Monthly Archives: October 2017

House Projects: Kitchen

I didn’t get to do anything on the kitchen this time, but I took some pics and I’m trying to start planning what I want to do.  I’m also taking suggestions, so feel free to comment below what your ideas are.

I got the new curtain for the kitchen window and my first live plant.  It’s a mum, and I’m hoping I don’t kill it.  I need two smaller plants on the other side, and I’m thinking about some succulents so I won’t have to remember to water them as much.

I got the pot for the mum from Michael’s and got some paints and just did random brush strokes with very little paint on the brush.  I wanted to bring some blue and yellow in, but I didn’t want it to be covered.

I’m thinking my big project in the kitchen is going to be the kitchen cabinets.  I’m too scared to do anything with them yet, but I’ve seen some cute things on pinterest, so I have some ideas bouncing around in my head.

Here are some pictures of the layout of the kitchen.  Projects coming in the future!!

3-D Printing – Frankenstein Switch

I think I mentioned before that the public library in Rapid City has a hands-on learning center that has multiple 3-d printers.   The kids and I went to an event at the library and saw the printers for the first time.  We were blown away and I just wanted to sit and watch it print anything.  I wanted a job there immediately, but then I remembered that I wouldn’t be able to just watch the printers all day… I would actually have to help people and that means I’d have to spend a lot of time talking to people, so I decided I didn’t want to work there.  I also decided that we needed to print something.  They do charge for things, but it is based on weight, and they don’t weigh much.

We went back to the library for another event, and I told the boys to pick something to have them print and we would do it that day.  The librarian (I’m not sure that the workers over there are called librarians, but that’s all I know to call them) told us to go to this website and we could look at things that can be 3-d printed, and then they download the files onto one of the laptops connected to the printers, and then they hit print.  I’m sure it’s more detailed than that, but from my end of things that is what it looked like.  He put all the data into the laptop after the boys picked out what they wanted to print, and the colors they wanted, and he said it would cost about $8, so I went downstairs and paid for it while he started the printing.  Our print would take about 8-9 hours to print it all, so they emailed and called us when it was ready and we couldn’t wait to go pick it up.  The boys love it!!


Here is a video of it in action!!


Weekend Adventure

I love to do things as a family.  Everyone who lives here can tell you that I love for us to all be together.  Even if we are all just sitting around watching Psych (the best TV show ever!)

Anyway, I love togetherness!  I also like to get outside and do things!  If I can mix the two things, it’s usually a perfect day.  However, since Chyna is now working, her schedule doesn’t always work with event schedules, and this time it resulted in her missing out on an awesome day of adventures!

  • First stop – We went to the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site and participated in their celebration of the Sputnik satellite anniversary.  Since the “space race” began with that launch, and the minuteman missile program is a direct result of that, they held some events this past weekend to commemorate the event.  At the visitor’s center, they have a pretty cool little museum of what life was like for the workers on the missile programs.

  • Second Stop –  one of the missile silos.  The tour guide was a man who worked on the minuteman missile program.  He gave us lots of interesting information and explained how all of it worked (except the secret stuff he said he couldn’t tell us about! 🙂  He said that everything inside was exactly as it was when the program was removed.  The missile is a fake, but the rest is all the same.  It was really interesting to us, but the boys were a little disappointed that we couldn’t go inside the silo.  There is another one near the base that we can go in for a tour, so I’m sure we will be doing that soon since we are all now interested in how it all works.


  • Third Stop – Badlands National Park.  This was actually between the Missile visitor’s center and Wall, so we decided to drive through.  It is beautiful here, and if you’ve ever been to the badlands in NM and AZ, it looks similar.  I couldn’t stop taking pictures of it.  We found lots of hiking area too, so we will definitely be coming back here to hike.


  • Fourth stop – Wall, South Dakota.  If you’ve ever driven anywhere in this area of the country, then I’m sure you’ve seen a sign on the side of the road for Wall Drug.  We had a great time walking around this place.  It is huge and much more than a drug store.  It started as a drug store, but it has expanded to include just about anything and everything you’re looking for in the way of a tourist trap.  We stopped here for lunch and to walk around before we headed back home.  It was so cool, and we all said “we have to bring Chyna back here” multiple times.  We had a great time here!


