Saturday, May 10, 2014

Building a Reading Star

Carli turned 4 years old at the beginning of April. I started homeschooling her last August in Preschool. We aren't consistent due to her being young and my inability to adjust to change on the fly and we have had a lot of changes in our house as of late. Dan and I really want our girls to develop is a love of books and having a creative mind. I feel that to develop those traits that it seems easier to be consistent in reading with the girls then to hope and pray it will happen as they grow.

In the past 6 months Carli has really begun to pick up reading words but has been struggling to write the letters properly. Lately she has been refusing to read and just wants me to but I am quite honestly tired of reading Hop on Pop and Can't Catch Me (a monkey book). They are so short and exactly the same every night I have to read them to Carli and Sam. I recently picked up Peter Rabbit from the Dollar Spot in Target and Carli loved it- The story was a bit longer than she was use to but it was different and more advanced.

This led to Dan and I to discussing Carli's need for chapter books. I pondered on this new step in her education and how it would work with Sam. I came across two things within a few days of each other. I think it is important to note that Sam gets a book before bed now and then she goes to bed while I read the Chapter book to Carli alone.

 1. A garage sale with The Wizard of Oz and Pride and Prejudice they were both only 50 cents. Score!!!!
2. A Summer Reading Program with Free Printables (we recently bought colored ink!!!)

I put together the Summer Reading Program and got Carli all pumped. Now I want to Share what we did with you.

  •  I printed out all the documents on cardstock. 
  •  I cut out all the documents out
  •  I laminated them

I laminated them so I can reuse them next year easily and so that they last throughout this summer- my kids and I can be quite brutal to things we use.

  •  I talked with Carli about how it works and explained it in three steps:
  1. We need to find a book to read (we do not read by the minutes but by the chapter)
  2. We have to draw a picture and write one word associated with the chapter (we do this the next day before reading a new chapter)
  3. We mark on the BINGO game a square (We normally pick a square before we read, we mark the game after we draw the picture)
  • Once Carli completes 5 activities in a row on the BINGO card she gets a coupon. Carli just earned her first Coupon Yesterday!

                                             Carli selected the coupon for a Cupcake Date!

How Carli earned her first Bingo through reading:

  • In her pajamas
  • Sitting in the grass
  • on a Tuesday
  • with a hat on (used her bear hat from her surgery)
  • using the middle BINGO star (freebie)
Carli's coupon Options (she came up with, mom helped):
  • McChicken from McDonalds
  • Park Outing
  • Icecream Date
  • Cupcake Date
  • Movie Night (redbox + snack)
  • A candy bar
  • GOLDEN TICKET: dollar spot for special prize (when she completes the whole game)
Sam is lucky because she benefits from these just by being carli's sister.




Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Craftiness Blooms in the Springtime

At the request of my lovely mother in-law my next few posts will be about the things I have been doing with my girls and to prepare for my Primary calling as singing time leader. I don't want people to get the wrong idea of me- I don't always come up with fantastic ideas on my own and when I do it appears someone has already mastered the craft and left pictures or printables for me to either replicate or just simply print out.

Since moving to Illinois which is closer to Dan's family I have learned a lot about independence. Growing up I would procrastinate homework and chores and eventually cry and whine at the last minute before a task was needed to be done. My mother who is naturally very crafty and has lovely handwriting would take over and do a good portion. I have had friends make phone calls for me pretending to be me for I have a terror of phones (thanks panda for the backup). As I have been married to Dan he really likes to see me accomplish things and then reward me with a compliment. Since I have been in Illinois Dan has been dreadfully busy and not able to just jump in to assist when I have a meltdown.
When I accepted my call as Primary Singing Time leader Dan asked if I could do it on my own. I normally am in a co-teaching situation with him (for about three years). I told him to have a little faith in my (inside I was telling myself I have something to prove). Turns out I Love this calling and Heavenly Father makes up for the difference of me not knowing how to lead or understanding notes. I make mistakes but I have decided that the kids will remember the spirit and joy of singing and forget about having to learn a mothers day song in one week because of my oversight.
Now the projects I have been working on lately are everywhere from Rainbow Dash birthday party crafts, learning activities for carli's homeschooling, to singing time preparation/ activities.
since this post is just a update here is a picture of our new family addition... She has been with us foe about two weeks. Her name is Daisy. And she has been wonderful therapy for our whole family. (picture is attached on Facebook since I am on my phone)

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Open For Business!!!!

