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.ย  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. ๐Ÿ˜‰ So without furher adieu, I give you our year 2017.

John:ย 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. ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

Anna:ย 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! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Ps. I’m currently readingย The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas andย When Women wereย  Birds by Terry Tempest Williams.

Declan:ย 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

Sophie:ย 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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Sasha:ย 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:ย 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

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

1)ย 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)ย How to Discern God’s Will and Stick with it-ย 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)ย Be the Change-ย 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)ย ย 7 Stranger Things That Make You Smarter-ย 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)ย Don’t Suffer From Your Depression in Silence-ย 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)ย How to Seek Truth in the Era of Fake News-ย 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)ย Vegetarian and Vegan Youtube Channels-ย 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.” ๐Ÿ™‚

8)ย 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.ย  I look forward to learning more about her story and checking out her book. ๐Ÿ™‚ย  (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?ย  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

Halloween 2017

Hello Friends!

As many of you know, Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. Unfortunately, this year was a bust for me. I spent most of the month of October with a awful chest cold that wouldn’t go around. I still have a cough that is slowly trickling away. :/ So I missed out on our annual pumpkin patch visit, we all missed the Spooktacular event on the square because D had such a nasty cough and the weather was iffy, and by the end of the month, I was still coughing until I woke myself up. John took D around the neighborhood for Trick or Treating and I stayed behind and gave out candy.

Here’s a few pics from the various activities:

Our little ghost

D got tired of the ghost costume so he made a costume change and wore his shark costume from last year.

Last minute “mombie”

I love this selfie of my boys at the pumpkin patch.

I hope your Halloween was better than ours, but to be honest it wasn’t so bad. Sometimes it’s nice to just let all the plans go and rest. Sometimes it’s necessary. <3 How was your Halloween? Did you have many trick or treaters?

<3 Anna


Declan’s 5th Birthday!

Hello Friends!

This post has been a long time coming! D turned 5 years old on September 22. We had a small party for him at Hickory Dickory Dock. (Think Chuck E. Cheese, but much better activity wise!) It was a fun day and D had a blast sharing it with some of our favorite people.

My sweet boy,

We are so thankful for the wonderful person you are. You have a beautiful heart for others. You love to make others smile and laugh. (You love coming up with new jokes to share with us.) I hope that the world doesn’t break your spirit and instead, you shine a beautiful light to give hope to all those around you. You are our greatest joy here on earth.

We love you this much!

Mommy and Daddy


Keeping Things Simple.

Hello Friends!

Happy Friday! I hope you all are doing well today. It’s been another long week here, so I’m so grateful for the weekend. We are participating in a fun Tinkergarten class on Sunday, specifically for Fall Back so I look forward to sharing that with you all in an upcoming post!

Today, I wanted to share with you all a big theme that our family is currently working on: Simplicity. It’s crazy to even imagine a simple life in this fast paced world we live in, but I think that’s why it’s even more elusive! It’s a huge comfort to realize that you don’t have to live this way. You are in charge of your own life and you can say “no.” You don’t have to agree to every project that falls into your lap. A few examples of simplifying: Declan is only allowed 2 extracurriculars. This is because he deserves to have a regular childhood too. Over scheduling has been proven to be detrimental to a child’s well being and we definitely don’t want to hinder D in anyway! Another example, we are not big on over scheduling. If we have an activity to do on Saturday, chances are we won’t schedule anything outside of the home other than said activity. Yes, we may miss out on activities because of that, but I refuse to live with a yolo mindset when it comes to scheduling activities. We don’t have to be all things to all people.

Another area, that we are very interested in simplifying is our household. We have greatly reduced our stuff thanks to The Minimalists. (Check out their podcast! It’s great!) I have two dates per month for Goodwill runs and this has helped with the steady flow of getting things out of our house. We also are much more considerate of purchases now that we are trying to minimize. Anything that is brought in is under a more careful scrutiny. This whole experience has helped us to truly evaluate what we actually want out of life and spoiler alert, it’s NOT more stuff! In addition to this, I’ve started a November cleaning challenge because this is not my forte. I’m very excited about the changes we are making. It has been proven to be very fruitful so far!

What is your definition of a simple life? Do you have any examples of how your and/or your family are working towards this goal?

<3 Anna

Happy Halloween 2017!

Hello Friends!

I’m finally taking a minute and sitting down to write this post. It seems that ever since my diagnosis it’s been so tough to update here. I’ve been thinking that I probably should give myself more grace and plan to post 1-2 times per week. I feel like inspiration is definitely not my problem it’s just time management which I’m constantly working on.ย  I’m very thankful to report that I feel like I finally have a handle on my bladder. This meaning that I know what I need for flares and I give myself a lot more grace and patience. I’m not the person I was before my diagnosis and I have to learn to be gentler with myself. This is NOT an easy task for me, but I’m learning.

There are many changes happening in the Leviner household and I’m sure that you’ve noticed some of them via my Instagram. (IG is the best place to find me when I’m not sharing here. My plan is to continue to distance myself from FB, but not to worry if you enjoy following my posts there—-most of the time my IG is linked to my FB page and I am able to update both at once. ;)) I’ll be sharing more of that later. It’s not easy keeping posts short when you feel like it’s been so long since your last update, but I’m trying. ๐Ÿ˜€

Today, I thought it would be fun to share a few last minute Halloween resources for your kiddo(s):

This adorable printable book ย from Fun-A-Day is perfect for your emerging readers!

