Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween!

Our Halloween festivities are usually stretched out over a few days. Saturday, we attended the Trunk or Treat at our church. Before the Trunk or Treat began, the teens in the church had planned carnival games for the children. Each classroom was set up for each game or activity, such as bowling, fishing, and face painting. Before we went in, I tried to get a picture of all three of my children together in their themed costumes. We are studying medieval times this year in history, so Bridget wanted to be a medieval princess, George was a knight, and Liam was a dragon (a costume George used two years ago). Because there were other children arriving at the church, it was near impossible to keep the boys attention and to look at the camera. 

They had this backdrop inside the church for photos. Again, those boys of mine... I give up.

One of the many games they played. I am glad that they had activities planned this year for the little ones. 

On Sunday, we took a break from Halloween and attended church (which also happened to be the children's primary program). Monday, being Halloween, we finally carved our pumpkin. We had gotten it on Saturday morning at the pumpkin patch, but were too busy to carve it until the last minute. We did it during Liam's nap. I did the carving, of course, and the children had no interest in touching the "guts", so I removed those as well. The children did help removing the pieces for the face once I had carved them. It took a little bit of work but they finally did it. 

Our Halloween meal this year was quickly thrown together because I have a minor cold. I went the easy route with mummies, eyeballs, brains, and blood. Bridget hates when I call them by these names, and insisted on correcting me every time. I guess the gross names make things a little unappetizing for her.

Happy Halloween!

A Trip to the Pumpkin Patch

On Saturday, we stopped by one of the local pumpkin patches for some family fun. There was a lot to do and see, though we made our trip a quick one because we had a busy day ahead of us. We took pictures with the various cutouts, visited the farm animals (a young piglet was my favorite), and picked out a pumpkin to carve for Halloween. You will have to excuse the pictures, as they were all captured with my phone.

This may sound really bad, but I did not realize that my 7 year old was already 4 feet tall. I still remember her as my little baby. 

Bridget, age 7

George is not far behind Bridget in height. He is also growing way too fast. 

George, age 4

It was difficult to get a picture of Liam, as he was far more interested in everything else around him. He did take a second to lean up against the sign. He still wouldn't look at me.

Liam, age 2

Then it was time to pick out our pumpkin. Liam must have grabbed a dozen pumpkins and didn't quite know what to do with them. I was pretty impressed with his strength.  The few pumpkins he was not able to lift, he rolled. He's a very resourceful toddler.

We are enjoying this autumn season. The weather was crisp and cool in the morning, though it did reach 80 degrees that afternoon. 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Conversational Favorites {52 Lists}

A simple "copy/paste" list to fill out for this week is just what I needed!


  • Favorite Color: I am most drawn to pinks and purples, but I love all colors working together in nature. 
  • Favorite Season: Autumn/Fall. I love the changing colors and the peace of the upcoming Christmas season. If it weren’t for allergies, my favorite season would be Spring because I love seeing the flowers return (especially tulips and daffodils).
  • Favorite Holiday: I love the entire Thanksgiving and Christmas season (two months of quality family time and reflection)
  • Favorite Bible Verse: I have so many, but 1 Thessalonians 5:18 comes to mind for the upcoming season: “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
  • Favorite Flower: Gardenia, rose, plumeria

via Pinterest


  • Bath or Shower: Shower, though we're installing an adult-sized soaker tub in our new master bathroom so I may become a bath person.
  • Coffee, Tea or Cocoa: Cocoa or Herbal Tea (though nothing can beat hot wassail)
  • Mountains or Beach: Mountains. The beach gives me anxiety (strong currents, sharks, waves taking my young children out to sea, and if we're in South Carolina, I am also worried about spotting an alligator on the beach).
  • Vintage or Modern: Vintage
  • Movie or Book:  Book first, then movie
  • Store Bought or Handmade: Handmade is pretty, but I lack creativity so I purchase things. 
  • Meats or Veggie:  Veggies. I even make all my “meat” from veggies (chickpea filets, anyone?)
  • Homebody or Social Butterfly: Homebody
  • Creature of Habit or Spur of the Moment: Creature of Habit
  • Picnic or Restaurant: Restaurant. I love trying new and exotic foods that I can attempt at home later.

