Happy Fall!

Can you believe that the summer is already past and here we are in a brand new, beautiful fall season once again?!  Fall is absolutely, by far, my favorite time of year!  The crisp, fresh chill in the air, the fun activities, the beautiful colors, yes, I am Fall’s number one fan!  🙂

We had a busy weekend at the house cutting the grass, taking down the pool, and visiting with friends.  This week, I have some awesome reviews to share with you, and a few before and after pics to share from working on the house.  It’s a bit scary, taking things apart and realizing that as DIY intermediates, we are doing a far better job than what was done before!  I’ll just say, when we took apart our kitchen sink to re plumb for our new dishwasher, we found that the plumbing was held together with electrical tape!  Now, we aren’t professionals by any stretch of the imagination, but really?  Electrical tape?  Scary stuff!

I want to introduce you all to the newest member of our family!

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Please meet, Desi, our new puppy!  We adopted him from the Humane Society at just 9 weeks old, and he has been an amazing addition to our happy household!  They had him marked as a Chihuahua/Boston Terrier mix, but who knows what this little guy really is!  We love him to pieces and Lucy is very happy to have a new friend to play with!

Do you love the names, btw?  Lucy and Desi?  Hee hee!!  I always knew, when we adopted Lucy, that she would one day need a Desi!

 

July Citrus Lane Box!

It’s mid July, and as has become tradition in this household, that means it’s time for our monthly Citrus Lane box!

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This month’s box was full of all kinds of neat things, so let’s jump right in!

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Bynto by Goodbyn

This month, we were greeted by a huge bynto box, perfect for packing lunches or snacks, and completely dishwasher safe!  The compartments of the Bynto keep food completely separated, even with the lid closed!  No crumbs will be intermixing here, perfect for the pickiest of eaters that refuses to eat anything that has touched another food.  Oh, the horror!

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Dishwasher-Safe Sticker Set by Goodbyn

What kid doesn’t love stickers?  To go along with that huge Bynto, this month’s box included a massive sticker set, with over 100 stickers that are also dishwasher safe!  Now your kids can completely customize their Bynto, and you can still throw that puppy in the dishwasher without fear of the stickers coming off!  A very cool addition to this set is an “I’m allergic to” sticker that can be filled out to alert anyone in charge of caring for your children.  Plus, stickers are just awesome!

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Cool It Buddy Instant Cold Pack by Me4Kidz

This is the perfect solution for bumps and bruises while out and about.  I’m sure as moms, everyone has some sort of nifty little cold pack, just sitting in their freezer and awaiting it’s calling to help soothe a boo boo.  But as awesomely organized as we may all be, does anyone actually think to pack that ice pack with you on the go?  Of course not, that would be a pain to keep cold!  Well, here is the solution!  This pack includes two one time use cold packs that can be instantly activated out in the battlefield..er..playground, just when you need it!  Definitely a cool addition to the mommy secret stash!

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Lace & Trace by Melissa & Doug

We are big fans of Melissa & Doug items in this house, so we were really excited to see this packed into our box this month!  Sturdy, wooden made, fun panels with color coordinated laces, perfect for making learning fun!  The pieces are nice and big, making them easy for little hands to hold, and the fun designs make the kids excited to learn, which is always a big bonus.  This is a set that I know will get a lot of use in our family, and I feel good knowing it’s teaching my kids while they have fun.  Love the adorable farm animals!

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Mighty Shield Bug Repellent Lotion by Episencial

Tis the season for bug bites!  Boo!  Rest easy using this repellent though, because it is safe and effective for the whole family!  No harsh, nasty chemicals here, just natural plant nectars and essential oils in a lightweight formula that is not greasy at all and can be layered with sunscreen.  We avoid the heavy, chemical laden sprays in our house, and in fact, I sent my boys off to Boy Scout Summer Camp with home made bug/tick repellent, so this is a welcome addition to our pest line of defense!

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Postagram by Sincerely Inc.

This is an awesome little app that lets you make printed postcards straight from your smartphone!  This month’s box included a code for 10 free prints!  What a perfect way to share some of those fun summer memories with loved ones!  And come on now, who doesn’t love getting mail?!

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We were very happy with our box this month, as usual!

