Friday, January 31, 2014

February Homeschool Plan

Feeling like there is too much to focus on for school but not sure how to narrow it down. Just too many fun things to study (in addition to all the *necessary* ones). Also feeling that if we can continue to buckle down in February, we can ease up a bit in March.

  • Math U See - Would like to see Kate get through Delta Unit Test 2 and Jack through Unit Test 3 by the end of Feb, but I'm more concerned about continuing to memorize math facts. We'll go at a pace that seems appropriate
  • Flashmaster - continue to work on math facts focusing on multiplication for Jack and division for Kate
  • Life of Fred - finish 2nd reading of Cats, read Dogs
  • Math Games - Math It plus some of our other math games we haven't played in awhile - Zeus on the Loose, Math War, Math Dice, etc.
  • Teaching Textbooks & IXL - keeping on the back burner for if/when we burn out on other math programs
Language Arts
  • First Language Lessons 3 - goal to get through lesson 77, finish oral usage lessons, and start dictionary skills lessons
  • Writing With Ease 3 - goal to get through week 18 (not doing dictation days - not appropriate for Jack and Kate gets writing with her online class)
  • Online Grammar/Writing class (Kate) - continue
  • Professor Grammar's Punctuation Packets workbook (Kate) - would like to finish workbook this month
  • Tutoring (Jack) - 2-3x/week
  • Increasing Fluency 2 (Jack) - would like to finish workbook this month
  • Improve Reading & Writing Skills Workbook (Jack) - want to look at adding back dictation
  • Daily Reading Comprehension - when not overloaded
  • Spelling City - Jack will continue tutor's spelling list, might add in days of week and months; Kate will do geography spelling - states, capitals, continents, oceans, etc.
  • Teach All Kids packets (Jack) - might go back to some of this
  • Cursive - Kate will finish workbook in first week, might try cursive with Jack
  • Read, Write, Type program (Jack) - continue 3-4x/week
  • Keyboarding (Kate) - continue 3-4x/week
  • Sentence Family & Grammarland & The Giggly Guide to Grammar - on back burner for when we need a break
  • How to Write, Recite and Delight in All Kinds of Poetry - forgot to put his in our January review, but we've only read one chapter. 
  • Assigned reading - Kate will finish Marguerite Henry books then maybe start Little House series. Jack will continue Stink series.
  • Audiobook - going to work our way through the Narnia series
  • What's Physics All About - keep reading, reading more and doing experiments
  • Brain study - maybe
  • Science packets - maybe
History/Social Studies
  • History of the World - keep reading, I imagine we'll spend the rest of the year on the ancient Greeks and Romans!
  • Bible stories - keep reading as inspired
  • Geography - want to get back to some of our games & puzzles
  • C.S. Lewis - just getting started
  • Edgar Allen Poe
  • Maybe Sir Isaac Newton, Einstein?
Physical Fitness 
  • Swim Team - 2-3x/week, plus 2 swim meets for Kate
  • Volleyball (Kate) weekly
  • Basketball (Jack) weekly
  • Ski School - 2-3x
  • Hiking - if we get a nice day, we are getting out there!
Art/Home Ec
  • Baking
  • Sewing
  • Knitting (Kate)
  • Architecture class online - first class was great, second was just okay, a few more weeks to go
  • Meditation - 2-3x/week
  • Gratitude Journal - daily
  • ITBS workbook 3 (Jack)  2-3x/week just for test practice
  • French (Kate) - French club weekly, add in something else
  • Logic - if we feel like it
  • Apple 1:1
  • Playful eLearning courses
  • Travel - none planned for February, but I'm antsy for a road trip...
  • Field Trips - want to be better about this
  • Homeschool program - weekly (math, language arts, art, history, science, technology)
  • Speech Therapy (Jack) - 2x/week

January Homeschool Review

January felt pretty good for core academics. Sorta excited to do this review to see where we actually ended up.

