Saturday, February 28, 2009

Crazy Running Girls!

Today Olivia, Julie, and I ran 9 miles outside in the freezing cold! Well, actually it was 40 degrees, but here in the south, that is freezing cold! Especially when it is also drizzling rain! These pictures were taken of Olivia and Julie after we finished our brisk workout. We all agreed that running in the cold rain was better than running on the treadmill, and way better than running in the 95 degree heat and humidity of August.
Today's run wrapped up this week's running (4,4,4,9). Next week's mileage is the same (4,4,4,9).

Friday, February 27, 2009

Two Recipes

Shrimp and Grits
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup uncooked quick-cooking grits
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
6 slices of bacon
2 lbs. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
2 garlic cloves, minced (I use the kind in the jar already chopped)

Bring chicken broth to boil. Stir in grits. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5-7 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in salt, pepper, butter, and cheese. Set aside and keep warm.
Cook bacon until crisp, set aside to cool then crumble. Cook shrimp in the same pan over medium heat 3 minutes or until almost pink, stirring occasionally. Add lemon juice and next 4 ingredients and cook 3 minutes. Stir in bacon. Spoon grits onto individual plates. Top with shrimp mixture. Serve immediately.
Serves 4-6

Frozen Fruit Salad
1 8oz. cool whip
1 can pineapple chunks
1 large can oranges
1 jar maraschino cherries
1 cup mini marshmallows.

Mix all ingredients (do not drain the fruit). Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap. Put in pan, cover, and freeze. Slice to serve.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Recipe Makeover

This is what my recipe collection looked like BEFORE! That file of loose recipes was about 2 inches thick, and all three of those binders are full of recipes. The little binder with the heart on it is the binder with matching recipe cards. I cleaned out all of the loose pieces of paper and extra recipe cards and left the rest neatly in this binder (which was a wedding present).The rest of the recipes were purged and then consolidated into this ONE binder.Each category has a laminated page divider. I decided not to retype recipes written on recipe cards, notepads, regular paper, etc. I just taped the smaller cards and pieces of paper onto a regular sized piece of paper, and inserted all of the recipes into page protectors. A few of the recipes were written on both the front and back of the card. For those I just put one piece of tape at the top of the card. I can pull the page out of the protector in order to flip up the card to see the back. The recipes that were already typed really looker neater, but I just don't have the time or the desire to type all of those other recipes. Having all of the recipes in page protectors really makes the binder look neat, plus the protectors will protect the recipes when I am cooking.This is my cookbook shelf. I removed all of the cookbooks that I rarely use, and I put them in a cabinet directly under this shelf.
Please visit I'm an Organizing Junkie for more recipe makeovers.

Works for Me Wednesday

I recently changed the homepage on my computer from Google to iGoogle. iGoogle has the same search engine as regular Google, plus a whole lot more. You can choose from hundreds of applications to add to your homepage. You can also select from a large number of backgrounds. I chose a pink dotted one--very cute! I selected the following applications:

Bible Verse of the Day

To Do List---you type your to do list, choose if each item is high, medium, or low priority, then "x" it when you complete it by deleting it from your list. This has taken a little bit of getting used to for me, because I like the satisfaction of seeing all of those items crossed out on my to do list. On iGoogle, the completed item is just removed from your list.

5 Day Local Weather Forecast


Calendar/Datebook--here you can type in your appointments and reminders for each day. An added feature to this application is that iGoogle will send you an email reminder before each event on your calendar. You can also add your daily menu on each day.

I haven't completely abandoned my "paper" calendar/datebook, but I am really enjoying seeing my to do list and calendar each time I use my computer.

Each person in your family with a separate email/google/blogger account, can create their own iGoogle page. You just sign in and out as you change users.

Check out We Are That Family for more Wednesday's tips.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Menu Monday

I am listing 2 weeks worth of meals this week. I tried something new this weekend. We went to Sam's Friday night, and I bought two week's worth of food for all of our meals. Some items I bought will last us a month or even more. I still need to run by Kroger this afternoon to pick up a few items to finish out the groceries for the next two weeks. I am going to try shopping at Sam's and Kroger every two weeks and see how it works.
You will notice that I cook basically the same meals.....I have about 15-20 menus that I use repeatedly. Also, when you see a supper listed one week that was also listed the previous week, that means that for whatever reason I did not cook that supper. I still have the ingredients, so we will eat it this week. Clear as mud?
pumpkin muffins
homemade waffles
bacon, eggs, toast
cereal, oatmeal
frozen waffles
homemade pizza
10 Can soup (leftover from last week, plus I froze some for later), grilled cheese
meatloaf, mashed potatoes, peas
shrimp and grits, salad, mac and cheese
grilled chicken, corn on cob, green beans, salad
shrimp scampi, salad
baked salmon, roasted potatoes, salad
pork tenderloin, roasted potatoes, baked asparagus
pasta salad, fruit salad
chicken strip salad
roast, carrots, potatoes, onions (all in the crock pot), green beans
grilled hamburgers, chips and dip (Redneck Caviar)
strawberry congealed salad
white frozen salad
homemade chocolate chip cookies
rice krispie treats

