Category: Teaching our Children

Jan 04 2017

Fireworks after the Greenville Drive Game!

With a new year comes a lot of excitement!  The feeling of a fresh start in many areas of our lives, planning for future events and adventures, new goals, and more!  Everyday is a blessing!  While we welcome in the New Year don’t forget to reflect on the many blessings that you have enjoyed over the past year(s).  I encourage you to initiate a conversation with your family (it can be during a family dinner, game night, or any good time when everyone is present).  During this family time focus on these three things as a family to start off your New Year right.  This time together will make a positive impact on the hearts and lives of each individual family member and is worth it:

  1. Reflect back the fun memories and blessings of 2016!  Often the hardest part with this stage is getting the ball rolling.  Before the family time create a list of several good family memories to get it started.  Mention one and let others input their memories tied into that event as well as start adding their own memories.  Give everyone a chance who wants to talk the opportunity.  If there is a pause bring up a different memory to keep them going.  Before long you’ll be laughing and the kids will be bringing up memories connected to the event or new ones that you forgot about.  This is a wonderful way to end a year and begin a new one.
  2. Take a moment to think about the tough times over the past year! While the harder times are not easy to deal with or will bring back sadness or emotions they still have an impact on our lives.  Sometimes during these times of discussion you realize that a family member is still struggling with something.  Whether it is grief over a lost pet or loved one, anger, frustration, or something else.  This is a good time to gauge how everyone is doing and give you an opportunity to encourage each other or help those family members heal.  The love and support you receive from those around you can make an incredible impact on your life as you continue to move forward.  Knowing you are not alone, you are loved, and you have a team of people who want to help you can help the family member heal more quickly.  (Do not use this time to point out problems with each other, but to talk about harder times and to encourage.  Some topics made need to be tabled for a later and more lengthy conversation)  It will give you a good insight into your children and some ideas of what to help encourage them with over the next few weeks as they continue to grow and heal.
  3. Look ahead! As one year wraps up and a new one begins it is a great time to set some goals both personally and as a family.  Use this time to set family goals together.  There may be some activities that the kids have been wanting to do, but you have been letting it slip not even realizing that it was very important to them.  The goals discussed during this family  time should be family related, although they most definitely have a personal impact on each family member.  Write these goals down and review them weekly or monthly or regularly throughout the year to remind the family members of what is important to the family as a whole.  This also provides a lead in for each of the members to think about their personal goals.  It allows a great opportunity to have a group of people focused on similar goals and encouraging each other along the way.  Some family goal ideas (eat healthier, regular family game night, monthly date night with spouse and each child, daily family devotions, learn a new skill together, plan a family vacation, weekly family night, quarterly family service project, etc…).  Make a point to write the ideas down and either make a decision that day or within a few days on the family goals.  Type up a list, print it or email it to each family member so that they can be reminded of the ways your family is working together to create stronger bonds, happy memories, and improving lives.

Setting aside a time when everyone is together can be difficult, however it is important.  It can be during a family dinner, game night, or another time when the family is together.  Make sure it is a convenient time with as little distractions as possible.  A time when everyone is more relaxed (not hungry, ready for bed, or trying to multi-task while having this conversation).  The reflecting on memories helps create a happy bond, the tough times allow family members to see that they are not alone and have the support of people who love them, and looking ahead gives you the opportunity to improve and grow into a better individuals and family unit.  If you do write down the family goals please do your best to follow through as much as possible because these goals are important to the members.

Life has a way of staying busy.  Taking the time to spending reflecting on good memories as a way has a way of bringing everyone together.  It may cause some laughter, tears, and healing.  It is good to be reminded of the many blessings in our life and to realize that we are journeying through this life together.   Yes, we make mistakes along the way, but we can can make the best of it and have a lot of fun too.  Many blessings to you and your family this 2017 New Year!!!

Sep 12 2016


Our family at Glacier Bay National Park!

On our Alaska cruise we were able to visit Glacier Bay National Park.  It was BEAUTIFUL!!!  The day started out as rainy and cool, but it cleared up as we were getting closer to the glaciers.  The overcast, misty, and foggy day gave it a really neat look.  Thankful for the opportunity to visit this beautiful place.  We LOVED hearing the glaciers snap, crackle, pop, and watching them slide into the water.

The water was a gorgeous blue color with lots of ice chunks floating around into it.  The lines and colors in the glaciers were super pretty.  You could really see a lot of the dirt, rocks, and items that the glaciers brought down through the mountains and valleys with it.  It was a super fascinating experience!   We took a lot off pictures, but even the pictures don’t do it justice.  We even saw several animals while on the boat going through Glacier Bay…a bear near a camp site with campers in a tent, otters swimming in the water, and more!

