Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, December 30, 2014


This is a partial repost from a year and a half ago. There will be an update at the end.

If you notice, taking care of your heart and physical health is obviously one of the most important factors in keeping your brain healthy. Nutrition and exercise reduce your risk of cardiovascular problems and mental problems. Trying things that are new and challenging, especially facing the unexpected (traveling, socializing), should be encouraged at all stages of life. I was disappointed that biking and swimming aren't more helpful since I enjoy those. I will continue to play instruments and encourage my kids to do so.

It's better to wear out your body and mind than to rust.
Running will get you results in half the time of walking.
To add 3 years to your life run 100 min/week or walk 200 min/week.
Running is the best exercise for neurological health.
The computer offers hypernormal stimuli.
Fitness increases neurons and connectivity in the brain.
Exercise is as good as Zoloft to treat depression.
Exercise is the equivalent of a little Prozac and a little Adderall.
Running increases your endocannabinoids. (like marijuana)
A PE teacher gave grades based on how long students' heart rates were in the target zone and there was an 83% drop in disciplan referrals.
Teachers should offer a time in instead of a time out (run, bike, etc) in order to turn the brain back on.
Improving cardio fitness improves IQ.
Strength training improves physical health, but not mental.

 I should note here that I hate running, so hearing that was the best thing I could do for myself mentally was a major disappointment. However, it was also the push I needed. As I write this I'm in week 4 of a couch to 5k program. By the time this is published I hope to have completed it. I still hate running, but after seeing the evidence, I feel the need to run.

Update: A year and a half after I started running, I have finally started to enjoy it. Yes, I hated it for that long and continued because of the cognitive research. I'm that much of a nerd. I completed my first half marathon last April. I've completed a few since then. I set a goal to run 500 miles this year. I did it. Tomorrow is the first of two days proving I am crazy. Tomorrow I will run a 5k followed by a half marathon (yes, in the same day). Thursday I will run another 5k followed by a half marathon. It's called a Double Double. My goal is to still be standing at the end. So, if you have a good thought feel free to share it on here or on the facebook page because I will need all the encouragement I can get.

Monday, December 29, 2014


The rule in our house is the kids can pick their own hair styles as long as they keep it clean. Many of you have noticed Sweet Son's hair getting longer. Sweet Daughter decided she wanted a hair cut. I started by showing her pictures of girls with short hair. After going through many pages, she selected a picture of a girl with long hair with many different colors in it. So, I went out and bought 3 different colors of chalk to put in her hair. This was much easier than having to cut her long beautiful hair!!!

Blue in the back

Pink on one side and purple on the other.

She loved this for almost half a day. She stopped saying she wants her hair cut. I also put a bit of color in my hair. I wish I could go around everywhere with blue hair, but the responsible teacher in me just can't have blue hair.

Friday, December 26, 2014


A favorite Christmas gift this year was clearly the rocket from their Uncle B. Here we are on a cold day testing just how high they will go.

Sweet Daughter and Daddy pump the rocket.

Sweet Son also takes his turn.

We spent probably an hour just shooting off rockets. They would take turns pumping and then running to find it and bring it back. After an hour, they were finally slowing down a bit so we went home to warm up.

Here's a video of one of the launches.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

We would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, or anything else that would make you smile. :) Affiliate links are provided for your convenience at no cost to you.

Picture with the tree before they get stockings.

Snap Circuits - This is still a favorite gift and used regularly. I highly recommend them.

Cars to race - Clearly they loved this as well.

 They both got an art kit. She is making jewelry.

He is painting dinosaurs. (His also came with a catapult kit.)

With all of the fancy toys and kits, his favorites were these construction trucks .

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Family Moments from Christmas

Opening presents is fun, but our favorite memories had nothing to do with presents.

Building a tower together

Playing the keyboard - notice the Christmas palm tree in the background

Family photo
This was turned into a blanket for my Grandmother and she loves it.

This was the highlight of my entire Christmas. While Sweet Daughter plays piano, my Grandmother dances. When Sweet Daughter stops, Grandma stops. I'm hiding around the corner taking the video before she notices. For a woman in her 90's she can really move and would track me down if she knew this existed. :) My kids now call her their "Dancing Great-Grandma".

Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas with Papa T.

Opening presents is always fun for the kids, especially when you are the only two kids!

Smile before you can open your presents. Haha, we are mean like that.

Loving unwrapping and playing with their new toys.

Both kids and Papa T. feeding baby monkey.

Uncle B. explaining how one of his presents works.

Who needs toys when you can just play with the ribbon?

Tomorrow come back for a post about the real celebration - spending time with family. Also see my Grandmother dancing (i.e. the kids' great-grandmother).

Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas with Grandma

We do our Christmas in waves. Today I'm showing our Christmas with Grandma.

We started at Great Grandma's nursing home. You can see the kids opening presents on the floor with Grandma, Great Grandma, Great-Uncle R, and me in the corner. There were another 3 people in the room, but we didn't all fit in the picture. I thought we got a group photo, but I'm guessing it wasn't on our camera because I can't find it.

 Then we headed back to Grandma's house for some playtime and room to stretch out. Isn't that a great tree?

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Kid Photographer - Sweet Daughter

Her favorite subject is clearly her brother. All photos in this post were taken by Sweet Daughter.

He's playing with a toy phone.

She was trying to take a picture of it moving. She would push it and then take the picture quickly.

This is his, "I was told to smile" face.

This is his real smile.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Kid Photographer - Sweet Son

It's time for another installment of kid photographer. These are photos I found on Sweet Son's camera.

