August Goals

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Welcome to my first post about goals since January.

I re-read that post and am pretty happy with this update!

Here are the goals listed in the January post:

My one word is:

gifts.

What I really want in 2015 is:

go to Hawaii.

What I really need in 2015 is:

to organize and simplify my stuff.

What I will share in 2015 is:

my talents and gifts.

In 2015 I will succeed at:

reading 12 books.

Here’s my update:

My gifts as a mother who loves her children and uses Pinterest to cook is still going strong.  I also started a garden after my mother passed and it’s feeding us and our friends plenty of tomatoes and a few carrots.

Carrots & August GoalsMy gift of compromising for the sake of others “feelings” is also going strong.

My gift of crocheting is being underutilized right now, but I sent one blanket to a charity and got rid of some yarn in the process.  That’s a solid win in my opinion.  I still want to get some U.F.O.’s done though.  That needs to finish up the rest of the year for sure.

I can report that I have organized my craft room!  Simplified?  Bah!  At least I can say that I don’t go to the craft store every week like I have in other years.  Another win!

Finally, my main concern in the January post was about reading twelve books.

With this blog post, I’m summing up the books I’ve read this year, and yes, I know I have some work to do for this goal.

With my nine year old child, we completed together the following books from The Chronicles of Narnia Series – “The Boy and the Horse,” “Prince Caspian,” “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader,” and “The Silver Chair,” all written by C.S. Lewis.

My oldest and I read the first two books last year, starting with “The Magician’s Nephew” and then “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.”  (I’m not counting those for the year’s count, of course.)

The entire Narnia Series is amazing.  I have been not only engaged, but have cried with my son, been able to explain things that I as the parent need to explain, and have a new found appreciation for books that have been on my own list to read, but had no idea how beautifully well written they could have ever been.

My favorite out of the entire series has been Prince Caspian, as the book has a depth of love, trust, faith and hope that abounds through the pages.  We are currently reading the last of the seven books, titled The Last Battle.  The entire series has been magical, and I look forward to re-reading them to my two younger ones when they get older.

Another book I count as read this year, again with my oldest, is titled The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes. 
A very simple, realistic type book, my oldest was probably a year too old to have this book read to him, but it was certainly a fun book to read because it was such a sweet, normal-child type of book.  The book reminded me that it’s in the daily life that we really have adventures.  We, as a people in general, don’t look at them that way though.  We think that getting a babysitter or going out to dinner couldn’t possibly an adventure, but in reality, it’s how we look at the experience as how exciting and fun it really can be.  My oldest was able to take an AR test (something our school system uses to get children to read more) and got 100% passing after we finished the book.  An awesome bonus.

My total of books read all the way through with my nine-year old is five (5).

FIVE BOOKS! YAY!  While that may not seem like much to others, I am truly excited to be able to report that.  We’ll be kicking out the last Narnia Series book probably within the month, and have to agree on what to read next.  I’m leaning toward the Roald Dahl Collection, but we MIGHT give the Lord of the Rings Series a try next.  I’ll talk about it with him as his next school year starts in late August and I think he’ll get more out of the Roald Dahl books than the Lord of the Rings in fourth grade.

I’ve been working on a book for over a year now as it takes space up in my crochet bag to read at swim lessons and other waiting rooms of the sort.  I have Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze’s Smart Money Smart Kids book that I’m just over three-quarters of the way read.  The book reads pretty quickly, but I’ve crammed other important books into it’s place over the past eight months of the year.  I looked back to when I reported first reading this book, and I’m slightly embarrassed to say it was the first week of this year.  Oh well, that just tells me that I have some more reading to do.

One of the books that has been crammed into my crochet bag was given to me by my trainer, titled Ready to Run: Unlocking Your Potential to Run Naturally, by Dr. Kelly Starrett with T. J. Murphy. 
While looking at the book (when writing this blog post,) I gave witness to the fact that if I just put in about one more hour of reading on it, I’ll be done with it and can utilize the exercises in the book to help me run.

Goal No. 1 for August: Finish reading the book, Ready to Run.