We had the privilege of visiting Glacier Bay National Park on it’s 100 anniversary!  While we were cruising through Glacier Bay National Forest Rangers were giving talks and sharing information about the area.  It was a very educational and fun activity for the whole family!


 Overcast, but beautiful in Glacier Bay National Forest


Our family on the deck of the ship with a glacier in the background!

Glacier Bay National Prrk - Alaska Cruise, Family Vacation - New Holland Cruise

 Big glacier!


 The water, mountains, and beaches were pretty at Glacier Bay


 The fog made it have an even more distinct and beautiful look to it


 A private boat in Glacier Bay


You can see from the striachens on the rock where the water ran down it into the turquoise water below


 You can see the waterfalls coming down the mountains


 You can see all the rocks, dirt, and items that a recent glacier moved down this mountain.. Fascinating that ice can move that many items along with it!


 Huge glacier coming down between two mountains and into the water!


Love the beautiful colors and lines in the glacier


Water streaming down the mountain!


 Iceberg floating in the water below us


 Glacier coming around the corner of the moutnain

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My favorite people – thankful for my family!


 Massive iceberg, part of a glacier!


A little cave like area of the glacier


On the middle-right side of the picture you can see something that looks like a cloud near the water?  That is actually a part of the ice breaking off and falling into the water.  It was loud and super cool to watch!


 Freezing cold, but gorgeous to see so close!


 Brina hanging out on the deck and trying not to get too cool


 I knew the glaciers were a pretty turquoise just didn’t expect it to be so vivid and beautiful in person!


Mesmerizing watching the water splashing along beside us.  Peaceful and pretty at the same time!

Sep 08 2016


Gorgeous animal, not as elegant moving on land, but amazing swimmer in the water!

We were able to visit the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward, Alaska before cruising out of the port.  The Alaska SeaLife Center is located at 301 Railway Avenue, Seward, AK 99664.  It is only a couple miles from the port terminal and the city bus comes by the terminal every 5 to 10 minutes will take you to a number of places around the city of Seward (with the Alaska SeaLife Center being one of those stops).  The Alaska SeaLife Center is part of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums so if you are a member of one in your area you will be able to get into the center at a reduced rate.  We are part of our local Greenville Zoo which allowed us to have 50% per persons admission ticket which was a huge blessing and savings

The Alaska SeaLife Center was a lot of fun!  The kids loved seeing a variety of different marine life and the exhibits were very interactive and educational.  You could get fairly close to the animals and they even had a touch tank.  WARNING the  touch tank water is freezing cold so you won’t be able to keep you hand in it for very long. I thought my hands were going to go numb before I had a chance to touch each of the different marine critters in the tank.  They had several interactive talks with the animals.  We got to watch them feed, train, and care for several of the animals.  The animals were content and were showing off for the guests.

It was a cool and misty day when we arrived at Seward that day.  The Alaska SeaLife Center was a great task to do on a rainy day.  There are a couple of places you can go outside, but you can see the majority of the center from inside.  It is a wonderful place for anyone that enjoys animals, marine animals, and the opportunity to learn more about the native critters that can be found in Alaska.  Thankful for an opportunity to visit the SeaLife Center.  It was a hit with our kids.  There are also plenty of places for adults to sit down and relax as well.  It is a great activity for the whole family.  The girls loved personalities of the birds exhibits, the way the HUGE octopus spread out across the glass in front of them, the Artic Seals performed tricks for treats, that the touch tank was ice cold, that the fish and other animals were very active, and that the Sea Lion loved rubbing its belly on the glass window right in front of them.  It was a wonderful place to visit while we were in Seward.


 Brina and Karlie in the boat at the Alaska SeaLife Center


Beautifully colored starfish.  He was waving at us!  Even the starfish were active while we are the center!


Small yet beautifully colored bird


Taking a swim around the pool!


Coming by to say “HELLO”!


SeaLIfe workers checking the seals out and giving them treats.


Performing tricks


Enjoying the swim


Playing around in the pool


Doing a dance for us!


Beautiful and fast!


Watching him swim underwater from a viewing window at the bottom of his tank! Fascinating!


Showing off and diving right in front of us


He obviously was having a grand time!


Loved watching them glide so smoothly through the water


The Sea Lion rubbing his belly up against the glass in front of us.  He did it several times!  The kids thought it was hilarious!


Huge male octopus!


He was very active while we were there too


He decided to spread himself out across the front glass of his tank!


