Waldorf Education and D’s First Winter Nature Table

Hello Friends!

I was researching Hike it Baby groups on Facebook and discovered a new friend teaching Tinkergarten classes. (I was hoping that I would be sharing with you all about that today, but sadly, the boys were sick all weekend. So we were unable to attend the first class. I’m thankful that they are on the mend and we will attend the next class this Saturday.)Moving right along, I also discovered that my friend had a Waldorf Co-op group and even though at the time I wasn’t sure what that was— it seemed to be a great fit for us! That sentence sounds kinda funny, but I’ll explain. 😉

Waldorf pedagogy puts a huge emphasis on a child’s imagination as well as the natural world around them. Waldorf education encourages play with more natural toys such as wooden blocks, things from nature, etc. My son is in kindergarten so our primary focus is on art, music, and storytelling. Rudolph Steiner, the founder of Waldorf education, believed that readiness for formal education depends on increased independence of character, temperament, habits, and memory. Formal instruction in reading, writing, and other academic studies are not introduced until students enter elementary school, when they are around seven years of age. I love the emphasis on imagination and letting a child lead and be a kid. Children grow up so fast now and it’s great to feel like I can help guide my child into a more simple life that embraces being where you are right now in this moment.

One example, from Waldorf education that is a great starting point is a Nature Table. Each season you add things from outside and other items to represent the season. This table is not just for decoration it’s for your child to explore and use their imagination to create different scenarios. Declan pretended that the little snow covered tree on our table was stuck on the snowman’s behind and that the townspeople had to figure out a way to remove it. I know I would’ve never thought of that!

This is just a start on things that I had around the house. I can’t wait to add more touches and things we find on our upcoming hikes. 🙂

I’ve also been reading tons of Waldorf books for me and Declan. I’ll share more on our lessons and books we read as we go along. Yesterday, was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and we made this beautiful Peace Flower and watched the links below.

Our version of a Peace Flower.

Martin Luther King Jr. on Reading Rainbow

Martin Luther King Jr. with Kid President

Are you familiar with Waldorf education? What do you think is the most important part of a child’s educational experience?

<3 Anna

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Plants Vs. Me

January 11, 2017

It’s a rainy day here, and round about right now we would normally have ourselves lost in a few rainy day television shows. However, we have decided to become productive with our lives, instead of wiling away in front of zombie-makers. And so, I go into withdrawals…

Speaking of zombie-makers, have I mentioned Declan and I have become addicted to “Plants Vs. Zombies?” I know I made a reference to the game in my last post, but there have been developments since. Specifically, that instead of reading or writing during my breaks at work, I have been playing this game. When I get home, the first thing I am asked is “Daddy, can I play ‘Plants Vs. Zombies?'” Anna told me tonight that I should delete the game off my phone, and then we wouldn’t have any more problems with it. She’s right of course. And I know she’s right because of the inner cringe I had when she said so.

As a minimalist (because even though we aren’t there yet, we are getting in the mind-set) when something starts to pull you away, and take over your brain, it’s time for it to go! So instead of doing what you would have done in the past, follow your hoarder “mine-mine-mine” instinct, you dump it instead. A note about technology: technology is built so you invest more into a device over time, and thereby allow the device to take a hold in your life, causing you to pull it closer to your chest, snapping at anyone who gets close enough that they look like they might be about to take it away. (So that’s how they make money with this…) This is where I’ve gotten with the game “Plants Vs. Zombies.”

So to recap, I’ve earned enough in-game coins to buy the Gattling pea shooter mod, the Spike strip mod, the Magnet mod, the Cat-tail mod, and the KernalPult mod. I may have missed one, but you get my point. This game has now become valuable to me, because I have invested. I’ve also beaten the game once, and am working through twice. I’ve gotten to the roof levels a second time now. Now is not naturally where most people would make the decision to ballast the game. In the past, I would only have gotten rid of the game/app if it no longer held any interest for me, or wasn’t worth the space it takes up. Now however, I find more joy in the freedom of less.

Here I am waging war with my “KernalPult”

I had some pretty immemorial defenses!