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We have been getting Citrus Lane boxes for over a year now, since March of 2012.  I pay for my boxes myself, so all of these monthly reviews are completely honest!  I still believe that Citrus Lane is an awesome value and an awesome service.  We have been introduced to some amazing new companies and some really neat products.  I appreciate the fact that they truly go out of their way to pick items that are safe and fun for the whole family.  There have certainly been some boxes that were just over the top amazing, and a few that while a little less exciting, still proved to be a great addition to our growing stash of awesome.  I love getting that happy little box of sunshine on my doorstep each month!

Are you interested in a getting a subscription of your own?  Well, I can help you!  Click HERE to sign up and you will get $10 off your new subscription!  You can get as little as 3 months, or as much as a full year!  You can also Click HERE and enter the code TAKEHALF for 50% off your first box!  You can cancel your subscription at any time, but why would you want to do that?

Signs

Feather

I was sitting outside in our back yard when I noticed something ever so gracefully falling from the sky and coming my way.  I watched, absolutely absorbed in the twirling dance of the object as it came closer and closer.  I held out my hand and it seemed to immediately know my desire to catch it.  I smiled as a tiny, delicate little feather landed oh so softly in my palm.

I love to be outside, I spend as much time as I can taking in the fresh air and the sights and sounds of nature around me.  For all of my 33 years, I have never witnessed a feather falling from the sky, no bird in sight, much less landing directly into my hand after putting on a lovely little show.

So what does it mean?

Maybe nothing.  It doesn’t feel like nothing though.  I can’t say for sure what it means, but a quick internet search seems to indicate that it can only be good.   Some say it is a sign that your guardian angels are around you, protecting you and letting you know they are there.  Some say it is a friendly hello from heaven, a sign that one of your loved ones is thinking of you and is with you.  Some say it is a sign of good luck to come.

I say it is wonderful.  I feel happy and blessed.  What a lovely little gift!  Perhaps it is a silly superstition, but if it makes me happy, well then, logic be damned!  🙂

Lightning struck…..our tree.

This summer has been insanely hot and dry.  We have been so far past due for some good rain, so when the storms rolled in on Friday night, it was a comfort, knowing that we were getting some much-needed precipitation.

I woke up in the middle of the night to a very loud crash.  I sleep with ear plugs and a sound machine because Abe snores like nobody’s business, so for something to wake me up, well, it has to be pretty loud.  It was storming pretty good at the time, so I assumed that what I had heard was a loud clap of thunder.  I managed to go back to sleep, but I was woken up from the storm a few more times through the night.

Saturday morning, as Matt was taking the dog out, he opened the back door and quite dramatically announced that there was a huge branch in the yard.  Knowing how our kids like to over exaggerate, we assumed there were a few stray branches strewn about the yard.  I decided to look for myself.

 

Well, what do you know, the kid actually under exaggerated the huge branch.

Upon opening the back door, we were immediately greeted with a large portion of the huge tree that had fallen from the storms.  Probably the loud crash that woke me up in the middle of it all.

 

Closer inspection seems to indicate that the tree was struck by lightning.  We were actually lucky that the tree fell how it did because as you can tell from the first picture, this tree is crazy close to the power lines.  And of course, it also missed our house and our neighbors house, which was a huge blessing.

 

We have tree guys coming out this morning to chop it all up and haul it away.  I don’t know if they will have to take down the entire tree yet or not.  The tree is definitely shifting though, and it is leaning pretty heavily on our house and another tree.  Hopefully once it’s all chopped up, we’ll see there was no lasting damage to anything.

So how was your weekend?  Less chaotic, I would hope!

Duh, it’s summer.

Too darn hot for eating outside

I realize it’s summer time, but holy crap, has it been hot!  The temperatures should be in the 80’s and low 90’s this time of year, not triple digits every stinkin’ day!

Admittedly, I’m crabby when I’m hot.  Even in the house, the a/c is having a hard time keeping up with the high temps, so we have all the curtains drawn and live in a slightly cooler dark house most of the time.

It’s depressing, hiding from the sun.  I love the sunlight, I love being outside.  The poor kids are spending their summer in the house because of the heat.

I am hoping that we actually get some cool fall temperatures this year.  Something to look forward to!

