Daddy’s Away

My husband flew out last Thursday, Alberta bound. He received a job offer out there that was just impossible to refuse.

However, we’re all still in a major adjustment period! This was a lot of firsts for us all. It was hubby’s first time on a plane, it is the kid’s first time really being away from Daddy, and it’s our first time being away from each other for more than two days.

Our oldest (6) is taking it the hardest, probably because she’s the only one who truly understands what’s happening. The smallest things upset her the most, like bath time. When Daddy was home, he was usually the one who took over that part of the bedtime routine, so those things are a big deal to her.

We’re six days in now, and I can see that it is getting easier, but there’s still a long haul ahead! The hardest part right now is that his schedule hasn’t been worked out yet, so we don’t know how long it will be until he can make it home again. I will say though, that the kids and I have been out and about more than ever, and my house is cleaner than it’s ever been! Keeping busy seems to be the key!

March Goals


We had not one, not two, but three rounds of sickness in our house this month so that put a kink into most of my goals. Ah well, next month!

Last Month’s Goals

*Plan and have a fun date night with the hubby (not only is it Valentine’s Day, our anniversary is this month as well!)

Not only did we have a date night, but we were able to get away for an entire night!

*Workout 17 days this month. (I know, it would be easier to say “every second day” or “x amount of times per week”, but I feel like I need more ‘wiggle room’ than that).

This one didn’t happen. I did get 14 days though!

*Stick to our new homeschool schedule. The kids are thriving with it, and we all love being finished for the day by 1pm.

Mostly managed this one! Other than a couple of sick days, and morning appointments, this one was a success!

*Brainstorm a list of fundraising ideas with the kids for Relay for Life.

We worked on it, but we’re not quite finished yet (blog post coming soon!).

*Start de-cluttering (again!). I want to declutter our bedroom this month- shelves, dresser, and closet.

Closet, done. Dresser and shelves, not so much.

*Finish sewing together quilt blocks.

Nope. Didn’t even work on it.

Hopefully the sicknesses have passed and this month’s goals will run a bit smoother!

March Goals


*Plan a fun date night with the hubby. We have a “date night” every Friday, but we want to do something different, maybe even out of the house!

*Finish list of fundraising ideas with the kids for Relay for Life (blog post coming soon!).


*Stick to our new budgeting system, it’s been working really well!

*Finish decluttering our dresser and shelves, and declutter the kid’s toy boxes! I’m dreading that one already!

*Stick to my new cleaning schedule.


*Workout at least 20 times this month.

*Finish sewing quilt blocks together. I’m carrying this one over from last month.

*Start getting up at 6am daily. I love being up before the kids, but it’s so hard to drag myself out of bed!

Meal Planning

meal plan

I’m a huge planner. I literally plan just about everything on paper, I love knowing what is going to happen and it really helps me keep my sanity. Meal plans are one of my favorite (and most important) plans that I make.

With hubby working long shifts, my business, four kids, and homeschooling I just can’t wait until 5 o’clock to decide what we’re having for dinner! Meal planning is a process for me, and it can be quite time consuming (some weeks more than others). This post is a step-by-step guide to how I meal plan.

Shop at Home First

Take a look through your fridge, cupboards, freezer, pantry, etc. Is there anything in there that needs to be used? Is there anything that could be used as the main dish or as side dishes? For example if I have 2 chicken breasts in the freezer and a head of broccoli in the fridge, chances are good that I have everything on hand that I need to make broccoli, rice and chicken casserole.

I can usually fill at least half of the week with items that I have on hand! Write your ideas down.

Shop Sales

After I have a good idea of what’s in the house, I look at the weekly sales. First for meat and other main courses, then for side dishes to go with them and the meals I’ve already chosen, then for breakfast, lunch, and snack ideas. If an item is on sale for a really good deal, I will try to incorporate it several times during the week. For example, if broccoli is on sale, I will probably make a couple of casseroles with it, serve it as a side dish, and chop some up for easy snacks.

If it is an exceptionally good deal, and it is something that will keep well or can be frozen, I will buy more than what we need for the week so I have it for later.

I also keep my coupons closeby when I’m doing this, and by pairing coupons and sales I’m often able to get things very cheap or even free!

Also, when planning meals I like to plan to double at least one meal each week to freeze, but, more on freezer cooking in another post!

Write It Down

I was given an awesome fridge calendar that has places to write meal plans on it, but there are lots of free printable ones available online! I also add an prep work that needs to be done ahead of time (chopping, browning, etc) and the method of cooking (slowcooker, oven, etc). I generally only write down dinner ideas, and make sure that I have enough options available for breakfast and lunch.

