Why I love Bloglovin'

So if you are a blogger I am sure you have heard over and over again that Google Reader is shutting down.

I have to admit I did a little blogger toddler fit when I heard about this because I have used Google Reader ever since I started blogging...now I gotta find a new way to keep up with  my blogs?

If you know me ... I do not like change!
I'm not good with it..

But like it or not.. on July 1st my relationship with Google Reader is over!

So I have been quietly listening and checking out which new blog reader I wanted to go with .. I have tried a few and I have chosen to go with Bloglovin'

Well...let me tell ya!
1. It is super easy to get started. The whole sign up process took me like less than five minutes!
2. It is super easy to follow blogs. Just type in the address or copy it into the search bar and BAM! it just pops up and you click "Follow"
3. You can upload all your blogs from Google Reader.. to Bloglovin' ... oh aren't they great!?
4. I can organize my blogs by category. This is HUGE for me because I love lists and organization!! So I have my blogs now organized by category..so if I am in a crafty mood..I can go and just read all my crafty blogs! Love it!
5. It is mobile. I love that I can look at Bloglovin' on my laptop or desktop....but I really love that they have a FREE app so I can blog read on the go!

There you have it! Why I chose Bloglovin' ..

Are you secretly throwing a fit that Google Reader is shutting down?
Which blog reader are you going with to keep up with your blog reading?

If you choose bloglovin' .. you can follow me here


Find Your Voice

So lately I have had a problem with ...

Ha..Imagine that.

I have stories.. but I just don't know how to get them down.. I find myself just wanting to post pictures and being done with it.

They say pictures are worth a thousand words but really they aren't .. they are worth about 700 words...the other 300 should be the story behind the picture..and that is what I need to work on.

Lo and behold here jumps in Kristen to my life!

She is doing an 8 week class this summer on Finding your Voice!
Oh yea.. and it's FREE!

Here is a little info from her about this class:

This workshop is about finding your storytelling voice. You are an awesome person with amazing stories, so this summer we’re going to work together to find the most genuine and authentic way for you to tell those stories. 
This workshop is for everyone! You definitely don’t need to be a scrapbooker or paper-crafter to play along. We’ll be telling stories through pictures, photographs, social media, prose, and more. The only thing you need is a willingness to become the author of your own story and the courage to step outside of your comfort zone. 

How great does that sound?
I think I can
I think I can!
I think I can!!

We have a Facebook going on that has had some great ideas and discussions..
you go join here

Join the Find Your Voice Facebook Group Here: facebook.com/groups/FindYourVoiceWorkshop/

Lesson One is available to download here: http://rukristin.com/findyourvoice/lessonone

I'm excited to get started and practice actual storytelling.. I think it will make my blogging better and my scrapbooks better..

So be expecting to see some Lessons from Find your Voice here on the blog and of course feel free to follow along or even join in with me!!


Review Spring Bucket List

I love bucket lists for this reason..

you can go back and see what all you had accomplished.

I am such a list maker and planner ...it is almost horrible!

If you remember this post.. it is where I made a Spring Bucket list to do with Lyla this spring..

Today I am going to make myself accountable and just see how many things we have gotten accomplished ...because Summer is right around the corner!

  1. Go on a nature walk .. ... need to write up a blog post on all things she asked about!
  2. Plant flowers  Lyla just bought me a rose plan with my mom yesterday and we planted it
  3. Blow bubbles
  4. Fly a kite
  5. Paint sidewalk with water
  6. Catch bugs
  7. Play in the rain
  8. Have a picnic
  9. Feed ducks
  10. Go for a bike ride..just got the bike from Nanny's house to our house.. it is planned!
  11. Go to the park
  12. Sidewalk chalk art
  13. Go on a hike
  14. Plant a garden.. well that plan got cancelled since we have a Great Dane in the back yard..but I do plan on planting maybe a few strawberries in my flower bed..that will count!
  15. Make a mud pie
  16. Go geocaching  not as fun as I thought it would be.. more frustrating for me.
  17. Go to a zoo
  18. Make a bird feeder
  19. Go puddle jumping
  20. Make a wind chime
  21. Visit a farmers market
  22. Catch lightning bugs...there hasn't been any out yet ...crazy
  23. Make your own rainbow
  24. Take care of the earth and pick up litter
  25. Bird watch
Not to shabby!
and we still have a couple weeks to go I think..We will squeeze it all in.
Then to make a Summer Bucket List!


