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Looking Back

The Search for Christmas Snow

Making a quick stop at the Big Bear Discovery Center

While we don’t normally live in areas that get much (if any) snow, we all still enjoy it. We love milder winter weather, but we do miss the fun that comes with snow now and again. Munchkin especially wanted snow for Christmas this year, so we decided to head out on a little exploration adventure in search of snow.

Munchkin and Daddy getting ready to check out the snow covered shores of Big Bear Lake

We headed up to Big Bear Lake. It’s a long, curvy, steep road which means Munchkin’s tummy wasn’t too happy, but that all went away once we got to the top. We made a quick stop at the Big Bear Discovery Center before heading over to the lake.

View of the snowy shores of Big Bear Lake

It was quite windy, but it was still a beautiful day. The snow covered shores were absolutely beautiful.

Munchkin heading down to the shores of Big Bear Lake

Of course, Munchkin quickly headed down to the water. (When you live in the desert, you seem to always be drawn towards water even when it is cold. lol!)

Exploring the snowy shores of Big Bear Lake

The air was crisp and clear. It smelled wonderful even if it hurt to breath in the cold air. We were rather surprised that a family was setting up a picnic when we arrived. I think I would have eaten in the vehicle, but we have gotten a bit soft over the years. 😉 Munchkin is definitely a desert baby. 🙂

Munchkin getting ready to throw a snowball at Daddy

No snow adventure would be complete without at least a snowball or two being thrown. Munchkin was the first to toss a snowball at Daddy. He caught it and toss it back. She was thrilled to be able to play in the snow even if it was only for a brief period of time.

The icy waters of Big Bear Lake

Our plan was to head down the mountain and grab some Chick-fil-a for a later lunch. We thought we’d try out a different way down the mountain. Little did we know that we were heading into the huge snow park area. Thankfully, we were heading in the opposite direction as the traffic was horrible. It just kept going and going. We’re quite certain that some of the people would have waited in traffic for 4 to 5 hours before ever hitting the snow area, and that doesn’t even include trying to find parking. Yikes! We won’t be going that way in the winter. Even though it took a little longer than expected, we enjoyed our snow adventure and our Chick-fil-a lunch. 🙂

Wordless Wednesday: Christmas 2015

We had a very relaxing Christmas this year filled with some quality family time.

From our home to yours, Merry Christmas

Christmas pjs featuring cute Star Wars characters

Munchkin assembling Star Wars Lego set from Christmas Stocking

Daddy assembling Star Wars Lego set from Christmas stocking

My Christmas gift from Munchkin and D - the Willow Tree mother daughter piece

Introducing Marvel

Marvel sitting on Munchkin's shoulder

As soon as Graham passed away, Munchkin started looking for a new guinea pig in our area. Guinea pigs are social animals, so she didn’t want Alvin to be along even though he was getting tons of extra attention and love from all of us.

Marvel and Alvin sitting on Munchkin.

After about 2 weeks, she found this sweet little guy and brought him home. After a great deal of consideration, she decided to call him Marvel. She was happy to have a new guinea pig before Christmas.

Alvin and Marvel cuddling with Munchkin

Alvin helped Marvel settle in and allowed him to eat a little extra share of veggies. Now that he’s settled in, Alvin is making sure that Marvel knows that he is the boss. lol!

Wiley and Alvin hanging out

Marvel is very active, so he tends to capture the attention of our other furry pets. Wiley and Alvin are friends (although Wiley needs to be carefully monitored to be on the safe side), but Wiley isn’t seeing Marvel as part of the family yet. Marvel is just too little and crazy. All that sudden movement is too much for Wiley. Wyatt seems to understand that Marvel is family as he often puts Wiley in his place. 😉

Sweet little Marvel

While no guinea pig could ever replace Graham, Marvel has been a welcome addition to the family, and he’s helping sooth some of the pain that goes with the loss of a dear pet.

Remembering Graham

Remembering our sweet guinea pig Graham

Today, we said goodbye to our sweet Graham. He was a loving, cuddly guinea pig who was always happy to help Munchkin with her school work and keep her company when she wasn’t feeling well. He will be missed.

The day started off on a bad note for Munchkin as she was feeling a bit out of sorts. She headed to classes and things only got worse. She ended up coming home early to try to collect herself before her Physics exam. As is her normal routine, she went to get Graham out of his cage as he always helps calm her down, but this time, he wasn’t moving. Some time between when I left to get groceries and when she got home, he had passed away.

Needless to say, she was heartbroken. Tears flowed. This momma did what she could to sooth her aching heart, but that’s something that only time will mend. I was able to help her calm down enough that she was able to focus on her Physics exam later in the afternoon. When she arrived home from class, she said that she thought the exam went okay, and then all the emotion of the day flooded over her.

Our evening was spent watching light-hearted shows to try to lift her spirits. In time, there will be mainly fond memories, but for now, it hurts. Our pets are all special members of our family. They all enhance our lives in their own little ways. I am thankful that they were each brought into our lives. Is it worth it when you know the pain that comes with their passing? We all say – absolutely!

Money Making Mom by Crystal Paine

I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

Money Making Mom by Crystal Paine

We’ve recently entered a new season in our lives where homeschooling is behind us. We now have 2 family members in college – Daddy and daughter. I’m starting to look at some non-traditional ways that I can bring in some extra money to help with not only the college expenses but also to pay down our mortgage faster.

Money Making Mom takes a good look at the variety of ways a mom can make income whether it be from a traditional job or non-traditional job, inside or outside the home. Crystal also dives into the reasons why we might want to make money and why getting rich shouldn’t be our primary focus. I really liked this quote as it sums up the feeling on the entire book.

We should focus on making money to impact our family and loved ones for the better. In addition, our focus for making money should be to help those who are struggling in our community and around the world.

At the time I’m writing this, we’re heading into Thanksgiving, so it was a good reminder that we need to focus on the end goals and not just on the here and now as we make various decisions relating to our finances. This seems to be the season to spend thanks to things like black Friday, cyber Monday, and just Christmas spending in general. If we make plans and a budget ahead of time with a specific goal in mind, then it tends to be a little easier to stick to those goals.

Money Making Mom helped me focus more on the hows and whys of providing for my family and helping others. I like that it’s not about getting rich, but rather making life better for those that I care about – whether family, friends, or neighbors. It gave me a great deal to think about for our plans for the future.

One of the things that I really like about Crystal’s books, this one included, is that she makes them very personal. She doesn’t try to act like she knows it all or has arrived. No, she says she, like others, is a work in progress. She talks not only about her success but also about the failures along the way. In other words, her books and the stories within (whether hers or others) are real.