Weekly Book Reviews

We finished two family books since the last update, and I finished a book from my personal reading list in addition to the library books I’ve been reading for the challenge.

I try to read about 15-20 minutes every morning from my personal reading list, and every night that we are all home at 7pm, we read for about 15 minutes as a family.

I finished The Five Love Languages of Teenagers and as a family we finished Little House in the Big Woods.  Then for the library challenge, I’ve finished the first two books in a series called Shark Wars.

Chapman, Gary –  The Five Love Languages of Teenagers

I’ve read the one for adults, and I’ve read the one for children, so there wasn’t really a lot of new things in this book that I hadn’t already heard from him before.  I think the thing I liked the most from this book was the sections on anger and establishing different rules when your kids become teenagers.  It seems like common sense that you can’t continue to parent your teenagers the same way you did when they were children, but when you get caught up in the day-to-day living of your life, you just want to do things the way you’ve always done them.  Ron and I will take some of the suggestions in this book and use them when communicating and dealing with the teenagers in our house.  I really liked this book.

Wilder, Laura Ingalls – Little House in the Big Woods

I don’t know how I lived to be 40 years old and have never read these books OR seen the TV show, but I guess it’s never too late.  We all really liked this book.  I love books about frontier life, even though reading them makes me feel so lazy for not making all of our own food and clothes and doing everything on our own.  It was great to see the frontier life through the eyes of a child, and we can’t wait to read more books in this series.  Apparently, her family will eventually move to a place called De Smet, South Dakota, so when we finish reading the series and watch the TV show, we will take a small trip to De Smet and see all things “Little House!”

Altbacker, EJ

Shark Wars – It probably isn’t fair that I read this book right after I finished Little Women.  It was weird to go from a literary classic to a story about sharks and other creatures in the sea.  So this book was hard for me to get into.  It’s about a shark who has nearly reached adulthood when he makes a mistake and gets banished from his shiver (that’s the name for the groups/cities of sharks).  This book is mostly about Gray finding his way and meeting new friends along the way.  It has mystery and intrigue and some pretty great battle scenes.  This book would be great for 3rd-5th grade reading levels.  I was looking forward to the second book when I finished this.

Battle of Riptide – This book started right where the first one left off.  It was much better to me that the first one, but that might be because I already knew all of the characters and didn’t feel like I had to learn the vocabulary of the world this time.  This time Gray knows who he is and is being trained by a Japanese fighting fish (a beta).  Gray grows up and becomes an adult in his own right.  This book is full of back-stabbing and mystery.  It is a lot of fun to watch the small shiver that Gray is in make a big difference, and I was actually sad at the end of this book that our library doesn’t have anymore of the books in this series.  It’s a great book about friendship and loyalty!


Deployment Preperation

We’ve never done the deployment thing, and I realize how rare that is for an active duty family.  I knew it was coming, but it’s not something that I thought about very much.  Since we’ve found out that Ron’s leaving next year, I’ve been thinking more and more about it.  At times it seems really far away, but I know that it’ll be here before I know it and I’ll be wondering where the months went and why he’s leaving so soon.  I’ve already been all over pinterest trying to find out ideas for countdowns for the kids and resources for me.  The kids and I will actually sit down before he leaves and decide which countdown each kid will use to keep up with the days he’s gone, and I know they’ll enjoy that part (most of the countdowns involve eating candy of some kind each day 🙂

But what about our family staying connected while he’s away?  That’s the main question that I’ve asked of deployed members that I’ve interviewed, and it’s the one I’ve been thinking about the most recently.  Ron and I have been married 18 years (we’ll miss our anniversary together again next year because of the deployment), and at times that seems like a really long time.  At other times, it seems like a blink of the eye.  I have read tons of books and articles about marriage and I understand the basics

  • Pray for him daily!
  • Communication is the key!
  • Speak his love language and keep his love tank full!
  • Don’t go to bed angry!

