Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Terrific Tuesday!!

I am sitting here next to my open windows...breathing a huge relief that the weather is picture perfect today. So tired of the warm weather. There is nothing like having your windows open...and having pandora music going with some nice worship music playing.
Had a super busy day here at home. Lots of laundry washed, folded, hung up and put in drawers. School work completed, which is always a lovely thought. I then organized all the drawers of Esther's wardrobe. Every thing was quite a mess...shirts with the jammies, that kind of mess. We were able to get rid of some stuff, and reorganize. One thing I hate about Florida (and there are numerous things I hate about Florida), is when the kids drawers are shoved full of clothes needed for warm weather and cold weather...aaahhhh! It drives me crazy. You never know what the kids need each and every day. Anyway, that is completed...I was tempted to dive into the boys drawers...but I resisted since my back (which has been stressed lately) was aching already. It was giving me a sign to settle down.
I hope I am not boring you...just another busy day. Lots of little things completed and done. I love days like that. I do, of course, love being home more than anything...so this pacifiers the soul a bit. The days are always busy...not sure what I expect with five kids. Busy should be my middle name. But I know one day that busy will change and it will be different.
Well, I just pushed my kids outside. They have spent too much time inside today. Time to burn some energy. I fully believe that the boys bottle twice the amount of energy that girls do, so hopefully this will slow them down.
I almost went to the grocery store...it's time again. We have eaten all the leftovers from Thanksgiving....which was quite lovely. Last night I made a yummy pot pie with the last of the turkey (except for one bag which will be used for another pot pie or stir fry in the future). It hit the spot. So, once again my fridge is empty...have my list ready to go...now if I can only get there :)
Hope you are having a happy Tuesday...I am. Be blessed today!

Ponder for a Moment

‎" I believe in Christ like i believe in the sun- Not because i can see it, but by it i can see everything else."
- C.S. Lewis

Monday, November 28, 2011

French Connection

Look who came to school today...our French friend, Esther. Our crazy girl Esther got a beret this past weekend on a shopping trip with her Nana, and she showed up to school wearing it. Never a dull moment around here.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Turkey Exhaustion

It's Sunday afternoon and I am feeling exhausted. I feel like I need a free day to recover from the holiday. I am so tired. It has been nonstop since Tuesday. Nonstop cooking. Nonstop baking. Nonstop running. Nonstop shopping since Black Friday. I was thinking last night that I am not prepared for the school week, which I have somewhat prepared since then, but I can't believe school is starting again tomorrow.
Even so, it has been a great holiday. Matt was off for five straight days...we spent lots of time with family and friends. We had fun doing crafts, baking, and all the prep work there is for the holiday. But I guess tomorrow it is back to reality. Back to real life...at least for three more weeks...until we start our next holiday. In between that time we will be doing lots of crafts and fun stuff. This is my favorite time of the year. Is it yours?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Perfect Friday, not really Black

I must admit that I love Black Friday. I love the sales. I love the rush. I love the challenge. But I don't love the crazy people who will fight over one item. I always go with an expectation of what I want, but if I don't get it, I know that God has a different plan. I will never fist fight or wrestle over a child's toy. Crazy. Mad. So not Christ like.
Matt and I headed to Walmart at nine o'clock on Thanksgiving night. No, I don't like the fact that they moved the sales to the holiday...but it really didn't matter. We had celebrated with our family all day and we just trying to stay out of our turkey coma anyways. This year instead of forming a line Walmart had you stand near your future purchases until the time chimed ten o'clock. Matt and I split up (I am so thankful he loves to shop with me, because I wouldn't have got the deals I did without him)...he headed to the bikes and I to the Legos.
In my true Allison fashion, I started talking to all the other moms hanging out by the Legos, barbies and matchbox cars. Matt thinks I am crazy...he knows I always talk to complete strangers. And then there was poor Bianca, our Walmart sales rep who was guarding our future purchases. Poor girl. She didn't want to be there. And she had fears of being trampled. We were all laughing, making jokes...as the aisles filled up over the course of the hour. Matt and I couldn't text each other because of the box store, so I assumed he was in position. It had to have been one of the funniest hours...instant friends. In the end, at ten o'clock, I grabbed a Barbie with a pink dress and a set of cars, and my new friend (who was closer to the Legos) grabbed my awesome box of Legos and then we swapped. Lots of team work. All the people were grabbing stuff for each other. It was incredibly fun.
I then met up with Matt who was able to secure two bikes...we then headed over and grabbed some pj's...and we were out the door. No other stores had anything we really wanted, so Matt and I were at home and in bed by the eleven o'clock hour. What a perfectly good night for me and my pocket book:)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Establishing Traditions

