Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas 2018!!!

May God bless you all richly this year as He has blessed us.  As you celebrate Christmas this year, we wish you a very Merry Christmas. 
Merry Christmas from A Glimpse of Normal!!!!

Love,
The Holdeman's
A Glimpse of Normal

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Light Bulb Ornaments

This year I participated in a Not So Secret 12 days of Christmas swap.  It is a lot of fun.  The idea is you are matched up with a partner and then you get a chance to get to know them through email and social media.  Along the way, you create 6 handmade items for them and then buy 6 small items for them.  Then you get to open a package each day counting down until Christmas.  It is a fun little swap and my schedule was open for participating this year.  The friend I made mentioned that she loves snowmen and so I started looking through my Pinterest boards to see what kind of snowmen projects I had pinned.  When I found these Light Bulb Ornaments, I knew that would be fun and unique to create for her.
This cute snowman ornament is created using a light bulb.  It is perfect for making with kids.  Check it out on A Glimpse of Normal.
Light Bulb Ornaments
Supplies Needed:
Craft Paint - White, Orange, and Black
Small Paintbrushes
Glitter
Light Bulbs
Small Sticks
Ribbon, Twine, or Yarn
Hot Glue
Hot Glue Gun

1.  I started by painting the top of the light bulb black for making the snowman's hat.
This cute snowman ornament is created using a light bulb.  It is perfect for making with kids.  Check it out on A Glimpse of Normal.
2.  Once the hat was dry, I painted the rest of the light bulb white (I did this in sections so that I always had a place to hold on to without getting my hands all wet).
This cute snowman ornament is created using a light bulb.  It is perfect for making with kids.  Check it out on A Glimpse of Normal.
3.  While the white paint was still wet, I sprinkled glitter on to the white paint.  Then I let it sit and dry.
This cute snowman ornament is created using a light bulb.  It is perfect for making with kids.  Check it out on A Glimpse of Normal.
4.  After all the paint dried, I added an orange nose, black buttons, and a face.
This cute snowman ornament is created using a light bulb.  It is perfect for making with kids.  Check it out on A Glimpse of Normal.
5.  I used hot glue to glue on the arms and the ribbon for the scarf.
This cute snowman ornament is created using a light bulb.  It is perfect for making with kids.  Check it out on A Glimpse of Normal.
6.  I also used hot glue to attach yarn around the hat so that I also had a loop to hang the ornament on the tree.
This cute snowman ornament is created using a light bulb.  It is perfect for making with kids.  Check it out on A Glimpse of Normal.

This cute snowman ornament is created using a light bulb.  It is perfect for making with kids.  Check it out on A Glimpse of Normal.
This was super fun and an easy ornament to create.  I got my light bulbs from the dollar store and used craft paint I already had on hand, so it made this craft pretty cheap to make.  If you don't have trees in your yard (I got my snowman's arms from my front yard), you could use popsicle sticks or pipe cleaners.  Over Christmas break, I think Missy and I will be making up some more of these ornaments.  Aren't they adorable?

Friday, December 14, 2018

Easy Winter Wreath

I love a pretty wreath on my front door.  Unfortunately, the Christmas wreath I have has seen better days and I haven't quite decided what to do with it yet.  I don't know if I should try to revive it one more time (it has been revived several times) or just wait until clearance sales and look for something new.  So in the meantime, I decided to create a wreath that I could use all winter long.  This way I don't have to change my wreath out after Christmas and I have more time to find exactly what I want.  I bought my supplies at local craft stores, but I have included Amazon links to similar items just in case you don't live near craft stores.
I love a pretty wreath on my front door.  That is why I decided to create this cute, easy wreath that is perfect for the front door all winter long.  Check it out over at A Glimpse of Normal.
Supplies Needed:
1 Roll of Turquoise Tulle
1 Roll of White Tulle
1 Roll of Sparkly White Tulle
10 " Wire Wreath Form
Mini Ornaments 
Mini Snowflake Ornaments
Hot Glue
Hot Glue Gun
Scissors
Ruler
I love a pretty wreath on my front door.  That is why I decided to create this cute, easy wreath that is perfect for the front door all winter long.  Check it out over at A Glimpse of Normal.
Directions:
1.  Cut each color of tulle into approximately 6-inch pieces.  So the pieces will be 6" wide and 6" long.
2.  In the second ring of the form from the center, I tied on my turquoise glitter tulle.  I did a single tie and pulled it tight.  I filled each section as full as I wanted it to make it extra fluffy.
3.  In the third ring of the wreath form, I tied on regular white tulle.
4.  In the outside ring of the form, I alternated my white glitter tulle with the turquoise glitter tulle.  
5.  After I got the pieces of tulle tied on, I went back and looked for spots that needed to be fuller and added more in those spots.  I also trimmed up any long spots on my wreath. 
I love a pretty wreath on my front door.  That is why I decided to create this cute, easy wreath that is perfect for the front door all winter long.  Check it out over at A Glimpse of Normal.

