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New Year’s Goals (Yes, I still have goals)

You would think after all of my plans (and everyone else’s plans) for 2020 failed that I would be jaded and not even try in 2021. I’ll admit I am definitely trying to hold everything loosely. No one has any idea of what 2021 will bring, BUT having that realization is a leg up from where we all were in 2020.

The fact is, I LOVE new year’s goals. I have never been shy about documenting them on this blog and this year is no exception.

So here are my S.M.A.R.T goals for 2021

Cut back on phone time

Every week I get a screen time report on my phone and when I actually take time to look at it sometimes I am appalled by my habits. One day I picked up my phone 101 times! I spend HOURS on my phone every day. One record-breaking week I spent 17 hours on social media. I have a phone addiction and I am ready to make a change! My goal is to only spend 2 hours a day on screen time. Granted, I use my phone for a timer, alarm, Bible, books, camera, and *gasp* an actual phone on occasion. Those are not the things I am worried about. Mindless scrolling every spare minute is the problem. I know breaking this addiction will be hard, but thankfully one of the benefits of a smartphone is that it actually helps you by offering options like scheduled downtime and app limits. I already turned off all of my notifications! This is something that needs to happen and I am excited about it.

 

Have all children in age-appropriate grades in the fall

I know that is a weird one, but since I am homeschooling and still not even sure what we will do for the 2021/22 school year I wanted to make an education goal. Elle is starting Kindergarten this year, Ezie will be 3rd grade, SJ 5th and Z 8th. I still have 7 months to prepare them for these milestones and the bottom line is I want Busch Academy to be a top priority. There are SO many things I want to focus on and improve on in 2021 but what I really need to put the majority of my efforts into is homeschooling. That’s really what this goal is all about. We had a great start in 2020 and I want to finish the school year strong.

Continue our health journey

J had already decided in January 2020 that he was tired of feeling overweight and exhausted all the time. Then the pandemic hit it was that much more of a wake up call for wanting to be on the offense with our immune systems. I realize that “get healthy” is not a SMART goal. So to put it in measurable terms here are three mini health goals-

  1. Eat meat, fruit, and veggies throughout the day with one or two treats. This is mostly for Elle who really loves junk food and wants a treat after every meal, or for “being good”, or for doing chores, or eating something healthy etc.
  2. Exercise 20 minutes 4 times a week. That’s still below the recommended amount, but baby steps here.
  3. Have annual health exams. I already have mine scheduled for this year. J and I almost never go to the doctor. Now that we are approaching middle age and one of us already is in our forties *cough cough* this needs to change.

Read 21 Books

I love to read or listen to audiobooks. For a long time reading was a new year’s resolution, but it’s one of the goals that I actually accomplished and became a long-term habit! I would say I normally hammer out about 10 books a year? I don’t know. I don’t keep track, but I thought this would be a fun goal for 2021. If you have any recommendations, do share!

 

That’s all of my goals for 2021. At least that’s all that I am going to write down. The way my brain works I could list out a hundred and they would cover all areas of life’s dreams and ambitions. I have to force myself to keep it realistic. I already mentioned that my one word for this year is “HOPE” and I must say, I am feeling very hopeful about these goals!

By | January 4th, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

2020 Year In Review

Obviously 2020 was a difficult year for everybody. It was, and still is, quite terrifying. When the shutdown happened I was absolutely miserable! March-June was a very low and dark time for me.

In February I began doing all of the online communication for the church when the church abruptly became exclusively online! That was stressful. Add to that the kids school also switching to online. It was all too much.

However, once school ended and the church reopened I would say that was a turning point. That relieved a lot of pressure for me. Soon after that we brought a new pastor on at our church. That has been a major highlight of this year! We love our pastor and his family. The whole story of how they ended up in our city is one miracle after another.

Then I started homeschooling, which wasn’t something I ever dreamed of doing and it is hard, but it such a blessing. This time with the kids has been a gift.

Another win for 2020 is some of the home upgrades we made. The girls got their bedroom makeover thanks to the Messy Mom blog and Limitless Walls!

We also planted a garden and new trees, built a treehouse, and raised chickens from one day old to most of them being at full maturity and laying eggs now!

We worked together, learned a TON, and really bonded while having fun along the way.

Lastly, I don’t want to embarrass J, but he lost 30 pounds and more importantly started feeling better all the way around this year. He began a low carb lifestyle in January and stuck with it all year long (other than reasonable breaks here and there).  In spring I told him he was going to be one of the only people that came out of the shutdown weighing less! His lean toward whole foods this year has had a ripple effect on the family.

