service.  Does anyone have any recommendations for one?  I have a Mac if that matters.

Splurge: Birthdays
I love birthdays!  I love celebrating my loved ones and making them feel extra special and loved on the day they were born.  Planning birthday parties is fun for me and I love pulling a theme together.  I've had Emma's 1st birthday party theme picked out since she was seriously like a few weeks old.  It's just the way my brain works.  Michael has a milestone birthday this fall and I've already been brainstorming some big ideas to celebrate him.  Birthdays are just my thing.  So a special experience, a gift and a party always make the budget cut at our house.

Splurge: Erin Condren Planner
This was my third year in a row to purchase an Erin Condren LifePlanner and I couldn't love them more!  First of all, I for sure prefer an actual physical planner over using my phone to stay organized.  I need to write things down to keep our family's schedule straight and I love making a good to do list.  I love that I am able to customize the cover with all of my favorite pictures and it seriously brightens my day all year long.  The 7 inch x 9 inch size is perfect.  They include monthly and weekly layouts.  The colors are so cheerful and it is filled with inspirational quotes and encouragement.  I'm using the included stickers for the first time this year to highlight important dates and events.  I love that it has a double pocket folder and a resealable pouch.  And I also make good use of the blank note pages toward the back of the planner.  Erin Condren has awesome sales sometimes, so I try to order my planner while they're on sale.

Well that was good to think about.  What are some ways you save and some things you splurge on?  Here are the Show and Tell Tuesday topics for the rest of the year.  Thanks for the fun link up Andrea.  Have a great day everyone!


Monday, January 23, 2017

Pavilion Adventures

The kids are loving Davey's glow in the dark teepee from Grandma!  Such a fun space to play, look at books or watch a movie.

We took the plunge and got a Washington Pavilion membership a few weeks ago.  They had been running a half off deal, so we decided just to go for it.  We knew the kids would love their science center and cinedome. 

We met the Murrays and the Andersons the morning of the 3rd and had a great time!  

Ha!  Can you tell those two are siblings or what?!  They were all having a great time exploring and checking everything out.

Clara and Davey loved the interactive model of the space station.  They have been watching documentaries about planets and space with their daddy lately.

I love that they have a rock wall!  So so fun!

Parker and Clara are racing here.  Davey absolutely loved these racing wheelchair bikes... or are they called something else?

Love it.  Dream big little ones. 😊

We had to take a picture to text Daddy.  Looking forward to him coming with us next time.

Such a fun morning!  The science center exceeded my expectations and we are so excited to make good use of our membership all year long.

And this little one is on the move checking everything out.  She crawled into the teepee to play all on her own. 😊