Browsing Category: Anecdotes

So my kids bought me exercise equipment for Christmas…

So this one time I had a blog and several people read it. I posted to the blogged regularly, often times sitting down in the quiet of the afternoon with a cup of coffee and managed to snag thirty minutes or so to write.

Then my kids started to get a bit bigger.

And our schedule started to become a bit fuller.

But, dear readers, I miss this blog. I miss writing. I miss reading the comments. I am attempting to find the time where I can write and blog and share the little tidbits of casa de phillips with whomever cares to read them. Please do not jump ship because posts happen once every three weeks or so.

Let’s play some catch up, shall we?

In Christmas news, my children purchased exercise equipment for me. Some moms might be utterly horrified by such a gift and the implications it could make. Not me. My children are great gift givers (following in their father’s footsteps) and manage to really think about the things that someone else would want as a present. This year for Christmas they gifted me with pajamas, lotion, books and a kettlebell. They must really think their mama is strong because that kettlebell is 10 pounds. Ten pounds doesn’t sound like much until one is on the 30th rep of some crazy exercise.

During our traveling for Christmas, we were hit with an actual blizzard. I do not remember watching much of “Little House on the Praire” as a child, yet I do have one of their Christmas episodes planted firmly in my memory of when the blizzard hit Walnut Grove. Pa had to climb out of the loft window and snow-shoe across to the barn to retrive the Christmas presents. Although we did not have nearly the amount of drama as Laura and Mary did that Christmas, we did have a good 8-10 inches of snow to enjoy the day after Christmas. We were thankful for my parents’ neighbors who lent our kiddos some extra snow clothes so they can romp around for hours outside. The boy only needed a bit of convincing to wear Mary Jane style rain boots (pink and on-loan from the neighbor) before he was out attacking his sister with snowballs.

Life returned to a regular pace in January. Christmas decor was taken down, boxed up and relocated to the garage. Eventually it will be returned to its home in the attic…once the weather is not quite so cold and the husband and I are not quite so lazy. We dug our heels in and started filling in our calendar quickly as the new year dawned. The girl is still dancing, adding an extra 1.5 hours to her dance schedule. She has been asked to join the mini company at her dance studio, which means participating in competitions. I thought about this a lot, contemplating what it would mean for our family and for her. Fortunately she dances under a wonderful instructor who keeps everything sweet and age-appropriate. Her fellow company members are quickly becoming dear friends.


And our “competition” schedule will likely only include one competition this year and will just be a few miles down the road.


It all sounds a bit more than it actually is, which is nice.

The girl has choregraphed her own dance routine (“The Flower Dance”) and performed it many times for family and friends over the holidays. It involves a death scene, which is pretty hilarious. She is currently trying to recruit neighborhood girls to join in this dance and wanting to hold practices at the neighborhood park.


The boy just started basketball season. We are so blessed that he has two really good friends on his team, both from our Classical Conversations group. Although practice (and dance) falls on the night of our CC day, he works hard and tries his best to learn the ins and outs of basketball. Being on the same team as good friends, means I get to spend the hour chatting with their mothers (my good friends). It is a nice way to end what is a very long day for us.

The boy has also gotten into the habit of writing notes for me and leaving them around the house, sometimes asking me something and other times just to tell me something. I love all of these and usually just let them remain where he posted them. He always closes the letter with an “I love you” and a big smiley face. Sweetness.

As always, it seems as if our school routine is evolving and changing. I am taking on a more “one room schoolhouse” approach for our first hour of the day as we work through all of our memory work and basic skills together. During these times, it is nice to have children so close in age and skill level. Embracing the “one room schoolhouse” theroy, I teach to the oldest child and know that the younger child will gather what she can. We do a lot of writing, chanting, singing and the occasional march around the house during this time as we work on anything we are memorizing at the moment (which is usually alot). This new format seems to be working for now.

So, how were your holidays? Wonderful? Disappointing? Still attempting to get back into the swing of things?