Thanks to his determination and dedication my meal prep and menu strategies are better than ever. Between that, the garden, and the fresh eggs I feel like we are going the right direction as a family when it comes to taking ownership of our health. My goal would be to exercise and be a little more consistent with the kids sugar intake but that’s a new year’s goal and this post isn’t about resolutions. This blog post is about reflection.

As I reflect on 2020 I see so much tragedy and I would never downplay the loss that so many have experienced this year. My word for 2020 was HOME. When the “Stay at Home Order” was mandated that word proved to be more prophetic than I ever imagined. Homeschooling confirmed it even more. This next year’s word for me is HOPE.

We have to hold onto hope. It’s only by the grace of God that I was able to overcome a lot of depression and anxiety in 2020 and end the year feeling stronger and braver than I did when 2020 began. I feel like 2 Corinthians 4:7-9 applies here.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

What a year this has been. As with so many others on the planet right now I am eager for this next chapter. Welcome 2021

By | January 1st, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

A Very 2020 Christmas

I’m not going to pretend like 2020 was the best Christmas ever. There were some special times though.

After Thanksgiving we put up our Christmas tree.

and soon after that we helped decorate the church.

We had a beautiful celebration with my side of the extended family.

Then we came to Texas to celebrate with J’s side of the family.

Then we blinked and suddenly Christmas was done.

J and I are scratching our heads trying to figure out how it all flew by so quickly and what we could have done to savor the Holidays more. I can’t blame all of our problems on the Coronavirus but it certainly reared it’s ugly head this December. We had several close friends affected by the virus (thankfully none were serious), then worst of all J’s parents tested positive.

Although none of us wanted this for them and it certainly put a damper on our Holiday cheer, there is so much to be thankful for. First of all J and I have the luxury of getting Coronavirus and moving on with our lives. We knew no one in our household was high risk. So while we didn’t enjoy the flu like symptoms we have felt like a million bucks ever since. We are especially grateful that we could come to Texas and care for J’s parents since we were already exposed and have the antibodies.

The downside is that we have had to do all of our traditional Christmas festivities separately from J’s siblings. It’s a bummer, but any disappointment that we have is overshadowed by the fact that J’s father who is VERY high risk (to the point that his doctor flat out told them that if he got Covid it would kill him) is doing great. Both of my in laws are in their golden years, but they are kicking The Ronas tail! As soon as we arrived in Texas and saw and heard their symptoms for ourselves we emphatically explained how it was exactly what we had with the coronavirus and they needed to get treatment and testing ASAP. J brought them to the Doctor the very next day and the positive test results came back on Christmas morning. How much more 2020 can it get right?

They got medicine along with plenty of rest and praise the Lord they have been improving every day. It was scary, but we are rejoicing for the covering over both of them, especially my father in law. I realize that is not how it goes for everyone and it’s something that we don’t take for granted. They could still use prayer as they finish out the final stages of this nasty virus.

Although Christmas 2020 didn’t get the title of best Christmas ever I think I would categorize it under most unforgettable.

By | December 30th, 2020|Uncategorized|0 Comments

5 Word Puzzles Apps To Challenge Your Brain

Christmas is over and winter is in full swing. To be honest, this season can feel glum and sometimes you wonder if you brain is turning into mush!

Word puzzle apps can be a great way of challenging your brain and keeping you more alert! On top of helping you to expand your vocabulary, these word puzzles can test your mathematical and logical skills. They’re great for keeping your mind sharp as you get older and can equally be great for helping kids to develop their vocabulary and logical skills. There are hundreds of these word apps available to download from Android and Apple app stores. Below are just a few of the most popular word game apps to try.

Scrabble

Based off of the popular board game, the Scrabble app allows you to compete against other players online by building words and collecting points. On top of trying to reach the highest score in each game, you can compete with other players to build the best overall score. There’s also an option to play against a computer if you don’t want to play against real players (or simply want some practice). There’s also an in-built dictionary feature that allows you to search up words beforehand to check that they’re real words.

Wordscapes

Wordscapes is a popular app that challenges you to build words out of a selection of letters. As the rounds get higher, the selections of letters get harder. It’s a fairly simple and intuitive game that anyone can play and takes you across lots of relaxing landscapes in the process. The game gets quite hard as it progresses but if you get stuck on a level, you can find Wordscapes cheat codes online. There are also many guides and tips online to understand the points system. 