  • Math U See - Kate finished Gamma and has completed through Delta Unit I test, and Jack as completed through Gamma Unit II test. Feeling really good with both of those.
  • Times Tales - slowed down on this as both kids know all the "stories" really well now.
  • Flashmaster - This has been great. Going to continue to use it for all math facts
  • IXL - none. Moving to back burner for if/when we burn out on other math programs
  • Life of Fred - a little slow this month. Matt is doing the 2nd reading of Cats with the kids and through Ch.11
  • Math It game - played a few times. Flashmaster has mostly taken over.
  • Teaching Textbooks - None. on the back burner for if/when we burn out on other math programs
Language Arts
  • First Language Lessons 3 - finished through lesson 62 and oral usage lesson 3
  • Writing With Ease 3 - through week 10
  • Online Grammar/Writing class (Kate) - on second week and doing well
  • Professor Grammar's Punctuation Packets workbook (Kate) - off & on with these assignments as it is usually the first thing I let go when we feel overloaded. On p. 35
  • Tutoring (Jack) - 2-3x/week - going great, Jack adores this tutor
  • Increasing Fluency 2 (Jack) - finished lesson 13, a little slower than planned
  • Improve Reading & Writing Skills Workbook (Jack) - nope
  • Daily Reading Comprehension - some, just not daily...
  • Sequential Spelling (Kate) none, doing Spelling City instead. Kate is currently working on spelling all the states
  • Tutor's spelling list (Jack) - going well, do this orally and with Spelling City
  • Teach All Kids packets (Jack) - none which is fine
  • Cursive (Kate) - almost done with a workbook. I think we might stop there. She knows it.
  • Read, Write, Type program (Jack) - going well. Jack enjoys this and his typing skills are definitely improving. I need to figure out how to monitor progress.
  • Keyboarding (Kate) - working both with a book and online. Mostly just practice
  • Sentence Family & Grammarland - nope. Will save
  • Assigned reading - so Little Women ended up being a bit much for Kate, so she read Misty of Chincoteague instead and just started Justin Morgan Had a Horse by the same author. Jack read (and enjoyed!) the first Stink book. Now he is reading the 2nd Stink book. *Note this is assigned reading. Kate is also read a bunch of other books of her choosing (like the entire Judy Moody series), and Jack has listened to an untold number of audiobooks. I try to keep track of all that on their Goodreads accounts.
  • Audiobook - we listened to Time Cat and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
  • What's Physics All About - through p. 25. I really thought we'd read this faster, but we keep getting sidetracked reading books and watching videos about the concepts we've been reading. I do want to be better about doing some more experiments
  • Brain study - nope, but I want to!
  • Science packets - nope, but I want to!
  • Geodes and crystals and gemstones - nothing crazy, but the kids wanted to read about them. Cracked open a lot of geodes this month!
History/Social Studies
  • History of the World - through ch.14; again, I thought we'd be further, but we keep getting side tracked by different subjects! 
  • Moses - ancient Egypt has led to a bit of Old Testament studies
  • Epiphany - reading many versions of the 3 kings story, also some bible stories through John the Baptist
  • Galileo - in conjunction with physics
  • Robert Frost - life and poetry
  • Jane Goodall - finished up some books/videos that we didn't complete in December
  • C.S. Lewis - just getting started
Physical Fitness - can't quite figure out how some homeschoolers struggle with this... we do so much!
  • Swim Team - 2-3x/week - as planned
  • Volleyball (Kate) - going great
  • Basketball (Jack) - going great
  • Ski School - 3x in January. Both kids are now level 6. Plus a handful of family ski days
  • Couch to 5K - nope. Going to put this off until it warms up consistently
Art/Home Ec
  • Baking - nothing formal
  • Sewing - nothing formal
  • Knitting (Kate) - been lazy about going out to get Kate her supplies
  • Architecture class online - first class was great, second was just okay, a few more weeks to go
  • Meditation - not as consistent about this as I'd like
  • Gratitude Journal - daily, going well
  • ITBS workbook 3 (Jack) - started this 2-3x/week just for test practice. Jack takes the ITBS for the first time this year, and I didn't want him going in cold
  • French (Kate) - just French club, want to find something a bit more for Kate
  • Logic - I don't think we did any logic this month...
  • Apple 1:1 - nope
  • Playful eLearning courses - nope
  • Travel - none other than up to our mountain home
  • Field Trips - we only did one field trip the the science museum in January - want to be better in February
  • Homeschool program - weekly (math, language arts, art, history, science, technology) - as planned
  • Speech Therapy (Jack) - our speech therapist is so much more than a speech therapist! Feel lucky to have her.
  • Other misc reading and stuff, not in depth enough to really mention

Thursday, January 30, 2014

This Makes Me Happy

Forcing blooms. Bulbs from Jack's speech therapist.

