Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Oh how I love this man!

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I'm sick. Strep throat. which just hit and I mean WHAM-O...no warning. Sunday afternoon/evening. I'd been great that morning.
Couldn't be worse timing...okay maybe it could...but it's horrid timing for me still!

I don't get sick too often, thankfully, but when I do, it always serves as a reminder to me of the gift I have in my husband.
This is pretty horrid timing for him too. He's swamped with work and needs this to be a very productive week. Yet he's had to cook, clean, nurse, get Rx's, take me to the Dr, buy me some yummy soup, etc etc etc...
And he will absolutely NOT let me worry about any of that and the time it's taken from him.
He tells me he WANTS to do those things. The times I've voiced concern, he has looked me right in the eye and basically told me those thoughts are not allowed.

As much as I HATE being sick this week (HATE it)
I love this man of mine and am so very thankful for him!!

Other things I'm thankful for this week:
Parents who took the kids yesterday so they weren't exposed to all germs at the urgent care, and so hubby could get some work done.

The Dr I saw (my regular Dr had no openings) who took one look in my grotesque throat, and said there was no point in putting me through a strep test...there was no question! She was so kind! Me and my insanely strong gag reflex appreciated that SO much!

Tylenol PM! I'm one to let a fever do it's job and I rarely take anything for fever until it means a lack of sleep...and my 102+ fever meant lack of sleep so I broke down and finally took some....and I'm thankful for it!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Tradition.....

....TRADITION!!! I love traditions. Thought I'd share a few of our Christmas traditions

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Christmas Eve night always means the first gift of Christmas....which must be new PJ's for all. And if Mrs Claus can find them...matching/coordinating PJ's for the kiddos. Makes for good pictures on Christmas morning when everyone has brand new, festive PJ's!!

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new PJ's are followed by the traditional reading of Twas the Night before Christmas (we're big fans of Robert Sabuda)

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and after Twas the Night before Christmas comes the reading of Santa Mouse!

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Christmas morning we hold the kids at the top of the stairs. First Daddy interviews the kids at the top of the stairs, it's so fun to watch the videos from past years. but it's also lots of fun to 'torture' the kids a bit holding them off. Then they are let loose for the family room. (note the plate on the table...peppers and tomatoes for the reindeer were eaten, cookies for Santa...and we couldn't forget cheese for Santa Mouse)
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One of the traditions carried over from BOTH of our families, is the cinnamon roll Christmas tree being part of the Christmas morning b'fast. At our house GrandMama and Papa come for brunch after presents are opened. Some years I make the cinnamon rolls homemade, sometimes I used pre-made. some years I put cocoa in the trunk's frosting so it's brown and cut a star to put on the top with some yellow or white frosting....but no matter what I get a whim to do or not do...there must be cinnamon rolls in the shape of a Christmas tree to eat Christmas morning!!

I hope that each of you had a simply delightful holiday making and creating memories with the ones you love!! Sorry for the lack of recent posts...after 3 weeks of nearly sleepless nights with the precious baby we were blessed to care for, we moved right into holiday madness. Limited hours in each day and the few free ones were spent crashed!!

Dec 27th 2005

Tomorrow she'll be 4.....I miss her!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

all is well....

At our house for a few days we get to stare at the most beautiful baby....and that feels like just about all we are doing. We have done some school work today, but then we take breaks to just stare.......I mean really, who wouldn't just stare at this........

Isn't she just gorgeous? People ask me all the time "isn't it hard to be a foster parent?" In all honesty, there are days when I want to scream
"YES!!! It's AGONIZING! My heart is being ripped out bit by bit!"

But the reality is, there are so SO many days like today when I want to say:

"seriously??? SERIOUSLY??? Look at this angel...how could it be hard to love her with all our might?"
Seriously we are having a ball....and it helps us this week as we move into the holiday season missing the little ones we won't be spending these specials days with.
it's a tiny little beautiful reminder that we have SO much to be thankful for!!

*I am thankful for each and every little soul that has graced our home with their presence.
*I am thankful for every smile
*every laugh
*every cry I got to comfort
*every back I got to pat
*Every burp
*Every little finger and every little toe
*every first step and first word
*every sleepless night
*I'm thankful for the world my birth children see and watching their passion grow to help children who can't help themselves.

*I am thankful for a husband who I must take turns with to snuggle and care for these sweet little ones....he loves them just as much as me and each time I see him cradle a little one I love him even more...even though every single time I think surely I couldn't, my heart might burst. But it doesn't and I do
*I am thankful for a wonderful organization like Georgia AGAPE who ensures these precious children are not only fed and clothed physically, but also spiritually.
*and yes I am thankful for the sadness when we say goodbye to these little ones we get to love for a 'little while' (really their whole lives...they just might not know it). yes really, because that reminds me of why I feel sad sometimes...because of all the things I was blessed to experience with that little one. and each and EVERY child deserves to be loved and missed til a heart might break when they are away from someone. There are too many children that don't have someone to love them and miss them that much in this life.....