Here are links to a few great sites I’ve found for meal planning, most of them also have attached grocery list:

Frugal Living- Free Meal Planners

Fab ‘N Free- Menu Planner Printables

Taylor Gray Designs- Meal Planner Freebie

Then I write out our grocery list, broken up by store if I’m shopping at more than one. Finally, I add what we need to buy in household items and hygiene items.

Then, it’s just a matter of remembering to look at your meal plan, see what needs to be taken out, and what prep work needs to be done!

How’d That Happen?! (Throw-back Thursday)

Sitting this morning, listening to my children fight and bicker (ahem, play and talk), I got thinking about what an adventure the past six and a half years has been! We’ve had struggles and trials, ups and downs, disasters, and major life-changers. We’ve had triumphs and joy, and we’ve been lucky that they’ve outweighed the tough stuff.

In the past few days there’s been a lot of “do you remember when (insert child name) use to (insert absolutely adorable baby/toddler-ism)” and it’s made me realize just how much they’ve grown!

Can you believe that we’ve gone from these adorable babies, to these children who are growing insanely fast!

Alyssa  IMG_5118








Hannah    IMG_5094


If The Kids Ran The House


If my kids ran the house they would eat ice cream for breakfast, with a side of chocolate bars and candy canes. They would never get dressed, or brush their hair. They wouldn’t have to make their beds, or load the dishwasher, or clean the bathroom sink. The only “schooling” would happen through exploration and sleepovers would never end. Their toy boxes would be empty, because nothing would be put away.

The floors would be filthy, the sink full of dishes, and there would be endless dust and cobwebs in the corners. The carpet would be stuffed with chip crumbs, their blankets would never be washed, and the lawn would never be mowed. If it snowed, the driveway wouldn’t get shoveled because the more snow the better!

Music would play all day, baths would be optional, and the fridge would be full of junk food. Naps wouldn’t happen and bedtime would be a matter of just “crashing out”. They would do what they want, when they want, without any regard for rules, priorities, or Mom’s sanity.

They would also say I love you more, have more fun, and forgive easier. They would use their imagination with no limits, they would learn and experience new things, and they would learn to deal with hurt feelings. They would enjoy their day from sun up to sun down and they would never be bored.

Mom and Dad wouldn’t have to go to work, and we would stay home to play and read stories all day. We would build epic treehouses, igloos, and blanket forts that we would never have to take down. We would probably find the long-forgotten joy of being care free and truly having fun. We would know our children better, and cuddles would be given freely.

Best of all, we wouldn’t have to worry about our kids “growing up too fast”, or missing out on their childhood. We would never lament about “where the years went” or “how did that happen?”. We would just enjoy them, play with them, and love them.

Date Ideas

Date Night-cover

I know, I know, Valentine’s Day is over, and that’s exactly why I chose today to write this post! I think that to many people save their romance for those special days and let it slide by the rest of the year. For us, it is very important to keep our relationship alive as a couple and not just as “mommy and daddy”.

Friday night is date night in our house. Most Fridays it is just a matter of eating junk food and watching movies together after the children are all tucked into bed, but we do try to do something out of the house at least once a month, even if it’s just going out for a coffee. So, I’ve compiled a list of date ideas, and I hope you’ll enjoy them!

Kid-friendly dates. If you can’t afford a sitter, or don’t live in an area where you know anyone that you trust, that doesn’t mean that dates are out! Go somewhere that will keep the kids entertained while you grab a few precious moments together- think restaurants with a play area, a bouncy house, the park, etc.

Swap babysitting. You’re not the only one who has the babysitting issue! Get together with another couple you trust, or a whole group if you have the resources, and arrange a babysitting swap!

Late dinners together. This is a favourite in our house, after the kids are all fed (we usually make this special for them too by feeding them “kid food”) and tucked into bed, we have a grown-up dinner. Sometimes it’s take out, sometimes we’ll cook a favourite, but it’s nice to be able to sit and talk during a meal without having interruptions of “Can I please have some more?”.

Play board games! Either together, or with other couples. Some of our favourites are Scrupples, Balderdash, and Pictionary.

Go grocery shopping without the kids if possible. I know it may not sound like a date, but we have some of our best chats when we’re grocery shopping!

Movie night. A personal favourite, especially when money is tight.

See a local sports event. This is great especially if you’re on a tight budget as they are usually very reasonable priced.

Volunteer together. Find something that you’re both passionate about and dive in! There’s something special about working together to better the world!

Garage sales, Flea Market, Farmer’s Market. You never know what kind of treasure you might find! Grab a coffee and browse for a couple of hours.