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Sunday, January 26, 2014

This Makes Me Happy

And really sore!

Snowshoe trail from Breckenridge to Frisco last week with a friend
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Saturday, January 25, 2014

This Makes Me Happy

Puppy overload!!

That's what 9 (NINE!) puppies looks like.

2 1/2 weeks old

Belong to one of Kate's friends

Couldn't get enough

So much cuteness!

And, no, we aren't taking one home.

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

This Makes Me Happy

I'm not a huge fan of the kids playing video games, but I love overhearing them interact playing Minecraft multiplayer

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Homeschool Moment

Waiting for basketball while Kate plays volleyball

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Monday, January 20, 2014

This Makes Me Happy

My favorite view of Pike's Peak from Wilkerson Pass.

Someday I'd like to stop with my good camera. Hopefully capture the view better than while driving.

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Saturday, January 18, 2014

This Makes Me a Happy

Hot tea on a cold evening

I ❤️ my Hawaii mug... Especially those little fishes inside!

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Resolutions Mid-Month Update

  1. FinanceJanuary Focus: No Amazon purchases! This has been a much more interesting and a much more difficult practice than I expected. But I'm doing it, I've learned a lot about purchasing habits, and it is getting easier as the month goes.
  2. HomeJanuary Focus: Kate's room It's looking so good! Hoping to get things hung up on the wall this week, and we'll be pretty close to calling it done.
  3. Photos: January Focus: January photos and research storage options Haven't done a single thing with photos... that stinks...
  4. CreativeJanuary Focus: Kate's Mermaid Quilt Proving that getting a little bit done here and there is a great way to get a lot done. Finished the quilting. Plan to do cut and sew binding this week.
  5. Health/FitnessJanuary Focus: Yoga I did so great doing yoga daily until the holidays ended and we got back to daily life. I've struggled since, but I feel like I have good friend support. Going to try a new time of day this week.
  6. Mind/Spiritual/SoulJanuary Focus: Meditation Again, I did great over the holidays, then just so-so.  I've done much better again this week.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Homeschool Moment

Taking online architecture class

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Monday, January 13, 2014

Homeschool Moment

Learning ABOUT prepositions while ON the couch and UNDER a blanket.
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Friday, January 10, 2014

Kate's Room

First, I'd like to say that this week has STUNK for my resolutions. After almost a month of mostly fun, "real life" hit me like anvil this week. Oh, well. I handled it and will do better next week. But blah! Moving on...

I've already said that Kate's room is my January Home focus. I actually started working on her room right after Christmas. The girl and I have had polar opposite thoughts on paint colors for quite awhile.

Kate wanted the brightest, most obnoxious turquoise/teal color you can imagine.

I wanted white.

After I painted the guest room last summer, we came closer to a compromise. Kate agreed to white walls and I agreed to an aqua ceiling. However, the intensity of the ceiling color was still being debated. (Lesson learned: only offer color choices that you are willing to use!) Regardless of disagreements, it was time to just get going.

We had the old plaster walls repaired while we were in Hawaii, and I started painting the white walls the day after Christmas. I also got some samples that I thought we might both like for the ceiling, and fortunately we both agreed fairly quickly on the same color. The walls and ceilings are done (I'm loving painting things myself... I'd forgotten how meditative it is!). I'm also doing some other fun painting in there.

The rest of the room should come together fairly easily now. I'm not big on "themed" rooms, but I do like to work from some sort of concept. For Kate's room we are going for a bit of an ocean/mermaid/swim feel which is just perfect. We are trying to use what we already have for the bigger items in the room, but we did a big IKEA run for accessories. Plus I've ordered some fun artwork off Etsy. I think we'll do a girls' shopping trip to Target this week.