THANK YOU GEORGIA AGAPE for all that you do (like working into the night on Saturday nights Kim!!) to ensure that so so many children are loved and cared for (and loved and missed)!! Your work is appreciated!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

What I love about Homeschooling

Sunday night the kids spent the night with my parents as a treat since they haven't in so long (something they couldn't have done if they were still in public school). They headed home about 9am. And our day began.


Yesterday we read:

The Bible (and worked on memorizing the 10 commandments...also an assignment for their Bible class and used that as a writing assignment too)
Johnny Tremain (Mommy reading outloud)
The Courage of Sarah Noble (MaryKyle reading outloud)
The Bears of Hemlock Mountain (John Mark reading outloud)
The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood (Daddy reading outloud)
Little Women (MaryKyle's silent reading)
The Black Stallion (John Mark's silent reading)
Animal Vegetable Miracle (Mommy's silent reading)
The Host (Mommy listening to while walking)

We also worked on US history lessons about the early Settlers to North America & some of the explorers that led their expeditions (French, Spanish, English and Portugese)

also a Math test and Math lesson (and then revew review review!!).

And yes our 'school day' lasted just about all day long. But none of us were fried a bit, not a single bit. We've had a SUPER day!! I mean with this fabulous fall weather, how could you not?? Of course, half of our reading took place out on our swing set or sitting outside somewhere in the GORGEOUS weather!! We reviewed and had a fun family quiz about our History lesson at the dinner table (over our low country boil! YUMMO! Thank you Kroger for your 4 day meat sale!) and the day for the kids ended with their Daddy reading to them....

Oh yes one ouf our best accomplishments.....we taught Caroline (our Florida Gator loving neighbor's 2 yr old) to say "ROLL TIDE!!"

video

yes, it was a GREAT day!! Even though Mommy had a headache, Daddy has some sort of sinus/allergy stuff going on, and MaryKyle isn't too far behind Daddy....NOT saying that to whine...not a bit, but for me I'm so thankful that we could pace ourselves, not push, snack, eat, wrestle, sing at the top of our lungs, swing, slide, and play football all at home enjoying this day together!!

Love my life...love my family!!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

What happened to Thanksgiving?

fall edited
(thanks to Edie's "12 days of Christmas" And All a Flutter for the fun 'bunting' idea! I'm not QUITE done with mine, but what a fun quick little craft to do in my spare time)
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday! No 'stuff' involved...just being thankful and spending time with family. It helps that I just LOVE fall....but goodness each year T'giving gets more and more overlooked. Halloween moves in and before it's over Christmas decor pops up. There are some that already have their trees up and lights outside....ack! Not for me...I love love love fall and Thanksgiving! I love the cool fall days, I love making snacks for my hubby while he watches Alabama football, I love the leaves, I love hayrides, I love weenie roasts, I love the colors, I love gathering together with family and remembering what we are thankful for !
oh yeah and then there's fall food and the fact that I love all things pumpkin (pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin waffles, pumpkin cupcakes.....)

Friday, November 13, 2009

about time

So looking over my blog I got sad. Really.

somehow this blog became about cooking and kids, school activities, etc All fine and good things....but the man who makes every single bit of that possible only gets an occassional mention.


Total injustice to an outstanding man!




Tour de Georgia 040b



My husband is amazing! He is good and kind. He is passionate about his family. He's so totally fun to be around! He can make me laugh when I'm in a downright horrid mood, and he somehow patiently puts up with me on those days. He quit his job and started his own business so he could be with the kids more instead of just dinner and bathtime. He wanted to have a bigger influence on their lives and to create memories to last their lifetime. I married a man who is more driven on seeing his family in heaven then a he is seeing his family in the finest clothes, in a big house with expensive things, etc How was I so blessed?? Oh wait...I remember I blogged about that a while back (maybe I'm not SO bad)

I love how he reads to our kids after dinner and listening to all the fun voices he creates for each character. I love how he insisted on changing all the diapers in the first couple weeks of MaryKyle's (our oldests) life and he took off a month of work just before John Mark turned one so that he could have some Daddy kid bonding time. I love to watch him snuggle babies!


He loves bicycling and in the picture above he took the kids all around North Georgia watching Lance Armstrong in the Tour de Georgia. They had a ball...all 3 of them, and is a memory the kids still talk about. It was a Daddy kid time...Mommy wasn't there. He had them all day long, including them in something that he liked instead of seeing them as a nuisance. He does the same for them. This year he was asked to coach JohnMark's little league team. He knew almost nothing about baseball and certainly not about coaching. What he knew is that John Mark had an interest in baseball. He's really good at research and studied how to best go about it and wasn't afraid to ask questions. I was recently told by one of the other team Mommies that he was the 'best coach they'd ever had' why? Because he never lost his cool, never raised his voice in frustration....and taught. He never considered anyone the underdog and assumed they didn't have the skill. he worked with every kid and his goal was to teach each boy something that season. He's such a wonderful Daddy to our children!!

He is amazing!! Truly....amazing!!

and mine...all mine!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

as requested

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(sorry I'm no food photographer...this will have to do, I'm too tired to care)

I made these for an event tonight and got lots of requests for the recipe. Several wanted to make them for Thanksgiving. They were yummy for sure...but super super sweet....I thought the mini-ones were just right. Others wanted to go all out and they enjoyed the big ones. So I was glad I did a mix of both, but definitely glad I didn't make all big ones as for many, it's just too much!