Linking Up With:

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Hurricane Matthew

Hurricane Matthew arrived on Saturday, October 8, 2016. The rain started in the afternoon and continued through the evening. Within an hour or so of rain, our backyard began flooding in the far corner. We weren't to concerned because this one area flood during every heavy rain storm. 

I tried to get a good picture of what was going on at night, but this is the best I got. I didn't think it was all that windy (compared to other storms) but our backyard was getting messy.

The rain stopped before midnight and the wind continued. By morning, the standing water on our property had dried up. Liam and I went outside to look at the damage. Fortunately we only found leaves and small branches. (You'll have to excuse the toddler; he's in a no pants phase right now.)

After lunch, I put Liam down for a nap and the older kids and I went outside to clean up the yard. They're getting better about actually helping me rake. One I was able to get most everything from the far corners of the yard into one area, they happily raked it to the gate.

We are so blessed that our home was spared during the storm. Living so close to the hospital, we did not lose power. I don't recall the lights even flickering.

Our new home was also spared, though a tree in our future neighbors yard fell and so my husband went over with the chainsaw to help them clean that up. They're long time friends of ours, making it less weird that they would call my husband about a tree in their yard. He was happy to help. We're all glad that the tree missed both houses.

Our town was not so lucky. The university cancelled classes for the week because much of their student housing (the off-campus apartments) were flooded. Much of the area on that side of town was under water. Schools were also cancelled, as they were being used as temporary shelters. Things only got worse during the week, as the rivers began to rise due to the rain waters flowing in from the central part of the state. National Guard showed up I think on Tuesday to survey the area with the mayor and other officials. All of the water was too much for our town to handle. The airport runway was a lake. It took days for that to drain and I am not sure if flights have resumed. So many people were without power and many homes were flooded. A week and a half later, and there are still a few people that have not been able to go back home, if there is even a home to go back to.

Some parts of the state, particularly the town of Lumberton, located in the central part of the state near the South Carolina border, were devastated. Some towns have come out and said that the damage from hurricane Matthew is worse than it was with Hurricane Floyd back in 1999.

We continue to count our blessings and pray for those who have lost so much.

Three Years Post-Op

October 7th is a very special day for us. As a parent, it was the most frightening day of my life. Now looking back on it, we are so happy that everything went so smoothly and that George is healthy. His scar is barely visible now and we're hoping that he will be able to lead a mostly normal life. As long as his aspirations don't involve football or hockey, he should be fine. He has come such a long way! 

Bridget turns 7!

At the end of September, our firstborn celebrated her 7th birthday. The day was a stressful one, as we had a house showing that afternoon and had to tidy up and be out of the house. I had baked her cupcakes that morning that his them in one of the kitchen cabinets. After we got home, I quickly made pizza for dinner and frosted the cupcakes. She had a very specific request for chocolate cupcakes with purple and pink frosting.

My parents came over for a cupcake and to give her their presents. She received a new Barbie doll and some outfits for the dolls to wear.

We also gave her our presents. I had to wrap our in newspaper as all of my wrapping paper is in storage. She didn't mind at all! We gave her a new bag for ballet, a new battery-operated toothbrush, and a nightgown.

She could not wait to take her bath and put her nightgown on. She is such a girly girl and loves nightgowns, especially the frilly ones. 

Because the day of her birthday was so crazy, my husband's parents came over the following day. She wanted to show them her new nightgown so I let her stay in it until they got here. She immediately opened presents. They got her some mermaid bath toys. She has been so jealous of the boys and all their boats and really wanted something to play with in the tub. After opening the presents, she got dressed and we all went out for lunch at her favorite Thai restaurant. That afternoon, I ran a bubble bath for her and she played in there for over two hours!

We love this sweet girl so much. She is truly kind and gentle, but can hold her own when the boys are getting too rough, though they adore her too. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Homemaker's Journal: Monday, October 17, 2016

Last week was a long week. Our town experienced massive flooding from the hurricane. Our home was spared, though others were not so lucky. In the middle of the week, we left for a mini-vacation to the Blue Ridge Mountains in western North Carolina. Even though it had been planned in advance, the timing couldn't have been better!


Current temperature is 64 degrees and the sun is shining. Temperatures this week are warming up again to low 80's. Over night, the temperatures will drop to the 50's and 60's. 