Here's the list of what I want to accomplish in her room:
  1. Paint Ceiling
  2. Paint Walls
  3. Paint trim
  4. Paint closet doors
  5. Move up old desk from basement
  6. Clear out old bookcase and move
  7. Move bookshelves (paint?)
  8. Get bean bag or chair with canopy (not sure if this will fit...)
  9. Bedside & desk lamps
  10. Curtains (current vs others I have vs something new) & new hardware
  11. New bedspread
  12. Buy/make throw pillows for bed
  13. Clean out closet and organize
  14. Clean out dresser and organize
  15. Clean out under bed and organize
  16. Desk accessories
  17. Rug?
  18. Print photos
  19. Get frames for artwork/photos
  20. Hang artwork/frames
  21. Find mermaid bookends purchased last year
  22. Paint door hooks and hang on both closet and room doors
  23. Paint "KATE" letters
  24. Get a plant (but we might get a second one)
  25. Add high shelf to closet
  26. Hang mirror
  27. Hang hooks for jewelry
  28. Get an alarm clock
  29. Figure out music storage (can not believe we are at this stage in life...)
  30. Mermaid needlepoint (doubtful to happen this month but maybe...)
I'm sure I'm leaving out many things. I'll show photos when it is all done. Hopefully in the next couple weeks!

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Homeschool Moment

I think this game finally convinced them to learn to meditate!

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Books Before Movies

I'm currently reading The Book Thief because I want to see the movie. I think I might also work on this list... I'm already a quarter of the way to done!

16 Books to Read Before They Hit Theaters This Year

  1. Labor Day
  2. The Monuments Men
  3. Winter's Tale
  4. Vampire Academy
  5. A Long Way Down
  6. Divergent
  7. The Fault in Our Stars
  8. The Hundred Foot Journey
  9. The Giver
  10. Dark Places
  11. This Is Where I Leave You
  12. The Maze Runner
  13. Gone Girl
  14. Unbroken
  15. Wild
  16. Serena

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Right Now

It's been a pile-the-pink-marshmallows-high-on-the-hot-chocolate kinda day...

The popcorn & Netflix chick flick are helping also.

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Hawaii Photos - Big Island House

We rented a house outside Pahoa on the Hilo sided of the island. The house couldn't have been more lovely. 3 bedrooms, clean, well-stocked kitchen, a lanai surrounded by plantings, and its own geothermal pool! The pool was clear, had little fish and crabs, and was the perfect temperature - warm enough to slide right in yet still refreshing. The kids hopped in first thing every morning, and really preferred to be there rather than taking in other sites on the island.

We could also walk down to Champagne Pond which is another geothermal pool that connects directly to the ocean. Apparently there are often sea turtles there. We didn't see any, but it was great for snorkeling! The funny thing was the warm, geothermal water would layer with the cooler ocean water creating all these blurry areas in the water.

A short drive from our rental were also the Kapoho Tide Pools/Fish Preserve. We went a few times as it was also a great place to snorkel. Gorgeous. Some places got a little deep (but not really deep) so Jack was difficult about going in as he was worried about sharks. Since I can't quite convince him that there aren't sharks in the deep end of a swimming pool, I didn't even attempt to convince him that there were no sharks in the tide pools...

While this area wasn't quintessential Hawaii, I loved how uncrowded and peaceful it was. I could have sat on our rental's lanai for several days just reading a book. We will definitely go back.

Rental House Geothermal Pond
Even nice in the rain!
Clear water!

Champagne Pond
"Hike" to pond

See the thermal layers?

Fish Preserve
Didn't capture how unique this place is in the photos. We spent most of our time underwater. I followed a parrotfish around for a long time watching (and hearing!) it munch on coral.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

This Makes Me Happy

At Costco. I always try to park in front of this tree...

I get a kick out of the one-eyed tree sticking its tongue out at me!

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Sunday, January 05, 2014

Homeschool Plan for January

I really, really like homeschooling, but I really, really wish I was sending my kids to school tomorrow... just not feeling it right now... blah...