But truly they are yummy.

so here you go. Here is what I did:

I used THIS Pumpkin Cupcake recipe from Martha Stewart Living for the cupcakes.

Then I doubled THIS recipe from ChockyLit (seriously LOVE her cupcakes!!) for her Salted Caramel frosting- (it's further down the page with a chocolate gluten free cupcake.)

I doubled the Salted Caramel (NOT the frosting just the caramel) because I read that suggestion on another blog (and can't find it now...ugh) and dipped the cupcakes in the caramel. I did that and then also followed ChockyLit's suggestion with some extra (there was plenty extra...still have some in my freezer) I put it on a plate and cut up some pieces to top them with. Which promptly melted and ran down the icing after sitting out a bit, but I liked that look too so no worries!! The picture was taken at the end of the night....so this was a sad cupcake, not one of the prettier ones which was promptly gobbled...poor poor cupcake...

oh oh...and I DID NOT put the salt on top...I put the caramel on top. I actually think the sea salt would be really good. But my hubby and kids turned their noses up at the thought. I might try it tomorow with the leftovers and see what it's like...I'm thinking it might help with the sweetness a bit....I'll let you know!

Again I'm just going to warn you...we're talking filthy rich ladies!!

Have I mentioned today how much I love cupcakes?
no?

well I do...I LOOOVEEE CUPCAKES!! and I love having a reason to make them, because I have to make them when I have others here to eat them!! Otherwise...well...it wouldn't be pretty

Friday, November 6, 2009

Arf! Arf!
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I'm going to spend the night tonight at a hotel with MK and 2 of her good friends for a belated b'day celebration of sorts. She wanted a semi-hotel for dogs theme with puppy cupcakes.
This is what I came up with. I was worried about not having time to pull something together today, but these were so super easy!! Whew!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Fun house

Sorry I've not been on much lately...so much going on.
ACK... is this is a sign of what's to come, going into the holiday season?!?
We've had some impromptu science experiments...it worked he exploded a large ziplock bag!! He was thrilled!! So fun!
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And this is what happens when Jason Mraz comes on to play at our house.... no we don't 'think we can dance' (in fact we are fully aware that we can't!)
and we just don't care,
well as long as no one sees us...hee hee!!
Pictures are kid taken so perhaps not so centered...but again, doesn't matter so much.
What matters is that fun memories are captured!
That they remember we would stop all school work to dance around
the family room, laughing together
and thoroughly enjoy being together!!
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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A decade of parenting

Today is all about her:

(so when she knocked over my entire cup of coffee on to my freshly cleaned carpet....I didn't even fuss. honest.)

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Because ten years ago today at 11:41am our world was all about her!

How oh how has it been a decade?!

I don't know, but somehow it happened and now I have a "Double Digit Midget" oh how well I remember looking forward to claiming that title myself...

her bedroom door was waiting for the new 10 yr old to emerge

10 sets of balloons lined the stairs

The breakfast table was set and decorated just for her....
with 1o crepe paper flowers as the centerpiece
and there were 10 candles on her french toast!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Savings Tally:

I needed to get some toilet paper so had to spend more than I saved as I needed it....just can't live without toilet paper.

Spent: 2.76
Saved: 2.00

YTD spending: $167.87
YTD SAVING: $305.44
Weekly Average Grocery Spending: $41.97
(Started Sept 20)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

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I have had goal all year to make our own bread....which means I had to master bread making. The year is nearing an end (ack!) and I've still not mastered it....so the pressure is on. So after seeing a book mentioned a while back on my friend emily's site I kept meaning to order it and just never got around to it for one reason or another. Until a couple weeks ago. Now I'm pouring over it and PERHAPS I'll meet my goal before the year is out. I've made lots of bread this year, but have yet to be consistent with rising, looks, taste, etc. Plus it takes a lot of scheduling and time.
I kept telling my sweet hubby that I needed to learn the science of breadmaking so that I could figure out what I'm doing wrong. And I might have figured it out a bit...at least some...we'll see how I do when I make my first batch. I'm waiting on a new baking stone to arrive. BUT I might have to forego the stone and just go for it....because this cool air makes for the most perfect baking weather!!!

(after all how will I convince my sweet husband that I need to mill my own flour if I can't consistently make BREAD!!??)

Monday, October 12, 2009

"Make new friends but keep the old one is silver and the other gold"

I went to a private Christian high school my last 2 years of high school.

We had chapel every day.

as boring as it could be some days I really did like it! Song request days when you knew who was going to request what song and you'd roll your eyes at the person next to you...or giggle when someone requested a certain song for the express reason of hearing the accent the leader used to sing that particular song & everyone giggled....etc etc I just loved it!
half the time we were half asleep during chapel, but there was just something about it. I never hated it. Never once....

okay maybe once

but that's a crazy silly story about a note found by our principal and READ ALOUD by him IN CHAPEL in front of EVERYONE. he didn't read the names of who the note was from and to (WHEW!!!), although everyone was sure they knew who the note was to and from..................
they were wrong
but the 3-4 of us that knew never told...hee hee!!