Go for a walk. It’s a great time to chat, and it’s free!

Go ice skating/roller skating. Even if you’re not athletic, you’ll have fun laughing at each other!

Go to a drive-in. I know they’re few and far between now, but if there’s one near you, you should go!

Learn something new together. A new hobby, take a cooking class, anything that hits your fancy!

Go for a drive. It’s a great time to chat and connect without having to worry about interuptions.

Be a tourist in your town. A lot of times we get caught up with life that we don’t even what’s happening around us! Visit new places, try new restaurants, see local bands, etc.

Have a bon fire, if you’re in an area that you can that is. Roast marshmallows!

Look through old pictures of yourselves as a couple, if you’re feeling extra creative, make a scrapbook! When we looked through our photos, we realized that we didn’t have many photos of the two of us! Vow to take more!

Window Shopping. Even if money is tight, day dreaming is still fun!

Cook together. Try and new recipe, or an old favourite!

Tackle a project together. Remodel the bathroom, build a snow fort, whatever you want/need to get done- you will have more fun if you do it together!

Most importantly, whatever you do, make it fun and make it regular!

What does date night (or day) look like in your house?


Valentine’s Day Round Up (Part 2)

vday round up pt 2

This is the second half off my Valentine Round-Up, the first half (different, creative Valentine Card ideas can be found here.). This half is all about crafts, activities, recipes, and educational activities centered around this fun holiday! A day later than promised (sorry!) but no one was really feeling well in this house so Momma was kept busy!



Adorable Heart Garland from Made by Rae.


Shaving Cream Marbling from First Palette.


Mystery Valentines from Craftaholics Anonymous. My kids would love this any time of the year!


Button Votive from Mod Podge Rocks.

paper garland

Paper heart garland by One Good Thing by Jillee.

tissue paper heart

Tissue Paper Heart from Sweet and Simple Living.


Egg Carton Lollipop Flowers from Crafts by Amanda.


Tic Tac Toe Hearts from Alpha Mom.

heart wreath

Paper Heart Wreath from The Hybrid Chick.

Toddler Activities

bottom heart

From the Bottom of my Heart from Tons of Fun.

sensory bin

Valentine’s Day Sensory Tub by Baby Savers.

paper tube

Heart Stamping with a toilet paper tube from


paper heart

Paper Heart Patterns (and other great paper heart activities) from No Time For Flashcards.

tens and ones

Valentine Math Freebie from Kindergarten Smarts.


Freebie Valentine’s Pack from 3 Dinosaurs.



Lovewiches from Growing a Jeweled Rose.


Marshmallow Pops from A Mom’s Take.

whoopie pie

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies from Roxana’s Home Baking.


Cookie Kisses from A Mummy Too.


Valentine Round Up (Part 1)

valentine pt1

I started doing a general Valentine’s Day Round-Up but I had such a hard time deciding what to include! So I’m breaking it down, part one is all about valentines cards and part two is all about activities, crafts, recipes, and educational items!

Most are candy-free ideas, but there were a couple of candy valentines that were just too cute to resist!


Loom Bracelet Valentine with printable, from Paper and Pigtails.


Playdough and Cookie Cutter Valentine from Buggy and Buddy

Play-doh Valentine with printable with Random Thoughts of a Supermom.


You Make My Heart Bounce and many other great ideas from Mommy by Day, Crafter by Night.



rainbow crayon

Melted Heart Rainbow Crayon Valentine by Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas.

(We made these a year or ago too, they turned out great!)

orange valentines

Orange You Glad Valentine with printable, from Crafting in the Rain.


S’more Valentine with printable, by Domesticated Lady.

Stay tuned, part 2 coming tomorrow!

Hooked on Phonics- Review

We began using Hooked on Phonics about a year and a half ago. We ordered a kindergarten kit similar to this. (the kindergarten appears to be no longer available) from Christian Books, and only paid $9.99. Awesome deal! I ordered the first grade set that I linked above this year as well.

hooked on phonics

My daughter was really excited about it, for a while. Then it seemed to lose her attention. She loves the worksheets though (the kit comes with a DVD containing tons of worksheets and games!), and the story books are awesome! The teacher’s guide is also very well put together.

The workbooks though, she didn’t really enjoy. She said they were boring. I don’t think it’s really a curriculum fault though, I think that it just didn’t mesh well with her. I feel that my son will like it much better than she did, and I’ve set them aside for him.

All in all, it is a great product for the price, and coupled with lots of reading practice I believe it can be a great resource.

As for Alyssa though, it’s time to move to something else. She was given Explode the Code curriculum for Christmas and she’s very excited to get started with that this week!