Lake City Colorado

We are so blessed to be surrounded by Colorado beauty in our backyard.  Last weekend we took a camping trip to Lake City, which is only two hours away from home.

Lake city colorado

Because we were so active while there, most of my pictures were taken with my phone.  The quality does not do justice the beautiful scenery!  This is Lake San Cristobal which Lake City is named after.  It is a five minute drive from town.  Our campground was nestled between Lake City and the Lake which gave us the best of both worlds!

LAke San Cristobal

Lake City is a very small untouched gem in Colorado.  There is some tourist traffic due to its location near so many 14ers, but it hasn’t been corrupted by traffic or commercialism yet.  There are only a few restaurants, an ice cream shop (which was wonderful) and a great little town park.  We found a great little mini golf, which I didn’t get any pictures of, that the children really enjoyed.

LAke city

While at Lake City we did a little canoeing with the children.  I was very impressed with both of their attention to water safety.  Ezra had recently completed a water and boat safety coarse so I am sure that helped him focus on being safe.

Lake city collage

The boys also spent some time fishing which was very relaxing for me as I sat on shore and read surrounded by the lovely scenery.  Below are the boys with their cousins who joined us for one day on the lake.

Lake city collage

On our final day in Lake City we biked some of the great trails which run just outside of town along the river.  Lucas has just learned to ride his big boy bike (up from his balance bike), and had a bit of a spill.  All in all it was a great day and we were able to bike around town even and to the great little playground they have near the ice cream shop.

Our camp site was small but backed up to the woods where the boys enjoyed running around on little trails and making forts to hide in.

Camp site

Ezra was elated to find fresh mountain raspberries growing right near our campsite!

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We enjoyed Lake City and plan on making another trip there sometime.  I understand they have a beautiful fireworks display over the lake for the 4th of July.  Additionally, I have heard their Wine Fest is lovely.

xoxo

Grandma’s Curio Cabinets

My grandmother had these cabinets in her home for as long as I can remember.  She stored her doll collection in them.  I remember going to them as a child and she would playfully scold me “No no leah, those are grandma’s dolls.”  I loved gazing at her collection, touching the fine details on the handmade treasures.  I knew they were something very special because she kept them in her special cabinets.

When the cabinets were given to me, I was elated.  They are a constant reminder to me of my grandmother and he special things.  I wanted to give them a loving update and I contacted some local refinishers to see what the cost would be to give them a nice update.  The number was a little outside of my reach.

curio cabinets

I was terrified to try to refinish them myself, however a girlfriend of mine had been using chalk paint and reported it was very easy to work with.  After a long pep talk (seriously had the paint sitting on my kitchen counter for two weeks prior), I dug in.

curio cabinet makeover

I used black chalk paint and then distressed with sandpaper to give it that flat chalky distressed look.

curio cabinet makeover

Then I waxed with a finishing wax to seal it.  I love how they turned out!

curio cabinet makeover

black curio cabinet

I loooooove how they turned out.  They look elegant still with a modern refinishing.

Here is an upclose look of the distressed finish.  Yum!

black chalk paint

xoxo

School Stuff and the Universe at Work

Some big changes are happening around here… AGAIN.

As the universe moves and shifts opportunities sometimes arise that make you look at your choices a bit more closely.

This summer, while Ezra and I were on vacation on the Cape, I received a text message from a friend of mine who runs a local private school.  I had been working on a community project with her during that time and she knew a little about our homeschooling and had grown to know a little about Ezra.  In the text, she stated that there was one partial scholarship available at the school left for the 5th grade class.

It hit me hard.  Was the universe trying to tell me that Ezra needed this opportunity?  I had so much respect for this woman, this teacher, but the thought of sending Ezra to private school never really was allowed because the options in the area were mostly religious or like her school was very expensive.  The thought of a partial scholarship for him meant we may be able to send him there for 5th grade?!!!

The wheels turned and we discussed with with Ezra’s father, our family and with Ezra.  We toured the school and it was like a dream!  This school was exactly what Ezra was needing!