This wonderful packet from Mess for Less is great for your preschool and kindergarten crew.

I also introduced D to Halloween Hangman this year. He enjoyed helping me choose letters and laughing at the skeleton when we lost. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I hope you and your kiddo()s have a fun and safe Halloween! Just an FYI, my Facebook Mystery party is wrapping up. If you want to help our mystery hostess earn lots of awesome books, be sure to finish your shopping tonight. ๐Ÿ™‚ Here’s the link!

<3 Anna

Beach Days 2017!

Hello Friends!

It’s been a month since I updated the blog and I don’t have to tell you how quickly this year is flying by! I thought last year went by quickly. :/ So I’ve been thinking about what I wanted to share in upcoming posts and I’m excited about what is to come. I just didn’t want to get bogged down in all the posts that I haven’t written. Blogging should never get you to a point where you are drudging through posts. I think that my unplanned month hiatus did the trick and I feel ready to share and share some more! ๐Ÿ˜‰

One of my favorite beach spots is Charleston, SC. We had one full day on the beach. This year we decided to check out Isle of Palms and I would definitely recommend it. The only thing I would change is stupidly thinking that the cloudy skies meant that sunscreen wasn’t necessary. We got lobster toasted. :'(

Beach day ready!

Selfie with my bug

family selfie


D absolutely adored the beach. I can’t wait for our next visit!

Overall, we had a wonderful visit and couldn’t ask for better weather. We are already looking forward to our next beach trip. Who knows where we will head next year?!

Restaurant Recommendation:

Luke ‘n Ollies–ย This place is a gem. I’m not big on pizza, especially when I’m sweaty and tired from playing at the beach, but this pizza was perfect! We ordered a white pizza with spinach and bell peppers. So yummy! D loved his spaghetti and meatballs too! Another plus, there was a Ben and Jerry’s next door for dessert. I fell in love with their vegan almond crunch ice cream. I haven’t been able to find it anywhere else ever since. ๐Ÿ™

What is your favorite beach? Any fun beach memories? Share in the comments below!

<3 Anna

Our Homeschool Curriculum for 2017/2018 School Year!

Hello Friends!

Today, I’m very excited to share with you all the home school curriculum I chose to use with D this school year! I looked through various sources and it was easy to choose this one from Confessions of a Homeschooler.ย  This curriculum was so impressive! Hours and hours, days and days of great information to teach my little sponge. He really is absorbing everything!

Check out a sample of the curriculum here!ย D absolutely adores the daily songs and activities. He is learning and his handwriting is improving. It’s so neat to see him pointing out words in books. I’m sure he’ll be reading (very soon) on his own. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m one proud mommy!

Below are a few pics of D learning from his new curriculum:

D’s first day of pre-k/kindergarten! <3

Rolling dice and tracing numbers is so fun!

As you can see, we have been very busy reviewing the alphabet and numbers. It’s been a joy to teach D each week and I’m looking forward to all the fun to come!

What have you and your kiddos been working on this month? What curriculum do you use? What do you love about it? What do you dislike about it?

<3 Anna

Family Fun Day

Hi Friends!

I’m playing catch up, but I have lots of adventures to share here.ย So just bear with me on the picture heavy posts. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Last month, our local library teamed up with our train museum for a funย Train Day. We began our day at the Hen and Egg (a local restaurant that we were excited to try!) It was wonderful with fresh foods and delicious flavor! We’ve definitely found our weekend breakfast spot. ๐Ÿ™‚

After breakfast, we made our way to the Train museum for the main event. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Declan was enjoyed a train story time, songs, and crafts.

Story Time

We then explored the Train Museum next door. The model trains were very impressive! D had a blast watching them and playing with the toy trains in the kid’s area.

So grown up!

We also recently visited Hickory Dickory Dock. This is a local fun place that is similar to Chuck E. Cheese, but much better in my opinion. ๐Ÿ˜‰ D decided to have his birthday party here. So we are looking forward to another visit later this month.

Hickory Dickory Dock has a wide variety of activities including, mini golf, mini bowling, soft play, and more!

Check out that bowling stance.



September Goals and Progress

Hello all!

Things have been crazy busy here! It’s been tougher to find time to post, but I’m hoping to get back into the swing of things. Believe it or not, I haven’t even gotten my fall stuff up yet and I usually have it out on day one! It seems as Declan gets older that our schedule gets busier, I’m not complaining though. I feel that we are pretty good at keeping things fairly balanced. One way that I do that, is by sharing my goals and progress here. It helps to hold me accountable and crossing those goals off my list is fun. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  1. I worked on my decluttering checklist.
  2. I’m working on weekly lesson plans for D.

This month, I want to focus on:

1)ย Declan’s lesson plans– I’m dedicating Sundays and (any other day I have time) to finishing up for this year.

2)Decorate the house for fall-ย This one is no surprise. ๐Ÿ˜‰

3)Order Declan’s birthday cake- We have the venue chosen and the final step is the cake and invitations.

I’ve decided to stick with three goals per month so that I can more easily achieve them. The holidays are just around the bend and I don’t want to get discouraged because I made too many goals per month.

What goals are you setting this month?

<3 Anna