This makes me think about all my video games and video game systems again. They are still sitting around the house (granted the Xbox One and Playstation 4 have more uses than just playing games, especially the Blu-Ray function). However, this is what we do with our stuff. “one day I’ll need to make a loaf of bread, then that bread-maker will come in handy,” “when my son grows up and moves to college, this extra TV will be available, and he won’t have to buy one,” “I actually get use out of this app (even though it is consuming more of my time than it should) so it would be a waste to delete.” We all make excuses for stuff that doesn’t really add value to our lives. Is playing this game in my spare time adding value to my life? Or is it stealing precious time from something or someone that does add value to my life.

I’ll leave you with something Anna said that will likely be the main reason I do this. “When you guys are playing that game, I feel alone.”

Now if that’s not a wake-up call.

-John-

Posted in Analog Life, Family, Games, Minimalism | Leave a comment

What’s Making Us Smile…(January Edition)

Hello Friends,

This is a new monthly segment that I thought would be fun for the both of us. I’ll go first!

Right now, I’m loving this idea I found on Instagram from @rachelrandolph. Rachel recently shared a post about something new she was trying with her kiddos called the “Yes Box.” See? The name already has your attention, am I right?! So the cool thing about the Yes Box is that there are only two rules…but I’m getting ahead of myself a bit, what is a yes box? It’s a box that you fill with your kiddos snacks. You then share with them the rules. The rules are 1) You can only eat one of each item in the box per day. This means no repeats. 2) If mommy/daddy is cooking or serving you food, you cannot get an item from the Yes box. That’s it! When I saw this idea, I had to set it up for D and I must say, I’m loving it.

Here’s D’s Yes Box:

Just a note: We don’t normally keep the Teddy soft bakes in our household, we just had those left over from something.

Here’s his Yes Box for the Fridge:

The blue and white bag has baby carrots and the plastic container has ham that is without the filler junk and a pickle.

I guess all of my choices for this week will be food related, but my second choice is Declan’s awesome new trays!

These are wonderful to help your kiddo(s) make the best choices. It seems a bit gimmiky, but the truth is—kids love stuff like this and this is actually helping them make a good healthy decision that will benefit them for many years to come! (This is NOT a sponsored post, but if you are interested in purchasing these trays, they come in a set of 4, you can do so here!)

And to finish off my list, I’ll share these links to a few podcast episodes because I’m like the Podcast lady over here! 🙂

The Science of Setting and Accomplishing Goals with Guest Michael Hyatt-The Model Health Show

The Simple Show recently did a great series called “What’s Saving My Life” and I’ll share the links for each episode below! There are so many great resources and links in these posts:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Lastly, I have to give a shout out for this awesome book! I’m only 2 chapters away from finishing it and it is a definite life changer. Check out Cultivate here!

And now it’s John’s turn…take it, my dear!

This week I’ve been really enjoying the changes we have made with no tv during the week and just taking a less busy approach to life.

Yep, the husband gave me a sentence for this month’s post. 😉 Hopefully, I can get more out of him next month.

What is making you smile this month? Take this time to think about the little things that are making life easier and/or more enjoyable. 

<3 Anna and John

 

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Powersheets and my Plum Paper Planner

Hello Friends!

Today, I want to share a little more about my Cultivate Power Sheets 2018 and my Plum Paper Planner. These beauties are the reason I’m so excited about this year and feel so much less stress!

 

My Powersheets:

Blog post ideas

Vision board 2018

These are just a few of the pages from the Powersheets. I love being able to brainstorm, plot and plan each goal with intention and having the feeling that I’m able to shoot for each goal. I remember hearing once that the best goals are achievable and also measurable. IF you can’t measure your progress then how will you know that you are getting anywhere?! I’m also a sucker for stickers. So fun and reminds me of my Lisa Frank obsession as a child. <3

These are a few pages from my Plum Paper Planner. I’m really loving the set up and feel of this planner. It has so much space to write down everything. I don’t feel like I’m lacking like I usually do with my Target planners. (No offense, Target. I still love you and can’t/won’t quit you. 😉

How are you tracking your goals this year? Do you use a planner? Are you old school like me and still rocking the paper planner?

