Thursday, August 25, 2016

Minimalist Back to School Guide

You’ve seen it at the stores, online and have the papers to fill out. You’ve scoured online, ordered and now the curriculum you chose is staring back at you..waiting. It’s back to school time friends! For some it might come with great joy and a weight lifted and for others you might be ready to bury down deep in the covers and hide. Friend, where ever you are..I get it. For real, I’ve been on both sides.
So you might be wondering how can I be intentional about back to schoolWhat’s it mean to be emotionally prepped for the year ahead? Can I tell you it’s simple, it’s going to minimize your time and it’s a must! 
Come over and read more at Motherhood Inspired this week. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Forming a Healthy Habit with Vitamins

This post was sponsored by Nature Made® as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central.

It's hard to find a multivitamin for kids. So many out on the market these days are filled with harmful ingredients and even toxic ingredients. A few months ago I found out about Nature Made® KIDS FIRST® Multivitamins I decided to give it a go.

It's convenient too because they are sold at Target! They have many options to choose from and we grabbed the Multivitamin with Omega-3. Nature Made® KIDS FIRST® vitamins with Omega-3 provide 11 essential nutrients, all natural fruit flavors and colors that are derived from natural sources. There are no synthetic dyes, preservatives or yeast and they are gluten-free.

Nature Made® KIDS FIRST® line is developed for children from 4-18 and to help encourage a lifetime of healthy habits. It's so important to teach our little ones healthy habits about taking care of their bodies and it all starts with giving it the proper nutrients!! 

At Target you can find them in the multivitamins section, mine were located on the top, eye level shelf- you can also check out the many other gummies they have- a few of them are Fish Oil, Fiber & Vitamin C. 

With the Omega-3 ones we tried, they were a bit sugary so I would suggest grabbing their multivitamins without the Omega-3! I will definitely be wanting to try the Fiber or Vitamin C next with our boys and am excited that it can easily be picked up while taking a Target run! 

It helps that they come in gummy form, especially since the boys can't swallow a pill yet. They are soft enough to that it makes it easy to go down! Plus no worries about yucky tasting vitamins or any with toxic ingredients! 

I'd love to hear if you try them and what your kiddos think! These seem kid approved and the perfect addition to your back to school list!

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

When God works (buying our house) vol. 2

If you haven't caught up, I'm sharing our little journey on buying our house! You can catch the first volume here.

The second weekend in June 2015 we planned a quick 3 day trip to Raleigh. We scouted out local neighborhoods and the cities lying outside Raleigh, we checked out the local bookstore and eateries. Josh was really wanting to see what the big lakes were like near Raleigh (there were 3!!) and we saw two of them and they were HUGE. In Northern VA we had decent size lakes but they were always crowded, there was no way these lakes could look crowded!

We talked and decided to make a goal to be in Raleigh by the beginning of 2016, right after New Year's. Have a fresh start and gives us time for Josh to network and get to know the tech companies around RTP and also to get our savings up a little more.

Since May--Josh's work was pretty stressful at the time and no projects were coming in for his team. One morning while driving into work (two weeks after our visit to Raleigh) he was praying and called me right after. He said Hey just wanted to let you know that I prayed that I will be laid off and let go from my job if it's God's plan. I was caught off guard but felt this tug to encourage him and say I'll be praying too.

Soon after- he texted me at half past 8 (when he was at his office) and said hey I have a meeting with my two managers and the HR this morning at 9. Say a prayer. 

Suddenly I knew this was it. I texted my brother asking him to pray if it's God's plan that he be let go that we have clarity and peace. Caleb, my brother, called me immediately and we were catching up and talking when a little passed 9--Josh called me.

He said well babe, they let me go. He was headed home and we could talk more then. Our world shifted at this point, we both had warm peace about this situation but had also never been in this position. At this time with our finances we were just beginning to save again after having quite a few car problems.

We had two ways to move forward- He could land another job in Northern VA and we would need to shift our move to Raleigh up another year or take the big jump now and move. We both had been praying for our move to Raleigh and knew God wanted us there. So we felt this was the shove to do it quicker.

We also knew we couldn't stay at our rental while focusing & saving on our move to Raleigh. After talking to our landlord and then Josh's parents, we decided to leave our rental a week before July and move in with Josh's parents until we were able to be hired in Raleigh.

Packing commenced and we once again began gearing up for another move. We took a walk one last time at the lake near our townhome and it was bittersweet. It was exciting because we knew were getting to our goal of Raleigh before our target date but also the unknown is always a little nerve wrecking. My in-laws were super generous letting us stay with them and even made up a room for us to have our own space.