No formal December homeschool review, because we basically did NOTHING. Of course, I consider traveling the best education in the world, so there is that.

BUT tomorrow is a new day, and we are getting back at it! Going to focus on the basics as we get back in the swing of things. Here's the plan...


  • Math U See - finish up the last few lessons/tests in Gamma for Kate (since that didn't get done over the holidays) and start Delta. Hoping she'll fly through that. Jack will start back up with Gamma lesson 8
  • Times Tales - this has been good. Neither child seems to mind watching. Multiplication for Jack, start division for Kate
  • Flashmaster - little tool that was recommended to us for learning math facts. Going to try it. 
  • IXL - maybe...
  • Life of Fred - 2nd read of Cats with Matt, then start Dogs.
  • Math It game - keep playing
  • Teaching Textbooks - on the back burner for if/when we burn out on other math programs
Language Arts
  • First Language Lessons 3 - starting back at lesson 42, will do 3-5 lessons/week
  • Writing With Ease 3 - starting back at week 5
  • Online Grammar/Writing class (Kate)
  • Professor Grammar's Punctuation Packets workbook (Kate) - 3-4 lessons/week
  • Tutoring (Jack) - 2-3x/week
  • Increasing Fluency 2 (Jack) - starting back on lesson 11, plan 1-2 lessons/week
  • Improve Reading & Writing Skills Workbook (Jack) - maybe...
  • Sequential Spelling (Kate) 3-4 lessons/week
  • Tutor's spelling list (Jack)
  • Teach All Kids packets (Jack)
  • Read, Write, Type program (Jack)
  • Keyboarding (Kate)
  • Sentence Family & Grammarland - maybe...
  • Assigned reading - don't know yet. Kate wants to read Little Women. May start Jack back on My Weird School books.
  • Keep reading What's Physics All About
  • Brain study
  • Science packets
  • Not sure what else yet...
History/Social Studies
  • History of the World - get back at it!
  • Not sure what else yet...
  • (but we are going to do a homeschool Minecraft class in February!! Woohoo!!)
Physical Fitness - can't quite figure out how some homeschoolers struggle with this... we do so much!
  • Swim Team - 2-3x/week
  • Volleyball (Kate)
  • Basketball (Jack) so proud that he is trying something new!
  • Ski School - 4-6x this month (plus family skiing)
  • Couch to 5K - if we get a nice day
Art/Home Ec
  • Baking
  • Sewing
  • Knitting (Kate)
  • Architecture class online
  • Meditation
  • Gratitude Journal
  • French (Kate)
  • Logic
  • Apple 1:1
  • Playful eLearning courses
  • Travel - probably none in January
  • Field Trips - weekly in January, TBD
  • Homeschool program - weekly (math, language arts, art, history, science, technology)

Right Now

I know that a fox makes a daily pass by the chicken coop, but this morning he hung around for a good 20 min looking for a way at those hens.

Crazy chickens weren't bothered at all...

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Saturday, January 04, 2014

Coldest Colleges

From my friend Krista. Her school is #2. My alma mater came in at #4. Not sure that is something to be proud of or not...
Coldest Colleges

Friday, January 03, 2014

Word for 2014

Just like last year, I wasn't going to pick a word or phrase for the year. And just like last year, I ran into something at the last minute that I decided I wanted to use. And probably like last year, I'll forget by the end of the year what my word is.

But that's okay. I'm going to do it anyway.

So my word for 2014 is PATIENCE.

While I certainly hope this idea will help me when dealing with frustrating kids or waiting in a long line at the grocery store, I'm not thinking of that kind of patience. I mean full life patience. The not trying to rush or force the next thing. Allowing life to unfold at its own pace. The letting go and trusting that life is happening as it should kind of patience.

"Patience means knowing it will happen... and giving it time to happen." - Susan Jeffers

Thursday, January 02, 2014

2014 Resolutions

I love making New Year's Resolutions. Whether I follow through or not is irrelevant (I couldn't even remember if I made any for 2013! I sorta did). I find the process of just thinking about what is important to me and what I want to accomplish worthwhile.

