October 31, 2011

monday business

There's a few items up for discussion this morning. Things that will not rest till they are discussed. So,




1. Christmas planning- did you make a planner last week? I loved all your comments on last week's post about Christmas planning. Do you not love making lists?! Is it just me?? K, I know you're with me :)
Anyway, I did make my planner. I made a list of handmade things I want to make and made lists of things I need to order/go buy. I made a rough draft of things I need to accomplish each week so I'm not freaking on December 15th. And please know that when I say "things to accomplish" it's like: print return address labels and replenish my wrapping paper stock...not that difficult. I realized that I try to do too much (who doesn't) and then get frustrated because I can't get it all done.

So I'm trying to be more realistic. Like I'm not going to be able to give my sister a hand knitted sweater made by me. 1. she hates sweaters 2. I don't knit...UNrealistic.




2. Heathy things- on Monday I posted a little list of goals for myself (I must've been feeling really driven last week, huh?) about some things I wanted to do to make myself feel better. Drink more water, get more sleep, etc. I've been doing OK.

Like I've probably gotten a B-. OR C+. I've been drinking lots of water and eating almost no sugar, so that's good. But the sleep thing? Hmmmm. And the exercise thing? no. I have a somewhat good excuse for that, but I'll share that later. We did go on a pretty vigorous hike yesterday, so that counts, right?





3. Happy Halloween!
We dressed the kids up on Saturday for a little shindig at our new church. I have to be honest...I usually love dressing them up like whatever...this year has just been too crazy. I didn't put any thought into their costumes at all. I sat down one day last week and made Sophia a poofy witch tutu (so easy) and bought the boys two black sweat suits at Wally and called them Ninjas. That's what they wanted and I refuse to spend $15 on dumb costumes they wear for an hour. So there ya go. Do you remember last year??

Star Wars kids?? Loved their costumes last year!

and the year before that?? They couldn't make a decision for the life of them...so they came up with

Three Amigos.

So that's it for Monday business. Thank you for attending this meeting. :)



Happy Halloween!

xo,
{alicia}

Miscellany Monday @
lowercase letters

October 29, 2011

the {new} children's quarters

Since we're starting to feel a bit more settled and I've gotten a few things hung up on the walls, I decided to show you around my temporary place.
We'll start one room at a time, since well...there's not a lot of areas that are show worthy yet.

So here we are: the kids' quarters.

I made the executive decision to put all three kids in one room.
Going from a 4 bedroom to a 3 bedroom with no basement and lots less storage, I am learning to be creative. I thought if they were all in one room then I'd have another bedroom to work with. (which is now the school room)


I love arranging furniture. If you have a furniture issue, call me! I'd love to help you solve it. :) I love it. Anyway, I was trying to be creative in here. None of their stuff matches, and it's all from different rooms and that's very obvious.
Since they are all sharing now I still wanted them to feel like they had their own "space."


I left a space at the head of their beds to make a little nook for each of them...boys side and girls side. So behind Sophia's bed is her little bookshelf we repainted together and her toys, books, and kitchen.



On the boy's side is their big floor pillows so they can snuggle in and read...and they do often there.








Not every piece of the kids' furniture could fit in the room. Sophia's pink dresser is in the closet and the boys' bookshelf is in the hallway outside their room.



So there's the house tour, part 1. It's weird decorating a place that's not yours. Everything feels so temporary, I'm not really excited to get into any major projects or anything right now. It makes me tired just thinking about moving again when we find a house :-/ I am excited for house hunting again though. That's sooo much fun!

Better run, we have a full weekend ahead...although I'd much prefer sitting on the couch all weekend right now!

xo,
{alicia}

October 26, 2011

what i'm working on today...

I realize posts like this may completely annoy other people. And to be honest, I've been annoyed at them myself. I try to be organized, and I am for the most part. But a lot of the time I feel like an organized wannabe, feeling slightly annoyed that others can have everything done, including their Christmas shopping, three months ahead of time.



With that said, I do happen to be an avid dayplanner person, I like the real paper kind, not the kind on my phone, but that's just me. When I was flipping ahead to November I saw my "to do" on November 1st (written on about January 1st.) was to "start Christmas planning." Now besides being a paper calendar girl, I'm also a traditional girl. I like to keep things within their boundaries of time. I don't get any trace of Christmas out until after Thanksgiving. I love the feeling of shopping with snowflakes and Christmas music in December. I like to keep Christmas to Christmastime.

