Monday, February 13, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day!

Valentine's day is one of my favorite holidays. Last year we had a family picnic at a park which lasted 3 minutes before one of the kids had to use the bathroom. You just can't win them all! This year we are having another picnic (if the weather is nice) but this time in our backyard.

If you would like to see more of our yearly holiday cards they can be found here 2008-2011, 2012, 20132014, 2015, 2016.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Stay-At-Home Date Ideas

Yarn Heart

My husband, Brent, and I have decided to start having a date at least once a week. One week we will have a lunch date downtown near his work with our littlest joining us. Another will be during the Parent's Night Out our church offers once a month. The other two or three weeks will be dates in the evenings after the kids are in bed. We are going to try to do others things than watch movies, TV, or stare at our phones. 

At mom's group we discussed stay-at-home date ideas. I'll share some of them with you.

Ideas for Stay at Home Dates

"I've been thinking of ordering a meal or two from a place like PeachDish (which doesn't require a membership or longer term commitment like some meal services) so that my husband and I can have a glass of wine and cook a new and fun meal together (easily!)" - Liz

"Scrabble, cards, really any two person game." - Canaan

"My husband and I made marbled clay coasters for a fun, creative date together after our daughter went down to bed. I got a lot of Sculpy clay at Hobby Lobby and we spent the whole evening creating away at our kitchen table. It really didn't cost much and we still use the coasters daily! They are set out on our coffee table. I stumbled across the craft idea on Pinterest (here is a link)! The coasters are fun, pretty, and I love that there is a little touch of 'us' that we get to use." - Sally

"Do you have a fire pit? Sit out by the fire and talk, look up at the stars." (So romantic!) - Cassidy

"After we put our kids down, we sometimes like to play their games such as Connect Four, Guess Who?, and Battleship." - Franci (that's me)

"My sister and her husband would create a 'coffee shop' in their living room with candles, music, good coffee, etc. Really makes you feel like you are in a different place." - Franci

"I know this is probably something everyone does, but we LOVE games. Seriously, we love them. So actually, a lot of our evenings are spent playing board games or card games. Anything from Skip-Bo, Checkers, Pandemic, Settlers of Catan, Mastermind, Chess... We have found that hot tea or some wine makes an excellent pairing with this date!" - Sally

"My sis-in-law sent us a date in a box called Unbox Love. Super fun with instructions, materials and some type of activity. So nice to have your whole date planned with all that you need in one box. Our creation is pictured above." - Franci

"After our daughter goes down, sometimes we find a dessert recipe and spend romantic time in the kitchen together, cooking up sweets!" - Sally

"Sometimes when I go to Trader Joe's I buy a special treat like cookies we've been wanting to try or an easy appetizer. I hide the purchase and bring it out on our stay-at-home date night. If it is good weather we love sitting on our front porch." - Franci 

"My husband planned a spa night with a massage and all!" - Chandra

With very little effort you can transform your evening into a meaningful experience that is sure to enhance your relationship. 

What ideas do you have? 

Friday, December 2, 2016

How to Plan for Children's Christmas Gifts Without Stress

G, 2 years-old, celebrating Christmas 

It is the hap-happiest time of year, right? Then why do I always feel so stressed trying to decide what to get my kids for Christmas or worse know what to tell family members when they ask what my kids would like? For the past couple of years, we have had a plan which I think works very nicely.

I give my 6-year-old the Target toy catalog and a marker. I tell him to circle things that he wants. I tell him that there is no guarantee that he will get the things he circles but that I would like to know the things he likes best. Once he has circled the things he wants I sort through them and make my own list based on things I think he would really like, we think are appropriate, and level of cost. Then I make a list of the things we will get him and the things to tell relatives if they ask.

Let me back up a bit here and talk about how we do Christmas in our household. We are not big on Santa (the boys know the gifts are from us not Santa) but still try to make the holiday as magical as possible. By the way, we also talk to them about not being the anti-Santa kid at school. We gift each child 3 gifts only with a few small things in their stockings.

The three gifts are based on the idea of giving gold, frankincense, and myrrh as the wise men brought Jesus at his birth. We discovered this idea on a podcast or blog a while back. Yes, we know about the controversy that three may have been the wrong number of wise men but we do three anyway.

The gold gift is something your child really wants and is the most valuable. We discover this from our Target method above. The gold gift could be a new bike, a nerf bow and arrow (in our case this year - shhh), a Barbie Dream home--just something they'll love!

The frankincense gift has to do with something to help them grow spiritually closer to God. Like a new Bible, worship CD, Christian kids video, etc. I like to go walk around Mardel and look for something I think they would like. I think this year we will be getting this for G. Again shhh!

The myrrh gift is something for the body. We do shoes, clothes even underwear, but fun superhero underwear of course. Anything they need for their bodies that they don't have at the time.

The three gift limit really helps when I get bombarded with all the cool stuff at the store or browsing online. Since we follow this plan it really makes the holiday season a lot less stressful. Not to mention the benefit for our budget.

How do your kids come up with their wish list? I would love to hear how your family handles gifts to your children?

Friday, October 14, 2016

Missing Teeth in Downtown Seminole, OK

Parks Drug Store Front Sign
Parks Drug in Downtown Seminole, OK which recently was destroyed by fire. 

Have you ever heard a downtown referred to as a mouth full of teeth? Well, part of those teeth in Seminole, Oklahoma went up in smoke recently. On October 2, 2016 five buildings were destroyed by fire on Main Street in downtown, our old neighborhood. Thankfully, the building we used to live in was not damaged, but our hearts go out to those who lost so much.

We lived on the second floor of an old bank building for two and a half years in downtown Seminole. G and I would walk up and down Main Street almost every day. He loved riding his bike on the bumpy sidewalks. We relished the old charm and community feel of living in a commercial area. There was an amazing thrift store, a delicious bakery, classic sandwich shop, and library all within blocks of each other.

Child riding bike on downtown sidewalk
Bike Riding in Downtown

Sadly the old Park's Drug Store caught fire on Sunday. It took 4 other buildings down with it. Over our time spent there, I would peek inside the drug store window hoping to spot an antique treasure.

My mom told stories about her childhood when she would go to the drug store, sit on the bar stools, and sip her fountain drink. I longed to take my children there to experience the same delight. During our time in Seminole, the drug store was closed which is too bad because it would have been a lovely addition to the downtown experience.

Walgreen Sign in Downtown Seminole, OK
Walgreen Agency sign on E. Oak Ave. in Downtown Seminole, OK

So many downtowns in rural America are going downhill or dying due to the competition of big box stores, online shopping, and the flight of youngsters. I love the idea of living in a place where you can walk to get a fresh cup of coffee or wave to the shopkeepers as you stroll down the sidewalk. Maybe I'm an old soul, but I think that kind of life has much appeal today.

Historic Bus Station Cafe Sign
Bus Station Cafe on E. Broadway Ave in Downtown Seminole, OK 

In recent years, Seminole Main Street, Inc. has been working hard to revitalize the historic downtown, but there is still so much to do and this fire was a tremendous setback. I know the people of Seminole will rise to this challenge, but I also know that it is okay to take some time to mourn the loss of buildings that held so many memories.


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Inspiring Quote

"Evil men do not wait for permission to create what they imagine but good people keep responding to the future as if we have no control over what is coming into the human story. We need to realize it is time for us to embrace our responsibility." 
- Erwin Raphael McManus 

Here is where I heard the quote if you would like to listen. The TedX talk is titled "What Makes Us Uniquely Human?"

If you listen I would love to hear your thoughts. What was your favorite quote?

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