I love a pretty wreath on my front door.  That is why I decided to create this cute, easy wreath that is perfect for the front door all winter long.  Check it out over at A Glimpse of Normal.
6.  I heated up my hot glue gun and glued on the teal mini ornaments on the inside center ring of the wreath form.  I didn't have a specific pattern I used, I just glued them on in an order I thought looked good.  I alternated their position and how they pointed. 
I love a pretty wreath on my front door.  That is why I decided to create this cute, easy wreath that is perfect for the front door all winter long.  Check it out over at A Glimpse of Normal.
7.  I hot glued the white snowflakes around the teal ornaments at random.

I love a pretty wreath on my front door.  That is why I decided to create this cute, easy wreath that is perfect for the front door all winter long.  Check it out over at A Glimpse of Normal.
I really love how it turned out and I love that I can use it all winter long,  After Christmas when the decorations go on clearance I might pick up another pack of the teal ornaments and add more, but I have not quite decided on that for sure or not yet.  Let me know if you make a wreath like this.  I would love to see how it turns out.

*I did include Amazon affiliate links for the supplies just in case you don't have a craft store near you.  If you purchase anything from those links Amazon will pay me a commission on your purchase. 

Monday, December 10, 2018

A Review of Simple Joys by Candace Payne

Finding joy in the trying and messy times of life can be hard.  When you are in the middle of chaos, it seems the last thing we look for is the joy.  But life doesn't have to be like this, does it?  That is why I wanted to read Simple Joys: Discovering Wonder in the Everyday by Candace Payne when I got the chance to read it recently.  In this book, Candace shares personal stories that are important to her and how she personally found joy in them.  She also shares how she takes the joy she gets from these stories and applies it to her everyday life.  She tells how she finds joy not only in the good times but also in some of the hardest times of her life.

Finding joy in the everyday can be hard, but with simple tips from Candace Payne in her book Simple Joys, you can find joy in the mundane.  Check out A Glimpse of Normal for my review of this book.
I received a 150 page, hardcover book to review.  It is divided into eight chapters and also includes a preface, epilogue, acknowledgments, and about the author page.  Each chapter includes a Bible verse page, a reading selection, a question for digging deeper with journaling pages that you can write out your answers on.  There is also a section in the back of the book for notes if you want to use it.  Throughout the book, you will find extra Bible verses and key thoughts.  Candace gives simple tips throughout the book of ways that you can start looking for joy in your everyday life.  I thought the book was laid out well, it has beautiful images, and it was encouraging to read.

I read this Christian non-fiction book by Candace Payne, who you may know better as "Chewbacca Mom," as part of my daily devotions in just over a week.  The stories that Candace tells are heartfelt and relatable.  I found them encouraging and inspiring.  Reading this book, I realized that joy doesn't always look like a happy, smiling face, but it sometimes looks like savoring the moments and cherishing those around you.  I also realized that you might not even see the joy at the moment you are in, but you will see it when you reflect on that moment and look for what went right.  If I want to find more joy, I have to look for it and be aware of it.  I would definitely recommend this book if you are looking to find the Simple Joy in your everyday life.  It is available to purchase here.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Our Barn Home: A New Wall

