Five Things Thankful

I intended to write this post last Monday, but I came down with a cold.  I am not thankful for the cold, but many other things have happened in the last few weeks for which I am very grateful.  So, welcome to the newest edition of Five Things Thankful.

Because good news is good for all of us…

1.  We camped two more times.

When Todd and I purchased our camper this summer, we set a goal of getting it out of the yard three times before winter arrived.  With a little creativity and a lot of planning ahead, we were able to make that happen.  Two weeks ago we stayed overnight at a campground about an hour away from home.

It was fun to stay in a real campground with the kids, something our youngest daughter had never done before.  The girls enjoyed roasting hot dogs over the fire pit, fishing in the nearby river, and climbing on the world’s largest catfish.

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This past weekend we took a trip to visit my brother and his wife.

It is a little strange to camp out in your brother’s front lawn, especially when he has perfectly good accommodations inside his very nice home.  We had that three trip goal, though.  Gotta meet the goal.  Even if it means sitting outside your camper, in a lawn chair, in your brother’s driveway.  All while eating a turkey sandwich.  Please try not to judge.  We are not always so weird.

2.  Our oldest daughter celebrated her birthday.

Every time one of our girls has a birthday, I get a little nostalgic and weepy-eyed.  I know it is a mom thing.  This is especially true with our oldest daughter.

Somehow I am the parent of a kid that can now legally get her driver’s permit (we are not ready yet, though).  She is taller than me.  She speaks a little French, is talking about trying out for junior all-state band, and is only a year away from getting confirmed.  How this all happened, I am not sure.

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So on the anniversary of her birth, I celebrated my daughter’s new milestones with her.  All while remembering what our life together used to be like.

3.  Everyone in the family shopped at their favorite stores.

Todd = Cabela’s

Abbie and Natalie = H & M, Vanity, and Old Navy

Jocelyn = American Girl, Lego Store

Me = IKEA and Aldi

In addition to camping this weekend, our family did a little shopping.  Todd likes Cabela’s a whole bunch, and he enjoyed showing the girls all the animal mounts and the aquarium.  Our oldest daughters are becoming quite the fashionistas, so trips to teen-centered clothing stores are becoming regular occurrences.

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Jocelyn purchased a new American Girl doll with her allowance money and played for almost an hour at the Lego Store.  And I got to shop at both IKEA and Aldi.  My family finds my obsession with these two stores a little unusual, but I do not care.  They are both wonderful for frugal folks like me.

4.  I invented a new game.

Ever heard of “Contraction Monsters”?  Probably not.  Our youngest daughter is learning how contractions work in reading right now, and it is tough stuff.

Teaching someone with severe dyslexia to understand that two words can indeed become one if some letters are removed and an apostrophe takes their place is a daunting task.  Our reading program offered many tips and lots of advice, but our little girl just could not get it.  She loves games, though.

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So I set to work with some markers, a stack of blank index cards, and my not-so-awesome artistry skills.  “Contraction Monsters” was born.  First, we set down a card with the two words that become a contraction.  Our daughter reads them and identifies what the monster “eats.”  Then she names the contraction.  Sometimes we get creative and change the rules of the game for fun.

And it is working.  In a future post I will provide a few more details about the game so that other families with similar challenges can give it a try.

5.  Our local gluten free bakery is awesome.

I knew our community had a gluten free bakery a long time ago, but I was never brave enough to step inside.  I was worried the prices would be sky high.  And since I am relatively new to the gluten and dairy free scene, I had a little anxiety about sounding and looking uneducated while shopping.

Based on the advice of another gluten free friend, I decided to be brave and go inside.  It was a very good choice.  While the fancy cupcakes and cookies were indeed pricey, the bread products near expiration were located in a freezer with a 50% markdown.  I bought several items from the freezer.  Everything I have tried has been outstanding.

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In addition, the owner of the store shared free fresh baked cookies with us.  I have not had a decent sugar cookie since about Christmas, so this was a treat.  I could have eaten the whole case, as cookies are a major weakness for me.  I compromised by purchasing a mix.  So that I could bake and share more cookies with my family…

September was a good month for our us.  We spent time together making memories and having fun.  Summer is officially over, and while I will miss it, I am extremely thankful that it was ours to enjoy.