What happened next is a memorable and amazing experience...

Monday, August 8, 2016

When God works (buying our house) vol. 1

So we bought a house last month! After 8 years of renting and living in apartments, old farm houses and little to no yard it was a true God experience with this home. You know those moments that give you goosebumps, you are literally left speechless in awe of His faithfulness? This was one of those experiences. I wanted to share our story (it's a long one so multiple posts to come) because it's a reminder that He is in the little things, He really does listen and He is always faithful.

Buying a home has been our goal for the past several years, I think it's always a goal for any married couple, right? Our original plan was to buy once we moved to Texas (our goal place to live). We'd been planning and saving and goal setting for YEARS to get there. Each time we would save up a good amount and begin planning our exit--something would come up.. car problems, a random bill, just totally random and money crunching little bumps. Then we would start again at zero. But we were determined, it was on our bucket list. Texas or bust, we were roaring to go!

North Carolina wasn't on our radar until about Fall 2014. I suddenly kept hearing about it and then a sweet friend told me about Raleigh and how she had fallen in love with it also each time she visited. I did a little research and loved the idea of being a half day drive from VA, the huge possibilities of tech jobs, the growing homeschool community....BUT. I felt unsure because we had been planning for so so long for TX. We both were determined, go getters, aiming for TX almost felt like aiming for the stars, so close yet so far.

So I did a little Gideon prayer and asked God to write it on the sidewalk in front of me- if we are supposed to go to NC, Jesus...have Josh bring it up and have a desire to go. I started praying that prayer weekly in November 2014. Each week I would pray about it, never speaking a word about it to Josh.

One morning I woke up on a sunny Saturday in March 2015 and Josh was laying in bed looking on his phone. So I turned over saying good morning and asked "Whatcha looking up babe?". 
"Did you know Raleigh is actually a pretty great place for tech jobs?!" He answered. I paused, my heart did a jump and I silently asked Jesus- is this it?? 

After a few minutes of talking about Raleigh, I told Josh how I'd been praying for it and if it's meant to be for him to bring it up. He was really surprised and that morning we made a pros and cons list of TX and NC. (Yes we are huge list makers). NC hugely outweighed TX, so next step? To actually go see it....

Come back to read more!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Homeschooling at The Buccaneer Academy

Starting school this week help put us back in a rhythm. Homeschooling has had this beautiful way of bringing a grounding rhythm to our home, I truly love teaching the boys and it's been so so great to see them love it too. Now also working from home, it makes the adventures of homeschooling even sweeter!

When it came time to plan for this year it suddenly became a little difficult. The curriculum we used last year suddenly became dry and truly too repetitive for Ben and we both were silently wishing it to come to an end. I was slightly disappointed because I had planned on using it all the way through.

I am not one who loves to hop around and search each year for a new curriculum to use. So while house shopping and hunting I was also curriculum "shopping".

Long story short...I found one that fits! After reading forums, groups, talking to others and doing a little research. We've settled on Heart of Dakota! For a few reasons:

+ Christ centered curriculum
+ Charlotte Mason inspired and infused
+ Grab, Teach and go for teacher's manual (no extra prep work)
+ Gentle but also "meaty" enough in the right areas
+ Hands on activities and interactive for kids

This year I have Ben in first grade and Ian is in Pre-K! I am still working out a routine of teaching them both and can't wait to share how we do it once I've narrowed it down. Currently we are trying different options to see what best fits and flows for our home.

First Grade

Little Hearts for His Glory

HISTORY: History for Little Pilgrims, History Stories for Children

MATH: Singapore Math & Life of Fred for fun math practice

HANDWRITING: Handwriting without Tears My Printing Book

PHONICS: Reading Lesson (Ben is reading level 1 & 2 books currently)

SCIENCE: Our Father's World 

FINE MOTOR SKILLS: Rod and Staff Books Keep Doing it Carefully & Learning More and More

STORYTIME: Favorite Thornton Burgess Animal Stories Set & a chapter book per month (Farmer Boy for August).


Little Hands to Heaven + Rod & Staff Pre-K workbooks
When he's ready (I'm thinking halfway through the year) we will begin reading lessons for Ian using The Reading Lesson book.

He listens in (lightly) during History and Science during Ben's lessons.

Storytime is also for him.

I aim to read our chapter book each afternoon. The boys either grab a snack after lunch and a few legos or quiet toys and I'll read a chapter or two if we are really loving it! It's been one of my favorite rhythms with them and I know they love it too...I can't wait to share more throughout this year with you.