How we got banned from the library and my plan

I love to study. Sometimes it baffles me when children in this house do not share my desire to pour over books and take notes. I love it. This is what I do. It’s what I have done my whole life.

When JD, at 2 years old, would wake up in the morning, pull up a kitchen bar stool, and say, “Let’s study shapes, Mom!!” my heart would swell with pride. This is my boy.

When Joshua memorized all the species of whales at 3 years old, and checked out every single library book on badgers at 5, I knew that this apple was not falling far from the tree. (These days he memorizes sports statistics instead.)

By the end of my own kindergarten year, the library was my favorite place. It’s sad that all these years later we are banned from the library.

I know what you’re thinking. You are thinking it’s my kids’ fault, or my fault for not controlling my boys. But that wasn’t it at all. My boys love to go to the library, and while they are sometimes a little rambunctious, they have never actually caused any problems there.

It was me. I’m the reason.

In 2015, I paid $250 in library late fees, which included some fees left over from 2014.

In 2016, I paid ~$80 in library late fees, because I was trying harder and being more careful.

In Monterey, I could keep it under the radar. The librarians there were cool with us. Who doesn’t want the lady who donates $250 to the library?

But here in the South, I made the mistake, hefty mistake, of signing up for text alerts for when my books were due. I think the texts also went to the email account that I share with Alan, the same Alan who is very sensible with his money, maybe a little more sensible and organized than his wife…

Alan soon realized that I don’t bat an eye at returning a book a week overdue and continuing to use my library account.

I figure if the library lets me, I’ll just put it off until later, and they do always let me carry a balance. The library here is kind of far away, and I have trouble remembering where it is exactly and how to get there….

Poor Alan. The stress was too much. He was all calling the library to make sure we’d returned them all, going by there and paying all the late fees, and then he said it. He did.

“Can you please stop checking books out from the library?”

At least I think he said it. If he didn’t say it out loud, he was surely thinking it.

So I said it: “Okay. I know. I was wrong. I’m sorry. We will never check books out from the library again.”

I can be dramatic like that.

Alan was all, “Phew!!! Yes, I mean yes, obviously, you should not.”

Sigh.

And that was how we got banned from the library, and how I started shopping more at Book Fairs, Scholastic store online, and Amazon, so I’m not altogether sure we’re saving any money, but we do get to keep the books now…..which is actually sort of a storage problem.

And that is why the library is part of my New Year’s Resolution for 2017.

Yes, I’m aware that I didn’t actually make any New Year’s resolutions back in January, but I’m making one now. Right here, in the month of April, or as you might say MY MONTH.

I am getting my organizational act together!

I have actually been writing in and checking that planner that I bought. This is a BIG DEAL for me.

Every 2 to 3 years, we get completely uprooted, and I have to basically start life all over again, so maybe that helps you understand why I do not have the deeply engrained schedules that you may have. For a military wife, life changes drastically constantly. In 1 more year, we will probably move yet again.

Sometimes I’m guilty of feeling like why bother.

But you know what? I’ve got a lot of kids’ schedules to figure out now, and the older they get the more activities they have, and I’m going to have to get used to writing all this stuff down.

To be fair, it’s a lot of people to keep up with. ūüėČ

So here’s my plan to lift the library ban.

  1. Look at my planner every single day. ¬†I’m going to do that as soon as I finish this article.
  2. Take my planner with me, and write down each upcoming responsibility down on the calendar so I won’t forget.
  3. Check out 1 library book, write down the due date in the planner, and see if I can get it back to the library on time.
  4. If that works, I’m going to check out 2 books the next time!!!

 

So what about you guys? Have any of you ever paid $200 in library fees? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’ve also lost books and had to buy the library new ones. I didn’t feel like this made me a bad customer. I felt like it just made me a frequent flyer, and these things were inevitable. Right? I say yes.

Have a FUN weekend, y’all. Life’s too short to not.

“Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore stand in awe of God. ” Ecclesiastes 5:7

 

“May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. We will shout for joy when you are victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the Lord grant all your requests. ¬† Psalm 20: 4-5

 

4 Almost Free Ways to Spend Time Together as a Family + Giveaway

4 Almost Free Ways to Spend Time Together as a Family + Giveaway

As much as we’d love to be a Disney family, high tailing it off to Orlando a few times a year, that’s not really practical for most of us, is it? No, and even if you do, there will be plenty of time between to fill up with memories at home.

Here are 3 things I’ve found lately to have a BLAST with my children without spending much money at all and without leaving our house.

4 Almost Free Ways to Spend Time Together as a Family

Retail $34.95 on Amazon. I got it for $3.95 at Goodwill! Hurray!!

Board Games

This one can be even cheaper than you think. I buy almost all of our games at Goodwill or other local thrift stores. Part of Daniel’s birthday gift this year was an Angry Birds game I found for $3.95 at Goodwill. Maybe $3.95 doesn’t sound cheap, but when you figure the whole family could play it, it was in perfect condition, and retail it would have been more like $34, it starts to sound like a steal.