So our big announcement is that Ezra will be attending a lovely private school this year for 5th grade.  We are so excited about the school community, the curriculum (Spanish, yoga, guitar, business!!!).

Since we will be paying tuition for Ezra to attend the school I will be working a bit more at the store helping my husband and keeping our home flowing, which means Lucas will be starting Kindergarten!  I am so excited to see how he grows!  He is very excited about his new big boy school, especially art class he says.

I have to admit, I was in mourning a bit about letting go of our homeschool.  I learned so much about my children in the year we spent schooling together and I loved having the time with them.  You never know, we may end up homeschooling again down the road, but for now we are on the path to school.  What doesn’t bend breaks I say and I knew that I had to look at something the universe was trying to put in my child’s path rather than get stuck on my personal desire for our homeschool dreams.

I will of course share how it is going and how the boys are thriving.  It is going to be a big year!

Thank you, universe, friends, family for supporting us on this journey.  Our journey bends and flows as we parent these beautiful boys and I like to think that we are following the path that is laid out for us!

Keeping Flies Away From Food with Lavender

August is the time of year that for us seems to be when the flies are everywhere.

fly away jars

I found this quick and easy trick to keep them away from your food buffet or tables when you are having an outdoor eat out (or indoor if they are bugging you indoors for that matter.

lavender to keep flies away

Simply take a small mason jar, cut an inexpensive sponge to fit inside of the jar.  Now put about 20 drops of lavender essential oil on the sponge and a tablespoon of water.  Close up the jar and let it sit overnight so that the oil will really permeate the sponge.

how to keep flies away

When you are ready to serve your food just open your jars and set on tables.  It really did do the trick.  I am not saying there were not any flies, it is August, but they didn’t seem to swarm and linger around our food!

Hope you give it a shot.

If you are interested in trying DoTerra oils let me know!  I am very impressed with the purity and potency of them.  Or check out their site HERE.

Cherry Lemonade

My parents have beautiful Nanking Cherry bushes at thier home that they use as a privacy barrier between neighbors.  We love to go at the end of June and pluck bags of them off of the bush and make syrup with it.

First you fill a pot with them and top with enough water to just cover the cherries.  Boil until the cherries are soft and mushy.  {I followed these directions and it came out great}

cherries in a pot

 Then strain and save the juice that you strain.  Once you have the juice you mix it three cups sugar to four cups juice and boil for 20 minutes.  This will give you a wonderful syrup.

cherry syrup

Ezra usually wants to make cherry lemonade with his syrup for serving at his birthday.

He squeezed the lemons with his new lemon juicer.  Yes, foodie that he is he asked for a lemon juicer for his birthday!

lemon juicer

making cherry lemonade

lemonade recipe

Look at that pretty color!

cherry lemonade

We also reserve some syrup for eating on waffles and pancakes!  {this is the look I get when I try to take pictures of him while eating breakfast…haha}

pancakes with cherry syrup

xoxo

 

In the Garden

I am so pleased at how well our garden is growing!

IMG_8868

Here is what we are growing this year.

Box #1

tomato garden

Roma Tomatoes

Tomatoes (regular round style)

Cherry Tomatoes

Garden Berries (small round tomatoe like fruit)

Tomatillos

Box #2

squash family garden

Zuchinni

Crook Neck Yellow Squash

Cantalope

Watermelon

Pumpkin

Acorn Squash

Butternut Squash

Box #3

cucumber

Peas

Cucumber

Lemon Cucumber

Box #4

pepper garden

Jalapenos

Seranos

Bell Pepper

Big Jim

Banana Pepper

Habanero

Here are some shots of the plants in progress.

yellow squash

tomatoe

 

watermelon

 

We have been getting zuchinni and squash thus far, I am excited to start getting some big crops!  I hope your gardens are growing well!

 

Some of my favorite workout moves

I have been having so much fun with my new gym and workout.  Most days I feel like I might pass out or throw up from the intensity, but honestly I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I feel my body working on such a level that I have never pushed it before and it is responding which makes me feel great.  Today for my “things” post I am going to share some of the fave workout moves that I have been enjoying over the last couple of months.