Decision Made!

I have decided to homeschool Lyla this year..and I am super excited about it!
Now it isn't "legal" but we are doing it!

Lyla isn't "legally" supposed to start public school until Aug of 2014 ...which means she has a whole year of waiting...and me being the preschool teacher I am can NOT let my child just sit for a year without doing some kind of learning...not to mention she LIKES learning.

I am telling you...
I am so blessed with her!!

She loves...even asks.. if we can sit down and do schoolwork.
She loves to try to read..and starting to get good at it.

She knows
  • all her letters and sounds.
  • 11 color sight words and can rattle them off within seconds of seeing the word
  •  a lot of the regular sight words
  • how to count out syllables of a word
  • how to count to 100 with slight help on the 10's
  • count to 10 in Spanish
  • simple addition
  • recognizes numbers 0-20
  • all her shapes and colors of course
  • top of the hour time telling like 9:00, 2:00, etc
  • among other things....
I am so proud of her! She picks up things very quickly!
Jesus does love me.. he gave me such a blessing when he gave me Lyla.

oh yea.. and Gregg too!
She is interested in the human body and right now she is loving the series North America that has been coming on TV.

I, of course, have been researching homeschooling like a mad woman...
I am convinced it is the absolute better option for Lyla ..

I do think she would thrive in public school and do well..but I think we could enhance her learning by touching more on whatever subject she is interested about at the time in homeschool...while in public school..understandably, the teacher has to follow a curriculum plan.. so she can't spend four weeks on the habits of migration of birds because the kids are interested about it.. she has to move on and stay on course.

Please don't send me hate mail.. I am in no way blaming the teachers. A lot of my friends are teachers and I am in the process of getting my teaching degree...it is just part of the job that they have to do. I'm sure many teachers would love to go off on a tail spin about what their students are interested in ...but you have to do what you have to do.

Moving on:
My husband on the other hand isn't "as quite on board" as I am with the subject of homeschooling. He thinks she will miss out on childhood friends and memories by not having a prom or big graduation.

Sorry homeschool friends.. yes.. my husband is "one of those" who worry about socialization.
and Yes.. I have told him about the homeschool groups..but once this man gets his mind set on something..it is hard to change it....but I'm working on it.

So for this "free" year we have before Lyla starts Kindergarten legally .. I have decided to "act" as though we are officially homeschooling.

Step 1: pick a style of teaching
we will be doing more of a traditional style (where the student learns at a desk from a book or work book and the environment is more teacher directed) ...it is comfortable for me  since I have taught PreK that way..and comfortable for her because she knows when she is at the desk is "school time" not play time...

I know that this style isn't what everyone else would have picked and that is A-OK .. every family is different but I think this style will work with us the best. I do plan on doing a post listing other styles of homeschooling in case any of my readers might want to know a quick overview.

Step 2: pick a curriculum
Yay! This so far has been my FAV part! There so many good ones! It was very overwhelming at first .. but eventually I started making my way down the curriculum way of life. I have just about got a whole K5 Abeka curriculum pieced together for her.. learning games, visuals and all. I think we will breeze by the first few weeks pretty quickly so if we need to start Grade 1 before our school year is over then that would just be great!
I have also found a GREAT Christian curriculum online that is completely free called Easy Peasy. We have already started that and are on Getting Ready 1 Day 173. That is about where the reader starts and so far she is loving it!! Not to mention there is wonderful support facebook groups for those using this curriculum with great ideas on how to use it!

I love the homeschool community. It seems so far to be so loving and so helpful. I have not met anyone who has been ugly or rude to me no matter how many questions I ask ...nor how many times they have probably answered that same question from someone else asking.

There are also great blogs with curriculum resources that I will probably supplement if needed for an extra worksheet here or there until I get going good with Abeka.

I am also joining a homeschool group in my area to give Lyla socialization and even more friends to play with than she already has. We plan on starting piano lessons in August also.

I am praying that this year will show my husband and maybe even a few friends/family that homeschool isn't what the stigma says it is. Homeschooling is no longer "the weird kid"...but if being the weird kid makes you the smart kid who can easily be accepted into a great college...then so be it... Prom isn't more important than your whole education in my book...not in the world we live in today.