Lastly, just this last Sunday prior to this post, our teaching minister challenged the congregation to read one or more books as a “book club” for the entire church body.  I picked up two books that day, one titled Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road? by Brian D. McLaren.  I haven’t opened that book as of this blog post, but the title intrigues me and I certainly want to learn more about it’s tag line of “Christian identity in a multi-faith world.”

The second book I picked up was recommended by one of my friends, and reads more like a novel than a “church” book.  It’s titled Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint, by Nadia Bolz-Weber, and this book is not for the new Christ follower.

I’ve been a believer in Christ my entire life.  The author of the book Pastrix has a surprisingly similar upbringing in the Church of Christ, as I did, but that’s where the similarities end.  She has a funny, explicit, and often sad way of looking at things, but then again, don’t we all….

As I write this post, I am almost done reading the book Pastrix.  I picked it up on and it’s Wednesday.  I will finish it by next Sunday.  It’s that good.  It’s that well written.  And then I’m going to read it again and highlight all the points I agree with and may bring up in a future book club discussion.

Goal No. 2 for August: Finish the book, Pastrix.

Goal No. 3 for August: Begin the book Why did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha and Mohammed Cross the Road?

Goal No. 4 for August: Continue to pray for good weather and safe passage to and from Hawaii.

I won’t be sharing when we’re leaving, but this is the month to get the one “goal” I listed as “what I really wanted” this year crossed off the list.

And finally, Goal No. 5 for August: Post at least five blog posts this month.

I feel like I’m cheating on this one a little, because I’ve already written two, (that’s including this one!) but it’s still a mighty goal for a full-time working mommy who does this for fun!

As always, I know I’ll get many things accomplished along the way this month and keep trying to complete projects.  But at least I’ve spelled them out!  Keep learning friends.  I hope you can check out many of the books I’ve been enjoying this year!


Christmas Gifts for My Kiddos

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Believe me when I say, I am all about the home made gifts.  I love to crochet and I try to make gifts throughout the year for my family and friends that they can use and cherish as the handmade items they are.

However –

We also save money all year long to purchase gifts for our niece and nephews, as well as gifts for our children. We put money aside every month just for Christmas and it’s related expenses that inevitably come with having three children and a large tribe of people that invite us to white elephant gift parties.

For the most part, our children receive one gift from mom and dad, and those gifts are usually the “big” gifts.  We’ve given our children bikes, a Power Wheels Jeep Wrangler (a family gift) and our oldest received the Harry Potter: The Complete 8-Film Collection set one year, a $75 value when we purchased it years ago.  You get the idea right?

 My children usually know what they want.  We don’t write Santa a list, but I do take them to either Target or Toys-R-Us to get a solid idea, and my children have wish lists on Amazon for family to pick a gift that they really want.  It works for us and I am a realist.

Want to know my viewpoint on Santa?  Read it here: Our Christmas Countdown – Part 1

I get the whole idea that your presence is the present, but believe me when I say, my children love to get gifts for Christmas.

Real Kids - Real Wish Lists

 With that said, I bring to you my children’s top things they want this year.  I’ve been asked before by other grandparents what they can give their grandchildren.  This post is an extension to those questions, as I know there are probably others who want to get gifts that real kids want, not just suggestions made by adults on random gift-giving lists.

I’ll give you some toy/gadget ideas, but I also let you know what books my kids are into as well as movies for other ideas.


The rowdy 3-year old.

The rowdy 3-year old.

Our youngest is the dancer of the family.  He hears a song and begins to dance like no one is watching.

It’s awesome!

On his wish list this year is stuff mostly from movies and shows he’s watched recently enough to be burned into his memory.  There are also bigger things, that he probably won’t get, but I’d thought I list them anyway.

(Links will take you to Amazon.com, but many of the items can be found at Walmart.com, Target, some at Walgreens or other common American retailers.)

For the most part, he would like vehicles and things that make noises.  He also likes to watch movies over and over again and even though we try to read to him, he still has the attention span of a 3-year old, so he will sit for about 10-minutes tops.

