Tag Archives: Kids

Reflections of a Soccer Mom

22 Apr

Easter 2013 041


For the past 10 days I have been a soccer mom to two of my cousins while their parents were away in Hawaii.  I thought it might be fun to share what it was like being a soccer mom from someone who actually isn’t in that stage of life yet.  I realize it’s coming and it scares me!

  • It really made me think about the future and how children’s activities can really impact a family.  My two cousins aren’t really involved in that many activities compared to a lot of other children.  One plays baseball and the other is involved in Girl Scouts and plays soccer.  They do not have any activities on Sundays which is wonderful.  At three years old Eli is only involved in a handful of activities: Sunday School, Wednesday Night Church, Flower Buds (a monthly class for 3-5 year olds at our extension office), and the occasional play date.  In the past he has also taken swim lessons and attended StoryTime weekly.  One drastic difference I noticed was that except for Wednesday Night activities, all of Eli’s activities happen during the day so our nights stay fairly open.  When we do have activities they usually start at 6:30 which allows us plenty of time to eat dinner as a family.  Our family attends church together on Wednesday evenings and the hubby works on Tuesday nights.  On some days a cousin would have practice from 5-7 which is right during dinner time.  I felt bad eating without the cousin who was at ball practice but by the time we would get home from picking him up at practice it would be 7:20 which is way to late to eat dinner.
  •  Honestly it’s been a year or two since I got up regularly at 6am (I much prefer 7am).  Most days I had to wake up both cousins and get Eli ready to go since I had to drive the kids to school.  I’m also pregnant and want to sleep all the time but I successfully got the kids to school ON TIME every single day.  Their school started at 7:25 which just seemed insanely early to me.  I believe my biggest accomplishment from the past week was getting the kids to school on time every day.  I had to call my mom up and apologize to her for all of the times that I got mad at her when I was late for school which was not very often.
  • Some nights you don’t get near as much sleep as you plan on!  One school night the dog set off the house alarm when he went downstairs.  I was jolted out of bed to the sound of the super loud alarm going off (not the regular alarm that goes off when you set off the alarm.)  The lights came on and the alarm company called to see if we were okay.  I was so embarrassed to tell them that everything was fine and that it was just the dog.  Then Eli woke up and started screaming from all of the noise and not knowing where his parents were.  It took about two hours for me to get back to sleep and then my cousin came in because she was scared (it was storming).  Nevertheless the kids were at school by 7:20!  🙂
  • Overall despite the early hours and crazy amount of driving around I had a nice time.  I’m sure if I were asked again I would probably say yes.

I have a new understanding when a fellow mom looks at me and shares that she is overwhelmed and exhausted.  Honestly I can’t imagine keeping up such a crazy schedule all of the time.  I felt like all I did was drive!  I have a good 2-3 years before we plan on contemplating Eli playing organized sports or taking lessons of any sort and for that I am incredibly thankful.  I will be treasuring the uncomplicated/simple days of my 3-year-old.  In fact I think I will go outside and see if we can find any bugs right now.  It sure beats driving!  🙂



Eli’s Big Announcement

2 Mar
Elijah is SO excited!

Elijah is SO excited!

Words really cannot express just how excited we are to share that we are expecting another little Emerson this fall!  Truly children are a blessing from the Lord and we are so excited.  We are actually due in October so I’ll probably be referring to our baby as “Our Little Pumpkin.”  🙂

It was so fun to tell Elijah because he had been asking for a baby.  I told him if he wanted a baby that he needed to pray for one.  He prayed for a baby all the time.  Isn’t that the sweetest thing?  He prayed numerous times everyday that God would send our family a baby and then God did!  I really hope that Eli remembers praying for a baby and then God answering his prayers!  1 Samuel 1:27 is taking on a whole new meaning in our household: “For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to Him.”