It has been a while since I have posted an update on our barn.  We have been busy lately and doing little things around the barn, but not so many big projects.  My hubby reminded me that even the little projects are part of the story of our barn and worth documenting. 
It's been a while since I have posted an update on our barn home.  Today I am sharing the pallet wall that my son built for me.  It makes our rustic barn look even more rustic.  A pallet wall is a quick, DIY project that almost anyone can do. A Glimpse of Normal
Today's update is a bigger project.  It is one that has been rolling around in CJ's head for a little bit now.  He knew that I had really considered putting in a pallet wall at our old house, but then we found the barn and decided to move so it didn't happen.  That idea stuck in his head and I didn't really think much more about it.  There is a lot of wood in our barn which I ABSOLUTELY love so I wasn't really sure if a pallet wall would fit in anywhere in the barn.  CJ picked our back living room wall and decided that it would be a great place for a pallet wall.  Initially, I was a little concerned because I thought it might be too trendy or not look natural in the barn.  I was flat out wrong and I will be the first to tell you this.  CJ took on this project and ran with it.  Although he doesn't want me to tell you it was him and he would like me to tell you that it was Mae, yes the rescue dog, Mae, check the evidence.
It's been a while since I have posted an update on our barn home.  Today I am sharing the pallet wall that my son built for me.  It makes our rustic barn look even more rustic.  A pallet wall is a quick, DIY project that almost anyone can do. A Glimpse of Normal

It's been a while since I have posted an update on our barn home.  Today I am sharing the pallet wall that my son built for me.  It makes our rustic barn look even more rustic.  A pallet wall is a quick, DIY project that almost anyone can do. A Glimpse of Normal

It's been a while since I have posted an update on our barn home.  Today I am sharing the pallet wall that my son built for me.  It makes our rustic barn look even more rustic.  A pallet wall is a quick, DIY project that almost anyone can do. A Glimpse of Normal

It's been a while since I have posted an update on our barn home.  Today I am sharing the pallet wall that my son built for me.  It makes our rustic barn look even more rustic.  A pallet wall is a quick, DIY project that almost anyone can do. A Glimpse of Normal
CJ tore apart pallets, matched up board sizes, and prepped them for going on the wall.  Then he got started.  The only assistance he got from me was picking which side of the board should face out on some of the boards.  The only assistance he got from Dad was the very top row because not much is square in this old barn anymore and the very bottom row since it had to meet up to the floor.  Other than that, this project was all CJ and I couldn't be more proud of him for putting his vision into action.  Boys need to do this kind of thing.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE how the finished wall turned out.  I could tell with just a few boards up that the wall would look natural.  Once it was all done, it looks like the wall was always a pallet wall.  It looks like what I picture the inside of the barn looked like before it became a house.
It's been a while since I have posted an update on our barn home.  Today I am sharing the pallet wall that my son built for me.  It makes our rustic barn look even more rustic.  A pallet wall is a quick, DIY project that almost anyone can do. A Glimpse of Normal

It's been a while since I have posted an update on our barn home.  Today I am sharing the pallet wall that my son built for me.  It makes our rustic barn look even more rustic.  A pallet wall is a quick, DIY project that almost anyone can do. A Glimpse of Normal

It's been a while since I have posted an update on our barn home.  Today I am sharing the pallet wall that my son built for me.  It makes our rustic barn look even more rustic.  A pallet wall is a quick, DIY project that almost anyone can do. A Glimpse of Normal

It's been a while since I have posted an update on our barn home.  Today I am sharing the pallet wall that my son built for me.  It makes our rustic barn look even more rustic.  A pallet wall is a quick, DIY project that almost anyone can do. A Glimpse of Normal
What do you think?  Do you love it as much as I do?  I will be back soon with some more changes we have made in the barn.  Until then, stay tuned.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Crochet Work

I have been meaning to update my Chain Stitch and Repeat page with some more stitch tutorials and some crochet projects but I have been busy working up crochet orders.  I was very blessed to get my first crochet order early this year.  Taking orders was only something I dreamed of because like all makers you wonder if your skills are good enough.  But I had a friend contact me for a project and it was something I could create for her and I had a lot of fun doing it.  Later on, she contacted me about a few more projects and then I had a few other people contact me as well.  So I have been busily working on projects behind the scenes.  Today I thought I would share them with you.
This was my first crochet order, a set of super cute teacups.  They were fun to work on.  See more at A Glimpse of Normal.
These teacups were my first order.  I got the pattern from Amigurumi Today.  It was easy to follow and fun to give each teacup a personality.
This crochet order was a lot of fun to work on.  This cute elephant lovey will make a great gift.  See more at A Glimpse of Normal.
This elephant lovey is so cute and soft.  I got the pattern from Tikva Patterns on Etsy.  I am currently working on a boy elephant lovey.  They are adorable.
This super fun, custom pillow was quick to work up.  See more at A Glimpse of Normal.
This unicorn pillow was super fun to make.  You can customize the colors which makes it super cute.  This pattern is from Yali's & Yabo's on Etsy.
This super fun, custom pillow was quick to work up.  See more at A Glimpse of Normal.
My second order for a unicorn pillow wanted a brighter green and darker purple.  It turned out just as cute as the first one.  This pattern is from Yali's & Yabo's on Etsy.