So, this past Sunday I had a sort of deja vous (love spellcheck) moment. I felt liked I'd stepped back in time a bit. There was even the occasional embarrassing moments (thanks Laura...ha ha!!)
In worship Sunday I sat with a friend from high school on either side of me and one in front of me.
We sang together, prayed together, laughed together and some of us then had lunch together.

What a blessing....a real gift!!! Even better, their wonderful spouses!! Truly my friends married so so well!!

And the reality check moment...our children becoming friends and enjoying being together!

Where have the years gone?

Wasn't it just yesterday that Vangie requested again "God Put a Rainbow in the Cloud" before heading off to Calculus?



I had meant to get a picture with all the kiddos, but I just forgot.
oops....kind of like my homework!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Psalm 8

We've been working on memorization more lately. One of the things we've memorized is Psalm 8. The kids were practicing saying it today and John Mark all of a sudden started putting motions to the verse, MK decided she liked that and it stuck. They didn't discuss really doing any of it, just as they practiced saying it over and over they just sort of did stuff....which made it even more enjoyable to watch as their Mommy so I decided to video it and as soon as I did they said "Mommy will you put in on your blog or facebook?" ha ha ha....

So here you have my kiddos version of Psalm 8, MaryKyle adds some motions as she goes along, but that's exactly how this whole thing worked....John Mark started the motions, then MK would start doing it too, then she would do one and he would pick it up, no discussion really at all over what they would do then vice versa...so I just recorded along the way!
video

Monday, October 5, 2009

Savings Tally:



TODAY at Publix:
Spent: 49.93
SAVED: $94.94

Since Sept 20, 2009:
YTD Spending: $87.38
YTD Savings: $168.67
Average weekly grocery spending: $29.13

(includes toiletries, etc)

Friday, October 2, 2009

one of those days...

today is a day....

hmm.......a day that I don't really ever care to repeat.

But yet, today is a day I woke up to a note of prayers from a neighbor left on my porch, watched my son figure out wrench measurements to match up with bolts and take apart things and build things. I saw my daughter design and sew a cute little outfit for her doll. A day I watched my son play 2nd base for the first time and even though he was by no means a pro, he ASKED to stick with it and didn't give up! Today I sat on my front porch with our neighbors little - almost 2 yr old and rejoiced with her each time she heard a bird tweet or saw a bug fly by! Today the weather was amazing....a perfect fall day! A beautiful day! And at the end of it, after the baseball game that seemed to never end, when no one was left there. We, with another coach from our team stood at the baseball park and prayed together...

So even though we thought we'd get a new little addition to our family (sorry that's about all I feel safe saying) and that we might be by tonight parenting 3 children again, but yet we're not.... Today was a day FILLED with blessings.

So I'd repeat it...parts of it...over and over and over!

Today God is good...
just like yesterday and just like tomorrow -
just like EVERY day!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

We've been boo'd!!

Tonight coming home from Bible study there on our porch awaited the official kick off to fall!! The kids BOUND out of the car when they spotted it....oh what fun!! Here is what we found on our porch...That's right, once again, we've been "Boo'd" if you have no idea what I'm talking about feel free to go back to last year's post It's so much fun!! It truly makes our night and officially kicks off our fall season each year when we get boo'd. This years basket was filled with cookie cutters, cookie mix, candy corn colored taffy (oh boy were we all excited about that!! YUMMMM!!), cotton candy, adorable Halloween napkins, a Halloween dishcloth, and lots of other fun goodies!! Plus, of course, the adorable basket that it all was in.


And check out our great boo sign now PROUDLY displayed on our front door (and see our little Cookie dog peeking out the window since I have to get a new curtain from a store that isn't close to me and I have to take the time to get over to that town to get one...sigh...oh well...)

So...HAPPY FALL Y'all....hope you have a wonderful, blessed, fun fall FILLED with smiles and laughter and time with your neighbors. I am sure blessed almost daily by the wonderful neighbors that surround me!!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

An Apple A Day....

Today my sweet hubby picked up 1/2 a bushel of these for me

they are WineSaps FYI and isn't the basket simply BEEEEE-U-TIFUL??!! My sweet neighbor's precious mother ("Marvelous Mrs Mary" as my kids call her) who lives in Buffalo gave it to us filled with Easter goodies this past spring on one of her visits...how blessed are we? Isn't it gorgeous filled with apples? just Love this basket!!

HERE IS WHAT I DID WITH THOSE BEAUTIES:

First I peel, cored and sliced them (and pointed out to sweet hubby my need for a new peeler, corer, slicer contraption. Mine was purchased before I married and has been well loved and used and......... has about had it)


While doing that, John Mark did this:

He asked if he could eat the whole bowl...this kid LOVES apples
(but Gala's are by far his favorite)


Then, I did this. All the liquid is provided by the apples,
just cook them for a while to get them super soft!
Then I mushed and mashed, and mashed and mushed
and added some other yummy goodness to the pot
(brown sugar and cinnamon)
And then once again put my parents old canner to good use and did this:

I made 7 pints of applesauce. My son could go through those in a week if we let him

So, tomorrow, we're going back to buy a whole bushel, perhaps a different variety to do a taste test...this one is going to be hard to beat we all decided...we'll see. I hear it's good on gingerbread. Hmm...might be time to make some. I've not in ages and ages....