I’m still in my first trimester but I am feeling okay.  I’m slightly nauseated but nothing serious like when I was expecting Elijah.  I had extreme morning sickness for months and months.  So far I don’t feel much like eating and all I want to do is sleep but I can handle that!    This pregnancy feels very different from my last.  When I was pregnant with Elijah I was a newlywed and still in school full-time!  Now the hubby and I have been married for four years, we have a three-year old, and I am blessed to be able to stay at home with my family.  It’s nice to no longer be in school full-time while pregnant but I do have a VERY energetic little boy.  Thankfully we have gotten into a nice routine where Eli is taking a nice nap in the afternoon so that I can rest or sleep for a while.  I’m not able to take a nap everyday but just laying down to rest has been very helpful.  The hubby is taking super good care of me and even washing some dishes.  🙂

Was there a time in your child’s life when they prayed for something and then God answered their prayer? 

Fun with Toddlers: Snow Play

24 Feb
Elijah loved playing with snow in the bath tub.

Elijah loved playing with snow in the bath tub.


We have had some strange weather the past couple of weeks.  It feels like Spring is about to come and then it snows again.  We’ve been trying to embrace the crazy weather the past couple of months while we wait expectantly for Spring to come.  It snowed a couple of weeks ago but it was just too cold to play outside even all bundled up in snow pants.

Absolutely captivated.

Absolutely captivated.

Brandon was kind enough to go outside and bring it a couple buckets of snow.  We dumped all of the snow into our bath tub.  I found some of Eli’s bath toys and a few kitchen utensils for him to play with.  🙂  He had a ball and played in there for a long time.

February 2012 002-copy_edited-1


We are anticipating more snow this week so we might just do this again before Spring comes.  It was the perfect activity for a very active little boy on a cold Winter’s Day.

He was being a stinker and wouldn't look at me.

He was being a stinker and wouldn’t look at me.

We also made Snow Cream together later that evening.  (We didn’t use the snow that was in the bath tub.)  🙂

Frugal Things I Did Last Week

20 Nov

One of our favorite frugal spots-A.J. Jolly Park. We went kayaking here nearly every week since this spring!

Hope everyone is having a wonderful Thanksgiving week.  We are having a great time hanging out and spending time with family in Arkansas this week.  

This Week’s Frugal Activities: 

I cooked a turkey-that’s right a whole turkey for my little family.  It works out great since I was able to get the turkey for .49/pound which is way cheaper than a whole chicken.  A friend of mine gave me a turkey roaster so it is even easier now.  I also made homemade turkey broth.  

We had dinner for my parents in honor of their 32nd wedding anniversary instead of going out to eat at a restaurant.  (Dinner at a restaurant would have cost well over $100 for 10 people.)  All five of my brothers and sisters also came over making it a dinner for 10!  I served Chicken Divan (using Turkey), canned green beans from the garden, salad, apple cake, and banana pudding.  It was a great way to honor my parents and we all had a lot of fun.  I was probably in high school the last time I saw my parents on their anniversary so this was extra special.

I sewed a flannel pillowcase for Eli using scrap fabric I found in my stash.  It even matches a warm flannel sheet I made him last year.  You can make really cute sheets for your baby or toddler using just 2 yard of fabric.  Here is a really simple tutorial to make your own.  If you are new to sewing a pillowcase is a wonderful first project.  🙂

I sent a free card to a solider from shutterfly.

I ordered a piano book for my student on amazon rather than spend the gas money (and time) to drive 30 minutes to the music store.

I had my aunt and cousin over for a play-date   Elijah and Anna had a great time playing together and it was fun to catch up with my aunt.  I made Creamy Veggie Chicken Soup and grilled cheese for lunch.  It was frugal, simple, and delicious. I had my mom fix my serger rather than taking it to a sewing repair shop. Elijah and I made Chocolate Chip Bananna Muffins.  Muffins are one of Eli’s favorites.  He loves to make them and eat them!  I love being able to control the ingredients.

I repaired a shirt that had a hole in it.  Not only did I save the money of purchasing a new shirt but I saved the time it would take to buy another one.

What frugal things have you done this week?  