Mom does not always know best…

The kids who reside here at casa de phillips have moved beyond the preschool years. We are now finding ourselves in the elementary stage of childhood, which involves things like double-digit subtraction, pleas for independence and loose teeth.

The boy lost two teeth last summer. After those fell out, his mouth has been pretty silent all winter. Then we noticed about 6 weeks ago that the front teeth seemed a bit loose. One was hanging just a bit wonky. We wiggled it, testing to see if it was ready to be pulled, but that little white pearl wanted to stay tucked into the gums for just a bit longer.

The tooth mainly went unnoticed for quite  a few weeks. Occasionally we would discuss it, give it a wiggle and then proclaim that it just wasn’t ready to let go yet.

Towards the end of last week, the boy started to really want the tooth to come out. This was merely because he gets Mario Kart trading cards for teeth that come out (Remember there is no tooth fairy, Easter bunny and….quite possibly…Santa Claus here) and not related to anything dealing with the actual tooth. He begged me to pull it.

The husband and I did not attend medical school for a reason….we are a bit squemish. The idea of yanking a tooth out of my kid’s head gives me the willies. I have done it before…and could do it again…but I prefer for the child to pull it or for it to simply fall out. Because of this hesitancy, I simply kept telling the boy that the tooth still had a few more days before it would fall out.

The boy then began to worry that the tooth would fall out while he was eating and he would swallow it.

His knowledgeable mother assured him that rarely…if ever…happened.

Fast-forward to this Monday. I was on the phone with one of my own parents when Miss E. came running up the stairs yelling in a panic, “Isaac’s tooth came out in a tortilla! Isaac’s tooth came out in a tortilla!’

Seems like my words of wisdom were wrong. Teeth can indeed come out in one’s food.

The boy did not even realize that it came out (It fell into his lap) until he noticed the bloody tortilla.


He now is sporting a hole in the front of his mouth, along with a cute little lisp. The other front tooth is sure to fall out pretty soon as well.

He is also carrying around the idea that he might be put in some sort of state record book for being one of the only people who has ever lost a tooth in a tortilla….

Non-crafty, uber-personal gift ideas for dad

Starting in April, our family of four has an important celebration every month until September.


April = My Birthday

May = Evelyn’s Birthday and Mother’s Day

June = Wedding Anniversary and Father’s Day

July = The Husband’s Birthday

August = Isaac’s Birthday


I love a good celebration, but some years my creative juices get a bit tapped as we experience so much “celebrating” during such a seemingly short period of time. Father’s Day can be one of those tricky celebrations where I struggle as to what to get for the husband. First of all, he is not my father. Yes, he is the father of my children and I am beyond in awe of his parenting skills. But does that mean that I get him a present? Do I get him a quality present and say it is from the children? Do the kids get him a present that most likely is neither of quality or of use? Can we go all “Clif Huxtible” on him and get him a large tie that flashes “MIAMI”?

Fortunately there is Pinterest to add in times like these (Dear Women of the Pioneer: How did you survive life pre-Pinterest? How did you know what to substitute when the buttermilk ran out or get ideas of how to fancy a cute riding satchel from the leftover calico print?). Pinterest had a lot of cute ideas this year for creative presents for dads.


The ever-popular Daddy Questionaire (my kids did this for me on Mother’s Day and I LOVE it)


Retro Soda Bottle Snack (the husband would love this, but I did something similar one anniversary)

Cute picture of the kiddos (always a winner….how does one actually achieve this greatness of a photo?)


As I searched and searched a while back for something good for Father’s Day, that was neither too cheesy and crafty nor too impersonal, I came across the bookmark.

What is the bookmark, you may ask?

Well, friends, it is a simple picture you take of your children acting as if they are holding onto a balloon or something floating in the air. Snap the pic, download it, print it, cut it out and then head out to your local office supply store. Inside that store of wonder, have them laminate the picture on their heaviest lamination. Do not opt for the flimsy stuff. It will not last and will eventually peel or bubble.