Oh yeah...and we also came home from the baseball game & other adventures today to a house filled with the stench of a sick dog....so I called hubby and asked him not only to please pick up the apples, but also PLEASE get a steam cleaner. And once you pay to rent one...well you must clean ALLLLL your carpets, right? So here I sit at 11 at night, taking a bit of a break. From furniture moving, vacuuming and steam cleaning...well hubby operates the cleaner, I just help with the prep work. I didn't document that part of the day with pictures...no one deserves that...ugh.... but it turned it to a big part of our day so I had to mention it

last weekend I canned scuppernong jelly. I'm thinking salsa is next (after more applesauce). I'm having WAY too much fun canning stuff. I might like it more than baking...hmm...that's a toughie, but I do really enjoy it! Is it odd that I get a thrill every time I open my pantry and there are more pretty jars filled with things I canned then there are metal cans filled from the store? Those pretty jars make me smile every time I see them.
Hmm.....wonder if anyone has a wonderful recipe to can pumpkin since they are starting to pop up everywhere.....and it happens to be one of my favorite things to consume (and smell)!, and I'm thinking it could be really pretty in jar!!!

So once again I pose the question...why oh why do they call it "canning" and not "jarring"?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Ob la di ob la da....


arrgghh...I've tried to fix it but blogger has some margin hiccup tonight. Sorry for all the oddities!!

This is a video of pictures taken around our town/area. I didn't take it. A friend passed it on to me. But this is what it has looked like all around us this week.
Yes, we are okay!! We had little to no damage...really the only tiny leak we had isn't worth mentioning at all.


The video doesn't even show you some of the worst hit areas. It's truly just humbling!!

It's amazing.

But as it always does...LIFE GOES ON, it's funny like that! There isn't alot of options but
to keep going with it.
John Mark had a baseball game last night.
It was so much fun (ooo....his coach is SO hot! more on that later for sure!) But as
we arrived and the parents saw each other for the first time in a couple weeks because
of all the rain we all had to trade our stories of the week's events. It is just amazing.
The world is filled with wonderful people is what you are reminded of when
things like this happen. The red cross at one of the shelters was turning away donations as
they've been inundated.
Communities helping each other is such a wonderful thing. Seeing that every
congregation from every denomination is trying to help. neighbors are helping neighbors,
and the world keeps going. and For just a moment we are reminded that we are
surrounded by good, kind people!

That kindness truly exists.

It makes me wonder what the world must have been like when God destroyed it with the
first flood...whew... It must have been a lonely place for Mr and Mrs Noah and their family.

I'm so blessed!!!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

"there's gonna be a floody floody"

UPDATE: It's getting pretty bad here. I've been listening to the police scanner tonight and it's so scary how many people have been trapped in their homes, trapped on their vehicle, 'swept away' and hanging on a tree....etc etc....

This picture is from much earlier tonight right on the corner by our church bldg. This is right where we drove by coming home from worship tonight- this is what happened not to much later...and the rain is still coming down.....and we now have a sinkhole between our's and our neighbor's house. It's 'only' about 4ftx4ft and 3 ft deep, well at least that's what it was a few hours ago, haven't checked it lately.
Schools have had to close.....Truly this is amazing...


WOW....time to find some Gopher Wood and look up the ark dimensions. It's crazy rainy here. Truly, this part of the world has been my hometown since I was in 6th grade and I've never seen anything like it.

Look HERE for some viewer pictures from today (go to the slideshow at this link), but keep in mind after nightfall the rain moved in in downpours again...and is still falling. Thankfully I drive a 'tank' (96 Lexus LX450 - like a toyota landcruiser) other cars on our way home from worship tonight weren't faring as well....many were stopped on the side of the road, stalled out, trning around etc....we were turned around on our usual route home. Two trucks flagged us down saying not to go that way we wouldn't be able to get through...one of them was a great big utility truck...just wow!! After so so many years of drought, rationing water, etc...this is amazing!! I'm not complaining. Just in awe!!

Etsy

okay....SO I'm realizing that there are some sad sad souls out there....

those that have not discovered the joys of Etsy!


that's right. Really....if you haven't. You need to!

Christmas is coming up and so I thought I'd clue you in, that is if you don't know already...
because you should...everyone should

Etsy is as they say "your place to buy and sell all things handmade"

That's right. It's the perfect place to find that perfect gift for the person on your list who has everything. It's just tons and tons (seriously it can be overwhelming) of handmade goods.

And other simply delightful knit toys she creates...with her own two hands


seriously do you know how wonderful it is for me to find fun dangle CLIP earrings

(that's right I just get weirder and weirder...my ears aren't pierced...okay they were...but well....it's a long boring story). For a mere $6 I got fun Halloween dangle earrings....well I got lots more than just those.