That are so many more things that we just do that are habits now.  My concern about this distance that we’re going to have is that I wonder if maybe after 18 years I’ve gotten complacent.  Have I continued to do those daily things that say I love you, and how will I be able to continue to convey that to him when he’s away from home?  How will our kids stay in contact with him and feel like he’s still a part of their life?  He’s my best friend, and when I have a problem or even when my brain is moving at 100mph and I can’t get control of it, he’s the one I turn to and the one I talk to about everything.  What happens when I can’t do that everyday all the time?

I know Pinterest can’t answer all of these questions for me, but I’m hoping to at least get some resources to help us cope.  I’ve added quite a few pins to the board now, and I’ll continue to add more of them.  I know we’ll make it to the deployment and then I know we’ll all make it through the deployment.  Please pray for us!

House Projects: Entryway

Since we finally have a house of our own, I’m slowly trying to decorate it the way I want it.  I’m trying to go for a minimalist decorating style.  I’m tired of being surrounded by so much stuff.  And, since we have a bigger house to clean, it makes it easier if we have less stuff in the house to be cleaned.

I’m working on the entryway right now… or at least this week.  I’m trying not to get too bogged down in each area of the house, or I’ll neglect everything else and not get anything finished.

Here are some pictures of the entryway from different viewpoints.  I did the “Command Center” area already, and now I’m working on the small table and that wall above it.

My front door also has a small window beside it.  I want to find some small curtain to go there.  That’s project #2!

I asked some people’s opinions about what I should do above the table, and a lot of people seem to think that a mirror would look good there.  I’m going to paint the table first, and then see what kind of mirror I would like to put there.  At least to try it out.  I think that’ll be a good idea!

Project #1

The previous homeowners left a lot of paint here from the different projects they had done around the house.  One of the small walls in the dining room has one wall painted gray.  I’m going to use their leftover paint and do the table the same color.  I tested it by starting inside the drawer, then if I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t have anything to cover up!

I liked the way the table turned out.  Now I just have to find the perfect mirror set to go on the wall above it.  But that’s for another time.

Little Women

 I had never read Little Women.  I kind of knew what it was about because I had heard references to it, and maybe it was assigned to me in High School, but I didn’t read much of the things I was assigned to read, so I had never read it.  I almost didn’t want to read it this time, but it was next in line at the library, and if I want to finish this challenge, I have to read it, so I got it.  First of all, it was really long and the words were TINY on the pages.  I was so worried that I wouldn’t like the book and wouldn’t want to finish reading it.  And I did feel that way at the beginning, but that was because I couldn’t keep all of the characters straight.  Once I was able to tell them apart, they came to life.  I had a lot of fun reading the book and was actually telling my family members about the characters like they were read people.  I was anxious to finish because I knew that Jo would eventually fall in love and I couldn’t wait to meet the man who would match her.  I was not dissapointed, and I loved the book a lot.

I immediately went and watched the 1994 movie on Amazon as soon as I had finished the book.  I wasn’t sure what to expect from the movie, but again, I enjoyed it.  The book is so long, and the movie couldn’t possibly tell everything that happened in the book, but I think they did a good job or getting the point of the book across.  I also loved the acting in the movie.  It was weird to see all of those big-named actors in this movie when they were so young.

I decided to give Little Women it’s own review because it is such an iconic book and I got so caught up in the March family that I felt like they deserved their own post!   I loved how the girls were all so different yet they were each special in their own ways.  I think that’s what made them easy to love.  Their parents were wonderful and way ahead of their peers in their thinking on women’s rights.  I’m sure that was Louisa May Alcott’s way of bringing out her own thoughts on women’s rights, but since I know nothing of her life, that might not be accurate.  I just assumed she patterned Jo after herself because she was a writer, but that too is just conjecture and might not be true at all.  I definitely saw a lot of myself in Jo.

The only part of the movie that I didn’t like was the end.  The end of the book showed all of the March family together years after Jo’s marriage, and they all had children running around and Meg’s twins were 9 or 10, I think.  I was looking forward to seeing them all together like that in the movie, but it didn’t happen.  It ended with Jo getting engaged.  It was still a good movie, just not the ending I was hoping to see.  The book was better, overall, but that’s also because you can always get inside the characters better in a book, so they are generally better than the movie.

Now that Little Women is behind me, I’ll move ahead to the next library book.  I hope it’s just as good!!