The house is tidy, just as we left it before our vacation. Kitchen is cluttered with things leftover from our trip. 


We are beginning Week 11 of our homeschool year. We are not up to date on all of our subjects and I am trying to think of ways to get back on track sooner rather than later.



"There is peace even in the storm"
--Vincent van Gogh


Because of the recent hurricane and flooding, many grocery stores in our town are out of items like bread and milk. After our trip, I sent my husband to the store to purchase hamburger buns, and the entire shelf was cleaned out, and this is a week after the hurricane! As a result, dinners this week will have to come from our food storage, which I haven't had the time to go through yet to determine each meal.

Sunday: Leftovers
Monday: Spaghetti
Tuesday: Brunswick Stew
Wednesday: TBD
Thursday: TBD
Friday: TBD
Saturday: TBD




Nothing special going on. Bridget has dance this week and is looking forward to going, as classes had been cancelled last week. 

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Our Daily Routine {52 Lists}

The perfect word to describe our current routine is chaos. With so many of our belongings in boxes at a storage unit, our routine consists of doing what we need to do all while trying not to lose our sanity.

6:30a-7:00a - The children wake up between these times. My husband sets his alarm for 7, but if the children are still asleep I stay in bed and try to catch a few more minutes of sleep. As soon as I get up, I make the bed and get dressed before heading into the kitchen.

7:30a - Breakfast is served. Because of our current dining table/homeschool table situation (we got rid of our dining table), the kids have been eating breakfast on the couch in front of the television. (I know, I know... I hate it too.)

8:00a -8:30a - Bridget is done eating and gets dressed, and does her other morning chores. George takes longer to eat because he is too preoccupied with the television, and Liam is preoccupied with toys.

8:30a-9:00a - Bridget and I try to begin our school day between these times. We used to do a "morning time" routine but that has been put on hold until after the move. Bridget works on math, spelling, writing, and handwriting. If she is able to work independently, I turn off the television and work with George in the living room (usually math or letters).

11:30a - Time to prepare lunch. If Bridget is done with her independent work, she gets to go play for a few minutes.

12:00p - Lunch time. Lately, this has been taking longer than it needs to.

12:30p-1:00p - Liam finishes his lunch between these times and I get him ready for his nap. Once he is in his room, Bridget, George, and I will work on history, geography, or science. History and geography we do together, but they are both working on science separately. If Bridget is doing science, I get a box of toys down for George (usually his train set or the marble run). I repeatedly tell George to keep his noise level down so that Liam stays asleep. If his behavior has not been good, or if he gets too noisy with the trains, I send him to my room (he shares a room with Liam and will wake him up if he goes in there) with some books and he gets cozy on my bed and "reads". Sometimes he falls asleep.

2:00p - The children's attention spans deteriorate around this time. We used to do "quiet time" after lunch instead of school work but we got behind when we were packing and putting the house up for rent. Quiet time will need to come back after the move. Bridget gets sent to her room to play while George stays either in the living room or on my bed. I get to play on the computer, check e-mails and other social media.

3:00p - Liam wakes up around this time and I serve the children a snack. If Bridget has dance lessons, I get her ready for that and my dad comes over to watch the boys.

4:30p - I start preparing dinner. If the children are playing nicely, I let them continue. If they are fighting, or if Liam is being extra clingy, I turn on the television to keep them distracted while I cook.

5:30p - My husband gets home from work (hallelujah!) and we sit down for dinner.

6:30p - Baths for the children, time with Daddy, or television time. Sometimes I'll take my shower during this time.

7:00p-8:00p - We get the children ready for bed between these times. If it has been a long day (or if it's raining and appears to get dark earlier) we get the children ready for bed at 7. If they're having a good time with Daddy or if naps were extra long, they stay up until 8. We might put on a movie to pass the time 'til they're sleepy enough for bed.

9:00p-12:00p - On a good day, my husband and I sit on the couch and watch television (either NCIS, NCIS: New Orleans, Big Bang Theory, or the news) then head off to bed after the children are asleep. On days that I am battling insomnia (due to worry and stress), I stay up until 12 or sometimes 2 in the morning. Laying in bed waiting to fall asleep makes it worse, so I prefer to be up and doing something on the computer or reading.