Well we are up and running with the law firm. Life has been crazy this week with Dan ending work at his old firm and starting up Springer Law Firm- Rockford Bankruptcy Lawyers. In this post I want to share a little about our experiences.

Dan's mom (and dad) have been a big part of starting the firm. Mom has worked long into the night and probably through the night til the sun begins to shine in order to set up the firm's online presence. I think the quote "a worried mother does better research than the FBI- author unknown", is probably a pretty legitimate reason our business is coming together. Reesa is constantly researching and improving her personal knowledge of technology and "crafts" in order to create websites, banners, and office management. Thank you wont ever sufficed but maybe success can show some form of gratitude.

I have begun working on a blog for Dan called Rockford Bankruptcy Info. He writes the posts and I manage the site. I am thinking I want him to switch his blog to which is what my site is running on. I love the convenience of being able to rearrange the flow of the site and change colors. If anyone has any recommendations on blog sites they like or really any thing that could improve the experience of the firm let us know. If there are errors in Dan's blog or sites (not mine) don't feel bad letting us know.

It's crazy how life takes us down different paths. My parents wanted to open a business for so many years. I remember my dad having a mock picture for an ice-cream shop he wanted to open. They dreamed of opening a Papa Murphy's and eventually their time came to open a grocery store with the help of an amazing team behind them. Their experience has been wonderful and blessed my sisters family who also opened up a store after being trained by my parents. Maybe it was growing up seeing my parents dream of being in charge of their own future (then obtaining that dream)and being able to help others that has given me the desire and courage to follow this dream. Maybe for Dan it was that his parents built a house, have bought properties and rented them out and just overall being creative individuals that has given Dan that passion to dream of a Law Firm and determined to make a positive difference in the lives of others. How grateful we are that we have faith that Heavenly Father will lead and guide as through this process as we do those "sunday school answers" (read our scriptures, say our prayers, have family home evening...) and keep the covenants we have made. Now it is our turn to live this dream we have talked about for 3 years!

Ways YOU Can Help - follow links

1. Please if you have a Google+ follow Daniel Springer's firm

2. If you check out Dan's blog feel free to leave comments and ask questions if you have any.

3. Like & Share  Springer Law Firm on Facebook

4.  If you live in Illinois recommend your friend Daniel A. Springer to friends needing financial help through Bankruptcy Relief.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Following our dreams with the Lord's help

We have begun to really settle into our home. A lot has happened since we signed the papers for our house on January 10, 2014.

Dan got in a car accident and our car was totaled- January 11th
We bought a van- Early February
Went to Disneyland with my parents/older sisters family, just carli and I- Feb 17
The van's transmission died- Mid March
Had a birthday party for carli-March 22
Bought a second car from sister inlaw- March 22
Celebrated Dan's bday- March 25
Van's power steering had issues- End of March
Van has oil pan problems- End of March (currently just using small car)
Celebrated Carli's bday- April 2
We adopted a dog- who with in 24 hours attacked Carli- April 3
Spent time in the hospital- April 3-5
General Conference- April 5-6
*something I am not suppose to post about online lol at Dan's request.

And now the big thing.... Dan confirmed he was quitting his firm and we are moving forward with starting our own Bankruptcy Law Firm.

When Dan and I first began our relationship we talked about what we wanted in life and what kind of career Dan would want. He wanted to be a lawyer that helped immigrants at the time. He wasn't concerned about being rich or being above others (some attorneys have a "Big Man Complex" if you can believe that...*sarcasm*). Dan sincerely wanted to be there for those in need and walk them through the door that led from heart ache and despair to the side where one can look forward with hope and have a clean start.

I am grateful for all the experiences we have had. We know what being poor is. We know what it is like to have family help and feel in debted. We know how it feels to worry about medical bills, electrical bills, car bills-will having children and having to sell things to make due. We have used government support through our time in school and felt blessed that we had so many places we could turn to when we weren't in the best place financially because we wanted Dan to focus on school and for me to stay home. We have been truly blessed and are grateful that we have an opportunity to put ourselves in a position to serve others, be an answer to someone's prayers (hopefully), and for us to continue as a family to grow closer to the Savior and Our Heavenly Father.