Click here to see what I’m reading now!!

Library Challenge

So, I know I’ve said I’m doing a Library Challenge.  In case you didn’t see the post where I first talked about this, I’m going to try to read through all of the books in the children’s section of our library on Ellsworth Air Force Base.  I thought I needed a place to keep all of the books here and I’ll link to my review of them and then where you can get the books if you want them.

Abbott, Tony (Review 1 and 2)

Ada, Alma Flor (Review)

Adderson, Caroline (Review)

Adler, David A. (Review)

Adler, Susan S. (Review)

Airgood, Ellen (Review)

Alcott, Louisa May (Review 1 and 2)


It’s October!

I’m trying a new tradition of decorating our dining room table for each month.  I’m not doing much, and mostly using things I have around the house, or things I can get from the Dollar Tree.  Here is what I did for October…

I got the black trees from target.  I already had the glass vases.  I got the rocks, eyeballs, and spiders from the Dollar Tree.  I put them all together on Satuday night so that on October first I could get up earlier than everyone else (like I do anyway), and get the table all ready for them to come in and see it.  I was very pleased with everyone’s reactions.  They all liked it and discussed when they thought I did it (the night before or early in the morning).  Anyway, I like how it turned out.

I also decided to make a dessert for the first day of the month that was themed also.  I let Wesley and Price help me pick it out and they wanted this Chocolate Chip/Riece’s Pieces Cookie with Eyeballs!  It was really yummy and lasted us three days!  I can’t wait for November!  I’m looking for ideas now for my table and the dessert!

Weekly Book Review – Oct 9

I thought it would be easier to just review books once a week.  Since I’m reading the library books and many of them are so short, it didn’t make sense to review one or two books at a time, because I would be doing mulitple review in one day.  So here are all of the books I’ve read over the last few weeks to get us caught up.

Adderson, Caroline:

Caroline Adderson has one book in our library.  It was so funny I found myself laughing out loud once or twice and multiple times I would read passages out loud to my family members who happen to be around when I was reading.  It was an adorable book that I think would keep any kid interested.  It’s clearly part of a series, but I had no problems catching right up and figuring out who everyone was.

Adler, David A.:

I’m sure many of you have heard of Cam Jansen, or at least you have if you’ve read any children’s books over the last 37 years.  The first Cam Jansen book, The Mystery of the Stolen Diamonds, was published in 1980.  WOW!  

David Adler is the next author at our library.   According to goodreads, he has written and published 34 Cam Jansen books and 20 Young Cam Jansen books.  Our library has one of those and 4 of the Cam books.  They are really short and quick reads, and just perfect for early readers.  I gave them all five stars because they are wonderful for their target audience.  My favorite aspect of them is at the end of each book, there will be a “click quiz”.  The main reason Cam is able to solve so many mysteries is because she has a photographic memory, and so she says “click” and takes a mental picture of something she really wants to remember.  At the end of each book there are questions about one of the pictures in the book.  A kind of quiz to see how much you can remember.  I’m horrible at this even when I know I should pay attention to the pictures because there will be a quiz!  Also, you can read these books in any order you want.  Our library only had numbers 20, 25, 26, and 30 in the original series, and book #6 in the Young Cam Jansen series.  Their titles are below, but like I said, they can be read in any order.  They are just wonderful!  

Now, the other book in our library by David Adler is so different.  Don’t Talk to Me About the War is realistic historical fiction.  He took the year 1940 in the Bronx, and turned it into a wonderful history lesson and a lesson about growing up during that time.  His main character was a boy named Tommy, and we get to see the development of the United State’s involvement in World War II through his eyes.  We see his unwillingness to discuss anything about the war at the beginning because it was happening somewhere else and didn’t have anything to do with America.  He was mostly just copying what his father was saying.  His father had fought in World War I, so he had firsthand knowledge of what war “in the trenches” was like.  

Tommy just goes about his normal days of going to school, coming home, and listening to the radio with his parents in the evenings.  Tommy seems so normal, and I think that aspect of his character made him so easy to relate to.  I found myself wondering if my grandmother thought some of the same things as she was growing up at this time.  Tommy was born in 1927, and my grandmother was born in 1924, so they were around the same age.  

