Doing the best she can to raise happy, healthy children

Monthly Archives: April 2013

Yesterday’s big adventure was the transportation museum. It was a lot of fun. Before we could leave for the museum we had a bit of drama attempting to remove a splinter from my daughter’s hand. She still has the splinter. We gave up trying to get it out and moved on to more fun things.

The kids loved the transportation museum. It wasn’t very crowded, I’m guessing because it was a week day. They were most in love with the trains. They had several old trains which we were able to get on and explore. That was really cool. The kids liked the climbing in and out and we enjoyed seeing the inside of the old trains. Although it focused mostly on trains, since it was a transportation museum there were other things there as well. There was an old school bus which had benches running front to back,  model airplanes, antique cares, etc.

There was a lot of information about the different forms of transportation. It was fun reading the background information. Unfortunately the kids weren’t as interested in the information. They were mostly interested in the things they could move and that moved. Thankfully there were a lot of interactive areas. The kids could put on a fireman’s suite and put together puzzles. They especially liked the large model train that moved through the mountains.

I would highly recommend if you ever make to Virginia to check out the transportation museum. I believe it would appeal to several ages since there’s the hands-on toddler stuff and lots of educational parts.

Here’s a few pictures from the museum.

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Yesterday was an animal fun-filled day. In the morning we went to a Safari Drive-through Zoo which had a regular zoo attached to it. I’d not thought the walk-through zoo was going to be very big so we’d only planned on a little less than 4 hours for this activity. We also had forgotten to check to see how far it was from us. It turned out to be a little more than 30 minutes. We left much later than we were hoping to leave. I packed a lunch when we left “just in case”. This ended up being great planning because we stayed much later than planned and ate lunch in the walk-through zoo.

The drive through part of the zoo was really pretty neat. It was the first of its kind for me and my husband. They had a lot of deer, llamas, antelope, cow-like animals, and buffalo. It was really great. We didn’t get feed for fear it might freak out the kids if the windows were open or if the animals stuck their head in the car. As it turned out, that was very smart because they were a bit scared of the larger animals when they were up close. Loved the smaller animals when they came close. My daughter was afraid we may run over them when they’d get in front of the car. She loved the bigger animals when they were far away.

After the zoo we stopped by the bride’s family’s farm/acreage. It was a beautiful drive with winding roads twisting through the wooded countryside. I believe I’m in love with this part of the country! It was fun because they have a chicken roost with a dozen chickens. The kids LOVED the chickens. They helped to feed them and then chased them non-stop. They wanted to catch one. Even my husband jumped in to help. It was hilarious watching them. My husband was crouched down with his arms out sayin, “Here chicky, chicky, chicky!” and shooing them toward the kids. The kids giggled and chased them. At one point, my son had cornered a chicken and could have caught it. He didn’t know what to do and just “raared” at it forcing the chicken to run for its life!

We stayed until about nine o’clock, it was a lot of fun to be on the acreage. My husband enjoyed talking with the bride’s mom about owning bees. Some day my husband would love to own a hive and me chickens. In the evening they burn their trash and the kids loved watching the fire from a distance. It was a day of many firsts for the kids. They were completely tuckered out when we left.

Lessons from today:

1) Plan on plenty of time for planned activities

2) Chickens are good entertainment for all ages

Have you had any firsts on vacation? Please share your fun vacation stories.

Here are a couple of pictures from the Safari Zoo, unfortunately my cell phone battery was dead and I couldn’t capture the chickens!

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Our vacation didn’t start out smooth. In fact, if I were a superstitious person, I would think that this vacation wasn’t exactly meant to be. However, I’m not and since arriving at our destination we’ve been having a good time. Here’s a few of the rocky starts to this vacation.

1) Forgot the wedding clothes (which the purpose of the vacation)

2) New Portable DVD player stopped working before we left our driveway

3) Toddler vomited on me in the Walmart parking lot

4) The only girls bathroom not being cleaned at Walmart was in the BACK of the store

5) A potty-training toddler can pee so much he can overload a pull-up and wet his pants 4 times even with stopping every 2 hours to potty
This bumpy start to our vacation taught me a few things:

1) Our kids CAN travel without a DVD player.

2) Always have a handy bag of “extra clothes”.

3) Flexibility is so very important.

4) A toddler covered in vomit will still elicit an “He’s so cute”, Roll with it!

5) Being silly in the car is still the best entertainment for the family, with I Spy being a close second.