<3 Anna

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Sowing

Saturday, January 6, 2018

This has been a good week for us. Monday, we decided we were going to take a step towards having a simplistic, happy life by foregoing television during the week, on days Declan has school. Today, I can say this has been a good decision. Personally, I didn’t miss it, but I also know the first week of January isn’t a good week to judge anything by. It probably would have helped if we had been home more than one night, as two nights we were out in town somewhere.

A few things I did notice about having less sensory input included having better sleep, better concentration, and less consumptive urges. I even ate less at night this week (maybe partly due to having my sinuses stuffed up.) We have gotten so much out of seeking to live in the moment. Hopefully this will help me notice more within my surroundings, including the family and “friends” to be grateful for. This is something you will begin to notice about life (at least if your experience is anything like my own.)

Declan and I spent last Friday through Sunday in Virginia with my family, while Anna stayed at home suffering with an ear infection. While at my Mom’s house, I stayed up late talking on New Year’s Eve with my mom. We got on the subject of Babel, specifically the place and event known as “The Tower of Babel.” She pulled up a Ken Ham youtube video, of which we talked about afterwards. She asked me if I knew why God had foiled those people’s attempt at building a tower to Heaven. The answer was simple, and something you’ve heard many times if you grew up in church. I have been thinking about part of the answer ever since. They were trying to build a tower to Heaven to “make a name for themselves,” and the response God gave was basically if these people succeed at this, nothing will stand in their way from doing whatever they want.

Even though I oversimplified this a bit, the part about nothing able to stand in the people’s way if they were of one mind about something was interesting to say the least. So I’ve been thinking about this principle in the different manifestations we see, and don’t even think about. Specifically what I’m driving at is how much of our lives must be lived with others, and when a creative project takes off, many times it was not a one-man effort. Think about when you hear a song on the radio. This one song has multiple unnamed people playing instruments for accompaniment with the “artist,” the “artist” likely didn’t go after this creative dream without the input of a family member or friend, and all this could not be turned into a format for mass-consumption without the help of the producers, or people who made the production software. Much of my life I have thought about what I call the “ripple effect,” in which every interaction you have with another person in life affects them in some way. It doesn’t matter if this is an unknown person you passed on the street with a smile. That smile could have made all the difference in the world to that person.

Young entrepreneurs learn early their business will not take off if they don’t have the capital to invest. Where does this capital come from? Most likely they will have to convince other people to buy in to their idea, such as an Angel Investor, a loan from the bank, or through a social media campaign. Businesses from Wall Street to Manufacturing will not run by themselves, but need all their employees working together, under a set of guidelines (the same mind), and leaders who know where to turn the focus of all this energy and work.

The Church is built around this idea. What church has existed without it’s members? Besides that, The Church is made up of many members, and even those of us with the smallest input are a part of the great work The Church has been called into. Jesus said the fields are ripe for harvest, but the laborers are few. He also talked about how one man may plant a seed, but never see the fruition of the mature plant. Still there are others who come along and harvest a field they did not plant. We all, as members of His Church have different jobs, different fields to help in harvesting, and through the gifts given to each of us, learn whether we are the planters or the harvesters.

I know the talk about the Church will likely cause some readers’ eyes to glaze over, but if you are willing to read my thoughts about this, perhaps you may find something here that is applicable to whatever your life looks like.

For in this world we live in there is a need for hope, love, and the Oxford comma. Most of us would agree that meeting a stranger nowadays is… well, most of us would prefer not  to meet the strangers around us. However, each of us is a stranger to someone else, and can you argue that you would not like to have someone stop to help you if your car inexplicably decided to stop working while you were on your way home from work. Who has had the experience of having their food paid for in a drive through by the person one car in front of yours? Is “pay it forward” strictly a “Christian” thing to do, or is it not part of being human, that we feel good when doing good for others? All these are obvious ways of touching the lives of others, but who will stop to talk with someone who is not in need, but may just look lonely? How do you know that your kind words were not why they decided not to commit suicide a week later? (It’s likely you’ll never find this out either.) I suppose most of us would just shrug it off as someone else’s work, but if you came into contact with that person, it is arguably just as much you who are responsible for their loneliness, as you are just as capable as the mysterious “someone else.”