In order to begin preparing for this next step in our lives we have to create a business. Dan and his mom have been working for a few weeks to create the website, logo, business plan, ect. This week Dan has been finalizing his office space from the places I have researched for him. He is getting his banking set up. We only bought a computer for his office space in our basement. We found a homemade desk/shelf in our basement and used a chair from his parents.

We have been truly blessed. The office space Dan is leaning toward was a perfect example that Heavenly Father is leading and guiding us through this process. Here is what happened: I found on craigslist this office space about a year ago when we knew we were coming to Illinois and possibly wanted to start a law firm right out of law school after Dan passed the bar. So now that we need a place we went over on a weekend and it was closed but a truck was outside with a man getting supplies. We approached him and it turned out to be the landlord and he was making repairs. So he gave Dan a tour while I stayed in the car with the girls since they were napping. 45 minutes later Dan came back and said it was great. He could have a banner out front on the law as well as a sign on the big board for businesses in the building. He didn't like the location of the office in the building... it is like a old high school like what I went to- or the one from Boy Meets World- it was confusing and hard to find inside the building. Anyways so we tucked it away and set up for an appointment Tuesday (yesterday) at another office that was closer to our house- "Fincham place".

I informed Dan this last week that the "High School" office space went from having spaces for $199 to $325 being the lowest. Our budget is $300 for an office space but we felt we might be able to negotiate with the landlord at the "high School" office since he seemed willing to the first time we met (example: an advertisement sign on the lawn)- but we didn't contact him since we had an appointment for Tuesday at "Fincham". Monday- Dan goes to leave work to come home and the Landlord for the "High School" is outside Dan's work getting carpet at the Carpet Place next door.... What?! So Dan talked with him and he only had spaces for like 395 :(

Dan called him Tuesday after seeing the Fincham place which was awesome and he did another walk through.... the landlord ended up with a place for 235 (I think!) since a tenant hadn't paid and was gone. The tenant says she doesn't want the place so Dan gets it!!!! It is a great location in the office building/ High school!!! We are sooo excited!!!!

If you are still reading- I am shocked since that was an insanely long post. I want to say though that I am grateful that this feels right. That our family is growing in many ways spiritually and that it is wonderful to have Dan's parents helping.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Patience, A Virtue I Lack

Yesterday was the one month mark since we went out to celebrate my birthday and look at potential rentals. If you had asked me October 18, 2013 if I would be in a home of my own 2 months later I would have laughed. I feel very grateful to be in this part of my life but boy am I ready to be in my new home- like yesterday!!!!

I am not patient. I have ideas for every part of my house- my pinterest boards are overflowing with projects to start. My excitement spills over into every conversation. When I was a little girl my parents knew I had a crush on a boy because I would "casually" bring him up in conversations. Well I feel like once again my "crush" is being "casually" talked about- but I am pretty sure as much as I want to be on  my own and getting these projects started my sister in law and my mom/dad in law are totally over hearing all my frustration, excitement, and ideas. They are much to kind to say "Brittney- we know you are crushing on this house but must we hear all your stories 100 times each day." (there is only so much to talk about- when my mind is fixated on a cause). 

Dan is in Chicago this week for work. Literally they have him there all week- put him up in a "Ghostbuster" looking hotel. Dan says the hotel is creepy but nice. Anyhow- since he is gone for the week he is saved the agony of coming home from a long day at the office to hear a repeat story I have slightly elaborated on with new details. I am sorry to all those who have lived through my obsessions whether boyfriends, pregnancies, fights, or house obsession. You not only sacrificed your sanity but allowed me to express the emotions of my heart- whether is was positive or negative. 

Now since I have this intense obsession with the house and I hadn't seen the house for a few weeks I took the girls up on Saturday and we explored around the outside of the house. (I am always paranoid about going against the rules and getting caught- so I was a little worried a neighbor would think the worst and call the police... but no such tragedy took place!)

Here are some pictures we took of the outside of the house :) Tomorrow is the home inspection. Hopefully we get only great news. I also plan on taking a video and pictures inside the house. 

Here is the front of the house: Do you think there are enough leaves?

Here is the front of the house:

 Here are some of the garage and side yard.