This morning we paid Spongebob Monopoly, and while 3 of 4 boys quit early on from boredom, Daniel hung in there and beat me SOUNDLY.

So did everyone have fun? Sort of. Everyone did for a little while. And one of them had the special honor of beating mom. Also, he learned so much about counting money and making change.

 

We bought this net for ~$40. This one at Amazon actually comes with birdies and rackets.

Playing Sports Outside…..and yeah, sometimes inside

What we play depends on what they are into at the time. Last year it was always baseball. Now it’s mostly basketball, but lately we’ve been all about badminton.

Here’s my best tips for introducing your kids to badminton or tennis:

  1. Buy any racquets at thrift stores. Thrift stores almost always have tennis rackets, and when you are playing at home, you can totally play badminton with big giant tennis rackets. In fact, it makes it easier for the kids to hit the birdie.
  2. If you don’t have a net, designate a line on the driveway as your “net”. By the way, the one above is a nice one. You can also buy super cheap ones, but I can’t vouch for how good they will be, but they might be better than just the line on the driveway. Ha!
  3. Our family just used the crack in the driveway as our “net” until we had time to go buy a net.

Most sports can be simulated at home without actually owning the equipment. In most cases, you just need a ball.

4 Almost Free Ways to Spend Time Together as a Family + Giveaway

Charades!

ABSOLUTELY FREE: CHARADES!!!

Alan took some papers, cut them into squares and wrote names of people we know, movies we’ve watched, and places we’ve been to on them. Then he made a paper bag for each category, and put the papers in the bags for us to draw out.

The boys LOVED it. It was more personal this way. We used family members, and then they’d act out what they’ve noticed about those family members. The cutest was when they were being their cousin Wesley, and they got on their knees, to show they were short, and then went around hugging everyone! Ha!!!

For places, we used random ones like the driveway, the pumpkin patch, and places we used to live. Just talking about it makes me want to do this again. We all laughed so much.

Include the little ones too. Just whisper in their ear how to act it out. As long as there’s one person to guess, you’re good. When toddlers get involved, I promise it will be hilarious. They may even announce to everyone who they are being, like JD does, and that’s okay.

Turn something they LOVE into a family activity!

Light sabers? Family jousting tournament

Legos? Building contest! And name a different prize for each kid. Maybe even make little construction paper ribbons.

Dancing? Dance Party.

For example, the ever so obnoxious BOTTLE FLIPPING!!

Does any mom or teacher out there not hate this activity? Why? It’s loud. It’s annoying, and it always spills water.

Did you know they make games for Bottle Flipping? As in board-game like games? They do!

 

We chose this one. It’s $24.95 on Amazon.

 
I decided to give this a shot. This is the very first time I had ever attempted to flip a bottle, and I’m here to tell you it is way HARDER than it looked! I have new respect.

4 Almost Free Ways to Spend Time Together as a Family + Giveaway

Best of all, my older boys got a real kick out of me participating in bottle flipping with them. My oldest wasn’t even going to play with us at first, but once he saw us having fun, he joined in and then insisted that we play again.

4 Almost Free Ways to Spend Time Together as a Family + Giveaway

Score board, caps, and cards are all included. Cards are funny. One said, put your elbow in your shirt, and flip the bottle like a T-Rex. Haaaa!!!

In fact, I want you all to join in on this fun, so this week we are giving the Bottle Flippin’ Game away for FREE to one of you!

***This giveaway is sponsored by the Bottle Flip Game.***

I love giveaways!!!

To enter just Log in with Facebook or your email below, and click one of the options. If you have trouble, just send me your email address, and I’ll enter ya.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Good luck!!!

Spring Break Part II: Funny Stuff They Said with Daniel’s Recipe Printable

Spring Break Part II: Funny Stuff They Said with Daniel’s Recipe Printable
Spring Break Part II: Funny Stuff They Said with Daniel's Recipe Printable

I love watching my boys play ball.

Having my kids home all day cracks me up. I mean literally, by 5:30, when my husband gets home, I’m a little cracked in the head.

But I love it. I do.

What do you do on the lazy days of Spring break? Well, for any parent who decides to stay home with the kiddos during their week off of school, these are definitely not lazy days. Duh, right?

But it’s still fun.¬†I cooked 3 meals yesterday. Do you think anyone will notice if I only “cook” 2 today?

Daniel helped me make last night’s dinner. He even helped come up with a recipe.

“Mom, can we have a bowl of carrots for dinner?”

“Um, well…”

“And bwocowi! Bwocowi and carwats for supper. Nothing else.”

“Um, well…we do need to have some kind of meat. Chicken, maybe?”

“No. How about if you put the meat in with the bwocowi and the carwots, all in 1 big bowl?”

“Hmmm. Yes, that sounds good. How about this sausage?”

“Yes! Yes.”

Spring Break Part II: Funny Stuff They Said with Daniel’s Recipe Printable

helping me bake his cake….Actually, at this point he was lickin’ the bowl.

So Daniel and I made a delicious dinner that, believe it or not, was heartily consumed by all SIX residents of the House of Tiny Men. ¬†Here’s the recipe. Alan made me write it down.