Twelve Years ago during Thanksgiving Matt and I were talking about the years past of holidays in the homes that we grew up in. Matt had always gone to his Grandma's house and had the huge family dinner...lots of cousins, food and family laughter. I, on the other hand, had grown up having Thanksgiving at home...sometimes with other family or friends. But my parents had always made it a big deal. My mom made a big spread all day..chips, dip, special breads, fruit...and then we had our traditional meal. While we snacked all morning we watched the Macy's Thanksgiving parade and watched my mom prepare a huge meal. It brings back such warm feelings thinking about it.

Matt and I decided that Thanksgiving that we wanted our kids to experience something similar...the traditions started in our home...the big spread, the Macy's parade, the fun in our own home. This was a difficult decision. We were still a young couple and we knew that it would hurt some feelings. But Matt and I felt it was important to start this tradition then.

Fast forward those twelve years...and we have established those traditions with our five kids. For weeks the kids have been talking about the Macy's day parade...the kids have asked me if I am making that "special" dip that I always make on Thanksgiving day. To see their eagerness and excitement has shown we made the right decision.

So, on this special day I will be cooking tons of yummy food and taking time to be thankful for all of God's blessings. Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Hot House

Despite the very warm temperatures outside (can we say 81 degrees, yuck), my house is trying to keep up with the outside. This temperature has been practically stuck on my oven for the past two days...and it will be again tomorrow. So, if you want to know what is going on the Reynolds Nation...just take a peek in my oven. Bread, pie, pie, bread, pie and soon to be turkey. That's what's going on here. Happy baking!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Operation Christmas Child

This year we teamed up with my husband's work place and worked with them in getting boxes together for Operation Christmas Child. This was an exciting experience getting boxes together for underprivileged children around the world for Christmas. It's hard for the kids to understand how to make a difference in another child's' life. But this is an opportunity for the kids to touch what is given, to choose it and then pray for each box.

The kids after they filled each box (doesn't Judah look a bit disgruntled). It was amazing how much fit into each box. Our family gave 10 boxes and our little town collected over 700 boxes! How awesome is that!!!!

Here we all are after our shopping trip. It was a bit overwhelming having to select over a hundred items for our boxes. The little kids had a hard time understanding that the items they were choosing were not for them...it took a bit of time to catch on. We tried to make a mixture of personal hygiene items (like toothpaste, toothbrush and soap)...along with some fun games, notepads, stickers and items that my own kids would play with.

Esther picked out two little stuffed animals...because she loves collecting them ourselves. Our prayer was that each item would be hand picked by the Lord...designated for the child it was going to.

The little kids had a blast picking out the items. Each kid picked out enough items to fill two boxes...that was a lot of stuff! This isn't the first year we have done this, and we hope to do it again. The best part is that my husband registered each box, so we will be able to track where our boxes went. Which will enable us to pray for that country and believe that our time, love and bit of money made a difference!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Gratitude Friday

My heart is overflowing today with love and thankfulness for my life. Though at times it is difficult and full of change, I am so blessed. So many out there would love to live this life. I can only have total love, joy and thankfulness for a God who gave this to me. Without writing a list this week, I can only say go love on your blessings. We are blessed.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The In-Place to Be

