Grateful Today

I have a game game I like to play with my kids when a strong case of the woe-is-me attitude hits. It’s called Tell Me 5 Things You are Grateful For. The first time we played it went something like this…

Me to my then 5 year old son: Tell me 3 things you are grateful for.

Him begrudgingly but trapped in a car seat so no choice but to play: Cake.

Me with uber enthusiasm: Oh, me too! Especially chocolate cake with chocolate fudge frosting and whipped mousse filling. That’s one, what else?

Him still a bit unsure: Ice cream.

Me, again with the enthusiasm turned up mega: Me too! Like, with hot fudge and whip cream and you take that first bite with the cold and the hot and the whip cream in the middle, hmmmm you are making me drool Pumpkin! What else?

Well, you get the idea, we continue this till smiles are all around and our outlook has improved. And I wish I could tell you that we do this all the time, but in fact I often forget. In fact, I even forget our nightly What We Are Thankful For Today habit my husband started with them…until one of my children remind me.

Generally I am so rushed and harried at the end of the day desperate just for a few moments peace that I forget to pursue peace and the One who gives it. Yes, I pray with them every night but often stories are left out and our “What I’m Thankful For” just sounds like too much time away from…me. Ouch!

So, imagin how I felt when I started reading How to Raise Grateful Kids in an Entitled World. It was like Kristen was reading my mail and it wasn’t pretty. Oh, and I have my list of who and what to blame my behaviors on and yep, I’m not on that list. Double ouch!

“Parents who want less entitled kids have to be less entitled themselves, and parents who want to raise more grateful kids need to start by living more grateful lives.” Kristen Welch from her book Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World

The buck stops with me. It’s my turn to play the 5 Things I’m Grateful For game. It’s my turn to pick up the habit of what I am thankful for. It’s my turn to point my kids to the goodness of God in our MY life. It’s my turn to live my life in a way that shows my kids how great it really is…and isn’t that easier said then done.

I’ve had the chance this week to get away just the kids and I, while my husband packs up our house, and the slower pace has been wonderful. Cut off from most technology and less house to clean has given me the time to develop some some new habits and I am GRATEFUL for it! I know it’s not possible for most people to “run away from home” and start over again but here I am with that chance! No, it’s not been perfect. Yes, lots of bugs to work out. But…

5 Things I Am Grateful For TODAY

  1. More time for stories.
  2. More time for play.
  3. More time sitting together and being present with each other.
  4. Swimming with my kids.
  5. And the chance to recognize how wonderful these things are.







Our Maiden Voyage: Part 2

Another night, this time prepared with an electric heater and RedBox. I mean, why drive back to our “sticks & bricks” on New Years Eve when I can spot more DUIs then gas stations. So instead of heading back late we boondocked again. And this time it was way easier! We put out the slides, turned on the portable heater and tucked the kids into bed.

Husband and I snuggled up with a Deep S snack plate (Trim Healthy Mama) and a little Mission Impossible 5 and before long we are both asleep and except for fireworks at midnight (been in the middle of no where) it was an uneventful night. However, the morning was less so.

Knock, knock, knock! Now it’s still pretty dark out and I know their is no good reason to be knocking at our RV door. So I wake my husband and here is some crazy guy (drugged out?) at our door. Safety one-oh-one, you DO NOT open your door to strangers. Especially ones who show up at your home on wheels in the middle of the night asking for directions. Ummm, where did he come from? So he leaves and as we are preparing to roll out, HE COMES BACK and starts walking around our rig! Fourunatly nothing bad happened, but it gave us a bit of a scare and a whole lot of wisdom to use even MORE caution when choosing a boondocking site. (Looks like all the folks we thought were hanging out with us were just parked, oops. Well, at least we got a good chuckle out of that.)

So we jetted out of dodge and found a populated grocery store parking lot to wake up in. The Starbucks and McDonalds with the HUGE Playplace was just a bonus. Glad to say the rest of our trip back to pack up the house was uneventful with only the delighted exclamations from the kids over the new views they get to enjoy.

Yep, that’s us. A family who doesn’t camp, who have never driven a motorhome let alone owned one, on our maiden voyage.

Oh, and THAT SOUND, super easy fix and we are enjoying heat once again!

Our Maiden Voyage: Part 1

Well, we survived our first trip to the dump station! It was dark, cold and stinky but we managed to empty our gray and black tanks with a little help from YouTube and prepared for our first overnight….BOONDOCKING! Thank you Cabelas for providing us with both services.

So, here we are in the middle of a parking lot (hello fellow boondockers), it’s way past the kids bedtime so we are getting them tucked into the main bed. My husband and I snuggle into the couch and since we have not figured out how the real TV works yet, we propped up my kindle and watched some Kate and Leapold thanks to a pre download Amazon Prime.

Sometime early into the movie, after we folded out the couch and I fell asleep, my Cupcake (4.5) wakes up in tears! A bad dream or the new environment, I’m not sure but being wrapped into mamas arms and tucked back into bed did the trick for drifting back to sleep. Then THE SOUND! Loud, from the furnace…Dear-God-what-is-that-are-we-going-to-blow-up SOUND! We turned off the gas heat, checked the detectors, and tried electric heat instead.Nope, still have the sound! There is for sure something going on with our heater.and because it’s 2am, we are boondocking and really have no idea what we are doing…we turn off EVERYTHING and crawls into bed with the kids.