If you would like to contact me about creating something for you, feel free to message me, email me, or put a comment here.  I will get back to you about it and we can work out the details.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

December 2018 Menu Plan

I seriously can not believe it is December already.  I knew that November would fly by, but it feels like I closed my eyes for a second and December is here.  If I could slow down time for a minute, I think I would.  December is another fun, but busy month for us.  We have gatherings, a Christmas play, family baking day, and other things going on so I am glad we have a menu plan to help keep us on track.  It comes in very handy when we are on the go during the day and need to get dinner going.  I check my menu plan and pull out what we need.  Here is what is for dinner at our house this month:
December is a busy month.  Don't get caught without a menu plan for dinner!  If you are looking for a practical menu plan, check out my December 2018 Menu Plan.
  1. Sheet Pan Steak and Fries
  2. Beef & Sweet Potato Chowder
  3. Meatloaf
  4. Egg Roll Soup
  5. Copycat Sonic Meat & Cheese Breakfast Burritos
  6. 3 Ingredient Baked Ravioli
  7. Italian Sausage Stromboli
  8. The Best Burger
  9. Stir Fry with Veggies
  10. Corned Beef & Cabbage
  11. Copycat Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana
  12. Pioneer Woman's Baked Ziti
  13. Quesaitos
  14. Texas Toast Garlic Bread Pizza
  15. Bacon Cheeseburger Sloppy Joes
  16. Chicken and Kale Linguine
  17. Hobo Foil Dinners
  18. Italian Meatball Soup
  19. Cheesy Garlic Sausage & Bacon Carbonara
  20. Fake Out Chipotle Burrito Bowls
  21. Pizza Bread
  22. Chipotle Lime Flank Steak Street Tacos
  23. Antipasto Squares
  24. French Dip Sliders
  25. BBQ Smoked Ribs
  26. Trisha Yearwood's Cowboy Lasagna
  27. Steak & Steakhouse Potato Gratin
  28. BBQ Chicken Pizza
  29. Black Bean Tostadas with Cilantro Sauce
  30. Copycat Wendy's Chili
  31. Philly Cheesesteak Cheesy Bread
As always you can find recipes for these meals on my December Menu Plan board on Pinterest.  There are lots of other meals on this board too so that you can swap out meals that your family won't eat.  Once I add a meal to this Pinterest board, I leave it on there for ideas and swap meals.  I hope my menu plans help you out.  What is for dinner this month at your house?

I updated my FREE printable menu planner so that you can print it and fill it in with your meals.  since I am giving you the whole month at once this month, you will need to print off extra copies so you have enough planning space for the whole month.  Let me know if you use it and like it.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Our 2018 Blue Ribbon Award Picks

2018 was a great year on the Homeschool Review Crew!  We got the chance to work with many great vendors and products.  Since the Crew year is wrapping up that means we got the chance to vote for our favorite products of the year.  This year we worked on over 45 reviews which means we got to try out a lot of different products.  Our family was happy to get a chance to review for some of our favorite vendors again.  While I wish I could tell you that it is an easy process to vote for our very favorites, I have to be honest and tell you that it is actually really hard.  It is fun to go back and remember each vendor, but hard to narrow our vote down to just one.  That is what we are required to do so that is what we did and here is how our family voted:
2018 has been a great year on the Homeschool Review Crew.  The end of a year means it is time to vote for our favorite review products.  Come and check out which homeschool companies received our families votes for the best products we used this year.
Favorite Reading Curriculum: Home School Navigator
Favorite Writing Curriculum: Home School Navigator
Favorite Grammar Program: GrammarPlanet
Favorite Penmanship Program: Cursive Logic
Favorite Literature Curriculum/Resource: YWAM
Favorite History/Social Studies Curriculum: Drive Thru History Adventures
Favorite History/Social Studies Supplement: Home School in the Woods: A La Carte
Favorite Science Curriculum/Supplement: Apologia: Human Anatomy and Physiology
Favorite Math Curriculum/Supplement: Whizz Education
Favorite Fine Arts Program/Supplement: Memoria Press: Spelling, Music, Latin
Favorite Elective Curriculum: Code for Teens
Favorite Christian Education Curriculum: Teach Sunday School
Favorite Christian Education Supplement: YWAM
Favorite Elementary Product: Whizz Education
Favorite High School Product: Drive Thru History Adventures
Favorite Parent Product: Lisa Tanner Writing
Best Resource I Didn't Know I Needed: Lisa Tanner Writing
Best Online Resource: Bytes of Learning
Best e-product: Home School in the Woods: A La Carte
Favorite Book: Great Waters Press
Favorite Audiobook or Audio Drama: Heirloom Audio: Wulf the Saxon
Kids' Choice (ages 0-12): Carole P. Roman
Teens' Choice: Drive Thru History Adventures
Crew Favorite: Math Essentials