Here are a few quick pictures of our first day, the more fun pictures. The non-vomit pictures.

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Our family, ok…I, decided to have a garden this year. We really wanted one last year but had a lack of time to do it. Plus we were hoping to move this summer and wasn’t certain that a garden would help us move. So, we put it off. Now that we’ve relooked at our finances and re-evaluated the housing market, we’ve decided to go on a 3 year plan. Not wanting to put off gardening for 3 plus years, we, OK me, decided this would be the year!

We do have a small flowering area in the front of our house and then along the side we usually plant a few flowers and plants. And, yes, they do get overgrown a bit with weeds. So, I don’t expect my garden will be perfect. But, I’m very excited to begin growing some of our own food. Growing-up there was always a garden. I didn’t do a lot of the work in the garden but certainly helped plant and then harvest- you know, the fun parts. I’m not a huge fan of dirt and certainly not a big fan of the things that LIVE in dirt. But, I do love the idea of my veggies!

We are going to be on vacation over the next week and won’t be able to actually get our hands dirt (eww…) until we return. But that hasn’t stopped me from moving forward. I now have a hand tiller so when we get back I can plot out my territory. The seeds were on sale so I bought a few of those too. So far I’ll be growing: Carrots, Cucumbers, Herbs, Tomatoes, and marigolds. I originally thought I’d grow the tomatoes from plants. However, I realize how cheap seeds are and that I could start them inside while I was gone. The Marigold are for keeping the bunnies away. I hope that works!

I found this nifty little plant starter kit at  Menards. We had a family activity to plan the seeds in here. It has 36 slots. The kids loved playing in the dirt, I’m not sure I’d call them helpful…..Anyways, it self waters for up to 10 days which is perfect because I’ll refill up the water tomorrow night and it should be good until our return.

Here’s the nifty little self-watering plant starter:

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Here we go again, another review! This one was received from Bethany Publishing Company as part of their blogging for books program.

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Swept away by Mary Connealy was a great find. It follows the story of an unlikely pairing of Ruthie and Luke. Luke is on a mission to save his ranch from an outlaw. He pulls Ruthie out of a stream and into the danger. Joining in on the gun fight are some of Luke’s military friends. Each with very distinct personalities and talents. Even Ruthie has her own set of talent that helps out the cause. This is a story not only about returning the land to the rightful owner, but also one of new beginnings.

It was a quick easy read and pulled me in, rather quickly. Since this was the first Western I’ve read in a long time, I struggled a bit in the beginning and somewhat throughout the story with the Western language. In the first couple of chapters its quite heavy with Western vocabulary. I cringed as I read the very cliché language which seemed to fill the first chapter. However, as I kept reading either the use of the language decreased or I quite simply got use to it. On a few occasions the use of the language, specifically the term polecat, would pull me out of the story. At times it seemed a bit random in its placement. This book had very Christian undertones and did speak briefly about God with reference to praying and one of the characters is a preacher. Overall, this book is one that a non-christian or someone new to Christian novels could pick-up and read without feeling preached at. If you’re someone who likes to be completely submerged in Christianity when reading a novel, you may want to pass. I would recommend this book and am looking forward to reading the second book in the series.

I give this book a 4.5 of 5 bookends.

This book was provided for free by Bethany House Publishers I was not required to give a positive review.

What are you reading?


This term seems to be coined sometime in the last 10-15 years. I’m sure we’ve all ran into one at some point in our life. You know the girl who has nothing nice to say to anyone, not even her closest friends. She is over critical of everyone to often cover up her own insecurities. Strangely, it seems, she’s often the popular girl who all school-age girls want to be. As adults, these same girls exist but have a lot less power. Women are stronger emotionally and less likely to base their self-worth on a mean girl’s opinion of them.

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My daughter takes dance. We luckily found a dance studio that is more modest than most. There’s no mid-sections showing on the little ones and the little girls’ routines are very much age appropriate. Once a week we rush after daycare to get her to dance on time. She loves the dance class and teacher. She’s always been shy but I’m now seeing her become more outgoing. She now likes to sit with her “dance friends’ when before she’d sit on my lap just watching them.

Last week they were all sitting together looking through the dance books. My daughter was sitting next to two other girls and looking over their shoulders. Now, these other two go to the same daycare together so they are quite familiar with each other. Girl A is the obvious leader of the two. Girl B pretty much follows her around and copies what girl A is doing. Girl A is very, well, bossy.