I work in the field of Automotive manufacturing Quality Control during the week, and one thing I have noticed and passed along to others is that if you have touched the part, it is just as much your responsibility as anyone else’s to ensure that part was a Quality part.

This is one of those components we’re driving at by learning to just Be. To live in the moment is to begin to notice events like this. To live in the moment is to learn to listen to those still, small voices that tell you this time is different; that this time you should talk to the person with the sad face. What else do you have to do? Where else do you have to be? If you are living for the moment, you are not in a hurry to get home so you can catch up on a show, or sit in front of your computer screen for hours, depressing yourself with Facebook. What do you have to lose? You may potentially be trading all those things that held your mind captive for the freedom to just sit silently, allowing your mind to wander; or to stop in Aldi and ask someone how they are doing? (On a slightly unrelated note, several months ago a man stopped me in Aldi to talk, ending the conversation asking if I liked chess, and giving me his phone number.)

So I would invite you and your family to join us on a simple journey of seeking to live the moments of life fully. To be present more, and stop walking around life as if we are all consumptive zombies. We are basically puppets of the market. My five year old son is addicted to “Plants vs. Zombies.” Every day I get home he asks me if he can play. Lately I’ve been thinking about how much a metaphor of life this game can be. I wonder if the creators know how ironic it is sometimes, that people want to play this game as an escape, and end up walking around like zombies with a phone connected to their brain. This is what we are seeking to avoid in our lives now. Instead of allowing zombies in to eat our brains, we are planting; sowing defenses to keep the zombies out.

If you decide to go a week without television, let us know. We would love to hear from you! If this turns in to a regular thing for your family it can do nothing but help!

May we all seek to consume less, and look for those that need our help.

-John-

Posted in Analog Life, Family, Minimalism | Leave a comment

January Goals 2018

Hello Friends!

If you missed my last post, I shared my word and goals for the year there. In today’s post I’ll be sharing my goals for January and I will split them up into categories: monthly, weekly, and daily goals. You can find most of the links mentioned here in this post.

My Tending List for January!

Monthly Goals:

1) Schedule Dr’s appts.

The first month of a new year is a great time to schedule well check ups and other important appointments. I need to reschedule my therapy appointment, schedule a gynecological appointment, schedule appointments for all of us for our new primary care doctor.
2) Get budget on YNAB.

I’m so excited about this app. You tell your money where it needs to go and the app helps you track from there.

3) Plan family outings and events for the year.

My plan is to schedule so many fun activities and hikes for our family. If you can’t tell, my dominant love language is quality time. 😉

4) Register for school.

I’ve mentioned this here a few times, but in case you missed it….I’m going back to school! My plan is to start school either this month or next depending on how things go with registration. I’m returning to school to obtain my certification as a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant). Most people will probably ask, “Are you wanting to become a nurse?!” Technically speaking, no. 😉 My plan is to work as a CNA part time while I’m working on a few other certifications and on down the road get a two year degree in Physical Therapy. I’m super excited because I finally feel like I’ve found the type of career path that I’m truly interested in. I also hope to work part time in something similar to the field this year, but we will see how everything pans out. I know my schedule is already pretty full with just adding this!

5) Visit the Humane Society-volunteering.

We are hoping to begin volunteering as a family with the our local Humane Society. I’ve heard that D is probably old enough to work with the cats so I’m hoping that our local chapter will agree and we will be able to begin volunteering soon.

Weekly Goals:

6) Go to Yoga 1x per week.

This probably sounds tragically low, but I’m easing my way back into working out regularly and I’m learning to pace my body because of my multiple chronic illnesses. We also just started a free 30 day trial with Daily Burn so even if I don’t physically go somewhere I have a workout ready and waiting for me each day. 😉

8) Packing party in the Kitchen.

A packing party is a concept from The Minimalists and I’m focusing on one area per month. I know that this is a good pace for me because if I try to do more I might get overwhelmed with the clutter.

Daily Goals:

9) Read Bible plans on Fear.

I love the Bible app and how there are categories listed for specific emotions and problem areas. Fear is something that I’ve struggled with for as long as I can remember and I thought that reading plans for it would be perfect to start out the New Year.