(The man at the office supply store thought I had reinvented the wheel when he saw my bookmarks. I then attempted to explain Pinterest to him, which he did not understand at all. He then proceeded to ask if I had just shopped at the laminating counter yesterday. Turns out it was a fellow homeschooling mom and good pal of mine. Us homeschoolers are pretty particular about our lamination.)

Once the bookmark is laminated, cut it out again. Punch a hole in the top where your child’s hands are and thread a ribbon through the hole.

Remember this bookmark is for a DAD, not a mom or a crafty lady who will appreciate four different types of coordinating ribbon woven together in a pretty tassel.

A dad appreciates a strong manly color with a simple design.

We opted for a thin blue ribbon and I only used one. It hurt just a bit to add such little flair, but I knew the husband would never feel completely comfortable pulling out a bookmark with an ornate ribbon creation dangling from it. I will save that one for Mother’s Day.

Paired with an Amazon gift card, this makes a fun and practical Father’s Day gift.


Now what do I get him for his birthday…….

Field Trip Days

Last Friday, our Memory Master quest came to an (almost) end.

Isaac completed his third (out of four) round of proofing. The third round is the hardest, requiring 100% accuracy. Isaac passed, along with two of his good buddies from CC. We set up our house as the “proofing station” while the other kiddos played with a parent at our neighborhood park. It took almost four hours, two big containers of muffins, a 12 pack of water bottles, a few tears and one little girl getting her finger caught in a bike chain (she survived) to complete this third round for these three guys but we finished it.


This week we have gotten back into the rhythm of regular school, picking back up subjects that we had put aside during the month of Memory Master drilling.

We also crammed in two fun field trips, with various homeschool friends.

Tuesday, the kids and I went to see “Alice and Wonderland Jr.” performed by a local children’s theater. It was wonderful. Both kids sat on the edge of their seats for the entire performance, soaking up every bit of the action. Afterwards we headed out with friends for lunch at an area park.

The park had a merry-go-round, which both of my kids believed to be the greatest playground invention EVER.

Too bad they are growing up in a time when almost all merry-go-rounds have been replaced by large climbing structures and rope nets.

They had the best time spinning around and around on that old metal merry-go-round. I worried at first I would see their lunch come right back up (Because children growing up in a time with climbing structures litter their playgrounds are not accustomed to spinning round and round three minutes after scarfing down Sonic). However, they were fine and lunch stayed put.

Theater and the great outdoors = a successful field trip.

Wednesday afternoon we headed out to a local (read: 1.5 hours from our home) organic dairy farm. Our group met at the church where we meet for Classical Conversations. As we waited for everyone to arrive (in order to caravan to the dairy), all the kids played on the outdoor playground. As my hot, sweaty children were loading up in the car to drive to the dairy, I thought to myself that this might be a long, hot afternoon.

Then we drove out of the suburbs.

The miles and miles of concrete, stores and SUVs that we are normally surrounded by were traded in for fields of green grass and the occasional pick-up truck.

Stepping outside at the farm, we were met with cool, fresh air and the smell of country.

It was wonderful.

Leading up to this field trip,  I had been talking with the kids about our trip to the dairy. Apparently, Miss E heard this word as being “prairie.” We are working on reading through the “Little House on the Prairie” series, which I think caused her confusion. When I noticed the mix-up and told her we would be visiting a “dairy” rather than a “prairie” she was a bit bummed.

You can’t win them all, can you?

The tour of the dairy was great. The farm we visited is family owned and operated (meaning the farmer and his wife get up every morning..EVERY morning…and milk the cows at 2:30am. Their son does the 2:30pm milking). Their milk is 100% organic. They sell to various stores as well as selling raw milk to customers.

(They also sell eggs, butter and cheese)

Reader, have you ever tasted raw milk?

It is delicious. People who think they do not like to drink milk typically discover that they enjoy raw milk.