That is it!  This is how we voted in the Blue Ribbon Awards this year.  There were some categories we didn't vote in because we didn't review a product in that category.  I want to thank each and every vendor that we got a chance to work with this year for making great homeschool products.  There are so many that we worked with that we also really enjoyed, but we couldn't vote for every single vendor and product.

You can find out what vendors and products won the Blue Ribbon Awards for 2018 from the Homeschool Review Crew by clicking on the picture below.  This is where you can also read how my friends on the Crew voted by checking out their posts.  Also if you have ever thought about reviewing homeschool products, the Homeschool Review Crew is still taking applications for next year, so go and fill it out today.
Our Favourite Products Reviewed for 2018

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

2018 Christmas Ornaments

Every year we get our kids a new Christmas ornament that represents the year for them.
2018 Christmas Ornaments, A Glimpse of Normal
It is a tradition that we started back when CJ was a baby and have continued.  Someday when they move out, they will take their ornaments with them which makes me sad, but each year we love reminiscing all the past year's ornaments and they look forward to their new ornament.  Our Christmas tree went up on Sunday and that meant it was time for the kids to receive this year's ornament. 

CJ got a "Proud to be a Redneck" ornament.  He loves all things country, outdoors, camo, fishing, country music, cowboy boots, and Dukes of Hazzard.  So this ornament just fit for him this year.  We love that he is such a country boy and loves all things outdoors.
2018 Christmas Ornaments, A Glimpse of Normal

2018 Christmas Ornaments, A Glimpse of Normal
Missy got a gymnast on the balance beam ornament.  This is her this year.  It is her 2nd year of gymnastics, but just her first year at a gymnastics gym.  She is doing great and spends most of her days practicing cartwheels, handstands, and round-offs.  She can't wait to move up to the next class at gymnastics. 
2018 Christmas Ornaments, A Glimpse of Normal

2018 Christmas Ornaments, A Glimpse of Normal
Here are some other pictures of our tree now that it is all decorated.
2018 Christmas Ornaments, A Glimpse of Normal

2018 Christmas Ornaments, A Glimpse of Normal

2018 Christmas Ornaments, A Glimpse of Normal
I have not finished all the decorations in our house yet, but I hope to get them finished this week.  Then I will post pictures of them.  Is your Christmas tree up yet?  Do you have any special ornaments?

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving 2018!!!

This year we are thankful for a warm home, family, friends, and a God that loves us unconditionally.  As we gather today we pray for many blessings for you all.  May you have a Happy Thanksgiving and remember all God has blessed you with.
A Glimpse of Normal, Happy Thanksgiving
Love,
The Holdeman's