10) Morning Stretches—Pilates!

One thing I really love is my Pilates Dvd that is specifically designed for people who suffer with pelvic pain. There is a section called “Rough Day Revitalizer” that I use on days that my bladder is particularly agitated. It’s a great, short, energy boosting workout that helps me to feel better on days that I don’t feel like doing anything. Stretches are excellent for my back as well as blood circulation. It’s definitely energizing!

11) Get Outside-45-60 mins per day.

It’s so important to get outside and get your daily dose of sun. Fresh air is excellent for anxiety and depression and I find this this to be true for myself as well. I can tell when I’ve spent only 10 minutes outside vs. no time at all. It’s a huge difference! Also if you’re not careful, it could turn into a rescue mission and you end up with a new kitty. 😉

12)Read Cultivate  and Everything that Remains.

I chose Cultivate by Lara Casey because I absolutely adore her Write the Word journals and I just got her 2018 Powersheets that have helped greatly with my goals and this post! 😉 One of my big goals for the past couple of years has been living more intentionally and this book’s tag line is “A grace filled Guide to Growing an Intentional Life” so I knew it would be perfect!

My second pick is Everything that Remains by The Minimalists

Last year, John and I began listening to The Minimalists podcast as a recommendation from a friend. (Thank you, Laura!) In December, John read this book and I highly recommended it to me. So it’s number 2 on my book list and I can’t wait to dive in.

What are your goals for January? Do you break your goals up into daily, weekly, monthly goals?

<3 Anna

 

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John – Update from Christmas

Hi, this is John! I will be joining levinerlife.com, and most-times will probably post as below; with my type-written pages from our type-writer. Enjoy! and let me know what you think!

12-24
12-25 pt 1
12-25 pt 2

Imbecile

 

Posted in Analog Life, Family, Minimalism | Leave a comment

New Year. New Word. 2018 Goals.

Hello Friends!

It’s the second day of a brand new year and I’m super excited to be back here and starting the New Year with John joining me on the bloggity blog. I can’t wait for you to read his first post. I know our writing styles will be very different, but I think they will be a perfect balance here. This year I plan to share my monthly goals and progress, our journey to minimalism and living a more simple life, monthly meal plans, What’s making me smile each month (Who knows? John might co-author those with me. ;)), and so much more!

So without further adieu, my word for 2018 is….Drumroll…

This year, I figured out my word a little differently than years previous. I decided to try something new and purchased Powersheets from Lara Casey of Cultivate What Matters. This was a wonderful investment and I can’t wait to share more with you about the powersheets and my new planner! 🙂 In the powersheets there were multiple pages that I went through to determine my goals and word for the year. I promise, it’s a lot more fun than it might sound or at least it’s fun for someone who is a mega planner. Anywho, here are just two of those pages:

I have to say that I learned a lot about myself and what I want to do with my life moving forward. It gave me the clarity I needed and really encouraged me for 2018.

My goals for 2018:

Daily meaningful quiet time.

Over the years, I’ve found that quiet time is a major life line for me. I know that when I keep my eyes on God and keep my thoughts on things that truly matter, it makes a world of difference in my day! (I recently discovered a new way to journal for my quiet time and I’ll share more with you on that in an upcoming post!) I created a Pinterest Board for quiet time inspiration and I plan to read and listen to inspirational books and podcasts.

Spend more time outside.

Last year, D and I started attending a Waldorf Co-op every Tuesday and so I’ve been learning all I can about the Waldorf pedagogy. This along with tons of research on the benefits of the great outdoors has really encouraged me to get our whole family outside more often. My plan is to research areas to hike, learn more about geocaching (which is something I’ve wanted to try, but haven’t yet.), and paint and hide kindness rocks.

Set a budget and stick to it!

We are using the “You Need a Budget” app to help with this goal. (I’ll update later on how we are liking the app.)

Exercise at least 3x per week. Do stretches every day!

I plan to build up to this and I’ll be breaking down how I’m doing this in upcoming posts. To start, I’m getting back into the habit of doing my stretches every day and doing yoga 1x per week in a studio. (We are also trying out The Daily Burn to see if it will be helpful to this goal. Right now, they have a 30 day free trial and then it’s $20 per month after that.)