Yes, I have a picture of Walmart on my blog. I know totally weird and in need of explanation. This is where my family hung out (okay, not exactly hung out, but stayed briefly) last night. Our town has been waiting for a Super Walmart for years. It has been the talk for such a long time...get one...don't get one...get one...don't get one. That's what the talk was like. Years ago they voted against a piece of land to be used for it, and then turned around and put a Home Depot there. Not sure what happened there. Anyway, this has been in the works for a long time. The Walmart for our time is small. The parking lot is always full and it's crowded. This was needed.
Now to talk directly towards the anti-Walmart people. Yes, I believe in community stores first. I will always buy there first...as long as it works good for my family. We are budget conscious. Our numbers are tight as a one income family. So, with that in mind, I will always try to buy local first. To keep jobs here. To keep business here. But if doesn't fit in my family budget, I have to pay attention to that first. And to think about jobs...an additional 220 jobs were made just from opening this Walmart. That is good for this community. It's not like they are putting a brand new, never before Walmart in our town...this is replacing the first with better, which means more jobs. And the old store is supposed to be used for another store. And there are already plans to put more businesses surrounding the Walmart, which means more jobs. I will get off my box now.
To go back to the original point, my family and I strolled around the new store last night. Talked to some neighbors...ran into old friends. It was fun. And a bit kooky...that's okay with me.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Spontaneous Birthday Party

The crazy things that we do for our kids...seems to happen on a daily basis here at the Reynolds Nation. Yesterday, Judah woke up and said it was Barney's birthday. All the kids do this periodically. Well, Judah was very serious. And he wouldn't stop talking about it. Then he got the other kids got involved. And next thing you know they are planning a party for the afternoon. Esther made a list of things that needed to be done and Judah was getting really excited.

Next thing you know, we are taking a quick trip to our local Publix and buying a birthday cupcake for Barney (no time for baking today). And we anticipated the big moment all day. After dinner and dad was home, we had Barney's moment. Judah said it was Barney's first birthday...but actually he is 14. We have had the Barney doll for that long...handed down to each kid respectfully.

So, for a few extra dollars and a little bit of time we made a little boy happy. Once again, it is these moments that we will be laughing at one day when the kids are older. And these pictures will be proof!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Love Letters

I was sitting on the recliner this morning, wide awake, but feeling a bit tired. I was up at 4:30 in the morning, and I never went back to sleep. I hate mornings like that. I have noticed that the older I get the harder it is for me to have a full nights sleep. Or maybe it was Judah's knee kicking me in the back. He joined us in the early morning...which isn't that rare at this house.

Anyway, to get back to the story...William came by me with an envelope and he handed it to me and then walked away. Inside the envelope was an I Love You Mom letter. William is just starting to get comfortable with his writing...which means the letters will start. I have been through this before and I love it. I will gets lots of secret letters...hidden messages...special surprises. I have stacks of them filed away from all my kids. This is one of those little bonuses for being a mom. One day I will go through them all...when they are in their own homes...when they have their own babies giving them notes. Thank you God for these special deliveries.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hello Monday!

I am very ready for Monday. Yes, I know that doesn't happen often. Not really at all. I treasure my weekends. I love having Matt home. Helping me with the kids...being my team leader. I love those days. But for some reason I am ready for Monday. Maybe it's the hint of the holidays in the air. It feels pretty fantastic. My windows have been open for days. Which is quite delightful for this New Yorker. Can't stand the air conditioning pumping 24 hours a day. My kids actually complained this morning that they were cold. I laughed at them, and said, "don't worry it will be warm later."
Anyway, today we jump into Ancient Greece. I am very excited. I loved reading the Odyssey when I was younger. I loved all the excitement, and old stories. So, today we venture into that time frame. This is our last week of school before our Thanksgiving holiday. My thoughts are on menus, decorations and having Matt home for five days. And the best part is that we will take a break from school. Though I love school with the kids, it is so nice to take a break.
Yesterday was busy. I worked on Christmas presents, made rice krispie treats for the kids, and worked on our Operation Christmas Child boxes (that will be a post for later in the week). The kids seemed unusually grumpy, so we had the boys in bed nice and early...and they were fast asleep in just a few minutes. The girls stayed up with us to watch the Duggar Family's World Tour. The Duggars are our favorite...if you haven't seen them, check them out on the TLC website. They are an awesome large family (19+ kids) who are raising their kids with strong Christian values. So, we all were on the bed watching with our bowls full of popcorn. A good way to end the night. God is good. Expecting a great week ahead. How about you?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Laugh a Little