{I am by no means a fitness expert or offering fitness advice to anyone, I just really like these workouts in particular}

Tire Jumps- I love doing these, they make me feel strong and really get me sweating right away.

Kettlebell Swings- Love love love these, again they get your blood pumping right away and work your whole body!

Heavy Bag workout- My trainer incorporates a lot of heavy bag work into our workouts of the day.  I like it because I also think it reinforces my karate work.

Dead Lifts- Great butt move.  We do them just like this but with weight.

Squats- Another great one for your butt and thighs… these make me happy.  I have been squatting about 110 lbs and that is probably where I will stay.

Battle Ropes- These are great for cardio.  They work your whole body!

Pliet Squats- Nothing will get to your bottom like these. Our trainer adds these in regularly and we all have a love/hate relationship with them.

Butt Ups- I usually do these with a thirty five pound weight resting on my thighs to make them a bit harder. They do the trick for sure on the bottom.

Sled Pull- Another one we have a love/hate relationship with.  We do several types of sled pulls at the gym and I really feel them the next day.

Many of these excercises are a bit unconventional but I think that is why I like them so much, it is really a challenge. I of course, am using a trainer who always makes sure that safety is number one! If you are thinking of doing any of these please do not do them without a fitness professional to help you! If you are in western colorado and are looking for a great gym check out Colorado Mountain Fitness, it is wonderful!!!

Homeschool Tips: Organization

Homeschool Tips and advice

One thing that EVERY homeschool mom has to have is an orgaziational system.  you cannot function as a homeschool if you don’t know where everything is.  You don’t have to have an entire room set up for your homeschool, but at least you must have a place where everything is kept.

Each of my boys had a basket in the dining room where their binders and work was kept when the school day was done.  That way if there was something they needed they knew where to find it.  If they were working on an ongoing project that they needed certain materials they would keep them there as well until the project was complete.  It wasn’t an elaborate orgaization process, but it worked.  There is no need when you first start out to create an entire section of your home for homeschooling, just make sure there is a spot for everything and eventually you will evolve as you need to.

Tracking lessons and time.  I kept a homeschool planner seperate from my own personal planner.  I wrote down each day what lessons we did, how many minutes (or hours) we spend on said lesson and then added up our time for the week to make sure we were staying on track.  I kept track of the things we needed to review or work further on also so that we could come back and make sure that all concepts were fully understood.  I downloaded an inexpensive homeschool planner off of Etsy, but you would go buy a planner at any store and do the same thing with it.  I liked having mine downloaded and in a three ring binder, it gave me plenty of room to write notes and details and again it was very inexpensive.

Below are some templates you are free to use.

homeshool planner expense sheet

homeschool reading list

planner schedule

homeschool daily hours worksheet

Keep in mind vacations and holidays.  They will sneak up on you, so keep them in mind when you begin a new month and also a new lesson block.  It is a bummer if Christmas break falls right on the week that you just began a new block on fractions.  I knew Ezra wasn’t going to remember anything about this new concept after the break so I did a week of review on previous lessons.  I really like to throw review in before a vacation or a break.  It really helps solidify the concepts and keeps you from having to repeat new concept lessons that didn’t stick.

Budget- keep a running tally of everything you buy.  This not only helps you plan for the next year but also helps keep you on track.  I recommend starting each year with a handwritten budget for everything.  $600 for curriculum, $540 for karate classes, $500 for Coop classes taken with teachers, $100 for extra books and literature, etc etc.  This way I know exactly what I need to buy, when and how much it is going to cost.  Again, we are lucky enough to be able to submit these items to a program that will help pay for them.

The main point is you have to have some organization to make it.  If your materials and books are strewn all over the place you will spend way too much time hunting for what you need and your school day will feel like a stressful jumbled mess.

Let me know if you have any other questions about organization.  I am all about no fuss no muss keep it simple kind of organization and I looove helping people find simple solutions that make sense for their homes.