Frugal Things I Did Last Week

9 Nov

We have been enjoying lots of time on the playground lately. On cold days we just bundle up! One of the great perks to living right next door to the church-we have a playground in our backyard!

I sewed a Crayon Roll as part of a birthday gift.  I had all of the materials on hand even the crayons.  (I always keep an extra pack or two on hand.)  The other part of the birthday gift was a cute little nightgown I purchased on clearance dirt cheap.  I re-used a gift bag and purchased an inexpensive card at the Dollar General. 

I sewed a birthday gift for my sister.  It turned out super cute!  I can’t wait to show you all.  🙂 

My son Elijah wore a Dinosaur Costume that I made for him the week before.  It probably cost about the same as a cheap costume from Walmart but I like to think the quality was a little better.  (It isn’t likely to rip and I’m sure he will be using it to play for at least the next year or so.)

I purchased a couple much-needed items for Elijah at Goodwill’s 1/2 price sale on Friday.  Hopefully now he will be able to squeak by until Christmas with the clothes he has now.  I had a great time dressing Eli up in his new clothes for church today.  I also purchased two Christmas gifts, garland, and a nice Snowman bowl for our Christmas Open House. 

We used a great Buy One Get Free Breakfast coupon and had brunch at Bob Evans.  We all had water to drink (no stupid tax for us) and I shared my meal with Eli.  We save lots of money by usually getting drinks and rarely getting Eli a kid’s meal.  Restaurant portions are so large that there is always plenty for me to share with Elijah.  The only exception to this is usually when we are travelling.  We usually do purchase kids meals and milk for Elijah. 

We went to the library and came home with a stack of books, magazines, and movies.  One of the books I brought home was a book I almost purchased on Amazon.  So glad I waited!  It turned out to be not that great. 

 I read Beverly Lewis’ new book that I received in the mail free as a book reviewer.  It was really good too!  😉 

I went to dinner with friends and used a coupon that a friend brought along.  I drank water (to save money and calories).  We all had a blast and it turned out to be fairly inexpensive for eating out on a Friday night. 

I cooked a pot of Black Beans (a pound of dried beans).  We love black beans at our house and cooking them myself is much cheaper than buying canned black beans.  I buy my black beans in a 10 pound bag at Sam’s for around 1.00 a pound.  I cook them seasoned with spices and tomatoes.  We eat them over Cous Cous for dinner.  Then I freeze the rest in 2 cup increments in the freezer.  Most of the meals that I make that call for black beans call for 1 15 oz. can of black beans which is about 2 cups.  These beans are MUCH better than the canned beans you buy. 

What sort of frugal activities have you been up to?

Elijah’s Dinosaur Costume: McCall’s 6185 or MP249 Review

4 Nov

Eli love love loved his costume!


I’m not sure what I was thinking when I decided to sew Elijah a dinosaur costume.  I definitely WASN’T thinking about the 80 steps involved!  I ended up skipping a few but there were 70 steps to this project no joke!  This was my first attempt at sewing a costume and I think I probably should have settled for a superhero cape and mask like my friend Erin made.

Eli had an absolute blast dressing up and having fun at our church’s Trunk or Treat.


I won’t lie.  This project was LONG.  Just cutting out all of the pieces took 2 1/2 hours!  I should have known then this project would take forever.  😉  I seriously considered giving up and scrapping this project but I persevered.  Elijah was giddy with excitement over the prospect of his costume.  He would sit and watch me sew for what seemed like forever.  Periodically he would come into the sewing room and ask if he could try it on.  😉  It did take all of my free time for 3 days straight but I finished it.  The face below made it all worth it!

The face that made all of the long sewing hours worth it!