Wah, wah wah.  Another whiny post about the heat.  My apologies.

Happy Fourth of July!

A Fourth of July fireworks display at the Wash...

 

We are celebrating our Independence Day by hiding indoors, trying to keep cool.  It is nasty hot out, 105 degrees, and quite humid.  Everyone has a full belly, and now we are just waiting for the sun to go down so we can watch the fireworks.

I hope everyone has a nice, cool Independence Day!  Be safe, and remember to give thanks for our freedom.

 

Critters

We get a lot of visitors in our yard.  I have a bird feeder that I try to keep filled to bring birds to our yard.  The kids and I love to stare out the window and see what types of feathered friends come our way.

The biggest enemy to our bird feeder is a rotten little squirrel we like to call “Buschy”.  (It’s a St Louis Cardinal thing, in case you were wondering.)  When Buschy first started attacking our bird feeder, Abe offered to shoot him.  They are nasty little tree rats, after all.  There are hunting shops that will reimburse you the price of the bullet per squirrel tail you bring in.

I couldn’t let him kill the rotten little thief though.  As annoying as it is to find our bird feeder emptied and seed scattered all over the ground, I couldn’t justify killing a cute little innocent creature that had simply found himself an easy lunch.  So I decided to feed the squirrel, in hopes that he would leave the bird feeder alone.

Well, what he likes to do now, is empty the feeder, eat all the yummy seed, and then, when the birds are left hungry with nothing to munch on, he will go to his feeder and happily nibble away at his corn cob.

Brat.

Here he is, wondering why the feeder is empty.

And checking to make sure he didn’t accidentally drop some seed somewhere.

So, securing my bird feeder from Buschy is a work in progress.  I have looked at the feeders that are surrounded with the cage that call themselves squirrel proof, but they wouldn’t allow for our larger bird friends to feed, so they are not an option.

The Blue Jays, Mourning Doves and the Grackles love it when Buschy has been by because he makes a huge mess of seeds on the ground.  Easy pickins!

 

While looking out our window, we see a lot of other wildlife too.

I believe this little guy is a Southern Prairie Skink.  We see him pretty often, darting around, climbing the wall and hunting.  He was enjoying the warm sun when I snapped this picture.

Turtles are always an exciting find for me because I didn’t see them very often when I was a kid.  I snapped a photo of an alligator turtle zipping down our hill rather quickly for a turtle a few years ago.  He looked prehistoric, I was in awe.  I am a very easily amused girl, I realize.

I decided that the turtle was too exciting to keep to myself, so we ran inside and got Noah to come check him out.  He thought it was pretty cool too.

Being easily amused certainly helps the day go by.

Feliz Dia de Las Madres!

We had a crazy busy weekend!  Matthew had his bowling birthday party on Friday night, followed by a sleepover with his cousin.  Saturday was filled with odds and ends, getting things done that needed to be done, and then there was Mother’s Day!  I love Mother’s Day.  I’d like to say I spent it doing absolutely nothing, but that would be a lie.  There’s always something that needs to be done, and Mama can’t rest until it’s done.  Correctly.  I’m OCD like that.

But one awesomely fun thing that I did, that I love to do, is work in my garden.  And now I have these gorgeous new tools to garden with:

Those beautiful tools were a Mother’s Day gift from my cousin.  They are almost too pretty to use!  Almost.  I love them.  I was not expecting a gift from her at all, but along with these awesome tools and super awesome seeds that I can not wait to plant, she gave me the sweetest, nicest card that literally made me cry.  It made me feel very loved, very appreciated, and very, very special.  I love her to pieces.

This Mother’s Day was also the day I got two, count them, two Keurig Coffee Makers.

Allow me to explain.  I have wanted a Keuring for quite awhile now.  They are nice, but they are definitely a luxury, not a necessity.  I would never buy one for myself, and I would certainly not ask or expect to get one as a gift.  Especially right now, when we are pinching pennies to buy our dream house next year!  Well, I am spoiled.  I really am.  Abe bought me a Keurig for Mother’s Day this year.  He originally bought me the machine on the right, the Elite model.

