Family, Hunker Down, Organization

It’s that time again…!

Time for a new schedule. ;)  I love schedules and planning.  Which is amusing, because once I have them in place, I sometimes hate “being ran by the clock,” so…oh well.  LOL  Imma enjoy whatever I can right now, though, ok??  And we’re flexible with all of this, anyway, this is just a guideline.  AND it’s for MonTues/ThursFri–we’re having Weekend Wednesdays.  LOL

background balance business commerce
Photo by Jessica Lewis on

8:00 Morning routine

9:00 Outdoor recess/exercise

9:30 Morning shareout/Handwriting/Spelling/Snack/Centers

11:30 Chores, then free time

12:00 Lunch

12:30 Quiet reading (Mama works)

1:00 Prodigy (Mama works)

1:30 Painting the interior of the house!  Kids are required to help for part of the time.

(Free time whenever we finish what we need to that day until dinner.)

5:30 Dinner

6:00 Baths

7:00 Free time

8:30 Snack

9:00 Bedtime reading (We take turns reading them a chapter a night of a book we want to share with them. Thomas read The Neverending Story, and now I am reading My Side of the Mountain.  We each have a list we are excited about!)

10:00 Lights out!  <3

This schedule won’t really take effect until next week–this week is vacation week for us.  (I do still have to work about 3-4 hours a day right now, but even that is less than I was, so this counts as vacation week!  This summer I am working summer school, and as of right now,  I will be trying to keep it to Wednesday mornings and quiet time.) I personally am looking forward to a refreshed house and plenty of time to scrap. :)

Family, mental health, Staying Home

Staying motivated…

Who am I kidding?  I was only motivated by fear and adrenaline in the first place!  But now my allergies have hit, and I forgot my antidepressant yesterday and I’m even *more* scared, so now all I really want to do is SLEEP.  I want to curl up under my covers, do nothing but eat all the food I have set aside for the upcoming month, and hide.  From the world.  From obligations.  From news.  From people.  Including my family!

towel on the baed
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on

So I somehow managed to drag myself up and out of bed and into a shower, and that helped.  I put real clothes on.  Didn’t do my hair beyond a ponytail, or makeup, but did brew myself a BIG cup of coffee.  And nuked some oatmeal for breakfast, and set the kids to start their school day with 20 minutes silent reading (which frequently stretches to 30 and has been a WONDERFUL way to ease into our day).

So…I don’t know.  I guess the moral to my story is–take your meds, drink your coffee, start your day with a shower–and if you have kids, assign some silent reading to start the day. ;). The first step is the hardest.  Hopefully the rest of the day will be easier. <3

Family, Frugalicious, Staying Home

Staying centered…

(First, just a little reminder to ***breathe***)

Ahh.  Ok, good.  Now…

I really love centers.  Do you remember those?  You may have done them in kindergarten, or your children do them at daycare now.  I love them because they allow for open-ended play, but with as much or as little guidance as you’d like, and help ensure children get to explore all the fun gadgets, gizmos, and goodies you’ve accumulated along your parenting journey.  It provides them with variety, makes old things seem new again, and can buy you a good hour or so to get stuff done yourself.

arts and crafts child close up color
Photo by Pixabay on

Essentially, I set out 3 activity/toy sets that the kids can play with independently.  These will change with your children’s ages.  It can be on a theme, or not; you can give specific instructions for each or not…  I decide if it’s just a free for all with all their items, or if they should rotate through (e.g., like 15 minutes at each, with a 15 minute free for all at the end).  Then I turn them loose!