Homeschooling is getting tremendously more popular as the years, even days, go on. I have family/friends who go to public school sending me articles on homeschooling and how great it is now. I love it. Maybe I can pull a few facts from here and there and make a post about it one day. I was actually shocked at how many just in my community homeschool. You might be shocked too at how many weird homeschoolers you have in your community.

So ...
the decision is made!

we are in "acting" homeschool this upcoming year..
we will be using Abeka K5, Easy Peasy, and maybe a few blogs
and we are going to ROCK HOMESCHOOL! and show Dad what's up!!!!!

Hope you have Blessings Unlimited!


Letter to my 21 year old self

Dearest Nikki,

Honey, Baby, Sugar...
First of all and the most important thing I want to tell you is that the guy your with is not for you. It isn't going to work out. No matter how much cry, beg, or plead...It isn't going to happen. God doesn't want him for you...so just break it off now and let it go. It is hard..It will hurt..I know you spent seven years with him. You have a lot of memories with him...but guess what? There is good news...because someone even better will walk right up to you and blow you away! This new guy...His name is Gregg..He is great. He is the one. Spend your time with him..He is going to invest his future in you. He asks you where you want to eat.. and what movie you want to see. He is literally great! Don't waste anymore of your time trying to make something work with the other dude. This new guy will give you love, praise, affection...not to mention a wonderful house and a beautiful baby girl! Heck ...later on in your marriage ..he buys you a new car..for putting up with him! Seriously! Go now! Don't look back!

Remember that all the hurtful words you have been told ..is not true.. You are not fat! No where near it! Dont' let it hurt you. You are good enough.. there is someone waiting to be in a great relationship with you...

Finish college.. it is going to be hard going back after marriage and a baby. Go ahead and get it done now.

Start slowing down on the Dr Pepper ..you will find yourself crazy addicted to it later...and with the stresses of life you start to depend on it more.. no lie.. so just start making yourself like water.

Keep taking care of your little brother.. make sure his life is great. I know it's hard.. and you miss out on a lot for doing it.. but in the end.. it is worth it.. He will be thankful and appreciative. And when you get those Happy Mother's Day's from him..you will see why you put in the hard work to raise your brother..why you missed so many football games and date nights...to potty train and sing lullabies. It is worth it. Cherish it. Note: You will lose feeling in the bottom of your hair line because baby brother likes to twist your hair to fall asleep. but it is ok.. you don't really need feeling there.. LOL...

Keep taking care of your dad. He is grown..but he needs you. He has been through a lot in his life. His main purpose in life is taking care of you and your brother so he has to work...a lot...he is now a single dad.. give him some slack and be patient with him. He is learning too.

Don't let your mom and dad's divorce get you down. You have learned a lot from it. You now know how to take care of a child when you are ready to have your own..and believe it helps a lot. You aren't as touchy and scared to take that new precious life home. You are excited..because you know what your doing! You have learned to take care of a bank account and pay bills...which comes in handy a lot now. You have learned that all people make mistakes and life isn't as grand as it was when we were 11. Dust yourself off...pull yourself up...and keep going.

Your cousin Brittany is a lifesaver. She is there for you no matter what...or when. She listens to you for hours.. gives advice when you need it..and rescues you if she has to. Don't take that for granted...and do the same for her.

Sometimes you will be discouraged because you never got to live out your glory days...but that's ok.. you didn't need them...you turn out just fine.

Jesus never left you..He is still there.. and this new amazing guy...will lead you straight back to him. Follow.

This year will be the end of your hard years.. after this it gets better.. I promise... it has been rough...but you have pulled through.. and you will come out on the other side shining... you have overcome and you will win this game of life and I am so proud of you!
Don't lose touch with family...it is all you have in life.
Now go put a smile on your face and get ready to tackle the world!

and be prepared...in a couple years..you are going to be planning a wedding.. then shortly after you will be a momma..
see..told you the bad days were over..
from here on out ..life is GREAT!

Your 28 year old self:


Summer time or Stress time!

I have been seriously slacking on my blog lately..so sorry...

Gotta live life first right? Otherwise we would have nothing to blog about!

I am over at Joy in the Morning today though talking about a few things you can do this summer to make it fun and not stressful..
Go check them out HERE!

I hope you all are having a great start to summer!!