We prefer the photo with Santa, but he preferred the envelope it came in.

Lego people - they are important to almost every game he plays.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Cuddled Up

The kids wake up before us and we never really know what we are going to find. Sometimes the house looks like it has been turned upside down. Sometimes we find cool Lego structures or other toys clearly in the middle of some game the kids created.

This is under our small desk. Sweet Daughter said she did this so they could all be cuddled up at the same time. I must admit, it does look cozy.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Fun Friday

These two sweet boys were playing so nicely together in the princess tent that I just had to take a picture. Awww

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Tale of Two Beds - Part 18.

Once again, here are the links to the previous 16 tales. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Frustration, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17.

I do feel the need to show photographic proof my kids do have beds. I also want to offer assurance to every parent out there, as long as your child goes to sleep naturally, it doesn't matter where.

See, there in the background is a perfectly good bed with a pillow, blanket, and stuffed animals. 

Here he found and used the bed, but the placement of the Charlie Brown covering his face was a bit of a problem. His face was so red and sweaty when I moved it down into his arms.

If they both agree and it's a weekend, we let them sleep in the same room.

Same position different night - different pajamas, blankets, etc. Just about the time we think maybe they should still share a room they insist they don't ever want to sleep in the same room again. Besides, we all get more sleep when they aren't together.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Christmas Carols

My favorite part of Sweet Daughter singing Christmas Carols? The part that gets me every time?

"Oranges to the new born king, Peace on Earth and mercy mild, Good sinners reconciled."

I mean, he's a king, surely he already has glory, but oranges? Those he could really use more of. hahahaha

Photo of Sweet Daughter taken by Sweet Son

Monday, December 8, 2014

Consumer Christmas

Almost everyone who sees us this time of year asks the kids one question, "What do you want for Christmas?" This is an issue for me and I would like to explain why.

1. Are you sure we celebrate Christmas? The assumption is that we are not only religious, but Christian. While we do celebrate Christmas, these are huge assumptions. Imagine putting kids of other beliefs on the spot multiple times a day to explain why they don't want anything for a holiday they don't celebrate.

2. Everyone seems to think Christmas is too consumerized. (I think I made up that word, but I like it.) Many people focus more on the gifts than anything else. There are reminders not to forget the reason for the season, but those same people, in my experience, are the first to ask the kids what they want. How are the kids supposed to think Christmas is about anything other than gifts if you start every conversation with asking what they want?

3. My kids generally have no idea what they want. We don't watch tv so they don't see commercials. They often offer to give away toys they don't play with and mention that they have too many toys to clean up. As the only grandkids on either side of the family, they are correct. We have WAY too many toys. We go through the toys at least twice a year getting rid of the things they no longer play with. So when someone asks what they want, they really don't know how to answer. They give answers like "a sharpened pencil" or "a rat snake" because it's the first thing that comes to mind. They have plenty of pencils, but they often break them. There are rat snakes in the neighborhood because there is a field behind our house. We don't need either of these things.

4. When realizing my kids don't know what they want we get suggestions like "take them to a toy store." One of two things happens when we do this. Either the kids will claim they want everything, including the plastic price tag holders on the shelves, or they will look at the prices and say it's not worth it. Our kids have had "jobs" to earn money for years and when they save up, they are encouraged to spend some of it. When it's their own money, those toys just don't have the same value. This has taught the kids to appreciate how much things cost and they really don't want anyone wasting money on things they know aren't worth it.

So what would I like people to say when they greet my kids? Here are some suggestions:
"Are you doing anything special this week/month/season?"
"What are you reading?"
"Will you get to see your extended family soon?"
"What is your favorite thing to do/eat/play with/read?"

Just please, don't ask what toys they want and then complain about a consumer Christmas. Just don't.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Educents Gift Guide

Educents Holiday Gift Guide

❄ Happy Holidays! ❄

The Educents team is excited to share their favorite deals and products with you this holiday season. Each staff member chose their favorite deal for the holidays and included it in this handy guide. Check out the deals, including free apps, art & craft supplies, personalized books, LEGO sets, martial arts online and so much more. They have something for everyone!

This is a sponsored post, but I really do love Educents. The link is an affiliate link at no cost to you. In fact, we already own 3 of the thinks linked in the guide!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Family Photos

We always try to get a good photo for our Christmas cards. Which is your favorite?

Bulls through wall


Kids with Cowboy

Family with Cowboy

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Bass Pro Christmas

One of our Christmas traditions is a trip to Bass Pro Shops. It's free, fun, and there are so many activities.

We start with visiting Santa. They give out timed cards so you only have to stand in line for 10-20 minutes rather than the hours it takes most places around here. While you wait for your time, there are tons of great activities.

They have activity areas set up around the store. Here the kids try a race track. They also have remote controlled vehicles, shooting galleries, and art projects.

A free reindeer carousel ride always seems exciting.

There are also all of the usual Bass Pro activities - looking in a shark, looking at boats, seeing the fish, walking over a bridge and more.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Gingerbread Houses

Every year we make gingerbread houses as a family. Well, one year we made a gingerbread train, but it's always a gingerbread something that we each get to decorate. This year we found a kit that came with materials for 4 houses and a Snoopy for each.

The adults assembled the houses. Then we set the kids free with red icing.

This was difficult work that required a lot of concentration.

After the icing came putting on the candy.

Can't you just see the precision that goes into these?

They refused to lay Snoopy down so it was a balancing act.

Everyone had fun and we were able to display them for a few weeks.