V Day Outfit 💋

So… let me be clear… I AM NOT A FASHION BLOGGER. And I am not trying to pretend like I am, but at the same time, I can not NOT share this stunning, affordable, dress with y’all!

If you saw my Instagram story, I said the dress was $6, which is wrong. It’s $16, but in my overly excited mind, I just remembered it was affordable and had a 6 in it 😂. But still, $16 is an awesome price!

I am 5’6 and 125 lbs and I ordered a small. I honestly could have been comfortable in a medium, but I’m recovering from a 2nd trimester miscarriage. My normal body weight/size is smaller than I am now, so I sized down for longer wear in the dress. Also, it’s Valentine’s Day! A little on the sexy side is okay, right? 😉

I plan on wearing the dress out to dinner with my husband for Valentine’s Day, paired with my all time FAVORITE pink suede Michael Antonio heels. The pink wooden bead necklace I’m wearing in the picture above is unable to be shared because I bought it out of the trunk of a lady’s car when I was leaving the library one day. True story! I paid $5 for it!

This dress also is super classy paired with a string of pearls and black pumps.

Or maybe work-worthy with this New York and Company sweater and black flats?

Or spring festival with a tribal scarf and leather sandals?

Regardless, it’s versatile and totally worth $16! Ill be sure to post a pic of the complete look after v day. 😘

XOXO, DD.

February Reading List

Tuesday is Library Day for us most weeks. You will find me chasing toddlers in the children’s section, or pushing a double stroller down the adult non-fiction aisle, every week at about 11:00 am. (Just follow the sound of screaming children.) As a home educator, I try to find books I can relate to lessons, as well as a few good self help books, and a novel or 2. Reading has always been one of my favorite past times and these winter days at home have me craving a good book!

I’m a girl who loves theming, so I usually try to match my weekly picks with the weather, month, upcoming holiday, etc. My January list included books on skiing, the science of snowflakes, how to save money (I’ve been working on a new 2019 budget), and Laura Ingalls Wilder books. Ella has really come to love the Little House On the Prairie series. We have been working our way through both chapter books and picture books of little Laura’s life one day at a time this month.

I also let my children pick out a few books that spark their interest; for bedtime stories they have not heard before. Mason’s January choices were from the Thomas the Train series, while Ella’s concentrated on her Birthday theme- Mermaids and Pirates! This time we have chosen A Golden Book about The Lion King and a book about Giant Squids (yes I said squids 🦑). Ella is still riding the wave from her birthday theme and spent an immense amount of time in the children’s non-fiction section exploring sea-life books. “Outside and Inside Giant Squid” was the winner.

Sometimes when I go to the library, I head straight to the closest computer, open the card catalog, and start going down my list of books I’d like to check out; writing down the letters or numbers and sections of where the books can be found. Other times, I feel brain dead and let my children play in the educational toy section while I grab a few of the “Librarian’s Picks” off the counter. This week was different though. I strolled peacefully down the aisles and felt like the right books just jumped out at me! Seriously! There were so many books I wanted to check out, but knew I could not read in 2 weeks time. It was a tough choice, but here are my most recent library selections:

  • “Wildalone” by Krassi Zourkova
  • “Love is a Verb” by Gary Chapman
  • “Handmade Valentine’s Day Crafts” by Ruth Owen
  • “A Really Good Snowman” by Daniel J. Mahoney
  • “A Hug is for Holding Me” by Lisa Wheeler
  • “The Bookstore Valentine” by Barbara Maitland
  • “Peace is an Offering” by Annette Lebox

and my kid’s picks; including “Outside and Inside Giant Squid” 🤪.

I was trying to take a picture of my books, but my sweet dog Zoey kept interrupting the process. Isn’t she photogenic?

I’ll be sure to post reviews regarding these reads after I dig into them! We read “Peace is an Offering” tonight at bedtime and it is such a blessing of a book. I want to memorize every line.

Now, if you will excuse me, I am going to take advantage of my kids being asleep and start reading a new book! 👋🏼

Let’s Shell-ebrate! 🐚

f8741256-8d73-4dbf-b05b-817ed1caec5bHave you ever tried to copy an idea from Pinterest only to have it NOT turn out the way you expected?  Well, I am happy to say that Ella’s birthday party was a Pinterest-WIN!