So I typed it out for you to print for yourself.

Just click on the link below to download and print the recipe.

Spring Break Part II: Funny Stuff They Said with Daniel’s Recipe Printable

Daniel’s Sort of Gazpacho

Okay, it may not be that pretty, but I promise it was yummy. Even my picky eaters did eat it, believe it or not.

——————————–

 

Daniel tries to hang out with the neighborhood boys, who are all 2 to 3 years older than he is. They are Caleb’s age, and as far as they are concerned, Daniel is just Caleb’s little brother. Daniel has been persona non grata to them.

I told Caleb he was going to have to tell them we can’t play if they can’t include Daniel.

Yesterday I sent them out to play, and I asked Caleb later how it went.

“Oh, I told ’em, ‘If you guys can’t accept the little guy, I’m going to turn you into rotten flesh.”

!!!!!??????

“Ew, Caleb! What does that even mean???”

“It’s from Minecraft.”

“What did they say?”

Caleb made a face that looked sort of like this          8 /

Nothing more was said. So no one said anything unwelcoming to Daniel. Raising boys is apparently not for the easily offended or overly refined….

__________________________

Spring Break Part II: Funny Stuff They Said with Daniel's Recipe Printable

The leprechaun came to John David’s class. I asked him who the leprechaun was. He said, “Jesus!” I couldn’t help it. I busted out laughing before I tried to explain Jesus isn’t the leprechaun.

It’s been a fun week so far. Lots of driveway basketball, Lego Star Wars video games, and popcorn eating has taken place.

Caleb’s genius plan for spring break was announced on Day 1:

“Let’s make a rest schedule for this week.”

I laughed, but he appears to be sticking to it.

Spring Break Part II: Funny Stuff They Said with Daniel's Recipe Printable

JD loves playing with the magnet letters he got from my friend Amy. Also, JD loves pajamas. He changes back into his pjs the moment he re-enters the house. Sometimes, when I’m going somewhere in the afternoon, I don’t even have time to change him for the 3rd time that day and he picks up his big bros in his pjs.

People probably think I never dress him. hehehe

Hope y’all had a great week too!

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A Prayer for My Children

a prayer for my children (poem)

 

 

a prayer for my children

My boys, stalking sea lions in Monterey, just like their mom.

Today I was walking around my backyard, feeling thankful for the Nerf bullets in the grass and the bare dirt spots on the lawn because they are signs that my babies still live here.

They grow so fast, but for today they are still here with us, and I was feeling ever so thankful. This poem/prayer fairly burst right out of my heart, so I came inside and jotted it down. I hope you like it.

All of my children are boys, and there are 4 of them, so this is a little unique to that. However, a lot of it I know you may be able to relate to.

 

 

Dear God,

Thank you for these boys.

Thank you for Nerf bullets in the grass,

for a living room floor littered with their toys.

Thank you for their sass.

For tiny Lego men in the laundry basket and the noise,

Thank you for the noise.

 

Thank you for popcorn kernels in the couch,

for little plastic Batman in my bathtub,

and even the moments I beg them not to slouch.

Thank you for the way he runs when I approach with the washcloth to scrub

All that sunbutter off his adorable cheekies and his mouth.

 

Thank you for their fighting,

and their running, and their bouncing,

Their snacking, video-game playing, yes, even their messy hand-writing.

Thank you for the sounds of laughing, crying, and being rowdy.

 

Thank you for their tuition bill,

their baseball and basketball games,

The way they hug me, even when they smell.

And of course sometimes call each other names.

Thank you for the way they look after each other.

 

Thank you for all the dirt and clutter

and all the lessons to teach and walls to scrub clear.

Because what it means is that for now we are all here together.

And love is filling the house, and we are growing good men here.

Thank you for making me their mother.

~April Alan

 

 

 

 

10 Tips to Save Money and Hassle on Your D.C. Vacation

10 Tips to Save Money and Hassle on your washington, d.c. vacation

our 10th anniversary

Last year, we went to Disney World for vacation. This year we need something more affordable, so we are going to Washington, D.C.!!!!

Alan has been after me to write a post about how to save money and hassle on a D.C. vacation for a while now because it’s something we loved. When we lived in the D.C. area, we had so much fun taking our friends and family around to see the monuments and Smithsonian museums.

So I finally got around to it. I wrote an article for Monterey Premier about Saving Money and Hassle on a Washington, D.C. vacation.

Here’s a snippet:

#8. Most importantly, buy a Metro pass, and you will be fine.
The Metro is a perfectly safe form of transportation, and it is the most affordable way to do D.C. There are even buses that run between Metro stops that you can hop on with your Metro pass.
I used to walk around D.C. with my Metro map, but now that everyone has smart phones, you can give your Google Maps app a good work-out on this trip! Which leads me to my next tip…..

#9. Download the Metro app!!!……..

Click here to read more!

10 Tips to Save Money and Hassle on your washington, d.c. vacation

10 Tips to Save Money and Hassle on Your Washington, D.C. Vacation

 

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