Welcome!

Welcome to a piece of our sweet journey of life. This blog is about our family life-- my husband, my type 1 diabetic fourth grader, my spunky second grader, my preschool little girl, and myself! Enjoy!

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Kid Room Cleanout

Like so many others, I am in an organizing mood as of late. Possibly it's due to the new year and the need for things to feel refreshed. More likely it's due to knowing that we plan to sell our home within a couple months and I'm trying to get our spaces ready. (Alternate reading: I'm trying to declutter on a magnanimous level!) 

Aaron & I semi-tackled the pantry last weekend and I'll share pictures of that when I get around to doing more but it wasn't a huge change and I don't have "before" pictures so I'll have to explain how it looked previously. 

Today rather, I'm focusing on how we decluttered our kids' rooms. This was a multi-step process for sure and my hope is that it remains clean at least until pictures are taken for the house sale. 

I don't really have "before" pictures of these spaces because I didn't like to look at the constant clutter, and I struggled to think of how to get toys off the floor.  The boys have lots of buckets and bins in their room that we were encouraging them to put their toys in, but toys were just haphazardly placed in them which meant they might only be half full and not fit on the shelf properly which led to toys randomly being placed all over the floor. Also, everything was all mixed up so if they were searching for something particular, all the toys would end up on the floor and most likely would not be put away. 

In Walmart this past week, I bought two canvas bins (one for boys' room and one for Avery's room). These bins kind of spurred along a new inspiration to organize. 

In Avery's room after Christmas, we bought a red storage bin and put her stuffed animals and baby dolls in it. She has a vintage doll bunkbed and we use it for shelves. She has a few baskets on it (one for her favorite doll's clothes, one for her most played with Barbies, and one for dress up clothes). She also has a couple small plastic bins with lids and I moved the rest of her Barbies into one of these bins, then I put Barbie accessories in the smaller bin. These are stacked in her dress-up basket where she can easily access them and easily put them away.  She used to have her big Barbie toys (camper, grocery store) in a striped canvas bin on her floor but it took up so much space. I eventually figured out if I really moved all of her stuffed animals to the red storage bin, I could free up the lower level of the doll bunk bed to put the striped pink bin.  I put her Paw Patrol characters into a clear zipper bag and placed it under the bunk bed. Next to the pink bin, I placed the new canvas bin from Walmart & we're storing her horses and unicorns in that bin. The only things on her floor now are the Polly Pocket unicorn, the Paw Patrol tower & a trash bin. 

It seems so much more spacious! For the moment I'm keeping her gigantic unicorn bean bag on her bed since it takes up so much space. This might move back to grandma's house when we list our home. 








In the boys room, we have done ALOT of work over the past couple weeks. The boys spent New Year's morning sorting through toys & really deciding which ones they wanted to keep. We've made one run to the donation center and still have one or two loads to do over the new few weeks (the donation center was overwhelmed with stuff on New Year's day so we're giving them time to process what they've received before we inundate them with more things). 

Noah has collected garbage trucks and police cars for four years or more and amassed quite a collection. We brought out a big plastic bin to the living room last weekend and lined up every garbage truck, police car, firetruck, and bus and told him he could keep whatever fit into the bin (with the lid still being able to close). He did VERY well and this eliminated about a third to half of his collection. 

Yesterday, we hauled out every bin and bucket of toys into the living room and sorted them according to type ("emergency vehicles," "Legos," "Utility Vehicles," "Random Toys" etc.). Then we selected bins to match the amount of toys in each category (so "emergency vehicles" like hot wheels size police cars and police stations etc. were placed into an appropriate sized bin). These bins were then placed accordingly on their shelf. Today we reminded them that if they play with a toy, they should put it back in its bin before moving on to something else. 

Tonight, the boys & I spent some time in their room cleaning out from under the bunk bed. We eliminated half a garbage bag full of trash! Little torn up slips of paper, broken toy pieces, etc. are now no longer hiding in the room. Taking pictures of the clean area & loads of floor space to prove to ourselves that this can be done was a great boost to our morale!



I feel WAY more at ease about the potential to photograph these rooms for a listing and I hope that playtime is more enjoyable for my kids since they can easily find the things they enjoy. 


Until Next Time,

Much Love, Reba


Sunday, January 9, 2022

Noah is 8!