(Be careful….one cannot kick back three large glasses of raw milk a day and expect their jeans to still fit. There is a reason skim milk looks like water…all the good fats have been removed.)

Both of the kids loved seeing where the cows are milked (we did not get to see a milking because it stresses the cows out to have an audience. All new nursing moms can give an “Amen!” to this feeling.), they enjoyed seeing the large free barn where the cows hang out during the Texas heat and they loved tossing rocks in the big mud puddles and running around in the open with their friends.

Miss E. had a bit of a fright with the farm dog when he jumped up onto the picnic table in which she was sitting on drinking some milk. This fright caused her (and another little one who is equally as fearful of dogs as E.) to leap off the table into my arms. Milk went flying, but fortunately everyone survived. E. asked why the dog was not in a fence and why the owner did not have him on a leash.

Ah….Sweet, little suburban girl.

(post dog trauma)

I explained that dogs can roam free in the country, that there are no leash laws (E. is a big fan of the leash law in public parks) and that farm dogs just roam around all day.

She was not a fan.

Fortunately we ended the trip on a (tired) good note, heading home with our spoils of raw milk and fresh cheese.


The Girl in the Mirror

Yesterday I happened to be in the kids bathroom (likely attempting to stuff their pile of dirty clothes back into the hamper in the linen closet. That pile keeps growing as the children grow. What happened to the days of tiny size 6 month onesies??) while Miss E. was finishing getting dressed.

After she pulled her t shirt over her head, she paused and took a long look at herself in the mirror.

A big grin broke out across her face as she proclaimed “I look GOOD today!”

She did indeed look extra cute yesterday. She was dressed in nothing fancy, just a pink t and some jeans. Something about that combo and her short hair (which is her daddy’s all-time favorite look for daughter or wife) was flattering on our almost-five year old.

As a mother I, of course, think my children are beautiful. I feel sorrow for any mother who does not look at their child in amazement and wonder, catching their breath in moments when the beauty of that baby (whether 3 months of 30 years old) mesmerizes their maternal spirit. I believe a mother’s heart is softened to notice the beauty of their child. Not beauty as defined by culture, but the beauty that lies deep within.

And don’t we all praise the Lord that at least our mamas find us attractive even when the scale and the mirror and the latest gossip magazines are telling us differently?

As a mom to a daughter, I tread the physical appearance waters lightly. Sure we tell our children constantly how nice they look or how beautiful they are. I am often quick to follow up such compliments with discussion of the things that make us most attractive: our hearts, our smiles and the way we treat others.

Miss E. is starting to come to an age when she is desiring to express her 100% girliness. She inquires about make-up. She plays beauty salon. She has started her own bow business (fastened quite crafitly out of pipe cleaners and she sells them for free…which is a pretty awesome deal. The only downside is that one must use tape to fix the bow to one’s hair). She is inquisitive about cheerleaders (we shot that dream down…but that is a post for another day) and is starting to notice clothing.

Being a person who loves a cute outfit and never goes a day without wearing make-up (I blame it on the pale skin and the Southern upbringing), I can understand these girly feelings. But I also want E to know that these things do not matter in the long run. I want her to be able to feel self-confident in her outer appearance because of her confidence in her inner appearance.


I want her to always be able to say to that girl in the mirror …at 15, at 30 and at 65 ….”I look good today.”

“strength and dignity are her clothing and she laughs at the time to come” Proverbs 31: 25

Helicopter Parenting, Science and knowing one’s place

Our first science fair is officially behind us.


In all honesty, we had a really good time preparing for and participating in this year’s regional Science Fair for Classical Conversations. Because the children are young, projects were kept simple and basic. I told a fellow homeschool mom that I was fighting hard against the urge to “Mom-UP” the projects, making them look really cute and incredibly professional.

It was a hard battle friends, especially when things were glued on crooked or someone wanted to add flair to their boards that an adult eye would see as peculiar.

Yet, I want my children’s projects to actually be created by my children. I often tell the boy when he is struggling with an aspect of school and would prefer for me to do it for him that I have already completed first grade and now it is his turn.