Now here’s where I may sound ungrateful, but let me assure you that I am not.  Abe works his butt off providing for this ever growing family of ours, and I try to always get the very best deals for our money to make it go that much further.  As it turns out, the machine on the left, the Signature model was only $10 more at Sam’s, and not only was it the deluxe, upgraded model, but being from a club store, it also came with a lot of extras that the original did not.  It came with the water filter, the My K cup for using your own coffee, and 36 K cups, compared to the 12 that the original came with.  It was just a much better value for the money, sooooo…… We went out and grabbed the Signature and ended up returning the Elite.

It was just too good of a deal to pass up, and I love my Keurig!  It is spiffy!  And having every single cup fresh brewed, mmmm, I definitely can appreciate the difference!

I told you I was spoiled!

We dropped by my Mom’s for a short visit yesterday.  We usually spend several hours together on Mother’s Day, but she is still recovering from surgery, so I didn’t want to stay too long.

I had this idea for a craft a few weeks ago when my lemonade pitcher broke.  It was plastic, and full of candy when it broke, thank goodness.  But the handle fell right off.  I have since decided to replace it with a glass pitcher, but not wanting to throw away the old one….

I decided to paint it, epoxy the handle back on, and use it as a vase for a Mother’s Day bouquet for my mom.  I don’t have the inbetween steps or even a good after picture, but I do have a picture of my mom with the kiddos and the vase.

You get the general idea.  Isn’t it pretty?  I liked how it turned out so much, I wanted to keep it for myself.  I figure that’s a pretty good gauge on if the gift you are giving is awesome.  If it’s so cool you want to keep it for yourself, good gift.  The flowers are silk.  My mama does not have the greenest of thumbs, and it’s kind of depressing when a pretty bouquet of flowers dies, don’t you think?

Anyway, that’s my Mom and her nasty surgery scar.  She is doing better every day, but is still feeling kind of worn out from the whole stress and ordeal of it all.

And here she is with the whole crew, Sara, Noah, Matt and Bella.  The kids are all looking at me, but Mom is looking at my Dad who is also taking a picture at the same time.  It’s still a good picture though.

So my Mother’s Day was awesome.  I was spoiled, I felt loved and appreciated, I spent the weekend with extended family and just having fun.  Yes, it was busy, but that is the life of a crazy person with four kids.  The craziness continues this week with dance class, dress rehearsals, recital, a sleepover, a birthday party, last full week of school, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, etc.  May is such an insane month for our family.  I will be welcoming June with open arms!

Al mal tiempo, buena cara.

Since news of my Mom’s cancer diagnosis, I have been a mess.  Not on the outside so much.  I have had a few breakdowns while the kids were at school and the babies were napping.

I have every emotion under the sun fighting inside my head.

Her surgery has been rescheduled for Monday, and they will be removing the entire thyroid.  I know she will be in the hospital at least overnight, possibly longer.

I want to be optimistic, its my nature.  No sense in worrying, always look on the bright side, glass half full, yada yada yada.  But this is my mom, so the tiny voice of doubt is much bigger and stronger.

Between the worrying, Mother Nature has been bringing me several smiles.  Yesterday morning, there were so many butterflies flying around me and the kids as we went to the bus stop we couldn’t help but giggle with delight.  They seemed to come from nowhere and they kept landing on and around us, staying around much longer than usual for us to admire their beauty.

Our seeds we planted just a few short days ago are very quickly sprouting.

That big, tall over achiever there is a cucumber plant.  I am really looking forward to canning some home made pickles later this season!  Our pumpkins and butternut squash are also sprouting and will all need to be transplanted soon.

This gorgeous little guy is an Indigo Bunting.  He came to the bird feeder after an especially bad break down yesterday, and graciously lingered long enough for me to snap a few pictures of him.  What a beauty!

I am finding joy when and where I can.  Bella has her last dance competition of the season this weekend.  She is so excited, I can’t wait to see her on stage again.  We have birthday parties and recitals and so many things to look forward to in the coming weeks.  Maybe even a wedding!

I predict that this weekend will be rough.  Monday will be torturous.  But once the surgery is over, once my mom is home safe and sound, recovering and healing, I will be able to once again take a deep breath and all will be well.

Thank you for the thoughts, prayers and well wishes.  Excuse me for being a recluse.  I am very appreciative.