Alphabear

Alphabear challenges you to select letters on a puzzle grid to create words and collect bears. The more letters you use, the bigger the bear. It’s a unique word game with a fun bear theme to it (there are animated cartoons that play.throughout the game). A sequel to the game was released in 2018 that features even more bears to collect. Kids will love this game (as will adults!).

Typeshift

Typeshift is an anagram puzzle game that challenges you to create words stacked together. This makes it very unique to other word games. You’re given a new puzzle every day – the puzzles get harder throughout the week. For those looking for a game that’s slightly more challenging, this is the app for you. Like other games listed here, it’s completely free to download. You can find tips for playing Typeshift here. 

Word Search Pro

Love word searches? This app challenges you to solve a range of word searches in order to find the hidden words. You simply swipe up, down, left, right or diagonally to mark the word. The game allows you to select your difficulty and can be surprisingly challenging. This is a great game for honing your vocabulary and is a game that all the family can play!

When I am needing a moment to myself these word game apps are a great way to decompress for minute. Not a bad idea for the kiddos that have extra time to kill on dreary winter day. Do you enjoy word puzzles? What apps are your favorites?

By | December 28th, 2020|education, Family, Lifestyle, Schooling|1 Comment

Christmas 2019

I am behind on blogging because we’ve been busy with the Holidays and travel. We’re back now though and it’s a new year! So here is a short and sweet account of Christmas 2019.

  1. Star Wars

This year was all about Star Wars. We got Disney+ as a Christmas present for the kids and they LOVE the Mandalorian. Then on December 19th Z and J went to see the latest Star Wars movie in the theater for my brother’s 40th birthday celebration.

2. Christmas with my side of the Family

We celebrated Christmas early with my parents and all the siblings and nieces and nephews. If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen our weekly “Busch Brunch” that we do every Saturday. This year we had a mega Busch brunch with all 16 of us. My mom even made Sticky Pecan Rolls which have been a tradition in our family since I was a little girl.

After brunch the kids piled on the couch and started chanting for presents.

The gifts ranged from fashionable earings to games to jewelry box heirlooms to a new Bible (teen edition for Z); there were so many wonderful surprises!

3. Deck the Halls at Church

Even though we didn’t decorate at our house for Christmas we had a blast helping decorate the church. Everyone wore Christmas PJs and sweaters and we all enjoyed a yummy hot chocolate bar and Christmas cookie contest while we were busy putting up trees and decor.

4. Puzzles

I love doing puzzles during the holidays!   This one with the marbles is something I bought at a yard sale in Michigan a couple of years ago. I took a gamble on a used 1,000 piece puzzle and it turned out to have all of the pieces! My mom brought another  1,000 piece for Christmas that I didn’t quite finish before leaving for Texas but I’ll have that completed soon. Then Jeremy’s sister in Texas got him a 2,000 piece puzzle that we all worked on while we were there.

5. Breakfast with Santa

One of my absolute favorite traditions was the annual Palmyr’s Playhouse Breakfast with Santa. I got to be the photographer again and the kids participated for the fourth year in a row. 

6. Polar Express

The kids had a blast at their school’s Polar Express Day. They got to wear their PJs to school, ride a train and play in a giant snow globe!

7. Christmas Program at Church

The kids participated in a small Christmas program at church the day that we left for Texas. This was such a special way to end things back at home.

 

 

8. Christmas in Texas

The next 10 days were spent with family. We played lots of games, opened plenty of gifts, and ate tons of yummy food.

 

We also got to visit our old church and go to the coffee shop. Even though it was surreal to see what was left after the tornado it was encouraging to know that everyone is doing well and what really matters is still standing.

So that’s our Christmas in a nutshell. I am not gonna lie, the holidays wore me out this year. I’m still very well aware of how blessed we are to be able to celebrate the birth of our Savior with so many amazing friends and family members. It was a very Merry Christmas.

By | January 3rd, 2020|Uncategorized|0 Comments

2017 Christmas Card

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This year’s Christmas card is showing the full circle journey that we have been on from selling our house in Texas in 2011 to buying our new house in Ohio in 2017.

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Ezie is even wearing the same shirt and shoes that Z was wearing in the original couch photo.

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The actual card gives the dates and places that those numbers on the map represent. We moved six times in six years and the couch came with us every time. The Busch Pilgrimage continues, but it’s nice to have a place to call home for long term. Merry Christmas everybody.

By | December 25th, 2017|Uncategorized|1 Comment