Ready to Ride!

Our 15 mile bike race is coming up next weekend.  I am excited for it!

We did this race two years ago, and we finished dead last.  BUT, we finished!!!  At that time, the endurance was just not there for my then-10 year old.  Since that race, he is now on his second season of cross-country.  So his body has learned a few things for sure!

We’ve had a bit of technical difficulty preparing for this race.  We’ve replaced the piece that moves the chain between the gears, pedals, seats, and various other items between the three bikes.  We’ve worked on recognizing the important difference between gears and seat to pedal distances!  And I believe we are ready to roll next weekend!

Tonight I am thankful for some rides leading up to this race with my kiddos!  The race itself will be fun too.  But these times riding together to build up to the race have been priceless to this Momma!



For a few years now, I’ve heard about the hundreds of miles of garage sales happening on Michigan’s US-12 and thru several other states.  For a sale-lover like me, this has sounded like an exciting time!

The big sale was this weekend!  On Wednesday I looked at the calendar, and I saw an empty spot on Saturday!!!  I talked to the kids, and they were all in!

This morning I woke them up bright and early at the crack of 7:30 *eye roll*.  Ok, well to the summer vacationing children, 7:30 might as well have been 4am.  But they got up!  They got ready to go!  And we were outta here!!

Of the several hundreds of miles of garage sales, I think we may have went about 20 miles.  I should have measured our journey.  But, we had fun!  We found some good deals at many, many sales!  We pulled in alongside the now-closed dinosaur park!  We pulled in the currently-closed Stagecoach villagey-thing.  We bought some yummy produce from a road-side stand.  And, with it being race weekend, we drove home thru MIS so the kiddos could see the excitement building with the qualifying today!

Tonight I am thankful for a fun adventure day with the kiddos!!  I am thankful for finally going to experience the miles and miles of garage sales!  And I am thankful that we found something special for each kiddo today!  We sadly did not find good deals on fishing poles (which is on my garage-sale to-buy list).  But that really didn’t matter.  We had a wonderful day together today as we are wrapping up summer vacation before school starts soon ❤

The Right Tools

Unfortunately, the repair list on the washing machine discussed last week was too long.  The more we looked at how much it needed and weighed in the age of the machine and how much we use it, we decided to see how much a new machine would cost.

The hubster did some research on energy-efficient models, capacity, etc.  We hoped on Lowe’s website (love their free delivery!) and found that the model at the top of our list just happened to be on sale for well over $200 off!  That made the cost of this new model look much more appealing versus the cost to attempt to repair the old machine.

The washing machine was delivered yesterday.

Our old machine came with the house.  That machine was selected by the previous owners; of which there were two of them.  Do you want to know the difference between a washing machine capacity selected for two people versus the washing machine capacity selected for six people?  I’ll tell you!  The difference is amazing!

I was skipping thru the house yesterday looking for more dirty laundry to wash!!  The size of the machine had never really clicked with me before as being a variable to my never-ending battle with the mountain of dirty laundry that had taken up residence at my house.  But, oh what a difference it makes!

Tonight I am thankful for having the right tool for our family’s laundry needs!!  I may start re-evaluating all the things in this house!  Ok, well not everything.  I won’t go overboard.  BUT, I wonder if there is anything else that could be just one change away from a bit more of my sanity being put back in to place!!  🙂

Incentive Parenting

There is a lot of debate on the use of cell phones / tablets / etc.  And I will tell you hands down that there is no right answer.  Seriously.  All of the things that you read can just reaffirm the fact that no one has the right answer because all children are different!!!

With that being said, yes we have cell phones in this house.  There is a “kiddo” phone that is a $5 Tracfone flip phone that only makes calls.  It is not a smart phone.  This is for general kiddo usage when they are without a parent and I feel they may need to get a hold of me.

When the oldest started middle school, she started having some activities right after school.  My hat is off to all the parents for all the decades of letting their kids leave after the school bell rings and go places and do things without worry.  And if I HAD to, I would do it with minimal worry . . possibly.  Ok, so mostly to appease my own worry, the oldest got a cell phone in middle school.  It is a tracfone with limited minutes.  It is a smart phone with limited data.  She can connect to wifi.  I can take the phone and look thru it whenever I want.  I have access to her social media accounts and her phone at all times.  We made an agreement at the beginning of the phone “thing”.  She signed it.  Her father and I signed it.  And she has lost the phone before.

Last year the second oldest kiddo entered middle school.  Crappy parenting fact is that when you set a precedent with the oldest child, it is hard to change it without a good reason.  “Your sister has a phone and can call me if you need her to” is not a very good reason to tell a second oldest kiddo.  I could just make a parent Veto.  But, I really try to be fair with the kids.  So I would be looking at losing kiddo trust and being a hypocrite should I go that route.  So the second oldest has a phone.  Same thing, there is an agreement.  I have access whenever I want.  Nothing is to be added or deleted from the phone without permission.  He signed it.  His father and I signed it.  And he has lost the phone before.

Now the third enters middle school.  She has been drooling with thoughts of her own phone.  So what did I do?  I used that desire to motivate the girl.

This blog gets a little tricky because I don’t want to embarrass the children.  So I’m going to go a little vague here.  There is a skill that the majority of children have.  Most learn when they are younger.  This stubborn, stubborn child tried it once, fell down, and has refused repeatedly, for years, to try again.  I have tried to make her try again.  Her father has tried to make her try again.  She told me that she doesn’t ever want to learn for the rest of her life.  Have you ever tried to teach someone to do something that they don’t want to do?  Like with a vengeance that they don’t want to do it?  Yeah . . . I mean, I’m just not that good.  Who is?