Anyway...just a heads up...if you hadn't discovered the wonders of Etsy....you need to!
There are some marvelously talented, artistic, creative people in this world...and since I don't happen to be one, I love Etsy all the more!!

so go, check it out
and
BUY HANDMADE

(you guessed it...google images)


Our schedule has really been coming together around here...and I LOVE it!! Remember my purchase of the book "Managers of their Home" I'll do another post about that and our new schedule soon...(promise). But for now, here's one thing it reminded me, one thing I've struggled with ever since committing to school my children at home...

that I am here to SCHOOL MY CHILDREN AT HOME.
hmm...what?
Didn't I already say that?
yeah well I'm a little slow apparently. I needed the reminder.
(I'm sure I'm alone in this...so just feel sorry for me and tilt your head and nod a bit with a solemn look on your face and a bit of a furrowed brow when you think of me)

Going from a stay at home Mommy of 2 kids in public school to a home educator I've realized was a bigger leap then I thought it would be.
And I'm not talking about the teaching part (this time). I'm talking about the realization that basically.....
I work....
I have a job (granted I think it's the greatest job on earth).

Last year I would go for coffee with friends, baby sit for friends, run errands, volunteer, etc etc during the school day...professing "what a blessing it is that I am at home" or I would find myself saying "just call we are at home pretty much every day"
sounds good.....

except that I wasn't changing my life to reflect the change in our home. So we would spend a ton of time rushing to catch up...which meant Mommy wasn't always a delightfully fun teacher - or Mommy - to be around. I was still trying to do all the things I'd done when the kids were in Public school and then do school.
This summer I did a lot of thinking of what I wanted this school year to look like...how I wanted it to look, and how I needed to change my mindset so that I could accomplish everything I wanted to....and my kids not hate me for it. I had to have my own little vocabulary lesson....

"N-O spells......"

Boundaries
I recently spoke to another homeschool Mom who has had the same problem. Her husband finally made a sign for her front door "please do not disturb between the hours of.......& ....... school is in session" and she turned her ringer off on her phone.
I generally don't answer the phone during lessons....BUT sometimes when the kids are finishing up a worksheet or something I have been known to answer it since they are occupied...then they finish and I'm still on the phone an hour later.....and then we're behind and pushing it or we don't get done what we'd planned because the kids get distracted because I wasn't engaged.

I learned in this book, I'm not the only one.

But I have to set boundaries...for my sanity and for the benefit of my children and the health of my home.

but the problem is my friends don't all realize that...you see, to the world outside these 4 walls i'm still seen as a 'stay at home Mom' so I still get calls to get together with friends, do this or that. you know the call "hey would you mind taking on...." ....and I HATE and I mean HATE to turn them down....
but if I say yes you know what it means??
it means my kids are not in school.

hmm....I'm pretty sure those with kids in public school wouldn't think it was okay to let their kids skip school so the Mommy could enjoy a cup of delicious coffee (caramel machiato please) and fabulous company.
errrrr.....that doesn't really work.

So friends (not speaking to one in-particular AT ALL). I'm so sorry, but I hope you will understand, that although my insurance package and retirement might not look the same as a public school teacher...I still have a responsibility to my students to clock in to work and teach them.....(don't worry I've factored some 'me' time into our new schedule...I am not deprived.)

Truly I Love My life and thank God each and every day that I have the privilege of educating my children at home. It's a great job - I love going to work every day


(okay ALMOST every day)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

An Assault on My Senses


Have I told you about my sister in law? I have two wonderful sister in laws. Truly I'm blessed. One of which lived in China for quite a few years.
Back when she first went she would send the most amazing emails home that would have us laughing and crying. Then a computer savvy friend of hers set up something like a blog...before blogging was cool and there were all these free sites. So she would keep us all informed of her adventures through her site. She has such a gift for story telling. It helps she's an English/Literature teacher, but truly she's gifted. We all kept telling her she needed to publish her writings. Our friends and family would say the same thing when we would send them the link. I mean the stories are just great!! And she finally did....and it's AWESOME!!

I happened to just go on Amazon tonight looking at it for some reason and saw that they only have 5 copies left. It is hilarious and enjoyable!! It is a great read. Yes, yes I'm completely and totally biased. I will admit (I find her amazing!). However, my friends that have read it are not, they think it's great too!! It's a great read on the cultural differences encountered when traveling!! It's a great book for those the enjoy travel, but also those that just dream about it...so heat up a cup of tea and set back and enjoy!!

If Amazon runs out, you can also order from Barnes and Noble and virtualbookworm.com

Monday, September 14, 2009

Remember the pitcher I mentioned here. Well this weekend while visiting with my cousins and sister over some yummy homemade ice cream after my GrandMother's funeral, come to find out we all had fond memories of the pitcher in her fridge. Funny how one simple thing can mean so much to you and leave a big memory!! It wasn't some huge expensive gift, big event...it was what was always in the fridge at my Granny and GrandPa's house in Old Hickory, TN (LOVE That place!!). it was a sure thing. you could depend on it being there after a game of tag with cousins, or shooting bb guns, or playing with the neighbor's granddaughters.
You KNEW that the pitcher would be there full of ice cold water to sip on.
Well come to find out the pitcher that is one of those precious memories for me, one of my cousin has at his home
(don't you think he should give it to me?? I mean I even blogged about it for goodness sakes).