Now here we are, in Southern Washington in winter huddled in our own 40′ igloo. Only I’m pretty sure and igloo would be wRmer. So around 6 something we buckle everyone in and head off in search of a Starbucks and shop for a space heater till we can figure out why ours is making THAT SOUND!



We have wanted to more somewhere warmer since before we were married, the PacNW is beautiful and on a warm sunny day no place better. But let’s face it, there is a reason Twilight was set in this neck of the woods! However, the debate on where that someplace warmer has been ongoing. California is out, it’s just not us. Arizona, Southern Nevada…maybe. Texas or Florida…likely! But have you noticed how BIG those states are? And even if we choose a state, how do we choose an area to buy a house and put down roots from half or a full country away? Our solution, buy a motorhome and go check it all out.

So that is what we are doing folks! We are packing up the house, selling donating and storing very little and hitting the road in search of our new home. Along the way we are going to have the best field trip ever! And when asked the question “So you know you are going to be gypsies, right?” Yep, we are….for a season because like Dr. Who says “Allons-y”.

First Virtues: a book review

Generally I find toddler books that are to inspire “virtues” into children well…LAME. So when one of my fellow Charlotte Mason loving mama friend suggested First Virtues by Dr. Mary Manz Simon I appreciated her suggestion but I wasn’t in a hurry to go out and buy it. However, I did check my local library and they had a copy of Kitty Shows Kindness. Well, before our first reading was over my 4 and 2 year old were putting into practice what they were hearing. And now a week later a simple reminder of “be kind like kitty” speaks volumes for all my children.

Now before you think older brother (7) is not going to get anything out if this book, or that it will be too baby for him (and if it were just him it would be), he is getting the message too. Plus the ability to be the one who gets to READ the story to little sister and brother himself. Something big brother really enjoys is being the one to “teach” the little two.

Our full set of First Virtues arrived today, and I’m excited to choose our next virtue to focus on for the week. We purchased the hard cover compilation book and at the end of each story is some encouragement and suggestions for mom and dad too. By the way, I think this book would be a stellar addition to Before FIAR!

Here are the books that are included in my volume of First Virtues:

  • Kitty Shows Kindness
  • Piglet Tells the Truth
  • Bunny Loves Others
  • Duckling Is Patient
  • Tiger Forgives
  • Puppy Makes Friends
  • Squire Says Thank You
  • Bear Obeys
  • Lamb Is Joyful
  • Lion Can Share
  • Panda Is Polite
  • Koala Does His Best

Almost Charlotte Mason

I started homeschooling my Pumpkin when he was 5, after he had two very fun years at a play based preschool we knew with the arrival of kindergarten homeschooling would start for our family. At that time our Cupcake was a little under 2 years old and Macaroon had just arrived and while I had been a preschool teacher in a life pre marriage, now I was navigating a whole new world of curriculum choices and styles.

Two years and much trial and error later (Pumpkin has been the BEST guinea pig ) I’ve learned more about creating a love of learning for my kids this summer then I had in the entire two years prior before it was too late. (Just kidding, it’s never too late.)

Enter my new friend Charlotte Mason. If you have never met her let me suggest 3 of my favorite websites. These folks can provide you more information then I would even want to attempt to share: Charlotte Mason Help, Simply Charlotte Mason, Ambleside Online. Then there is the good old Pinterest search, type in the name “Charlotte Mason” and prepare for your own crash course in all things her.

Here is the catch, I am not at all a purist. There is much of Charlotte Mason that we are embracing BUT I like to do some things my way. Enter the lovely folks who created Wee Folk Art and Five In A Row (FIAR). Both are literature rich living book based but instead of just text uses picture books. I LOVE PICTURE BOOKS! And so do my very visual children. And while the age gap is a bit wide between my oldest (7) and my youngest (2) these curriculum choices have become a great choice for our afternoon story time. Especially while my children are still so young.

If your homeschooling or not I suggest checking out the folks above, summers, holidays and after school are a great time to visit with them and build a love of learning right along side your kids.

Let’s Go The Story Of Getting From There To Here: a book review

Are all children natural explorers? I’m not sure, but in my family they are. So the book, Let’s Go The Story Of Getting From There To Here by Lizann FLatt, was a wonderful read for us. From the Ice Age to Aerospace it is a playful, presently written look at how people have traveled in America from its start. USA history and geography rolled into one fun volume that gives a smart overview of  our transportation and exploration history. I would strongly suggest this book as a gentle introduction to US history or a supplement for the younger kids when big brother or sister are studying the subject.

If your children are like mine I also suggest a USA and World map in addition to a globe. I scored two large laminated maps in beautiful muted colors at Costco this summer for only $14.99  something I hear are a regular find so keep your eye out. We have the U.S. Map up in our family room and the Wold map in the children’s bedroom. This has provided hours of imaginative play for my little treasure hunters and a nature understanding of geography that I know I didn’t have at their age. Wether you are homeschooling or not, I suggest adding this wonderful tools to your home.