Today, our sweet Noah boy turns 8! I simply can't believe it! Eight sounds so old! 


Noah is as spunky & active as ever. He still loves all things police car, garbage truck, and school bus. A new interest lately is weather. He loves to check out library books about tornados and hurricanes, and he watches YouTube videos about these weather patterns and the scales that are used to measure the severity of the events. 

Noah is a great sleeper and usually falls asleep before 8:00 at night. The flip side of this is that he wakes up super early! "Sleeping in" is considered 6:45 and this happened only once over Christmas break. Most of the time he's up by 6:00. 

He's a pretty good eater although he prefers snacks over actual meals. He'd choose to snack all day if allowed. He does not like chocolate, so his favorite desserts are fruit based like carrot cake or blueberry pie. He prefers cheesy things like string cheese, Cheez-its, Goldfish, etc. 

He is not afraid to pick favorites and often chooses favorite songs on the radio. His current Christmas favorites are MercyMe's "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" and Lauren Daigle & Chris Tomlin's "Noel."  His current contemporary songs are Casting Crowns' "Start Right Here" and Andrew Ripp's "Jericho." 

For his birthday today, he just wanted family members to come over for carrot cake. He'll have a birthday party at a future date. 




Noah,

You're so much fun to be around & you're so full of life! Simple things bring you lots of joy and this is so much fun to watch. Your interests have remained pretty consistent over the years and I'll be interested to see if you choose one of these career paths when you're older. The way you absorb information is amazing & I enjoy learning new things from you about the things you're interested in. 

I love that you still enjoy cuddling and hugs. Your sensitive nature reminds me a lot of myself, but your outward appearance is exactly like your dad at this age! Your crystal blue eyes are still the bluest I've ever seen and your smile is easy & true. 

I pray that you seek Jesus early & always. He is the only way to a full life. 

I love you so much, sweet Noah boy. I'm so glad you're 8. 

I love you forever, 

Love, Mom 






Happy Birthday, Noah!

Until Next Time,

Much Love, Reba


Friday, December 31, 2021

End of Year Books

I read two very cute books from the library over Christmas break. One was so good that I ended up buying it, and while it was en route I read the other book which is equally as cute and I might end up buying it as well!

The first book is The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. It's about two executive assistants to CEOs who are both vying for the same job. They abhor each other at work since they know they're after the same things. However, (spoiler alert!), they don't really hate each other after all. It was so well written (a little R-rated, so beware) and I was astounded to discover it's the author's first novel!  The book has been made into a movie (December 2021 release; movie release in February 2022) and the reviews from movie watchers say it stays highly true to the book, which raises the bar for other made-for-movie-books. And yes, I've pre-ordered the DVD already. 




The second book is Just Haven't Met You Yet by Sophie Cousens (and yes, I sang that line by Michael Buble every time I saw the title). This book is suuuuper cute and I found myself cheering for the unexpected guy throughout the story.  It's set in Jersey of the Channel Islands and the descriptions the author provides of the locale just make me want to visit! This book is about a journalist who travels to Jersey to take "Then & Now" photographs of locations her parents (with the perfect love story) took pictures together the summer they met. The author accidentally picks up the wrong suitcase when she lands and spends most of her trip trying to find the correct owner based on the items in the suitcase, which she deems belong to her perfect soul mate. It was such a nice find to see that the expected storylines aren't always the ones your heart wants. The characters in this story are so vivid and I wouldn't hesitate in purchasing this book either. 


After two good chick-lit reads, I'm geared back up for the Spring Semester in front of me, which will be filled with cell projects, frog dissections, and plant parts.  Then in the summer I will be embarking on an educational journey for myself & I'm guessing I won't have much leisure reading time for a few years once that begins, so I try to squeeze in as many "happy place" books as I can right now. :)

Until Next Time and 2022!
Much Love, Reba

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Three Gingerbread Houses

My mother in law bought a pack of miniature Gingerbread houses which were just the right size to equal an appropriate time frame for kids to decorate. Each kiddo decorated a house on Christmas Eve and we brought them home with us on Christmas night. Avery tried eating some of hers but the boys decided against, which I'm fine with. The houses didn't survive our increased humidity of late, but I did manage to get a picture of each kid with their creation. 







How fun!