(1) Buzz Lightyear (from the Toy Story Movies)

(2) Lightning McQueen R/C Racer (from the Cars Movies)

(3) Red, Pull-Back Fire Truck, who is the fire engine from the Cars Movies

Red, the fire engine from the Cars movies

Zoomer Dino – Available at Toys-R-Us or Amazon

(4) What he has asked for specifically, but will probably not receive: A Zoomer Dino

(5) He also wanted a Nerf gun (specifically a zombie blaster Nerf gun), but I think it was primarily because we told him he couldn’t have a Fart Blaster (from the Despicable Me movies.)

Books: Pretty much anything that makes noise or does something.  While at Toys-R-Us, he asked for this one: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Lights On, Lights Off!

Blue-Ray’s/DVD’s/Movies: We own many movies including both Despicable Me titles (he loves the purple minions!) and both Cars movies, which are two of his favorite series.  This year, we have Planes: Fire and Rescue and Monster’s University on his wish list.

Princess Pic-watermarkedOur princess usually gets what she wants because she’s the only girl on one side of the family, and the oldest girl on the other.  All of the grandmother’s love to shop for clothes for her and she loves beautiful dresses, Hello Kitty everything, and just like all other five-year old girls in America, is obsessed with Frozen. She has all the clothes she needs, enjoys crafts she can do by herself, colorful items and loves boots just like me.

The No. 1 thing she wants this year: Hello Kitty Stereo Boom Box

 (2)Pillow Pets® Glow Pets Rainbow Unicorn

(3) Disney Frozen, Toddler Dolls Gift Set

(4) A learning item that she was interested in was the Magformers Inspire 30 piece set

(5) The thing she asked for but probably won’t be getting this year: Hello Kitty Drum Set.

Books: Anything with strong girls in it is what she clearly has been wanting to read about and aloud to.  She can’t quite read chapter books, but we have been reading Junie B. Jones books together and she asked for Pinkalicious: Teeny Tiny Pinky Library books.  The other set of books on her wish list are Whatever After 5 Book Set Pack. Those books are the kind to be read together with a parent, so life topics can be discussed in the home.

 Blue-Ray’s/DVD’s/Movies: We surprisingly don’t own many of the Disney “older” movies that I am familar with that she has watched on Netflix or we rented.  Those movies include Mary Poppins, Fantasia, and Beauty and the Beast.

Lastly, there’s our oldest – A nine-year old boy who thinks he knows everything and is amazed when he learns something new.

RJ Pic-WatermarkedRight now, my oldest is into video games, specifically Mine Craft, Terraria and all things Lego.

He’s asked for an Ipad Mini for his birthday, and has saved and spent all his money on one.  With that said, the first thing he asked for was Itunes gift cards.

(2) Nerf Zombie Strike Sling Fire Blaster

(3) His present from his parents (don’t tell him if you know him please!) is a Disney Infinity 2.0 Marvel Super Heroes Video Game Starter Pack – PlayStation 3.  We own a PS3 so if you get this for someone or your own child, ensure it’s for the gaming system the child owns.  He would also be happy with additional Infinity Characters.

From the movie Big Hero 6, a rocket fist and mask is on the wish list for the 9 year old.


(4) From the new movie, Big Hero 6, he’s asked for a Big Hero 6 Baymax Rocket Fist and Mask

(5) Combining two of the things he’s into right now, any one of the Lego Minecraft Set (s) are also on his list.

 Books: He’s really into the Diary Of A Wimpy Kid Series.  It’s definitely meant for older children, but I’ve read and watched the movies and it’s nothing he can’t ask us questions about and thankfully, he has. I have been reading The Complete Adventures of the Borrowers to him for the past year, and we are almost done with the final book.  He has surprisingly enjoyed the classic stories, and as mentioned before, we have been able to talk about various things that happen in the book that don’t happen anymore because of when the book was originally written.

 Blue-Ray’s/DVD’s/Movies: On his wish list this year was Madagascar 3, How to Train Your Dragon 2 and Guardians of the Galaxy.  I watched the Guardians movie with him in the theater and I think I’m getting it for Christmas, but you get the idea….

Anyway, I hope this list helps someone!  Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and remember the reason of the season this year!