 He was very big, pretty sure I would not be excited about running into him in the ocean!  So neat to see!

Alaska, Wildlife Conservatory, SeaLife Center, Zaandam, New Holland Cruise, Cruise,

Relaxing in the water with his nose out and the rest of his body just floating in the water!


Diving directly in front of us!  Really loved how the  animals were very interactive with their audience!


Camouflaged ray….


VERY COLD touch tank!!!


The freezing water was not stopping our kids from checking out the animals in the touch tank!


Beautiful and showing off for us!


He hung out near us, watching us move around the bird exhibit!


Karlie all smiles as Brina soaks in all the birds zooming around the exhibit


Brina loving time with these beautiful Alaskan animals!


Keeping one eye on us as he watches the other birds….just in case!

Sep 02 2016

Anchorage, Alaska

Super neat and comfortable boulder chairs!

Our family recently had the opportunity to travel to Alaska for our family vacation.  We arrived in Anchorage in the middle of the night, slept a couple hours before getting up and heading out to explore Anchorage.  One of the first stops we made was the Anchorage Museum at Ramuson Center, 625 C. Street, Anchorage, AK.  The hotel driver dropped us off right outside the entrance of the museum.

The kids loved the opportunity to learn about Alaska – fFrom displays with the culture, life styles, people, and history of Alaska. The kids loved exploring the neat science and technology exhibits as well as watching the animal presentation! They had really cool boulder chairs and places for parents or grandparents to sit and relax in the common area which seemed popular for the adults! The kids loved it and it was entertaining for us as parents too.

If you have some extra time while in Anchorage and you’re traveling with your family you should check it out. If you want you can use a free locker to put your travel items in while going through the museum. Also, it is part of the Science Center Association so if you are a member of your local Science Center check to see if they are part of the Association and you will get into this museum for free! 🙂

We had a blast at this museum!  They were not into the “art” gallery as much as the history, science and more kid focused rooms.  They had a lot of neat history and culture regarding Alaska.  It’s a great place to visit if you have kids and some time while in Anchorage, Alaska!


Karlie giggling as she tries to sneak up on me with her pillow boulder!


That’s a big pebble Brina!!!


Goof ball Karlie!


 Brina and Jake checking out what will happen if an earthquake hits near a house….


 Brina and Jake in the bubble ring


Now that’s a pretty shoe for you to wear!  Brina loved it!  Karlie said it didn’t look comfortable at all! It’s beautiful, but not sure I could stay upright in them.

 Designer Paula Rasmus-Dede, Not Your Mama’s Mary Janes, 2003 (consists of glass beads, patent leather, and different colors of wire)

“I made this peice because I like Mary Janes.  My grandmother made me wear orthopedic shoes when I was a child.  I wasn’t allowed to wear black patent leather Mary Janes like all the popular schoolgirls.  When I started making shoes I decided to make my own Mary Janes” – Paula Rasmus-Dede

I think Paula’s shoes may be a little bit fancier than just the average Mary Jane.


Brina and Karlie lifting Jake up.  Testing the different types of pulleys


Karlie and Jake in a giant bubble!


There’s a bear behind you!

The “Travel and Vacation” series is an insight into our trips together as a family, ways we relax, and tips on how to make trips more enjoyable.  Life is short and we were thrilled to have the opportunity to build memories with family and explore of of the most amazing places during our time away.  Explore with a good attitude, look for fun, and it will be an awesome trip jammed packed with positive memories.  It is refreshing having some time away from the regular routine.  Make it a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet new people and learn.  You just might see or try something new that takes your breath away!

Aug 22 2016

We are officially on the new school and work schedule starting this week.  The girls are now in middle school.  It has been a little bit more of an adjustment, but they (and their parents) are doing well.  Looking forward to seeing the schedule get into the new normal rhythm.  I a positive there will be a lot of fun and exciting events as we fly through these next few weeks.

Thankful for a great summer.  We had a lot of great opportunities to catch up with family and friends across the county.  We were able to cover a lot of territory over the past couple of months.  Last week we had close friends staying with us for a few days which was awesome.  Grateful for friends who check in on our house and pets while we were traveling and that work was flexible with the slightly insane schedule.