Until Next Time,

Much Love, Reba


Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Cracker Toffee

Our oven was on the fritz for a few weeks from the day before Thanksgiving until about a week and a half ago.  Two oven parts later, it was finally fixed and I was eager to get back to baking!  The first thing I chose to make was a homemade toffee recipe since I knew I had all of the ingredients on hand.  I used this recipe, but I didn't do any extra toppings-- I just left mine plain.  


Ingredients:

-saltine crackers (about a sleeve)

-1 c. butter (2 sticks)

-1 c. brown sugar

-10 oz. chocolate chips (about a cup and a half) 


Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350* Fahrenheit.  Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet with a rim. 

2. In a medium pot, melt the butter and brown sugar together. 

3. Lay out the saltine crackers in a single layer on the parchment paper covered cookie sheet. 

4. In the medium pot, bring the butter and brown sugar to a boil, and continue boiling for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly. 

5. Pour the butter mixture over the saltine crackers and spread to cover all of the crackers.  

6. Bake in the oven for 5 minutes.  

7. Once removed from the oven, sprinkle chocolate chips over the top and let sit for 5 minutes. 

8. After 5 minutes, spread chocolate chips with a rubber spatula or mixing spoon to evenly cover all of the toffee.  

9. Place in fridge or freezer to set.  

10.  Once cooled, break into bite-sized pieces.  I've cooled this both ways (in fridge and in freezer) and placing in the fridge makes for a much easier time when it comes to breaking toffee into pieces.  Store extra pieces in the fridge. 

11. Enjoy!


Here's some of the steps in pictures. 

Preheat oven to 350* Fahrenheit.  Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet with a rim. In a medium pot, melt the butter and brown sugar together.


Lay out the saltine crackers in a single layer on the parchment paper covered cookie sheet. 


In the medium pot, bring the butter and brown sugar to a boil, and continue boiling for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour the butter mixture over the saltine crackers and spread to cover all of the crackers.  Bake in the oven for 5 minutes.


Once removed from the oven, sprinkle chocolate chips over the top and let sit for 5 minutes. 




After 5 minutes, spread chocolate chips with a rubber spatula or mixing spoon to evenly cover all of the toffee.  



Place in fridge or freezer to set.  Once cooled, break into bite-sized pieces.  I've cooled this both ways (in fridge and in freezer) and placing in the fridge makes for a much easier time when it comes to breaking toffee into pieces.  Enjoy!
Store extra pieces in the fridge.


Until Next Time,

Much Love, Reba




Saturday, December 25, 2021

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours! I hope your day is filled with cheer & relaxation. Remember the true reason we celebrate is the birth of Jesus, our Rescuer. If you get caught up in all the chaos of wrappings & tiny pieces & maybe even some disappointments, remember that this Earth is not our true home. Take a breath. Look around & count every person as a blessing. Today is not about a picture perfect holiday. It's about enjoying the birthday of our King. 







Until Next Time,

Much Love, Reba

Friday, December 24, 2021

Christmas Decor

Merry Christmas Eve!


Today I'm sharing our Christmas home decor. I didn't get out everything this year, but I liked the coziness it brings just the same. Here's a peek around.


Our elf, Q.E. added some toilet paper to our tree today as his last hurrah before heading back to the North Pole tonight. 


The boys both brought home some pretty Christmas paintings from art class this month!  This one is Noah's and we've displayed the Santa phone next to it. 


This one is Michael's, situated near this year's Santa photo, fabric Christmas basket, and vintage pinecone Christmas tree (from my Nana's collection). 
 

I had extra ornaments on hand and chose to display them in a glass vase on the dining table. 


The Christmas placemats are a must! 


I love my little garland displayed at the dining room window along with a handprint wreath. 


Two little trees with fairy lights decorate the kitchen cart. 


Our mantle is one of my favorite spots, with the Nativity, bottle brush trees, and stockings. 


I bought this little tree for our classroom door decoration contest and was happy to bring it home as our very own Charlie Brown tree. 


The kids have especially enjoyed putting the items on the Nativity Advent this year!


Noah & I found this Joy moss-covered sign at a local boutique and I set it up on our bench with a lantern & an upside down Christmas door swag decoration. 


I love how everything turned out! I could've put out so many more things but this year I chose to pare down what I displayed, knowing I can display more next year. 


Until Next Time,

Much Love, Reba