Some centers I have used:

  • Playdough (if you don’t have any, you can make your own! And if you don’t have playdough tools, try using small, safe kitchen utensils, letter magnets, buttons, and pipecleaners)
  • Sensory bins
  • Themed bins
  • Dollhouse
  • Dress-Up (if you don’t have children’s dress-up costumes, just set out some of your fancy or interesting shoes, scarves, hats, and costume jewelry)
  • Blocks/legos/duplo, etc.
  • Musical instruments (if you don’t have any, try making some)
  • Art station (painting with watercolors is pretty mess free, coloring with coloring books, copy paper and stencils, etc.)
  • Stuffed animal zoo
  • Karaoke station

For more ideas, google your children’s age range and terms like DIY, homemade, homeschooling, or centers.  Also check out some of my Pinterest boards to see if they spark anything for you:



Baby, Baby Baby, Cheap Choices, Family, Frugalicious, Relationships, Scrapbooking, Single Photo

Layout: Love You to the Moon

VexedAngel:  Love You to the Moon

For this layout, I used the Simple Stories Hello, Baby collection.  I bought the Simply Basics pack (love love LOVE that they do this, a pack of B sides, yes please!) and one cut apart sheet.  So for $7, I have the equivalent of a collection pack, as far as I’m concerned.  I can get several layouts and cards with the look of the collection, and not shell out the $20+ they want for their collection packs. I did add in a sheet of metallic gold heart vellum from  We R Memory Keepers, and of course, my go to white Bazzill cardstock for the foundation.


I stacked a lot of papers, and distressed the edges of every piece for a bit of a shabby chic feel.


I stamped and heat embossed (pale pink and metallic gold) a ton of tiny stars and hearts from Ali Edwards’ baby stamp set, and scattered bling amidst them, too.  Some Twinkling H20s along the edge and some jute and heart snaps tied it all together.


Baby Baby, Family

Beanette’s Birth, Part 2

I was huge, I was cranky, I was tired.  One of my friends at work had remarked, “Oh, Ann Marie, you’ve dropped since yesterday, I think!” and I snapped back at her, “Oh, whatever, people have been saying that for weeks!”

This should have been my first clue.

At Thomas’ workplace that day (no joke!), one of his colleagues offered to meet us at a gas station along the way to exchange Little Man.  That way, we could go on to the hospital and she could deliver him to another colleague who had a daughter Little Man’s age–our planned sleepover buddies, if that was necessary.  He knew how quickly it had all happened last time, and that it would be faster this time, so immediately said yes.  They worked out a spot, and she gave him her phone number, for whenever the big event happened.

I came home that evening, absolutely bushed.  I needed to do so much, but felt crampy and weird, so I just laid down on the guest room bed and watched the latest Grey’s Anatomy on the computer.  I took a warm bath and shower later that evening, figuring it would either get things moving, or slow them down.  I still had 11 days until my due date.

Around 3 a.m. (seems to be my body’s witching hour), I got up to use the bathroom.  I still felt a little crampy.  As I started to climb back into bed, I remarked to Thomas, “Man, if I didn’t know better, I’d swear I was starting labor.” No sooner than I had finished that sentence than the first true labor pain hit.  I hadn’t made it back into bed yet and doubled over the cosleeper and grunted, “Never mind!”

As Thomas began getting my things (luckily, I had packed weeks ago after getting off bed rest and returning to work) together, I called the doctor.  He reminded me I was supposed to wait for them to be consistent for an hour.  I reminded him how fast my labor had been last time, and that they were already quite difficult contractions, and hitting anywhere from 3-5 minutes apart.  Plus, we had to drop off my son, and that was all going to take some time.  He woke up a little, and said if I felt I should, to come on in in about half an hour. Next, I called my doula, and, regardless of the half hour wait the doctor had recommended, we all hit the ground running.

Labor was different this time.  It was BIG, crushing waves immediately.  With Little Man, I felt very in control.  I used all my techniques, and it all felt manageable until the very end, even though it hurt.  With her, I felt out of control right away, and that made me worried and unsure.  As T carried Little Man down into the garage to get in his carseat, I stood next to the car, screaming through a contraction.  I hadn’t wanted him to see me in pain, and was worried what he would think.  But no worries–as soon as it passed, he clapped really big and yelled, “Yay!!!!!!!!!”  I guess he could tell this was something worth celebrating!! :-)