This same little adage also applies to their projects.

I have had my turn at Science Fair projects. In fact, I won third place in a science fair in sixth grade.

Of course my dad and my older brother completely built my project for me, while I merely sharpened pencils for them.

(this was not due to the fact that my parents wanted a good project. This was due to the fact that I had zero interest in science at the time but a significant amount of interest in getting an A.)

I fought the battle and won. The projects looked exactly like the kids wanted them to look. I did help with gluing and some computer work for the girl. I also insisted on good handwriting for the boy and did ask him to write his conclusion portion over twice (once for poor penmanship and once because he decided to add ocean waves under each sentence, thus making them illegible.) I turned off my helicopter mom tendencies and attempted to guide rather than lead.


The actual science fair involved the children manning their booths, ready to discuss the ins and outs of their projects with anyone who might stop by. One of the reasons I love Classical Conversations is the emphasis on public speaking from the very beginning. Isaac was very much at ease discussing his project with families that stopped by his table.



His sister felt no fear either.

Again, I had to suppress my smothering mothering ways during this time, fighting off the urge to hover and correct any incorrect things said.

Even when I heard E. bolding proclaim to the state director of Classical Conversations, “I don’t do home school and I didn’t learn about the phases of the moon.”



Consuming Oreos in the name of Science

So today I ate my weight in oreo cookies.

No worries….it was all in the name of science.

Things have been busy around here at casa de phillips (thus the quiet blog as of late). One of the things that is keeping us busy is our upcoming science fair on Friday. The boy is doing a project that demonstrates how a lava lamp works while the girl is recreating the phases of the moon with Oreo cookies.

If you happen to stop by and wonder why the kitchen is littered with little black crumbs and the front room has paper and cardboard strewn about, just know it is science fair time.


Right Now..

On this first day of February, I am….


Enjoying…Wednesdays and the four hours the boy and I have one-on-one while the girl is at preschool. Some Wednesdays we are really productive, school-wise, while others we simply enjoy each the company of togetherness. Also, we frequent Starbucks. A lot. (and only the one in Tom Thumb because, according to the boy, they make the best chocolate milk).


Listening…to a lot of the Praise Baby Station on Pandora Radio on my phone. The kids love the relaxing versions of praise and worship music and I find it adds a nice little touch to when we are working on projects at the kitchen table. (Miss E. and I did rock out last night in the kitchen to Pink while cooking supper….so it isn’t all praise and worship here 24/7.)


Reading…another Jodi Picolut book. I tend to read in series or focus on one particular author at a time. The husband just finished this book and I am determined to start reading it at some point today.


Studying…the book of James with Beth Moore. Can I just say that if I was allowed to invite three people over for dinner, Beth Moore would be one of them??? (Michelle Obama and possibly the Pioneer Woman would be the other two). If you are doing this study, you know that Beth challenges participants to memorize the book of James. One of my students in our Monday morning co-op is doing this exact thing as a result of a challenge from her daddy. Guess I better get my memorization skills ready….


Appreciating…the warmer temperatures that allow us to migrate to the neighborhood park in the afternoons and hang with our neighbors.


Attempting…to not focus on the fact that the warmer temperatures send our allergies into overdrive and likely mean another unbearable summer is approaching.


Wishing….for snow. It is winter and I would like a few snow days, filled with time outdoors, steamy hot cocoa and family time by the fire. Perhaps I should just turn on the Lifetime Movie Network, because I think I just described about 90% of the story-lines they run in the winter. Or maybe I should just remember how much mess is created by snow days….


Eating.. more fruits and veggies and stearing clear of a lot of bread. Just like with books, I get hooked on particular food items that I will eat consistently until I grow weary of them. At the moment it is lettuce wraps with lunch meat and this condiment.


Watching…Parks and Recreation. Honestly, we do not watch a lot of television these days, with the exception of Thursday night comedies. They hold a special place in our hearts, tracing back to the days of “Friends” and “ER”. Although I cannot chat about The Bachelor or have knowledge of any singing/talent/dancing show, I do love me some Parks and Recreation.