BUT, if you recall, I had a less than ecstatic holiday last year. It just felt flat and blah. Maybe I was slightly depressed, who could ever know? But after Christmas I did realize that a lot of my stress came from just being under prepared. I wanted to do all these fun things, but for me if I don't stay organized, it just doesn't get done. With a business, three kids, and the responsibility of homeschooling, this mama needs to stay on her toes...I need to be organized.


So after Christmas last year, I immediately tried to figure myself out and how to make this year better. I was at the library and I stumbled upon this book, Simplify Your Holidays.  I know the author would hate me to say this, but you can get the just of what you need to know my clicking on "search inside" and see her timelines, etc. There's a lot of lists and calendars and TONS of tips too if you want to buy it.  The biggest thing I got from reading this planner is that she starts planning on November 1st. I loved this because it's not in July (who wants to think about Christmas then??).  I'm starting this a few days before November 1st, just to get a jump start. She suggests buying all your gifts the first few weeks in December. I'm not going to do that because I just like the feeling of shopping in December. :) But I am definitely going to implement some of her ideas, most of all getting started early. For me, starting to think about Christmas on December 1st, especially when I have grand plans of handmade gifts and craft projects with kids, is just too late. I feel scattered from the get-go.

So here's what I'm doing today. Thank you pinterest for providing your sweet inspiration all year long :)

1. Make a Christmas planner.  I made one last year with a group of friends. It was so handy. All my lists in one spot, an envelope for receipts and coupons...beautiful! They are super easy to make too. I saved mine from last year and had written notes to myself for this year. I love that...



2. Advent calendar. I have previously done THIS. It's so fun and I love it, but I do love trying new things too. I loved this spin on an advent calendar and I love how she styled it all...so fun! Today I'll be making a list of what I want to do everyday for this and make a list of supplies to pick up.  You must go read this post...not sure what I think of the elf dropping things off in your room each night...sounds a bit  "Chucky-ish" to me, but that's just my opinion.



Oh, and while I'm on my soapbox about elves, are you familiar with
"the elf on the shelf?" I have never read the book, but I heard the song 40 billion times in Barnes and Noble last year. A bit freaky? I don't know if I have a complex or what...the elf on the shelf is watching you, watching you, watching you. The elf on the shelf is watching you, each and every day. Spine-chilling. I'm so sorry if you have one of these...it's just my personal opinion of elves in general. Ok, moving on....

3. Handmade gifts. I love giving these kinds of gifts. It feels so personal to me. With the move and all that expense, I want to find some cute, affordable, fun things to make and send to my friends and family. Today I'm going to nail down what I'm making and make a list of what I need to buy.


Source: None via Alicia on Pinterest



4. Christmas photo. I have a few ideas, but I need to finalize what we're doing. Then make arrangements to take a photo of some sort. I would love to hear what you're doing and if you have any fun links to share!

5. Crafts. We don't do very much school during the month of December...pretty much a math lesson and we're good. There's too much fun stuff going on. A few years ago I did a "12 days of Christmas crafts"niece. She loved it and I would love to do that for her again...must plan that too :)





So that's my day...and my super long post to tell you about it! :)  Are you planning for Christmas yet? Are you done with your shopping? Do you have any pointers? I love hearing your thoughts! Have a funtastic day, sweet things.

xo,
{alicia}

October 25, 2011

virtual coffee/reality coffee


Sometimes in this big ol' blog world it's nice to shrink it down a bit...
trade the virtual for reality once in a while. I met my first blog friend in January,
and she has become one of my dearest friends. So after many exchange emails, I was excited to hear that craft extraordinaire, Sarah Tucker, would be joining in on her hubby's business trip in Asheville to come and meet me!

We met downtown at Asheville's famous Tupelo Honey.
It was delish! Sweet potato pancakes?? UMMMM sure! I also love how they serve everything with biscuits here. By the time I eat a biscuit, I don't want my food...I'm too full! Must find some balance here. Moving on....


Sarah and I are two creatives trying to balance kids, husbands, blogging, crafting, and other activities. She's also planning on homeschooling her young brood of boys.
We chatted on and on...well, as well as we could with 5 kids :)


This was a multifunction trip for Sarah. Her hubby was here on business and she has family all along the way to Asheville. So her parents rode along so they could visit family too.
Her parents were the sweetest things ever! I loved them!
They got me more acquainted with the lingo and the culture, as I still am in a foreign country in my opinion. :)


After breakfast, Sarah and I walked the kids down the street to a craft fair.
We had a chance to browse and talk about future meet-ups. I think we may have a few tricks up our sleeves, Sarah and me :) The kids watched the crafters and bonded.
I love how kids do that so quickly.