A Sunday funny for you. Be blessed today.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Gratitude Friday

I am sitting here early in the morning...was up at five thirty...after a great night of sleep. Got to spend some time in prayer, and then move down stairs without any of the kids knowing. How delightful is that??? I like having a few minutes to myself...it doesn't happen much around here. I cracked our front windows...instead of opening them all up...because we are having our coolest morning of the season..49 degrees( quite lovely). I can't freeze the kids out. Hope you plan on having a great weekend...I do!
1. I am thankful for all the service men and women who served our country to guarantee our freedom. This great country would not be the same without them.
2. I am thankful for the quiet and cold morning.
3. I had a thankful heart this morning for the ability to homeschool. How I am blessed to provide my kids a quality education...and to see their smiles and their desire to learn. To watch William, my six year old, make a Great Wall of China out of juicy fruit candy yesterday...how awesome is that.
4. I am thankful for my husband...who still makes me laugh after all these years. I love him so much
5. I am thankful that God knows and provides my next step...he is awesome to always provide.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Woeful Tale of Edward

This is Edward...you have seen him before. He is our rescue pug who has become one of the family. We love him so much. But there is one who loves him most. That's our Esther. When we first got Edward in May, she was responsible to feed him and take him for potty brakes. Well, that was enough for him...he attached himself right to her hip. He sleeps by her...sits on the floor next to her during school...they watch television together...where ever Esther is, Edward is also.

UNTIL....Esther goes away. Then he is a lost puppy. He looks around all day for her. And now, with the cooler weather and the doors open, he sits by the door waiting for her (case in point, above). It's so sad. You want to cheer him up, but he just won't. He is full of woes...waiting for his Esther. And when she returns, he barks, spins in circles and loves on her. It is the sweetest relationship. She loves him, as much as he loves him. We love our Edward!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Precious Mountains in Homeschooling

Today was just one of those awesome school days where you are so pleased. We were finishing up everything and I was ending our unit on the planet Venus. He kids have enjoyed our work about the planets...it's always interesting and the kids are always full of questions. We had an experiment today to show about the patterns lava make when they come from a volcano. We had found out that Venus is full of volcanoes. Well, as we did this, Esther asked if there were any volcanoes in our country. Mount Saint Helen's immediately came to mind. So, I started talking about when it happened...I actually remember this event in history..and I was able to instantly pull up video and pictures of Mount Saint Helen's when it erupted in 1980. The kids were thrilled. They threw out a ton of questions...including my 14 year old who isn't doing astronomy this year, but was interested to hear what I had to say. It was an awesome, teachable moment. Which by the way, having the iPad at my fingertips does help with instruction at the table. Even so, with just the ability to pull up those images is crazy...at the drop of a hat they were before our eyes. Love these moments with my kids...when I get to introduce another great part of life to them.

Fair 2011

Our night at the fair was last night for the Reynolds Nation...and did we have fun!!! We got there when the rides opened and stayed to the end. This was the first year that William and Esther got to ride some of the bigger rides...which was good. We learned that William is not afraid easily, and loves the excitement of each ride...just like Bryn. I just strolled around with them...standing in line...holding their sweaters that they didn't need, it never got really cool :( It was a great night for all of us...I am just thankful that it is only once a year!One of the first rides of the night...and one of the first grown up rides for William and Esther. By the end, Esther was a bit tearful, but the others loved it.

One of the my favorite moments...which Judah refused to pose for...eating their foot long corn dogs. They couldn't believe they were so big!!! But that didn't stop them from eating every bite.

We had to take turns riding the little kid rides and the adult rides. We went to the fair as a family and we stayed together as a family. The kids were patient with each other and it made a nice night.

I love William's smile on this picture. They all had such a great night. I think the kids went on every ride there...

Judah on the merry-go-round...our last ride of the night. Which was the perfect way to end a great night. His face looks so happy here...love it!