I sewed view B in a size 3.  The measurements on the envelope are not helpful at all.  My son is 37″ tall and this costume was really big on him.  (He wears size 3t ready-made clothing.) As far as the actual sewing goes I did make a few slight changes.  I did not line the hood.  I don’t know why in the world you would want to line it.  This saved nearly 10 steps.  Hooray! 🙂

The seam allowance varies from 3/8 to 5/8 so be careful to sew accordingly.  I had a really hard time adding elastic in step 22 to the wrists so I omitted it for the time being.  The hands seemed to stay on well despite this.  I do wish that the tail was removable as it is pretty heavy. (I don’t know if I would make this for a young toddler as it may be difficult to walk in.)  I also followed the applique instructions to a T but the eyes and nose kept coming off so I ended up hot gluing them to the costume.

I don’t know if I would say this was a fun project-it was really long and awkward to sew at times with that big old tail!  The result was very nice.  Eli has really enjoyed wearing it around the house and has perfected a very loud ROAR!!!


McCall 6237 Review: Elijah’s First Hoodie

14 Oct

Eli had a great time at the zoo with cousin Anna while sporting his new hoodie.

With fall officially here I thought it was fitting to sew Eli his very first hoodie.  I dug through my pattern stash and found McCalls 6237.  It includes a little girl’s dress, cargo pants, and hoodie.  I sewed Eli a size 2 but added 1″ to the sleeves and bottom.  The pattern gave only 2 measurements breast and waist which I found incredibly unhelpful.  Here are my son’s measurements: breast 21, waist 10, weight 30 pounds, and height 37″.  It really was a guess on which size to make.  🙂

Side view. I’m really glad I added the 1″ to the bottom.

I used a soft anti-pill fleece fabric that I had in my stash.  (I promise I”m making a nice dent in it so I can go shopping on Black Friday.)  😉  I used 1 yard just as the pattern suggested and an 80/12 Ball Point needle.  I’m still not very good at using the right needle but I think this was a good choice.

You will be able to see the wrong side of the fabric along the inside of the hoodie so keep that in mind.

The actual sewing was pretty straight forward.  This pattern is great!  If you make it and plan on adding a size tag or cute made by mom label be sure to sew it after step 10.  I didn’t and mine ended up fairly crooked!  I also skipped the topstitching in step 12 and used a Welt Seam on step 11.  I was excited to try a Welt Seam again since I had just learned in September how to do one.  It turned out to be  a bad idea because the seam looks a little off.  Note to self: don’t add a Welt Seam unless the pattern calls for one!

Elijah getting ready to ride the train. Perhaps his favorite attraction at the zoo!

Overall this project turned out pretty nice.  I was excited about it and would highly recommend the pattern.  Unfortunately it is now out of print but you may be able to find a cheap one on Ebay.  (It is pretty hard to find a pattern for a toddler hoodie so it might be worth a little hunting.)  The hoodie was a little bit snug around the neck but perhaps Eli just has a big head.  If I end up making another one I may try to widen the neck opening.  He was so tickled with his hoodie especially since it has pockets!  🙂

Family Date Day: Big Bone Lick State Park

28 Sep

I don’t know about you but my family and I love to go on what we call family dates.  Special adventures with just our little family.  😉  This past weekend we were blessed to go on a much-needed family date to Big Bone Lick State Park in Union, KY.  We started off our date with a trip to Steak-n-Shake.  Brandon had a great time playing the coupon game (trying to get the most bang for his buck) while there.   Yum!

After a great lunch we headed to Big Bone Lick State Park.  It seemed like a fairly small state park but we had a lovely time.  We visited the “museum” and walked around the outside exhibits.  The best part was definitely the hiking.  🙂

There are only about 4 miles of hiking trails at the park but that was perfect for us.  For the most part the hiking was relatively easy except for a few hills when Brandon had Eli on his back.  😉

I think at this point Eli was saying come on mom stop trying to take pictures let’s hike!

We let Eli walk for the first part of the hike and he surprised us by walking almost a mile!  Must be a future hiker.  😉

Still just as smitten with each other.

Probably Eli’s favorite part.

They had bison there.  How cool is that?  I thought it was a little crazy that you could get that close to them with just a little fence between you and the bison.

Eli loves riding in the pack.