185AD997-09B6-4AB4-8656-908ABB77F219.jpegThe theme for her party was “Mermaids 🧜🏻‍♀️ & Pirates 🏴‍☠️ ”.  Being a few days out from my D&C, I was not sure I would be able to pull off a Pinterest-Worthy-Party. However, with The Lord’s help, I was able to create a very ‘spec-shell’  birthday for my favorite girl!

DD8AC1A2-C1AB-486D-A19C-AACB04F588FA.jpegTo set the mood, we played the soundtrack from The Little Mermaid, Moana, and The Beach Boys “Sounds of Summer”.  (I’ll be singing SurfinUSA for the next 6 months now!)  The girls wore mermaid leggings and created their own mermaid crowns by hot-glueing starfish and sea shells to headbands.  ‘Mermaid Make-Up’ was adorned by most (even the mer-men 🧜🏻‍♂️).

ab06b74d-ac59-471e-890f-08593f058b57Snacks included Sea-Shell Pasta, Driftwood Pretzel Sticks, Swedish Fish, Seaweed Dip, Goldfish, and Pirate Gold Chocolate!

1AA9A5FF-C46F-4999-9C12-870534BDFD43.jpegThe Pirate Punch was a big hit!  The recipe included equal parts of pineapple 🍍 juice, blue Hawaiian 🌺  Punch, and 7-Up.  The color was perfect and reminded us all of the Carribean Sea.

D723D09A-22E4-413B-8D08-44899BA8716A.jpegTo be more eco-friendly, I invested in a set of glass salad plates and jars for drinking. I even let the girls use my grandmothers dessert dishes for their ice cream!  This cut out the need for paper/plastic products and I can re-use them for the next party!

39EB47EF-0C23-48F2-AFEA-8D87E45F6723.jpegI will link the plates and glasses I ordered from amazon at the end of this post, as well as the decorations I did splurge on.  Overall, I think I spent about $100 on decorations and dinnerware and another $100 on food and drinks for a total $200 on party expenses. That is $100 more than my budget.. Oops!  But I am happy with my investments and how the party turned out!  To be honest, most of our decorations were things we already owned- which helped out a lot!

79528C8C-A035-4A94-B3E9-35F740995C37.jpegAfter I said bedtime prayers with Ella last night, she told me that this was the best birthday ever!  You can not put a price on that!  Goodnight mermaids!

My Amazon Order

My Target ‘Run & Done’

Mourning After Miscarriage

29e6a586-a900-49d2-88da-467f57551897I’m not sure anything could have prepared me for losing my 4th child during pregnancy.  Miscarriage was one of those things I never thought would happen to me.  I entered this pregnancy with excitement and confidence.  I knew God would see me through to the delivery of another healthy perfect child.  Calling a funeral home for cremation services on my baby’s remains was on the top 10 list of things I’d never have to endure.

I truly believed I’d never lose a child because I’d sort of already lost one.  My husband had a son from a previous marriage who died when he was 3.  The heartbreak we all went though at that time was life altering.  I’d already sat in a funeral home and planned services for a child who I may not have birthed, but would have been my son.  Watching my husband grieve and change over the years changed me as well.  I just knew God would never ask us to go through that loss again.  The children I bear would be healthy and strong and safe.

But what about now?

I am writing this post from a hospital bed as I wait for my scheduled D&C.  The emotions within me are tumultuous but writing always seems to help.  My husband is here, but distant.  This pain touches him too.  I never wanted him to feel this pain again.

We can’t change the course of time or try to make our will God’s will.  All we can do is our very best and accept the hand we are dealt.  I trust that God knows what He is doing.  This sweet baby girl is with Jesus now.  And I will meet her one day when I reach the gates of heaven.

I think it’s important for those who experience miscarriage to take the time to mourn their lost child.  Cry real tears!  Get angry!  Be sad.. and accept the help others give.  Take time for yourself.  You’re not alone in this world.

My friend spoke words of peace to me shortly after I found out I’d lost my child.  She said that this baby was never touched by fear!  She was never cold or hungry.  She was never alone.  And most importantly, she ALWAYS knew love.

Until we meet Rosie Lou Daves, know that mamma loves you!

695692E5-7679-4A18-B036-BC4AC7D54C71.jpeg

Why Homeschool?

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Why Homeschool?