I love history in general, so I was pleasantly surprised when I picked this book up.  I knew it was next in my library journey, so I picked it up.  It’s also crazy that the boys and I have been listening to a new audible production of The Home Front: Life in American During WWII.  The very first episode of that production talked about Roosevelt using the radio to communicate with the American people.  It talked about his “fireside chats” he would have over the radio, and in the book Tommy and his parents sit down and listen to a fireside chat one night.  

Another thing that happened in 1940, and what really made Tommy start discussing the war, was the rescue of allied forces at Dunkirk.  Tommy’s friend, Beth, was kind of obsessed with the war, and every morning she would read newspapers before school, and because of his relationship with Beth, Tommy began to learn more and more about what was happening in Europe.  He also had another friend, Sarah, whose family had fled Nazi Germany and eventually made it to NY.  She was in their school, but other than Beth and Tommy, she didn’t have many friends.  

I love how real everything seemed in this book and how I could picture the different areas of the Bronx even though I’ve never been there.  I definitely recommend this book for any age, although I’m sure it’s written for 2nd-5th graders or something.  It is a great book for children and adults.  

Adler, Susan S.:

I never had those American Girl dolls.  I had a Real Baby, that my children still find terrifying, and I had cabbage patch kids.  So I missed all of the American Girl things for the most part.  There are two books in our library (so far) about the American Girls.  These two, written by Susan Adler, were next in my reading schedule.  Meet Samantha and Samantha Learns a Lesson.  These books are set in the early 1900s, and after the story is over, there is a section at the back of the books that tells more about what school and life was like during this time.  The basic premise of the first story is that Samantha is living with her grandmother and she befriends a servant girl who lives and works at the house next door.  Her new friend opens her eyes to what life must be like for poor people.  Nellie is sent to work for Samantha’s neighbors because her family doesn’t have enough money to feed all of the children.  So they send Nellie off to work so that she can make money.  In the second book, Nellie and her whole family move out near Samantha and they all go to work for a different family.  Samantha’s grandmother helped arrange the move, and Samantha is so excited for Nellie to finally be able to go to school.  Nellie is a lot older than the children in the 3rd grade because she’s never been to school, and they treat her very badly.  Samantha learns what is happening and helps her friend by teaching her after Nellie finishes her work.  Samantha also defends Nellie from the bullies and has to defend herself when the other girls want to know why Samantha is being friendly to “the poor servants”.  This is a good book to start a dialogue about treating people the same no matter their circumstances.  It shows that children can work hard to make a difference for the people around them instead of waiting until they are older.  I liked them both.

Airgood, Ellen:

Prairie Evers is the only book the library has by Ellen Airgood.  It was a wonderful book about a girl who discovers that change isn’t always bad.  Prairie is an only child and lived with her parents and her grandmother.  Her grandmother homeschools her, and it seems like she does a great job of it.  Prairie gets to learn whatever she’s interested in and she and her grandmother read all the time, and go on adventures around their home.  Prairie’s parents move them from North Carolina to New York (upstate), and her grandmother decides that she can’t stay there because she misses NC too much.  So she moves back home, at the same time, Prairie learns that her parents are planning to send her to school for the first time in her life.  This is a great book about her dealing with these changes and learning that just because something is different doesn’t mean it will be worse.  I really liked this book even though it made me cry (that’s usually a deal breaker for me).

Alcott, Louisa May:

I know this name is familiar to almost everyone, but I had never read anything by her.  Our library only has two books by her in the children’s section.  An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving and Little Women.  I read An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving first and I’m still reading Little Women, so that review will come later.  This book was just a cute little story about a large family in the late 1800s.  The mother and two oldest daughters are getting things ready for Thanksgiving in a couple of days.  The mother receives word that her mother is sick and she needs to go to her as soon as possible.  The mother and father leave with the baby and leave the other kids there alone.  The two oldest girls decide to make the Thanksgiving meal even though they are alone.  The parents come back on Thanksgiving day and they arrive with news and a big surprise.  The story was cute and light-hearted.  I liked it, and I’m ready for Little Women!