In case you are wondering we have an L.L. Bean backpack and absolutely love it!  It has pockets on the back to hold 2 water bottles and a pouch on the bottom to store a change of clothes, diapers, and snacks.  We also have a rain cover for the top if I feel really adventurous.

Thankful for our camelbak (and that Brandon wore Eli for our hike).

We all had an absolute blast on our family date!  I am so thankful we were able to get away for a wonderful afternoon.  🙂

Frugal Things I Did Last Week

12 Sep

Too sweet not to share this week. We had so much fun hanging out as a family last week Eli crashed before seven right in Brandon’s arms.

I finished sewing my niece Zuzu’s birthday present.  I’ll share next week after she receives it.   It took a long time to make but was a lot of fun.  I had a great time sewing something for a little girl for a change.

I cut off the buttons from 4 articles of clothing and saved them for future sewing projects.  Eli also did a nice toddler activity sorting the buttons.  Unfortunately I found one the next day in the restroom!  Needless to say I did not keep that one!  I think we will be postponing any toddler learning activities that use buttons for the next few months.  😉

I picked up 2.5 yards (2 different prints) of Christmas fabric at a yard sale for $2.50.  It’s usually really hard to find Christmas fabric dirt cheap so I was really excited.  😉  I will probably be using it to make an apron tablecloth, or napkins.  I also bought 2 shirts for my mom, and a really nice basket.  I love to use baskets for organizing my home.

I cut my husband and my son’s hair.  This saved us at least $30.

I received a nice Cat Chow and shampoo sample in the mail.  I also received a free book to review.

I finished sewing my first Christmas present.  Woohoo!  In our family we find the month of December absolutely crazy (as I”m sure most of you do).  I have found the key to enjoying December and the Christmas season is preparing early.  I’m not always perfect with this but every little preparation I do now will make a big difference in December.  🙂

I used blue fleece from my fabric stash to sew Elijah his first little hoodie using McCall 6237.  So adorable!

After baking a chicken in the crock pot for dinner I made chicken broth.  I used some of it in soup last week and froze the rest in 2 cup increments in freezer bags.  Here is how I cook my chicken and make broth in the crock pot.

I canned 7 quarts of green beans from our garden.

I made homemade tomato soup from tomatoes from our garden for lunch one day.  Delicious!  We still don’t have enough tomatoes to can but have ben enjoying a few each week.

We bought a new couch and negotiated 15% off the sale price!  🙂  Our old couch was at least 20 years old and WORN OUT.  I thought about purchasing a used couch but I know way too much about bed bugs to feel okay about that.  We did save up for months and purchased our couch using cash.  Now we just have to wait 5-9 weeks while they make it.

I purchased a new dress, beautiful green sweater, and a new skirt for $12 from a thrift store.  Super excited about all three!  I have really limped along the past year with my wardrobe and am in the process of building my wardrobe a little so this was perfect.

Putt Putt Golf to Remember

27 Aug

Eli was so excited.

Last weekend Elijah got to play putt-putt golf for the first time at Blue Licks State Park.  To say he was excited would be an understatment.  I handed him a ball and a putter and tried to explain the basic rules.  No throwing the ball or putter, no hitting people, etc.  I was pretty nervous and thought I bet he doesn’t last through two holes of golf.  I’m proud to report that Eli did a great job having good behavior and had a blast!  He actually played all 18 holes right alongside of me.  😉

Such a sweet memory.

I encouraged Eli to use the putter to kind of drag the ball along and he did great!  Elijah was very patient as he watched Aunt Katelyn, Aunt Bekah, and myself try to get our ball into the hole.  It was so fun to watch him try to get the ball into the hole.  He was enthralled with the whole game and mesmerized by hole 18 where the machine eats the ball.  I look forward to taking him for years to come.  What a fun summer tradition it would be.  🙂  I never would have dreamed that at the age of 2 he would enjoy putt putt golf as much as he did.  Once again I am so thankful for the opportunity to make a precious memory with my sweet little boy.