My sister and I had no idea. We'd assumed it had been dumped or donated LONG ago.
Isn't it funny though that all of us would have taken that pitcher as a precious family heirloom and treasured it as a precious connection to our grandparents?
I'd love to know how much my Grandparents paid for that pitcher I'm certain it wasn't much, and I'm sure another could be found and purchased easily....but it would not mean the same or be as treasured.

I love that simple things create such long-lasting memories.

I think there is a lesson in that....and a hope


(oh and the picture was my 'sweet' cousin's way of rubbing it in...ha ha....he posted it on facebook. The pitcher is continuing to create memories as we all pretend squabble over it's rightful owner, who will it be willed to next, etc etc)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

This craze over the President's speech to school children makes me sad. Just the statuses on facebook alone have shocked me...then there's the news....UGH!

I think it's great for a president to encourage our school children. I'm glad that President Reagan started the practice of talking to our school children. What? A republican has done it too!? YES and guess what so did Bush. And Democrats freaked about it...now Republican's are freaking over Obama doing it.
Sad I think.
Is Obama my favorite president. Nope. Did I love and adore and agree with all Bush did. Nope.

But my question is this....when is the last time you GENUINELY prayed for President Obama?

I Timothy 2:1-2
1I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— 2for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

I wonder when is the last time you gave thanks to God for our President? Whether it be Bush or Obama.

I'll be honest I'm horrid at remembering such things. But I need to do better. I need to show my children a better example of praying for the authorities. I don't want them to grow up negative and with 'dooms day' attitudes when someone they didn't vote for gets elected. I want them to know that no matter what comes in their lives they have a faithful God who will be there to hear their prayers.
Is that the message I'm sending??

I you haven't watched it, I encourage you to. I will be showing it to my children today.
WHAT? A Mommy who lives in the south, Christian conservative, that homeschools and doesn't have to show them the 'dreaded speech' that so many kept their kids out of school so they wouldn't have to watch it -
is showing it to her kids BY CHOICE?! YES I AM!
And we will be following the video with a prayer for PRESIDENT Obama and our country and our country's children! And we will be sure to include a prayer of thanks that Obama took the time to encourage the children in this country. So many do not have supportive parents who take a genuine interest in their children's education. As a foster parent and from volunteering a ton in my kids public school when they were there I know that to be true. So I don't think having a president whether republican or democrat...black or white...encourging children to stay in school is a bad thing at all. Was his speech changed because of the public's reaction. Probably...and I'll be thankful for that too, because I think this was a great speech!

sigh....

(not my photo...found it on google images but I can't remember where - sorry!!)

God and Butterflies....

My Granny loved both.
I love my Granny.
After 101 (January would have been 102) years my Granny's earthly body (I like how my Mother referred to her body as her 'earthly costume') finally decided yesterday it was ready for her to move on to the eternal one! I'm SO happy for her. She wanted this. When we celebrated her 101st b'day with her she said with a chuckle "I've been trying to stop having these" and at Christmas with a mention of Santa Claus she said "well, I thought he died years ago!"

My Granny was quiet and humble. Hysterical and sarcastic. She held on to her humor til just the last few weeks. My sister reminds me of her sometimes....
it makes me smile since they have the same name.
But my Granny could make me laugh....hard! (so can my sister)


My Granny loved my Grandpa. IMMENSELY!
He's been gone since I was in 6th grade.
(Is it odd that I still tear up thinking about that dreaded phone call?)
A large part of the pain of losing him was knowing they would be apart.
Her love for him serves as a precious example to me even still.
she LOVED him. Truly and wholly and absolutely LOVED him!

My Granny (and us) lost my Aunt the first year I was married.... I lived the closest at the time so I was the first to 'get to her' when we got the news my Aunt had completed her time on this earth. I got a ticket trying to get there to be with Granny.

My Granny used to always have a bag of Creme Drops waiting on her kitchen table when we arrived. I never ate them anywhere else or hardly ever have seen them but if ever I see a bag of them anywhere I think so fondly of my times at Granny and Grandpa's (but shhh...I don't really like them)!

She always had chocolate milk in the fridge too (What a TREAT!)...and the coolest water pitcher ever. I loved drinking water at her house!

I was with my Granny the morning of Sept 11, 2001. John Mark and I spent the night with her the night before....we had a wonderful night, popping popcorn and chatting about the past. It was truly a great night!

My Granny adored her son, (my Daddy).
Truly adored him.
Peace was brought to her by just his voice...sometimes just the mention of his name.
He has been an incredible son...INCREDIBLE.

My Granny. Made Me Smile. Loved her Family.
Loved God, and Loved butterflies.

I LOVE MY GRANNY!
I love that my Granny is happy!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Traditions....





















Old school meets modern day....our freezer let's us crank til we are tired and then turn on the electric!! PERFECT!!