So that's it! This is what I do, day after day. It's very dull at the moment because everything we love to do as a family is packed up (games, books, extra school supplies).

Linking Up With:

Halloween Movies for Preschool-Aged Children

Being a mother of young children (ages 2, 4, and 7), I am always on the lookout for ways that they can take part in the fun of Halloween without getting spooked. No parent wants to wake up to the screams of a child who is having a nightmare (or a child who will not fall asleep). Some cable television stations have provided Halloween movie marathons in the month of October, but some of the movies are not appropriate for children of all ages and the commercials throughout the movie are sometimes worse.

My family has turned to online movie streaming and our home movie library for entertainment during Halloween. Here is a list of some of my favorites, both old and new, that I have enjoyed watching with my children, and a few more that your little one might like!

1. It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966) 

As a child of the 80's and 90's, I looked forward to this Peanuts special every October. This October will be the 50th anniversary since its original television debut back in 1966! It was a hit with children then, and now my own children love Charlie Brown. It is a beloved Halloween tradition and will remain so for many years to come. [Rated: NR; Running Time: 25 minutes]

2. Curious George: A Halloween Boo Fest (2013)

I don't know what it is about this little monkey, but my children love him (and I admit, he is quite cute). This Halloween special is very gentle and the material is presented in the least frightening way possible. It has provided much enjoyment for the youngsters.  [Rated: NR; Running Time: 57 minutes]

3. Monsters, Inc. (2001)

Not technically a Halloween movie, but a movie about monsters, particularly the ones that hide in your closet. These monsters are trained to be scary, but turn out to lovable characters with the help of a little girl they've named Boo. [Rated: G; Running Time: 92 minutes]

4. Spookley the Square Pumpkin (2005)

Based on the book The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin. Spookley is a pumpkin who gets teased by the other pumpkins because he is square. Three spiders befriend him and help him, and Spookley is later able to forgive the other pumpkins who teased him by saving their lives. [Rated: G; Running Time: 45 minutes]

5. Eloise's Rawther Unusual Halloween (2008)

I find Eloise delightful, though if you have an extra sensitive preschooler, you may want to watch this film ahead of time to determine whether it is suitable for your youngster. It begins with a short scene of Diamond Jim Johnson crashing his automobile into a horse and carriage on the way to the Plaza. He loses his life and becomes the ghost of the Plaza hotel. The rest of the movie is your typical kid-friendly Halloween movie with ghosts and surprises. [Rated: NR; Running Time: 45 minutes] 

6. Winnie the Pooh's Heffalump Halloween Movie (2005)

If you are familiar with any of the Winnie the Pooh films, you'd know that they are very gentle and appropriate for youngsters. My children love the cute characters and this is not at all spooky. [Rated: G; Running Time: 67 minutes]

7. Room on the Broom (2013)

Based on the book of the same title by Julia Donaldson. A witch and her cat invite other animals onto her broom as they travel along. Other than a scary dragon, this short film is very kid-friendly. [Rated: NR; Running Time: 27 minutes]

8. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Mickey's Monster Musical (2015)

Not at all scary (but provides gentle suspense), and has the typical educational interaction you'd expect from the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse TV show. Join in with "Count Mickula", "Goofymonster", and "Ludwig von Drakenstein". [Rated: NR; Running Time: 115 minutes]

9. The Berenstain Bears: Halloween Treats (2009)

The Berenstain Bears is our favorite children's book series. I read them as a child and my own children now read them. I do not know if the cartoon was around when I was a child, but I have watched the episodes with the children and love to see my favorite childhood books come to life. The episodes are short (about 10 minutes) but there are seven many of them: The Great Bat Cave, The Spookiest Pumpkin, The Trojan Pumpkin, The Missing Pumpkin, The Wicked Weasel Spell, Bust a Ghost, and The Spooky Old Mansion.  [Rated: NR; Running Time: 84 minutes]

10. Magic School Bus: Creepy Crawly Fun (2002)

Includes three episodes of The Magic School Bus, compiled into one DVD. The episodes are in the Haunted House, Going Batty, and Spins A Web. Not only does this Magic School Bus film offer a mild element of creepy, but it is educations, too! [Rated: NR; Running Time: 90 minutes]

Additional Halloween movies for preschoolers:

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