Continue our minimalism journey and pursuit of a more simple life.

We are planning for our first “packing party.”   Just a note, we are making the tweaks that Natural Cafe Mama made to suit our family. This month, we will be working on our kitchen. Stay tuned for the post later in the month!

Make time for volunteering.

This month, I plan to get in contact with the local humane society here and learn about volunteering opportunities for our whole family.

Make time for crafting.

This will be the first year that I attempt something I’ve been wanting to do for many years. I’m planning to make mostly homemade gifts next year. I’m very excited about this big project and can’t wait to see what I come up with. Pinterest, here I come!

Spend less time on social media and less time watching tv.

This one is really important because it can effect all of the other goals. By limiting my media time, I know that I can use my time more effectively in these other areas. I plan to have Facebook time on Mondays for 15 minutes per week, Twitter for 15 minutes per week on Tuesdays, and Instagram for 15 minutes per week on Wednesdays. I feel really good about this use of my time and I’m hopeful that this will work to our family’s benefit.

Make time for reading.

One of the ways I’m working towards this goal is tracking my reading via Goodreads. I’ve also made a list of 2 books per month to read for each month of the year. This list is only the non-fiction books I plan to read, but I also plan to read fiction as well. If you are setting goals for reading for the year, I would also suggest checking out the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge for 2018. I attempted the challenge for 2017, but didn’t accomplish it. I will say that the challenges are wonderful and will stretch your mind and reading comfort zones. I love the idea of reading books that I wouldn’t normally read because you never know what you might miss out on.

Plan quality time together as family, including travels.

I’m currently working on this list to plot and plan our year’s travels and I’m super excited! I can’t wait to share the many photos and details with you all.

That’s all for this post! What are your goals for 2018? How will you accomplish them? I hope you will use our blog to help you create your goals, word, and for inspiration to keep “swimming” towards your goals. 

<3 Anna

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Merry Christmas! Love, The Leviners

Hello Friends,

You may have noticed that things are a bit slow here on the blog. This is because I have some exciting news to share with you. Big changes are coming! At this point we are not sure what that will look like, but please stay tuned!

A very important theme that has been at the forefront of 2017 is simplicity. Our whole family is on board to live more simply and that will definitely be a huge part of things to come.  One small way that we have simplified this year is that I decided to forego picture Christmas cards. We all went to the store together and chose a beautiful boxed set of Christmas cards. We decided that I would write this post updating on our life currently and share it to my various social media channels. I guess besides simplicity I wanted to write more personal messages and also share something that everyone could enjoy and not worry about buying a bajillion stamps. 😉 So without furher adieu, I give you our year 2017.

John: I’m so very proud of the hard work that John has put in this year and every year for that matter. He is currently Assistant QC Supervisor at Engineered Sintered Components. This is John’s third year there and we are super excited for the extra benefits, such as more vacation time he will get next year. 😉 He has learned so much from this job and really has grown as a leader. John is currently reading Everything that Remains: A Memoir by The Minimalists. He has been sharing with me about how interesting it is to read a book on minimalism around Christmas time. 🙂

Anna: What can I say about this year for myself?! It’s been a rough one, but I’m coming out the other side. I began trauma EMDR therapy this year. To say it hasn’t been easy would be an understatement. I’ve had many times where I desperately wanted to quit feeling all of this baggage, but I’m so glad I didn’t throw in the towel. My past is a part of me, but it doesn’t define me. That’s a big take away for this year. I took a huge leap and challenged myself with trying new things. A big example of this would be my trip to NYC with Whit. I crossed many things off of my bucket list including: First flight, First Uber, First ride on the subway, First ballet, First Musical, etc. It was a wonderful experience and helped me to see that I’m much more capable than I ever thought I could be. I’m looking forward to next year as I gear up to begin my CNA certification. Crushing goals and taking names! 😉 Ps. I’m currently reading The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and When Women were  Birds by Terry Tempest Williams.