Thinking…that my children are doing something nosiy, sneaky and most-likely very messy upstairs when they are supposed to be observing quiet time. Honestly, it takes too much energy and will likely cause me to engage in too many conversations to investigate exactly what they are up to at this moment.


Hoping… to make the time for a haircut appointment SOON. It has been way too long since the last trim and my hair tends to go into “lion mane mode” when I wait too long for a trim and a thinning (yep, I get my hair thinned out). The great thing about homeschooling is that your kiddos are always with you. The problem with homeschooling is that your kiddos are always with you, thus making things like doctor’s appointments and salon visits a bit tricky to schedule (#firstworldproblems).

The lion mane this morning 


Loving…the fact that the first question Evelyn asked me this morning was “When was that Constitutional Congress again?” Thanks, Classical Conversations, for providing an easy way for my kids to wonder such thoughts at 5:40 am.


A (quirky) love of the arts

At casa de phillips, we are all about the arts.

Our love of the arts is more of a love of “crafty, messy, no one really understands it” art rather than actual art.

But that love runs deep….so deep in fact we have a closet devoted entirely to all things art: paper, glue, markers, pens, feathers, beads, more paper, scissors, tissue, crayons, colored pencils and paint. I would post a picture of said art closet, but on most days it resembles more of a war zone than an actual closet. Like I said, we love our art messy. Messy art is hard to accomplish in a clean, organized closet (at least that is what I try to tell myself).

The main creator of art at our house happens to be Miss E. at the moment. While her brother is really into drawing and writing, E. is into CREATING. A few days ago I “accidentally” threw away a small cupcake liner filled with glue, string and bits of paper thinking it was trash.

Apparently it was a bird’s nest holding precious baby birds.

Such art is often found around our home on a daily basis. Currently we have two half-painted faces of George Washington drying on the kitchen table, a treasure chest made out of crayons taped to the floor of E’s room and a semi-finished mural of an ocean covering the bottom of the art closet.

We are nothing if a work-in-progress over here.

Miss E. is also into fashioning clothes and headgear from her art supplies. She often makes baby doll dresses and outfits for her stuffed animals. Last week, she decided she needed something fancy for herself and set about making a headband.

I happened to be out of the house while she made her new headgear so she proudly showed it off to her father.


 He gave her rave reviews over her stylish headband and then attempted to hold back the laughter when he saw how said headband was staying on Miss E.’s head.



Yes, people, that is tape.

The girl taped the headband to her hair.


Watch-out , Project Runway, I think we have a future contestant on our hands…

First Day Jitters



Miss E. headed off to Pre-K today.

By herself.

All alone.

True, most kids head off to school alone. However, Miss E. has always had her brother near in social situations. Although they did not share a class last year, the two were in the same building and routinely saw each other during the day. Miss E. has an independent streak, yet prefers to have her brother in close proximity.

She has been a tad anxious about this first day of pre-k….which she would have to attempt alone…since the last day of school last year.

It was sort-of a long summer, if you can imagine, especially when anyone mentioned anything about school to E.

However, the girl was ready for school this morning. She had picked out which uniform to wear, she had carefully selected her bows, her bag was packed with a picture for her teacher and her water bottle was full.

After the required snapping of 472 “First Day of School” pictures on the front porch, we set off for school.

Then the “I don’t want to go’s” set in.

Then there were tears.

Then there was a silent resolution to be brave (after someone may/may not have bribed her with lunch after school).

By the time we finally arrived at school, Miss E. was happy and ready to learn. She walked in, hung up her bag and tackled her morning.

As the boy and I climbed back in the car to tackle a bit of school ourselves at home, a glum look spread over his face.

“I wish I got to be at school with Evelyn.” he grumped.

These two kiddos are joined at the hip, I tell you.

Personally, I hope they stay that way.

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