So I had an “Ah-Ha!” moment the other day.  Two or three days ago I think.  Just a week or so ago the child asked if she could give away an item that is involved with this particular skill.  Of course I said no, you will need it when you decide to learn!  Tonight she asked me to get it out for her – it was waaaay in the back, covered with dust.

Tonight I am thankful that with cell phone motivation, my last remaining child can do a certain skill that I’ve been waiting for her to learn!  I won’t call it bribing.  I will call it my favorite, Incentive Parenting!  I have had dreams for years of family events with this skill.  And now, we can do it!!  Hooray!

In Action

We have had a family plan for a while for kids helping with dinners.  We kind of suck at the execution of the plans.  We make weekly dinner plans (although not too recently this summer), and we usually change the plans around.  Bottom line is that we need to improve with this!

After working out our August calendar, I told the hubster that we obviously need to do a lot of Instant Pot and Crock Pot meals that just stay warm for people to help themselves.  We are going to be having a lot of evenings of people coming in and out, in between practices.  Weekends will be it for family meal times for a couple of months.  In between the family meals, I would like people to eat good food.

So I had an idea.  I set my daughter (who is better with hot glue than myself) on a mission to make our new dinner organizer!  With this style, if a dinner doesn’t work out, we can just clip it on a different day.  Trading dinners around within the week is much more our style!  AND each dinner has a child’s name on it who either will be cooking or assisting.  I think this will work.  It should work better . .

Tonight I am thankful for our new dinner organizer!  We started with an impressive dinner of . . . . drumroll please . . . . sandwiches.  Yep . . . because I looked up and realized that two kids had practices that started tonight and another kid had a lesson in Lansing.  I did not leave myself much time to prepare in advance for sporadic dinners.  We will improve!  And at least the sandwiches were actually written down and clipped to their spot!


Crazy Ideas

I love when I present ideas to the family and they DON’T think I’m crazy.  Ok, well, maybe they think I’m crazy . . but at least they humor me and go along with my ideas!

If you are newer to my blog, a few years ago we had a flood in the basement.  It was quite a bummer because the finished basement was one of the things that drew us to this house when we bought it.  We had to remove all the finishing from down there after we drained Lake Basement.  What we found was not good.

There had been water in that basement for a long time that we couldn’t see.  So much so, that mold had eaten thru an entire 2×4.  And that was just one area.  We had a basement drainage system installed; as we found out the previous “system” did very little with no actual sump pump to remove the water.  Even the lift station that was present for the basement bathroom had issues.  And even after our basement system was installed, the moisture reading was still pretty high.

Over time I kind of gave up on the basement.  It just didn’t seem like we could win.  Every time we tried to fix something, we found another problem.  Last summer we added some concrete, as we found some rock garden areas were really just allowing water to pool in areas that eventually lead the water to go beneath a slab addition and back to the basement.  That got us looking at the addition with a crawl space, where we found more problems.

This summer we went to fix the front porch, as it was falling apart.  Also on the repair slate were the beautiful flower gardens next to the house that have long since been falling back towards the house; allowing yet more water to sit against the foundation.  Our “fix” of the front porch has become another huge project, as we found old concrete stairs under the wood porch and had to change our plans yet again.  We haven’t even quite agreed on the extent of our changed plans as we found some wiring that gave my electrician dad nightmares . . seriously, I texted him a picture and he called me as he was grabbing his keys to head over here.

We already had next-year plans to work on the two remaining sides of the house.  And I just had one of those “I’m Done Waiting” moments!  I announced (in a pleading manner), that I think we should do it all before winter.  Fall is going to be crazy.  Four children, each with a fall sport in a different level.  But I’m tired of hating the basement.  And I’m tired of giving up on our house.

SO, we will be digging up even more of the beautiful brick patio which pools the water against the foundation.  We will be moving the field rocks sprinkled with beautiful perennial flowers that again, pool the water back to the house.  And we will FINALLY be able to love a dry basement again.  It will be a good winter project to put a little life back down there.  Especially with our Operation Take Back the House still in process!  It just seems silly to have this huge house operation and ignore such a potentially good space!  So we are adding to our to-do list!

Tonight I am thankful for a family that hasn’t said “no” to my ideas that may steal what little time of peace we have on the calendar!  I am thankful that they can share the vision of having a functional area again where mold won’t show it’s ugly face again!!



Well today I got the call.  The auto place, where my little Blueberry car was towed to, had taken off the engine cover.  And guess what they found?  Well . . . more like, guess what they didn’t find.  A piston.  Yes, a piston exploded in my motor.

They had looked up a new/used motor for me.  A used motor with 40,000 miles, with the timing belt they had already found to be broken, was around $5,000.  Guess what?  I have not budgeted $5,000 to spend on my not-so-old car!!!

I called the dealership to see if I still had a warranty.  I did!  The warranty is good for up to 60,000 miles.  My car is at 56,304 miles!!!  Blueberry was towed from the little auto place that was closest to the scene of Blueberry’s fainting spell, to the nearest Hyundai dealership.  And now I wait.  I am hoping to hear soon that this is all covered and I won’t owe a dime for a new motor.  Please send a prayer my way if you could please!!

Tonight I am thankful that I am 3,696 miles UNDER the mileage limit for my warranty!  And I will be extra, super, duper thankful when my car is back with a new engine and no bill!!