As we backed out of the driveway, another one hit.  Meanwhile, the car stopped, and I kept thinking, “Why isn’t T GOING??? This is happening, this is happening NOW, and we need to get to the hospital!!”  As soon as the contraction passed, T calmly peeled my fingers off the console in the center of the car and retrieved the clicker for the garage door, and we finally pulled away. :-)

On the way, he called his colleague to meet him.  We parked outside the convenience store and he went to set up the carseat.  She held Little Man and I had three more contractions while we waited.  They were so close together now, and I really was starting to feel like I should push.  I kept picking myself up off the seat and tried hard not to bear down.  I was able to stop long enough to look back and see Little Man, so small and alone, looking a little unsure of himself in this strange person’s van, and I remember thinking how little and still helpless he was.

To be continued…

Baby, Baby Baby, Kids, Multiphoto, Scrapbooking

LO: Cozy In Your Little Nest

Again, NOT trying to say anything! These are Amy B’s ultrasound pics. :-) (And as an aside–whoa, nelly, we have a deck? I haven’t seen it all dry and not covered in snow for awhile…)

This was another layout for the same scraplift challenge I mentioned in my previous layout post, but in an earlier month. I can’t take credit for the title–a peep came up with it, and I thought it was great… (Get it, because of our last name? And then I used the bird house and feathers…? I’m nothing if not punny! ;-) )

Used a Hambly 12×12 acetate sheet for the background, then spattered neon acrylic paints across the backside. Floated a 10×10 square asymmetrically on the background, and added neon feathers and sequins. (Hey, neon was a fleeting re-tread trend, had to get in probably the ONLY layout I’ll do with it.) Probably should have found a way to get the HA neon inks for the stamping and title, but oh, well.

Baby Baby, Family, Uncategorized

Beanette’s Birth: finding out and telling people

Merry almost-Christmas! It’s zoooooooooming up to Amy B’s first birthday, much more quickly than I’d like, so I thought I’d best be documenting her birth story soon-ish!

It was late May, 2012.  Bubbaroo had just turned one, and school had ended for the year.  We were on vacation, but I was so tired, all the time…  Hmm, that felt familiar…  So we dug out a leftover pregnancy test (and of course confirmed with as many other different pregnancy tests as I could buy), and received a wonderful surprise!  It had taken so long to get Little Man, we were shocked when Beanette showed up so quickly, but we were also thrilled. As much as people liked to tell us we were nuts for trying (and succeeding) to have a second baby so soon, we had our reasons, and it was a lovely, planned-for surprise. :-)  We had had such a positive experience with Bubby’s birth that we decided to keep as much the same as possible for Beanette’s birth.  We immediately hired the same doula, made appointments for my doctor, and began spreading the word that we were expecting again.

This was such a fun way to announce our news.  I just chopped up and hand-stitched an old onesie, then used my foam stamps and some acrylic paint for the design.  This was our best picture (man that photo shoot was frustrating! LOL) and we first sent the picture to be developed at the one hour photo at the WalMart in my hometown.

My parents were on their way to a family gathering, and I sent in about a dozen of the latest pictures of Little Man, including this one, and then told her to stop and pick them up before she went to the family party.  Then we waited…  That phone call is, I think, my favorite one to ever have received–her in the car, with Dad driving, her sputtering, “You’re kidding!!!!!!!!!!!!”, and explaining how perfect it was, as it was the last picture in the stack. While we waited, we skyped with my in-laws.  I came on first and told them I wanted to show off a shirt I had made Bubby, then pulled him into the frame, wearing the shirt. :-)  Later, I emailed a couple close friends with the picture, too.  One of them hadn’t opened the email after a few days, so I finally called her and said, “I’m really sorry to bother you, but I have to insist you go look at that shirt I made Little Man!” She laughed, and said, “I know, I’m sorry, people like to show off when they’ve made something new.”  Then it was my turn to laugh, and I said, “You are more right than you realize!!!”  So she opened it up while on the phone with me, and that was a fun phone call, too.  When I hit the three month mark, I uploaded the photo as my new profile pic on Facebook, and tagged my husband in it.  So we definitely got our mileage out of this one shot!To be continued…