Wednesday, May 31, 2017

What's Up: Welcome, Lazy Summer Daze!

Oh my goodness!  What a month!  May was absolutely fun and exciting and crazy busy and completely exhausting.  And, right now, this is all I want to do:    
Hello, lazy summer daze!  I'm so glad you're back.  We need some lazy around here!  

One of my favorite things about this time of year is harvesting my garden!  Now, it's really small.  But it's big enough for us.
Let's just say we're eating a lot of zucchini and squash right now.  I challenged myself to come up with as many different ways as possible to prepare zucchini.  A new favorite is zucchini chips!  They are so good, and before you know it, you've eaten a whole zucchini, but it doesn't even seem like it!  I also love zucchini noodles instead of pasta noodles with marinara sauce. The rest of my people don't share that sentiment.  My neighbor and my father-in-law both have big, beautiful gardens, and they like to share.  So I pretty much let the garden dictate what we're going to have for supper.
 I picked two really nice bell peppers on Monday so we had stuffed bell peppers for supper on Tuesday, along with some squash smothered down with onions.  Last night we had lemon rosemary grilled chicken, and I put some zucchini on the grill, too.  My MeMama's tomato pie was quite a hit, and I made strawberry shortcake with the strawberries from my garden.  I'm hoping for some corn soon because I want to make a batch of my zucchini and corn fritters.  Sloppy joes, shrimp etoufee and fried fish will round out the rest of our suppers this week.

My cousin and her family are leaving tomorrow for the Tetons and Yellowstone.  She called me last week to ask my advice about navigating the parks and what is a must-see and a must-do.  Needless to say, I'm quite jelly.  She'll actually be running in two (yes, TWO) half marathons while she's there (or something like that).  Of that, I am NOT jelly!  But I sure would love to go back and take my kids.  It's one of the best vacations I've ever been on (maybe because it was just the husband and me)!
The summer daze . . . sleeping late, staying up late, no schedule, no dance, no baseball, no fighting traffic everyday to and from Sequitur, cooking in my kitchen . . . but, most of all, there's no where we have to be, and we can stay HOME all day!

Whew!  May was BUSY!  Last weekend we were in Houston for this guy's high school graduation and after-party!  He's Baylor bound, and we just couldn't be more proud of him!  We are so proud of his many academic and musical accomplishments, but we are even MORE proud of the man he is!  By the way, I used to change his diapers . . .
We just finished up another dance year and baseball season.  We also finished another year of schooling and our second homeschool year.  So now we're spending lots of time at the pool and looking forward to the rest of a fun summer.

I've got nothing for you on this one!

My biggest project right now is Vacation Bible School.  I also just started a new business, and I'm mapping out the details of our summer road trip.  Hopefully I'll have some time to continue my genealogy research and read a lot of books!

Summer vacation!  I need some sand, salty water and beachy hair!  I'm also excited about our road trip later this summer.  And my new business!

We are currently in the thick of summer reading.  The kids and I sat down a couple of days ago and created a little summer reading chart so they'll know how many chapters they need to read each day.  And, no worries, it comes out to only two or three chapters a day and no weekends!  (And, no worries because we aren't going to read Bulfinch in its entirety right now, just the first part of it!)
Hannah Kate is reading Rabbit Hill right now, and Mason and I are reading A Little History of the World.  So fascinating!  I just finished reading The Shadow Hour, and now I'm reading The Little Stranger.  Think old English castles, family secrets and fanciful gardens.

I started learning the songs for VBS.  Oh. my. word.  They were fine until I got to the "rap" song.  I don't rap.  I thought my kids were going to die!  I haven't watch the video yet to learn the choreography to the songs, but I'm a little bit scared.

We don't have any definitive plans on the calendar, and it's supposed to rain all weekend.  So we'll see.

The beach!  I can't wait to spend a few days away and unplugged with my little family.  I mean, there's lots to look forward to, but this is at the top of my list!

So I already mentioned this a couple of times, but I started a new business!  Honestly, I didn't even see this one coming at all!  I had NO intention whatsoever of doing anything like this because I barely have time to manage family life and church life and home life right now, much less my life!  I mean, this was not on my radar.  Ever.  At all.

About a month ago, I attended my friend's FaceBook Usborne books party.  I LOVE Usborne!  We use a lot of their science books and encyclopedias in our homeschool curriculum.  So that's how I first found out about them.  And then my mom gifted some chapter books and activity books to my kids.  Hannah Kate fell in love with The Secret Mermaid series, and Ellie will spend hours with the 1001 Things to Find books.  Mason loves a lot of their non-fiction titles.  Anyway, since I am in the process of teaching Ellie how to read, I'm building our phonics library a bit.  Usborne has some fabulous phonics readers, and Ellie just loves reading them.  Her favorite right now is Llamas in Pajamas.  Everybody was so excited about their new books, and we had an ever-growing wish list.  So I decided to host my own little Facebook party so we could earn some of those books for FREE.

It was during that party that I was reminded how passionate I am about encouraging Mommas and families who have struggling readers.  I was reminded how passionate I am about reading anyway!  I mean, I just get so lost in a good story, and I feel like I am right there, too!
Most of you know our story or at least part of our story.  Mason is dyslexic (this post chronicles some of our journey).  We went through a really tough time in 1st and 2nd grades while we were figuring out what was going on and then how to manage it, as well as how to teach him to read.  I had no idea what to do, where to go. I spent hours and hours doing research, making phone calls, talking to "experts," etc.  He then spent nearly two years in private therapy.  He's in 7th grade now (and HE CAN READ), and we're way past all of that, but I'm really passionate about helping other families who went through the same thing we did, encouraging other moms who just don't see a light at the end of the tunnel, providing resources to children and families.  It was during this party that I had an opportunity to partner with another Momma who needed some encouragement while her little is learning to read.  

I'm currently helping my 4th family on their journey of teaching their budding reader (again, I had forgotten how much I love this, how I even dream about it, how I want to "give back" out of the abundance of what the Lord has done for us through our journey with dyslexia), and becoming a consultant for Usborne was the next natural step for me to continue pursuing my passion.  I just want to help children find books they love and Mommas to be encouraged alone the way!

Mason, Hannah Kate and Ellie call Cindy the "Mail Lady" because she's all the time sending them packages in the mail.  Mason and Hannah Kate finally truly realize who the "Mail Lady" is, and they actually call her Cindy, now.  But Ellie still calls her the "Mail Lady."  So I was thinking . . . maybe I can be your Book Lady (more to come)!  You can check it out here!


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