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

An Anniversary Staycation

So last week I mentioned that for our 20th anniversary we ended up doing a staycation and I told you that I would tell you more about it.  I got a little busy at the end of last week and the post I wanted to get up about it...well...here it is now. 
A Glimpse of Normal, An Anniversary Staycation
We have spent much of the year thinking about what we would like to do for our anniversary and we had tossed around many ideas.  I guess I should back up and tell you that 20 years ago when we got married, we were pretty broke.  I was a full-time college student and working part-time jobs.  Hubby had just started at the company he works at now and he was working on construction projects on the side to make extra money.  We used almost all the money we had to finish paying for our wedding and as a quick honeymoon, we went to Holland, Michigan in November.  That was as far away as we could afford to go and while I am sure that Holland, Michigan is a gorgeous town in the spring when the tulips are in bloom, there is really not much there in November when you are broke.  We scraped together all the change we had in the car to get Taco Bell on our wedding night because we were hungry and broke.  Who really gets to eat at their own wedding?  So now that you know the background and that we never really got a "honeymoon" you can see why we debated what we wanted to do to celebrate 20 years.  We talked about big trips like Disney, Gatlinburg, or a cruise, but there are many things we want to still renovate around the barn and it just didn't seem right to do such a big trip...yet.  I looked into going to a few other places and just couldn't decide what to do.  So Handsome Hubby took over the anniversary planning.  He was working on planning a big trip, a fly on an airplane trip.  Then we both ended up with horrible sinus infections and his truck broke down and a couple of other little things happened and he asked me if I would be okay doing something more low-key.  I said I was fine with that and he started planning in a new direction.  We ended up having grandpa and grandma watch the kids as planned for a weekend.  We ended up taking day trips from our home each day.  This allowed us to save money by not paying for airfare, a hotel, and car rental.  It allowed us to go out and explore shops, restaurants, and towns without the kids.  We had conversations we needed to have, chatted about plans for our kids, plans for us, and goals we want to accomplish.  We got to enjoy our dream barn by slowing down and just taking time to relax at home.  We went through lots of little cities.  We enjoyed meals out and about.  We just enjoyed hanging out with one another and spending time with each other.  It was awesome and relaxing.  It was the break we needed from our crazy, hectic, busy life.  I snapped a few pictures so I thought I would share them with you.
We woke up to a dusting of snow which was fitting.  It was a gorgeous sunny day when we got married but we woke up to snow the day after our wedding.
We enjoyed breakfast and coffee at a local restaurant.

Stores are decked out for Christmas already.
We ate an excellent meal at a fancy restaurant and they brought us out a celebratory dessert.

This a view I love out of our dream barn.  I am so thankful for all the blessings God has given us.
We do plan to do a big trip at some point, but now just felt like everything would be too rushed and hectic.  So it will wait a little while so we can think about what we really want to do and use our vacation money wisely.  In the meantime we choose to enjoy every moment we spend with each other and be grateful for every second of the 20 years we have been married and we look forward to many more anniversaries.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Challenge Accepted!!!

I'm normally a pretty motivated person most of the time.  There are a few things I drag my feet on, but who really rushes to clean toilets and fold the laundry...certainly not me, but these things do get done every week.  So while I am a motivated person, I can be motivated above and beyond when I am given a good challenge.  Give me a good challenge and I become super motivated and hyper-focused.  Get out of the way this girl is on a mission!!!
Challenge Accepted, A Glimpse of Normal Blog
Now I bet you are wondering what the mission is and I would love to tell you all about it, but for now, I am going to be a little vague.  It isn't because I don't want to share my specific mission with you, but it is because it is a massive mission and I need to make sure it is even a possibility before I share specific details.  I can share that this challenge came from my Handsome Hubby.  We got to have an anniversary weekend where the grandparents kept the kids so that we could get away, except that we ended up having a staycation instead (more on that in tomorrow's post).  Anyway, during this time we got to talk...really talk and share our hearts with each other without interruptions from the kids and without input from the kids and without eavesdropping.  We got to have real, honest conversations and set down real, honest goals.  These talks may sound scary, but they were not at all.  They were talks we needed to have to make sure we were on the same page and working for the same goals.  Sometimes you just get busy in life and you are working on the same things, but working from different angles and it just works better to work from the same angle.

It was during these talks that I was sharing some ideas I had for things I want to do with Hubby and he was sharing some ideas he had that he popped up with his challenge for me.  I think that originally he was half joking with me, but the challenge just hit me and before I knew it I said...CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!!!!  He just looked at me and said, "Really?"  I turned and said, "You know better than to throw out the impossible as a challenge.  Those are my favorite kinds."  So our challenge was born and it is one that feels and looks a little impossible, but that just means I need to work harder and figure it all out.  All I know right now is it is a God-sized challenge and I have a BIG God so while everyone else would say it is impossible, I say...CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!!!  Let's do this!