Bryn and Kelsey...friends since they were one year old. After taking the picture, Matt realized that Bryn matched the pig...haha

These two crazy kids spun this tea cup like no one else. I couldn't believe they weren't sick afterwards.

The first ride of the night...a free fall. First time Bryn went on one like this...and she loved it. She wasn't scared of any of the rides. That's Caleb on there too...having a great time.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sunday Happenings

Lounging in my Jammie's right now. Feeling relaxed and refreshed....despite the screams I keep on hearing from my kids. They are wrestling with their dad and having so much fun. It's amazing that the kids love such rough play..and then they come crying to me when they lose the fight. Fun times!!
Had a lovely lunch with my mother-in-law and my family. It was fun to hang out, talk, laugh and eat good food. The kids were a bit rowdy...I am totally putting blame on the time change ;) Which, by the way, I love. I am such an early riser, so I appreciate the sun up early with me. One of the most hated things is to wake up in the dark. Especially when the rest of the house is still asleep.
Tonight I am headed out with my sister-in-law and going to a big sale. A little shopping always makes me happy. I also keyed in on some great clearance at Walmart this weekend. Our local Walmart is closing and moving to a new super center...so, some great buys came my way. As the mom of five, I am always looking for the best deal.
Other than that, life is slow. I am all ready for the school week. Making my list out of what needs to be done. Oh yeah, if you read last weekend's post, I talked about not getting my room organized like I wanted to...well I was able to finish today. Still have to dust, but everything has been reorganized. Yahoo!!! It the simple things, right? Okay, so I have rambled enough. Are you bored of me yet? Have a nice night. Headed to the county fair tomorrow...the kids are so excited, so I should have some good pictures of that. Signing off now.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Piece of the Puzzle

Here is my girl, Bryn Elisabeth. Our oldest. Our first. Our beautiful girl. Who is in the midst of being a teenager. I am so glad that I don't have to live those days again...but we will have to walk five little arrows through those days. And this is our first journey. She is a delight. But she still is going through rough days, feelings of inadequacies, and the normal teenage stuff.

At youth group the other day, they had a puzzle out and they were talking about how each of them was a piece of the puzzle. No puzzle piece was the same. They each had their own characteristics. I love that comparison. No two are the same...just like us. But they were also emphasizing that without each piece the puzzle would not be complete. So, they suggested that each of them take a piece home and place it somewhere in their house that is visible. So they can remember that they are a piece of the puzzle...they are important...they are special. This is where Bryn put hers. To remember that she is God's girl. That God made her for this time, this family, and this season.

My heart is for her to come out of this time stronger than ever. To know who she is in the Lord. To know that she is loved by us. That we cherish and love her. That this Reynolds Nation Puzzle is not complete without her. We are blessed to have her piece.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Gratitude Friday

I snapped this picture yesterday...no, it's not summertime....the girls are in the local indoor pool for swim team, and the boys enjoy splashing around a bit. Good times...even in November.

1. I am thankful for the unknown and change...it's all about trusting in a God who is bigger than you.

2. I am thankful for all my provision...the Lord always goes above and beyond.

3. I am thankful for the joy he brings...even on the busy, pull your hair out days.

4. I am thankful for all the little hand prints on the windows and walls...

5. I am thankful for the breakthrough that is coming...God is good!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

My Energy

Only two years apart... my bit of "energy" keeps me on my toes. They make me laugh and at times made me cry. Believing God will do mighty things with these two brothers. Here they are at their visit with Nana yesterday. I am blessed to be their mom.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

How Sweet It Is!

Another successful day at school. I have such great kids when it comes to working on their school work. The are busy bees getting each subject finished. Yesterday we started a week long study on Ancient China, which they are finding fascinating. This, after a week in Ancient India and next week we will be in South America. We have been globe trotters lately. It's been a lot of fun. I learn more and more each day. And to see the kids faces when they hear new information is priceless.

Well, today we were reviewing some of our astronomy facts about Venus (we are studying astronomy for the whole year ) and I spiced it up a bit by adding an incentive!!! I threw in some yummy candies for answering questions right. And as you can see, you can tell who won...

Happy November!!!!!!