Since fresh starts keep me motivated, I decided to do my 2014 resolutions as monthly projects. I chose 6 areas that I want to focus on, and I'll pick a project each month in each of those areas. I have ideas but haven't even picked all 12 projects for each focus area. That way I can adjust as the year proceeds. I'm also doing each with a different friend as a way to stay connected and accountable. So excited!!

So here is what I'm planning...
  1. Finance. This was my friend Nona's idea, and I'm so glad she invited me to join. We are going to pick a project each month and then discuss. Discussing anything with Nona is great, but since I love money management and finance is her specialty, this is going to be especially good. If nothing else, I know we'll laugh. January Focus: No Amazon purchases! 
  2. Home. Doing this with my friend Ashlee. I love her style and just wish she was closer so we could do this together in person. Each month we are going to pick a room in our homes to focus on and "finish." This will include decluttering, organizing, decorating, or anything else to get a room complete. January Focus: Kate's room 
  3. Photos. Pretty sure my friend Kerri is still up for doing this with me. My digital photos are an out-of-control disaster. They are on multiple computers, random CDs, photo websites, cameras, phones, etc. And there are so many of them!! It is really fairly overwhelming. I have tried doing this year-by-year without success. This year my plan is to work by months. I'll go through that month's photos for the last 10 years and a)find all the photos b)compile into one place c)sort and delete unnecessary photos d)print any for display e)choose images for photo books f)file/save/backup January Focus: January photos and research storage options 
  4. Creative. I've asked my friend Krista to join me on this one. Krista has amazing ideas and I love what she creates. Going to choose a creative project to complete each month. I want to mostly focus on completing unfinished quilting projects. January Focus: Kate's Mermaid Quilt
  5. Health/Fitness. Fingers crossed that since my friend Michelle and I have already discussed doing a 5K together in 2014, that she'll be on board with a year long commitment. I consider myself pretty active, fit and healthy already, but there is always room for improvement. The last 6-9 months I've really slacked on some of my key activities - specifically yoga, strength training, and sugar snacking - and I can feel it! January Focus: Yoga
  6. Mind/Spiritual/Soul. Really want my sister to do this with me. Hoping she'll at least be available for ideas, because I'm not exactly sure where I am going with this one. January Focus: Meditation

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Right Now

Happy New Year to me! What a great way to start out 2014.

Perfect day for skiing. Relatively warm, no crowds and LOTS of snow!!

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DayBook 1.1.14

Outside my window... it's still dark but there is enough light that I can see snow falling! I think I'll ski today.

I am thinking... about 2014. I'm excited for it. I have a gut feeling that there will be a lot of change in 2014, and I'm excited to see what life offers and what paths we choose.
I am thankful for... all the choices I have.
From the kitchen... our New Year's Eve feast had meatballs, spinach balls, cheese fondue and chocolate fondue. Today I'm making a ham, popovers, roasted green beans, and maybe black eyed peas (I really want them, but it will involve a trip to the store, so we'll see...).
I am wearing... a retro ski t-shirt and comfy athletic pants. And slippers.
I am creating... ideas!
I am going... to be active today. A little yoga, some skiing and maybe even a trip to the gym.
I am reading... Feel the Fear... and Do It Anyway. Really liking this one. Also started In Wisdom's Path this morning. This is from my friend Nona. I am going to read bits and pieces throughout the year. Also The Book Thief, but not quickly. I need a long airplane ride for some quiet, reading time...
I am hoping... that no one else gets sick this week.

I am hearing... the fireplace crackling, the humidifier dripping, and the walls creaking with the weight of new snow.

Around the (mountain) house... Matt put up a "new" dining room fixture that used to hang in our dining room at home. It's one of those mason jar fixtures that have become so popular, but I still like it. Also want to clean out some of the toys up here. Still have lots of baby/toddler toys that can go to a new home.

One of my favorite things... waking up to fresh snow

A few plans for the rest of the week: ski, IKEA trip, maybe some tennis this weekend

Here is a picture I am sharing: Christmas morning