Declan: Declan is definitely the life of our party. He amazes me daily with his imagination and creativity. He is so bright and has such a beautiful and kind heart. We are so proud of him! Declan loves attending music class each week and we recently added Waldorf Co-op to our schedule. He really enjoys that and it’s been so fun learning about the Waldorf pedagogy. This Christmas has been especially fun as Declan asks questions about Jesus and learning about sharing and caring for other people. I can’t wait to see what next year brings for him! One thing we are really looking forward to is Tinkergarten classes in January. 🙂

Sophie: Our first baby is 9 years old now, can you believe it?! She loves going on walks with us and family trips. Her favorite times of the day are eating and sleeping. She takes many cat naps along with the cats throughout the day. 😉

Sasha: Sasha is still queen of the castle even though she has new siblings to contend with. She is the best snuggler and is a very sweet and sensitive girl. She may be queen, but she has a heart of gold. We have to make sure that she gets enough food because she will give it to the others without batting an eye.

The Twins, Silas and Quinn: The best stories come from unexpected surprises! Many people know that Sasha followed us home and that is how she came into our lives. The twins have a similar story. Our friends have been caring for a stray cat and she became pregnant with three kittens, they were unable to keep all three so we took on Silas as an additional cat to our household and we were planning to foster Quinn. This plan went out the window fairly quickly as John fell in love with Quinn and couldn’t separate her from her brother. So we now have three cats in total and are really enjoying the addition to our family. Silas is very comical and goofy and Quinn is mischievous and sweet.

Silas is the one with more of a mustache and Quinn has more black on her face. We love our tuxedo kitties!

Wishing you all Happy Holidays!
Here’s to a bright shining New Year and looking forward to what that could bring for us and all our loved ones!

<3 The Leviners

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Podcast Playlist #1

Hello Friends!

Today, I wanted to share with you all a few of the podcasts that I’ve enjoyed recently. These podcasts help take some of the monotony away from daily chores. It’s a nice change of pace. 🙂

1) The Mystery of the Devil’s Footprint- Stuff you Missed in History Class

This episode was really interesting and kinda comical at times. I love learning about mysterious phenomenon that can’t be explained. There was a ton of speculation of the Devil’s foot prints even a suggestion of kangaroo prints!!?

2) How to Discern God’s Will and Stick with it- The God Centered Mom’s Podcast

This episode really touched my heart. Tricia Goyer shared about her experiences with adoption, listening to God and discerning His path for you, and many more challenging topics. It helped me to reflect on my heart for adoption and to consider adopting siblings, which I hadn’t considered before.

3) Be the Change- Hidden Brain

I really enjoyed this episode! A couple shares their story of giving birth to their first daughter and how they decided to fight back against stereotypical gender roles and characteristics. It was a refreshing listen and I’m still thinking about it and considering what steps we might take as a family to ensure that Declan respects women and realizes that women have just as much to bring to the table (if not more! ;))

4)  7 Stranger Things That Make You Smarter- The Model Health Show

This was a really interesting episode. Shawn shares great tips to strengthen your brain. There are some really surprising information here.

5) Don’t Suffer From Your Depression in Silence- Ted Talks Daily

This episode was very powerful. Nikki Webber Allen shared her battle with depression and how the suicide of a family member caused her to pause and reflect on discussing and educating others on mental health.

6) How to Seek Truth in the Era of Fake News- Ted Talks Daily

Christiane Amanpour shares on how to navigate through fake news, objectivity in journalism, and a few life lessons along the way.

7) Vegetarian and Vegan Youtube Channels- Vegetarian Zen

I seriously love this podcast. It’s been a safe place for me to learn more about a plant based diet. They also have an awesome FB group “Peas and Carrots.” 🙂

8) Freedom from Anxiety-The God Centered Mom Podcast

This episode was like a healing balm for my soul. I loved Ashley’s story and the tips that she shared here.  I look forward to learning more about her story and checking out her book. 🙂  (It also paired very well with our two part series on anxiety and depression. )

Do you listen to podcasts? If you could recommend a podcast to a friend, who has never listened to a podcast before, what would you want them to hear first?  Since this is a holiday week, I’ll be back with my regular posts next week. If you celebrate or not, my hope is that you enjoy time with loved ones this long weekend and safe travels!

<3 Anna

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