Here are a few pictures of the backyard. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Time to settle down

In the almost five years I have been with Dan our lives have constantly been changing. Many time we have simply had faith that as we take an unknowing step forward in life that Heavenly Father does not leave his children to wander on their own. I am grateful that I know that listening to the prompting of the spirit does bless your life.

Two kids down, Dan with both his Bachelors and Juris Doctorate degrees, we started in Idaho, went to Illinois, went to Florida, and now are back in Illinois. I feel extremely blessed, a bit strained from all the uncertainty, and completely ready to settle down for years to come- which brings us to why I am writing this little blog post.

Last January Dan and I had a serious talk about being self reliant. Not having to ask for parents help over the summer or to get by. We worked really hard over the year. Selling furniture so we could make it on our own without our parents help before moving from Florida to Illinois- my parents must have received inspiration because they sent us money to help us move- which no one in our families knew we were struggling- we are grateful- but knew we couldn't rely on people to take care of us financially for ever. Almost a year has past since we began trying to become self reliant- I am pleased to announce that Dan has found a job as a Bankruptcy Attorney- He has passed the bar and been sworn in for the State Courts- and soon the Federal Courts- We are now being the most self reliant we have ever been and....... Have found that we can afford to buy a home (yesterday I bought my own phone).

For my birthday present from Dan, we drove around Rockford to look at potential rentals (every girls dream- right?), but as we were looking nothing seemed "right" and everything wonderful was like 1100 a month to rent. Bummer!!! So it was small 900 sq foot apartment with no upgrades, probably no washer/dryer and no yard for our two girls. So Dan and I laughingly decided to look at the possibility of buying (never ever a good idea to allow me to dream-especially around my bday). As we talked about numbers that I have been crunching on the computer we start thinking it is a good idea. This is Oct 19, 2013... notice as of right now that was less than a month ago. October 21, 2013 was my bday. I was working on getting out Credit Scores, by Wednesday October 23 I was on to getting a Lender and real estate agent. We got preapproved October 24. I honestly thought 95k was out of our budget but as I crunched numbers it ended up working (taxes are the big thing in our area- they don't match the price of the home).

Saturday October 26 was our first day out for looking at houses. The first one was in a great location but needed too much work for us to handle (realtor's pick), the second ended up being the wrong address from a place a wanted to see, the third was a colonial we liked and was ready to move in but wasn't the best area. That was day one and I was so bummed- only 3 houses- because all the others were unavailable. hmmm :(

Well I knew what I wanted ( I had studied it out enough over the last 4 years of marriage!), but I didn't understand how much we could actually afford since my budget didn't calculate our total income each month- a few extra dollars makes a big difference and I like to round down. So after figuring out exactly what we could afford and still have some savings leftover we went out again on Tuesday. We looked
at four houses total. I liked them- they were in great school districts (compared to Rockford schools) but I couldn't pick- I was having a stupor of thought with the first three.

Arriving at the fourth house- I thought it was going to be in a different area. I thought it was going to be hard to afford. As we drove there I kept getting shocked. No way is it 5 minutes from Dan's work! No way is it above State Street! No way is it in the same neighborhood as the rental Dan's grandparents own- meaning Dan's grandma might live three blocks away someday, Dan's parents want a place in the same subdivision. What have I done? We cannot afford this amazing home, with a good Rockford school!!!!!

We got up to the house and Carli is loving the front yard with all the leaves. The house is brick!!!! A bay window in the living room. Hardwood floors throughout with some tile. I am in love!!! After crunching numbers and discussing we found that we can afford this fabulous place.

In the future I assume my post will be about the house and the changes we plan to make!

Here are some more pictures of the place:

Yesterday we signed the contract that begins the being approved by Lender. I am grateful I knew what I wanted, had a realistic idea of what we could afford, and have a Heavenly Father who is watching over Dan and I as we make these steps forward.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Craft of the Month: Wreaths

I thought I had picked a verily simple, inexpensive yet fun craft for September; I shocked myself to find out how complex picking a wreath design is. There are so many choices. Once the design and material are bought you are limited to a certain type of wreath: rag, yarn, tulle, felt, and an assortment of other material. Different designs also ask for different kinds of wreaths. Knowing all this now I knew I needed to sit down and put some kind of file together for those wanting to make a wreath this month!

 I created a powerpoint to help view pictures, supplies, and link for tutorial all in one place!