I am hoping to get back up, running, and staying on top of things more regularly with the house, blog, and personal goals.  You should be seeing some of our fun adventures over the summer break.  Hoping to ease back into some of these items so I am not over committed as I gear up for a busy week.  Here are my goals for this week:

Last week’s goals

Family Goals

  1. Finish reading The Forgotten Filly by Karle Dickerson to the kids   the kids loved this book and were looking up more books by the same author or if this one was part of a series
  2. Read 7 more Stories from the Bad Pets on the Loose by Alan Zullo book to the kids – these are fun, short stories that make the kids giggle.  We actually saw one of the locations where one of the stories took place when we were traveling through Alaska!  Very exciting!!!
  3. Go through 7 more Brain Quest Flash Cards with the kids. – somehow this set got placed in a random spot and didn’t go through it until later in the week
  4. Read through 7 more pages of History Trivia with the kidsthese have been a fun learning tool for me too
  5. Reflect on our blessings and prayer time with kids every nightalways love hearing the neat things they are thankful for in their days
  6. Plan one special activity with the familyspent time with our friends that were visiting from Maine
  7. Play a Game with the Kidswe did a Nerf war with friends while they are visiting all adults and most of the kids participated (Savannah slept through the whole Nerf game)
  8. Create Memories with the Familythankful for great memories and special times together – I took off the girls last day of summer to hang out with them and our friends from Maine
  9. Spend Quality time with each family member – the girls did a slumber party with Bradley this week so we did not do one-on-one time with everyone this week
  10. Do a new, unique, or different activity with the family this weekcraft time and science experiment fun over the weekend

Kid Goals

  1. Spend time Monday –Friday encouraging the kids to find creative ways to learn and grow their skillslots of fun learning and being creative as well as attending the first few days of school
  2. At least 30 minutes of outside play, fresh air, or activity time a day – didn’t get this on a couple of the school nights

Personal Goals

  1. Drink 8 glasses of water, wear FitBit, and do yoga (or at least stretch out) each day – I didn’t get all these goals accomplished this week.  Had some technical issues with the TV for yoga while Jake was out of town with work.  Did well on the water and decent on the FitBit though.

Home (Yard & Pets) Management Goals

  1. Focusing on my Family not the “to do” list

Business Goals

  1. Focusing on my Family not the “to do” list

Ministry Goals

  1. Quality time with my family

Financial Goals

  1. Focusing on my Family not the “to do” list

My goals for the upcoming week

Family Goals

  1. Pick out a new Chapter book to read to the girls and start reading it
  2. Read 7 more Stories from the Bad Pets on the Loose by Alan Zullo book to the kids.
  3. Go through 7 more Brain Quest Flash Cards with the kids.
  4. Read through 7 more pages of History Trivia with the kids.
  5. Reflect on our blessings and prayer time with kids every night.
  6. Plan one special activity with the family
  7. Play a Game with the Kids
  8. Create Memories with the Family
  9. Spend Quality time with each family member
  10. Do a new, unique, or different activity with the family this week

Kid Goals

  1. Do Homework Monday – Friday
  2. Pack Lunches and Prep for the next day
  3. Spend one-on-one time with kids each day

Personal Goals

  1. Drink 8 glasses of water
  2. Wear FitBit (at least 10,000 steps and 10 sets of stairs every day)
  3. Do Yoga at least 5 times this week

Home (Yard & Pets) Management Goals

  1. Give Skipper a bath this week
  2. Speed clean & pick up the house 15 minutes a night

Business Goals

  1. Update Work Notes
  2. Get caught up on blog posts
  3. Work on a few special projects

Ministry Goals

  1. Go to breakfast or lunch with a family member or friend
  2. Counting my blessings journal

Financial Goals

  1. Schedule a meeting with the financial advisor
  2. Get our finances and budget back on track
  3. Pay down debt we owe
  4. Limit amount spent on Groceries, Household, and Other Items (use what we already have at home)

I think it is important to share and encourage each other as we seek to improve our lives and the lives of those around us.  I want to live intentionally not just hope all my dreams and goals come true.  When I focus on small steps of improvement I am able to see results as I get closer to my goals.  Some weeks I get closer to the goals I have in my life and other weeks a take a few steps back (life happens, emergencies occur, people get sick).  Once the goals are written down and shared it provides a guideline for what I aim to accomplish this week.

Why Share My Goals?

  • To keep me accountable
  • To share a piece of my life with you as I strive to be a better Child of God, Wife, Mom, Friend, Homemaker, Entrepreneur and the many other roles I have each week
  • To have my goals consistently written down so I can gauge progress more accurately
  • Create healthy habits in my life
  • To encourage you to share your goals with me as you continue to grown and learn

How did you do this week on your goals?  Feel free to share or link to your list of weekly goals.

The picture above is one that I created for my own purposes, however, The “SMART” acronym was originally coined 30 years ago by Peter Drucker in his classic work, Management by Results