I am writing this post for those who question the idea of home education, but also for myself to refer to when I am frustrated. Here are my reasons:

  • give my children the freedom to be children and have time to explore
  • give them a better education than is available in our county
  • to teach them what is most important in life (Jesus!)
  • to keep my children from the evils they are exposed to in public education
  • healthy kids
  • focus on character development
  • I want to learn too!

A little background information about myself – I am the granddaughter and daughter of public educators. I am a former public educator. My daughter spent half of her kindergarten year in public education.  My husband is the oldest of 7 homeschooled children.

Homeschooling my children is something that has always interested me, but I am not sure I would have taken the jump to do it if I had not been engrossed in the public education world myself.  I have seen first hand the corruption of our school systems and the harmful effects it has on our children.  My goal is not to degrade our schools, but simply to shine a light 💡 on the darkness inside of the cinderblock walls.

For my 5 year old daughter, 8 continuous hours of structure, stimulation, and simultaneous chaos was harmful to her. She still desperately needed hours of free play, a 1-2 hour nap (or quiet time), and a daily routine that made sense.  She got off the bus exhausted every day and cried every morning when I dropped her off at school.  It was a dreadful routine we had to get out of.

Upon entering the classroom setting, I also noticed my daughter significantly lowering her standards. She would sit with her feet on the table, eat with her fingers, scribble through her Sunday school work, and barely write her name legibly.  What is more, she picked up a nasty attitude and ambivalence towards authority.  I was appalled at her behavior. Where was my little lady?  Had I lost her?

I do not blame Ella’s teacher for her behavior. She was simply copying the behavior of other students in her class. The truth of the matter is that we become the average of who we spend the majority of our time with.  Ella was becoming the average of our county, which is not something to be proud of.  Unfortunately, our county is saturated with drug use and the majority of children come from underprivileged, poverty stricken homes. These children truly know no better than to stand on tables and scream at their elders.

As an educator myself, I know how impossible it is to meet the needs of every individual student.  This is especially true of a class full of 25 rambunctious 5 year olds, several of which are saddled with extensive IEPs and behavior issues. No wonder Ella was slipping through the cracks.

Teachers also are extremely overworked and underpayed.  This would not be so bad if they felt appreciated, but few do. The moral is low and this trickles down to our children.  This is why I know I can provide her with a better education, empowering her every step of the way

Along with a specialized education plan, I also am able to teach Ella what is most important in life (Jesus 🙌🏼).  My Savior is first and foremost in my life.  Our school days are no different.  We begin each day with a prayer, praise song, and scripture reading.  Included into every days curriculum is a bible lesson.  I want my children to have a firm foundation so they will never question their faith.  “Raise your children up in the ways of the Lord and when they are older they will not depart from what they know.”

While being a high school teacher, it was common to overhear stories of students sex lives or drug use and profane language was the normal.  I was horrified to see a generation with standards so low, but nothing could prepare me for my innocent daughter coming home singing the lyrics to obscene songs or showing off provocative dance moves.  I can not take away what she has been exposed to, but I can try to lessen the evil she sees from now on.  Her innocence can be protected a while longer.

From the time Ella started kindergarten at the beginning of August, until she was pulled out of school in December, my children contracted 5-6 respiratory viruses 🦠 ending in multiple ear infections. My boys, who had never been sick prior, now qualified for tubes to be put in their ears.  I could not remember putting them to bed without hearing them cough.  I am happy to say we’ve all been healthy since the decision to homeschool.  What is better than healthy, happy kids?  Less doctors visits, copays, amd prescriptions are always good things!

Probably my biggest regret over the last 6 years would be not taking the time to develop Ella’s character.  I had worked full time since she was 3 months old and admit to cutting corners when it came to parenting.  In fact, I had cut a lot of corners in life to save time and energy.  I now have the time to do the things I have always wanted to, such as recycle, cook healthy meals, and teach my children to live by The Golden Rule.  Teaching by example is always best and I am becoming a better person alongside my children.

Which brings me to my final reason for homeschooling: my love of learning!  I can not ignore the fact that I am a nerd 🤓 at heart.  I love learning something new and sharing my love of learning with my children.  We are currently reading little house on the prairie and delving into the ins and outs of primitive living.  Ella and I are also learning Spanish together.  Hola amigos!

The bottom line is that public education is not for my family.  I am open to adversity regarding my decision, however, I know what is best for us.

Dakota