While looking through the books Girl A and B were commenting on the outfits and which ones they liked. Girl A pointed to one and said, “Eww….I don’t like this one”. Girl B looked over and said something I didn’t hear. The Girl A continued on to say it was because it was a boy’s outfit and it was ugly. My daughter looked puzzled and looked up at me. She didn’t say anything. They turned the page and Girl A pointed at another girl and said, “That’s ugly, I don’t like her face.”

My daughter’s eyes were huge and she looked at me and said, “That’s not nice!” I responded with, “No it’s not nice and we don’t say things like that.” Girl A’s mom and B’s dad were several feet away not paying any attention to the girls. Girl A was never reprimanded for making such a mean and hurtful comment.

When we drove home following dance, I reinforced to my daughter this type of behavior is inappropriate. Most importantly I praised her for being able to recognize it. I told her how proud I was that she was always so nice to everyone.

Now reflecting on this, my heart hurts a bit. This girl was only 5 years-old. She’s already showing the signs of being a mean girl. That is so very sad. Further more, it’s sad because her mom was so involved in a conversation she missed the opportunity to redirect her daughter’s comment. She missed a teaching opportunity. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with her mom having a conversation with someone. I just think its sad that there was a missed opportunity. I’m certain I’ve missed opportunities too. It happens, but sad none the less.

I am truly proud of my little girl. I often see her being a truly nice girl. Daycare tells me frequently they just love her sweetness and how she’s nice to everyone. This little girl of mine doesn’t have a true mean bone in her body. She’s never been one to purposely hurt someone; physically or emotionally. She’s pretty awesome!

Some of this is personality. Some of it is how we raise her. I can’t take all the credit but I’ve done things to help promote this behavior. By no means am I perfect. These are just a few things we do. They are not in any sort of order.

1. Nip it in the backside: We don’t let any mean behavior go. Its addressed immediately. It doesn’t matter if it’s directed toward a friend, a sibling, or me. My kids know without a doubt that inappropriate behavior is addressed.

2. Praise the good: As in the story above, when I see my kids doing good, I tell them. I let them know I’m proud of them when they are doing the right thing.

3. Provide a moral compass: I help direct them to God’s word and what he says about behavior. We’ve worked on memory verses. Two of my favorite are: Children obey your parents in the Lord (Ephesians 6:1)  and Be kind to one another and build each other up (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

4. Model good behavior: This is essential for anything to stick. We make an effort to demonstrate the expected behavior. My husband and I say please and thank-you. We avoid certain words from our language and are always respectful.

5. Monitor what is watched: What we watch and hear influences behavior significantly. It speaks to children and helps guide their thinking. Consider the message before sitting the kids in front of the television. Watch everything before the kids or at least with them.  


So we have these shoes.

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There’s nothing wrong with them. They are hand-me-downs. My daughter won’t wear them because they’re boys. My son won’t wear them because, well, I don’t know why. I think because his sister won’t.

He had to wear them last week because he urinated in his other shoes. We’re potty training. It was right before leaving for daycare. There was no time to clean and dry them. So, he was forced. Yes, forced, to wear them. He was quite unhappy about it. I told him he couldn’t go outside and to daycare without shoes on his feet. Later that day I spoke with his daycare provider and asked if he’d complained about his shoes.

That’s when I learned how much he disliked those silly, brown shoes. They’d come inside from playing and my Little Guy was walking around without any shoes on. The teacher asked him where they were. He told her he’d thrown them away. And, sure enough, he had. She took them out of the garbage, cleaned them off and put them back on his feet.

Yes, he dislikes those shoes so much he threw them away. Simple as that. He waited until he’d gone outside in the afternoon to play. Then, once the usefulness of the shoes was over, he ditched them.

This got me thinking. Thinking about things in my life that may have reached beyond its usefulness. I should be like my kiddo and toss those things. Yet, I hold on to them. We’ve been slowly cleaning out our house. We’ve been sorting and either tossing items or sending them to Goodwill and consignments. We have a long ways to go before our house will be completely de-cluttered.

I think about taking this a step further. What can I throw-out that I no longer need to do? What’s eating up my time? What activities are still in my life that’s outlived its usefulness? What negative emotions or thoughts are sitting there and need to be recycled? Are there things I could stop doing or throw away? How about you? Do you have “shoes” you can throw away?