She left back to Raleigh Saturday afternoon, but before she left Sarah came and joined me on a little junking trip. Great way to end a visit!

I loved meeting Ms. Sarah...the perfect example of a Southern Belle :)
So as far as virtual and reality coffees go, there's a time and place for both of them.
Meeting a blogger in real life is just the coolest. It is a bit match.com or blind dating-ish, but it's terrific all the same. I went into it knowing I was meeting either a new friend or an acquaintance, and I'm happy to say that she is definitely a new friend.


PS: Downtown Asheville is super cool and crazy...and cool. I loved it there!
Thanks for sharing a virtual coffee with me talking about my real life coffee.
Who knows...maybe your new best friend is reading your blog right now! :)

xo,
{alicia}


October 24, 2011

here's to health!

Before I start, can I just say that y'all know how to make a girl feel loved.
Like really loved. I loved your comments after Friday's post and I have reread them several times over the weekend. I loved your behind-the-scenes emails, texts, calls too.
I'm doing well. I know I'll have harder days than others. Thank you for helping me feel so loved :)


This is a quick Monday post, posted purely for accountability sake.
So...the last few weeks I've not felt good at all. Just really headachy, icky feeling.
You know, not like, not functioning. Just not good.
I fully realize that alot of this is probably just due to the time change, big ol' move, eating out more than normal, stress, etc.
BUT, I think it's high time I snapped my body back into some normalcy.


I think there are several key things that are making me feel under the weather
and this is what I'm going to be working on these next few weeks.

1. WATER! I do not drink enough water at all! Jarrod's always getting after me about that and I think being properly hydrated is ultra important.
Goal: 8 big glasses per day.

2. SUGAR! When I'm stressing, I just grab whatever is in sight. This, my friends, is no good.
Goal: NO SUGAR for 4 weeks. (be with me, Jesus)

3. SLEEP! I think it's just the whole circumstance thing, but I just haven't been getting enough sleep at all. Maybe the first week we were in Asheville, and me staying up till 2 am every night didn't help, but my sleep is all messed up. I bought some EXTRA Sleepytime Tea and I'm gonna drink it!
Goal: 8 hours per night.


4. EXERCISE: I don't want to totally overwhelm myself by setting ridiculous goals, but I know I need to get out and run at least three times a week. It's so much harder without my running partner in crime, Gina, but I just have to make myself.
Goal: run 3x per week

So there it is for all to see, and hold me accountable.
I'll let you know how I'm doing occasionally.

Ok, that's it. I start today!! Yeah for health and not feeling sleepy and headachy!
Yeah!

And I cannot wait to share about my weekend! Be back tomorrow! :)

xo,
{alicia}

October 21, 2011

there needed to be at least one like this.

I was hoping we could skip over a post like this...merrily doe-see-doe to the next step, locking arms with the next dancer and move on. But apparently when a big life change happens, it doesn't work like that.




Tuesday after the kids were in bed, the doubt started creeping around my head. Without boxes and kids to distract me I was left with nothing but a snoring husband and this deep feeling of "we just left our entire family and everything we know and here we are in a 'foreign country' and I miss my people." I'm not ashamed to tell you it took hours to fall asleep Tuesday night and it eventually ended with me face down in my pillow bawling my eyes out.

Wednesday didn't bring much reprieve. It was cloudy and rainy, a sad day in general. If you've ever cried yourself to sleep you know it doesn't make for a very good feeling when you wake up. My head ached all day. I was short with my kids. It was a messy ponytail, no make up kinda day.

I haven't seen my mama's face in two weeks. That has to be a record. To some that may be the regular, but to us it is not. That same Tuesday when the icky started setting in I flipped on the TV and started watching the Parenthood show everyone seems to be talking about. And if you've ever seen it, well that is us. Sharing meals because it just happens to be Tuesday, birthdays, opinions flying, advice giving, arguments that get worked out by a slug to the bicep. Us.


And I love it.

Did we just ruin everything? Will it ever be even close to the same? Will it be the same, but different? I wish I could peek at a year from now just to know for sure it will be OK. Will dinners on Tuesday just sort of meld into packages of heartfelt gifts and extra special visits? I so wish I could just have a peek.

Wednesday night was different. We skirted away to a dinner for two while the kids were at church. While there, Jarrod who is forever my voice of reason helped me out of my funk. Thursday was different. Thursday was good.