Thursday, November 8, 2018

A Thank You and A Goodbye

Today's post is a very bittersweet one for me.  It is hard because there are so many things I will miss about it, but I am excited at the same time to see what God has for me in place of this.  Earlier this year I told you changes were coming.  One of the changes is that I will not be returning to the Homeschool Review Crew next year.  It was a very hard decision for me, but one that I felt I needed to make.
A Glimpse of Normal, A Thank You and A Goodbye
I have truly enjoyed my three years on the Homeschool Review Crew.  They picked me for the crew back when I didn't even think I had a chance of being picked.  The leadership of the Crew saw something in my blog and something in me that I didn't even know was there at the time.  When I started with the Crew I was at my wit's end with homeschooling and we had had a very rough fall semester and I felt like things just weren't going well for us.  I applied to the Crew and was accepted and we started receiving products to review.  It was the breath of fresh air our school needed.  I woke up and saw that I didn't have to stick to the same old especially when it wasn't working well for us.  It gave me the courage to try products that I may have passed over because I didn't know if they were what we needed.  We got to explore and dig into really fun products over the years.  We have found companies that we love and work well for our school.  We learned we can make changes and everything will be okay if we do.  The biggest thing I learned was that if something isn't working for us for school, it is okay to ditch it and find something that does work.

There are so many things I love about the Homeschool Review Crew.  It is a community of homeschool families that are dedicated, supportive, and encouraging.  There is a mix of homeschool styles represented and families with kids at every age and stage.  There are families on the Crew that have homeschooled for many years, ones that are new to homeschooling, and families that do both homeschool and public school.  The Crew is made up of families around the world.  The families on the Crew have become my friends and I will truly miss being a part of it because of the community and support even though I know I will keep in contact with my Crew friends. I will miss being able to go into our forum (the private board only the Crew can see) and share with them.  Getting to check out homeschool products was just the icing on the cake of being part of the Crew.  If you would like to apply to be part of the Homeschool Review Crew, they are currently taking applications for 2019.  It is an AMAZING thing to be a part of and even if you think you don't have a chance of being accepted, apply anyway.  Take a chance and put yourself out there.

So if I love so much of the Crew, why am I leaving?  Good question.  First and foremost, I have really felt like God has been calling me to bring our homeschool back into our home.  Yes, it has been in our home all along, but last year we did a co-op which required lots of extras and reviewing requires detailed usage and deadlines.  Neither of these are bad things at all, but they are an area that God has really had me re-prioritizing and showing me that it is time to take a break from them.  Second, CJ and Missy have asked for a break from the Crew.  Not only do I check out all the aspects of a review product, but they do the actual work if a product is for them.  This means they are rotating subjects they work on and the products they work with.  They are ready for a break from it.  I get it and am thankful they have been willing to help me review homeschool products for three years.  Last, I feel like God is calling me to something else.  I am not sure what that is right now, but I want some time to figure it out.  I am still going to be blogging regularly because I enjoy blogging and I always have something rolling around in my head to get out.

I can't say THANK YOU enough to the Homeschool Review Crew for the 3 years they allowed me to be part of the Crew.  I have loved it all and gotten so many amazing opportunities through it.  More importantly, I have made some AMAZING friends and I can't thank them enough for their love and support over the years.  Thank you Homeschool Review Crew!!!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Our Platinum Anniversary!

This year is a milestone year for us.  Today we celebrate 20 years of marriage.  20 years!!!

A Glimpse of Normal, Our Platinum Anniversary
Life hasn't always been easy for us.  We have had our share of our disagreements.  We've butted heads and dug our heels in.  But no matter what we have been determined.  We are determined to...
  • Put God first in our marriage
  • Keep our marriage pure
  • Focus on each other 
  • Make each other better
  • Work together
  • Never give up
  • Talk it out
  • Have fun
  • Enjoy the life God has given us
  • Raise a Godly family
  • Stand up for each other instead of tear each other down
  • Listen to each other
  • Be a helper to each other
  • Pray for each other
  • Take time for each other
  • Get along
  • Be on the same page
  • Grow old together
  • Not let the world get in our way
  • Love each other more every day
Before we got married, we determined that we wanted to love each other forever.  When we got married we promised to love each other forever.  Today I can tell you that we can't imagine not loving each other for forever.  God is good and He has blessed our marriage in so many ways even when we didn't deserve it.  There is no one I would rather have spent the last 20 years with than my amazing hubby and I am sure he would say the same about me.   We love our crazy life together and we look forward to many more years of adventures together.  Here are some pictures from the first 20 years (in no particular order)...
A Glimpse of Normal

A Glimpse of Normal

A Glimpse of Normal

A Glimpse of Normal


A Glimpse of Normal

A Glimpse of Normal

A Glimpse of Normal

A Glimpse of Normal

A Glimpse of Normal

A Glimpse of Normal

A Glimpse of Normal

*A couple of these photos were taken by my gorgeous friend, Veronica @ Vintage V, LLC.