Homemade Banana Ice Cream in the summertime is tradition....well at least it's a MUST or it's not summer...does that make it a 'tradition'?
I don't know but it's YUMMMMMYY!!! My Mother and Daddy make it - had some last weekend made by them for my b'day. Tonight we are going to an "Ice Cream Social" (is that a southern thing?) and of course....it just must be banana!!

So yummy!! Want to make some too (you know you want to...you really just must!)? Well now you can join in the tradition....here's the recipe:

Vanderpool's World Famous Banana Ice Cream
(okay so I made up the name and perhaps it's a stretch, but I was an Army brat and we did live outside the US....and we did make it every summer wherever we were....and people always wanted the recipe)

2 cups sugar
6 eggs (can use egg beaters)
1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 Tbsp vanilla
3 small very ripe bananas, mushed
(as in you want them mushy and brown no mold, but the riper they are the sweeter they are)

Put all in your ice cream freezer cannister.
Finish filling freezer container to fill-line with milk (mine doesn't have a line...if yours doesn't just do it til it's about 2/3rds full as it will expand as it freezes)

and send that freezer spinning....!! YUMMMY!!! I guarantee satisfaction....if not completely satisfied...
well just give it to me!!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Proud

(my beautiful niece)

Today I was proud.

Proud to be an American.

I wonder who started the tradition of pulling over when funeral processions pass?

I just love seeing it occur.

Today

Cars on both sides of the median pulled over.

Someone in one of the cars was running late for an appt.

Someone was trying to get their kids to stop arguing.

Someone had a screaming baby ready for a bottle and a nap.

Someone was rushing between piano lessons and baseball practice.

most were in a hurry...aren't 99.9% of Americans in a hurry?

 But for just a moment they pulled over, slowed down their lives

 and showed respect.

and perhaps said a prayer for the people in the cars with their lights beaming letting us know that their hearts are heavy!

Mountain Tackled...tear free!

Total SPENT: $117.65
Total SAVED: $150.74
Not great, but not bad for the return trip with a bare pantry and no coupons from all the weeks we were gone.

(Publix purchase only)


So here are my stats:

KROGER
Spent: $70.96
SAVED: $81.33
and got $5 to use on my next purchase

PUBLIX:
Spent: $46.69
SAVED: $69.41

I won't bore you with what all I got, but here is the Publix list:

2 lbs Snow Crab legs
2 half gallons S Smart Milk
4Uncle Beans long grain and wild rice
1 dozen eggs
2.57 lbs plums
2 packages Edwards pie singles
2 6 pack double roll Cottonelle Ultra
6 4 pk packages YoPlait YoPlus Light Probiotic Yogurt
2 Plaintains
3 packages Mott's Natural no sugar Apple Sauce
4.42 lbs bananas
2 Organic Valley Butter
2 Large Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil

tackling a mountain

nope not the laundry from the trip.....the grocery shopping.
I've been up tonight working on my grocery lists. For some reason I'm dreaded it horribly. I think it's just overwhelming. So many choices, bright clean stores, so many choices, well lit stores, so many choices, no animals in the stores, etc etc....
I don't know what it is, but the thought of stepping foot in a grocery store overwhelms me. But I've been asked to teach another coupon class in a couple weeks, so I really need to do it. Well and then there is that little issue of my family is ready to have food in the house. Although thanks to my handy dandy stockpile we've not starved. However...I don't stockpile snack foods generally (we'd eat as much as there was on hand so I try to limit how much is onhand) and there's been very little offerings for lunch foods.
Yep...they'd like to eat, and I'd like to feed them...but I'd prefer to do it without going to the grocery store. Think it's possible to grow a garden overnight??? Oh and buy and slaughter my own meat and catch some good fish???
didn't think so....here goes nothing. The list is ready. Coupons are beside it.
Pressure is on...

That's right I on top of the overwhelmingness (wow spell check didn't catch that...who knew that was really a word!!) of it all I have all the pressure to 'SAVE BIG' - people expect it from me now...we'll see...I've let us get so bare I doubt it will be a giant save...I'll be happy if I'm upside down with my savings more than my spending but not sure if thats even possible this trip. UGH! But once I start I'll get back in the swing of things and get cranking on the coupons once again....addictions do that to you.......

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Hooray for mailmen!!!!

look what came in the mail yesterday!!!
Oh a package...a package!! So so much fun to get a package!! hee hee....that inner child never quite goes away for me. You pull in the driveway and see a package and my inner child does a little jig!!
And what fun this one is. I know books...looks boring...but I BEG to differ. Just came yesterday and I fell asleep pouring over "Managers of their Homes" last night and woke up and picked it back up this morning. My favorite part thus far....each chapter has a sample of a different homeschooling families schedule!! WHOOHOOOO.....I LOVE when fellow homeschoolers post their schedules on their blogs. It's a huge help to me...the unscheduled unorganized one...so this is like heaven in a book for me!! WHOoot hoott!!
I'm already half-way through and learning so much....I'll keep you posted as we begin our shift from unorganized to more organized (but keeping our relaxed attitudes)!!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

wild ride!!


That's what foster parenting can be.....a wild roller coaster! One you find it hard to not get back on again no matter how crazy it was!!

and for today...that's all I'm gonna say about that....