I changed my tune on Thursday


I have two choices. I can either picture my people's faces that night before we left....sad, nervously joking, my not so little brother wiping tears away and squeezing every last moment in with us that he could. I can take that and let it sink me, put me in a storm of doubt, but I'm much too much of a "get on with it girl" to do that. Instead of "oh my gosh Lord, what were you thinking??" I can call my sister and hear her sweet voice, tell her I love her (buy her a ticket to come see me....tomorrow;)) I can send my brother a text to remind him that I love with all my heart (and buy him a ticket to come and see me....tomorrow;))

Moral? I know we're here for a reason. I know God didn't make a mistake. Has He ever?

I just needed you to know that I do have a heart. I feel like maybe I've portrayed this whole thing being easier than it actually has. It hasn't all been crunchy leaves and good food up in here.



This is me...this morning. 6:30. You might be thinking, oh! she uses that BedHead styling product. No sista, this is actually bed head.


I am meeting a blog friend today, Sarah. I'm venturing downtown to meet her. Everyday is something new, something different. I am figuring out more and more that life as I knew it is not the same. And that's OK. It is painful, but exciting all at once.


I'm guessing there will be days like this. Days where I need an extra hour on the phone with a friend, an extra cuppa joe...or 3, a cut-yourself-some-slack talking to. But Wednesday was my first real one.

To those of you who've been in my shoes, I'm so glad you survived...mentally :) There's hope for me yet!
Thanks so much for reading and letting me spill it to y'all.

xo,
{alicia}

October 20, 2011

nature walks


Pretty much every day since we've been in North Carolina, we find ourselves outside doing something. And inevitably we find something we didn't have in South Dakota...like GINORMOUS Daddy Long leg spiders or different plants, like bamboo...
it all makes for great nature walking.


I've always loved nature walks with the kids. It's just so peaceful and so opposite of the screaming TV (who else thinks the Disney channel is just stupid...we hooked our cable up again because it was super cheap...don't ask me why we did that),
no phones, no computer...just us and nature.


This week in science we're learning about non vascular plants, so we went out looking for moss. And we found lots!


I love having nature study just be laid back and loose, but it's nice to have something to guide you a little bit and help organize your thoughts...or give you direction as to what to look for.  It makes it more of a scavenger hunt and purposeful.


I looked everywhere for GOOD resources on nature study that I liked and came up short every time, but I finally found the perfect resource.

Nature Explorers are wonderful for nature studies...
have a ton of information, print outs, ideas, and extra reading resource lists.
I LOVE these ebooks.
They are affordable and totally adaptable to any style of homeschooler you are.



Remember way back when, when we made dye out of walnuts?? We got the idea from this book...
We've done numerous fun nature activities using these books,
and until December, you can get the "Fungus Among Us" book for only $6!
If you're not into fungus, there's also books on
Butterflies
Conifer trees (great for Christmas time)
Rocks
Animals signs
Fruits and Nuts
Cold Weather
Rain
Snow
Spiders
and more!

Here's the link to see for yourself...


I hope you are enjoying the fall weather like we are!

October 17, 2011

my new backyard


Yesterday we decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather and travel the 6 miles (or something like that) to Blue Ridge Parkway.  It's a scenic route on a mission to trump all scenic routes.  It was a gorgeous Sunday drive.




Not to stereotype, but everyone here seems to eat fried chicken (said with a NC accent of course). And in South Dakota we do not have the privilege of dining at Bojangles. SO we thought we'd see what all the fuss was about. (also on Friday we went to an apple orchard and EVERYONE there had these big boxes from Bojangles and I was not about to feel left out again!) Bojangles is a great name by the way.
Our tailgate chicken dinner came with alllll the fixin's: spicy beans, coleslaw, dirty rice, and biscuits. (said with a NC accent again...what can I say. it's contagious)


A heart shaped chicken breast...really? We heart Bojangles :)



We walked on trails, stopped at look-out spots, found cool leaves and plants, sprinted passed "frequent bear sightings" signs.
Generally just stood in awe of our surroundings all day long.
Our minds couldn't help but gravitate to God's creativity and majesty.
What an awesome God to do this.
Wouldn't you just love a narrative of that day in creation?
"Now over here I'll just put 30 bajillion trees so people can drive through here someday and gawk at my creation."

Yes, He indeed put on a show for us yesterday.


And today starts a brand new week in our new environment.
I've made a list a mile long, just like always.
We're starting school up again today after a little "fall break".
And we're going to be doing some more exploring.


Happy Monday to you. And you. Any you!

xo,
{alicia}


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