Saturday, February 21, 2009

A Fun Day

Today was a fun day. Russ and Megan were visiting Jimmy's and Russ's parents this weekend, so we went up there to visit with everyone too. Megan and I spent over an hour (with sleeping Sam in my lap) trying to put a new background on my blog. Blogger was having some sort of technical difficulty, so we were unable to change the background. We did however accidentally delete my blog list (which happens every time I change my background, but since we weren't successful in changing the background, I am not sure why the blog list disappeared!). Since Sam was asleep in my lap, Megan was my "secretary". She did all of the clicking, typing, cutting and pasting. We finally got all of my blog list back up. If you were on my list, and you do not see your blog on my list, please leave me a comment. We tried very hard to add everyone back.

The high school basketball team played in the north half state championship game tonight, so we all attended that. The gym was crowded, and we were unable to all sit together. So Megan and I talked throughout the game using our favorite mode of communication: text messaging!

Megan brought me the best gift! A published book of my blog from its beginning through December 2008. What a fabulous present! I have enjoyed looking at it so much, and Olivia and Julie have each read the whole thing. It is like having a family yearbook. What a neat idea! Thanks so much Megan!

Recipes, Running, and Reorganization


I have been cleaning out and reorganizing my recipe collection. It is still a work in progress, but here are the steps I have taken so far.

1. I went through the cookbooks on the shelf in my kitchen and took off the ones that I rarely, if ever, use. I stored these cookbooks in a cabinet below my shelf. I don't want to get rid of these cookbooks, because I consider them books.....I will reread them from time to time. Also, my girls like to read them too. Since I do have the space to store them in my kitchen, I am ok with keeping them.

2. I went through the cookbooks and took out all of the loose from newspaper clippings, ones that were printed out from the computer, and loose recipe cards. These items were stuck inside almost every cookbook.

3. I took all of the loose recipes out of my two file folders labeled, "recipes". I also took the loose recipes that were falling out of my one recipe card book.

4. I sorted through all of these loose recipes and put them into two piles, "keep" and "trash". I managed to throw away about half of them.

5. I sorted the "keep" recipes into two piles. "ready to go into the binder " (already typed on normal sized paper) and "needs to be typed or taped to a piece of paper".

6. I decided to keep my one recipe card book that was a wedding gift. It has plastic protectors for cute little recipe cards. Most of the cards have lovingly handwritten recipes from family members and church members. I am not going to retype these recipes or tape them into my binder. I will leave this pretty recipe card book as is.

7. I divided the '"ready to go into the binder" recipes into categories: appetizers, soups, salads, breads, main dishes, side dishes, cookies and candy, and cakes, pies, desserts.

8. I made a pretty cover page for my new 3 ring recipe binder and matching page dividers with the above categories. I laminated these page dividers, inserted them into the binder, and then added the already typed recipes.

To complete the job of recipe organization, I have to do the following:

1. Insert the typed recipes into page protectors.
2. Tape the recipes from newspaper clippings or recipe cards (that don't match or fit in my one recipe card book) onto regular sized paper. Then I will insert those recipes into page protectors, and then put them into the recipe binder.
3. Type any handwritten recipes that are on little bits of paper or those that are printed on both sides of a recipe card. Put those in page protectors and into the binder.

When I finish the job, I will post before and after pictures. I have wanted to organize my recipes for quite a while. Laura at Organized Junkie inspired me to do it this month.

10 Can Soup

1 lb. ground beef, browned and drained

2 cans stewed tomatoes

1 can corn, drained

1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes

6 cans any kind of beans or peas

1 pgk taco seasoning

1 pkg dry Ranch dressing

Combine all ingredients. Cook in crock pot on low for several hours.

Running and Reorganization

While running on the treadmill this week, I watched some different organizing and cleaning house type shows. I was inspired! While I have many, many areas of my home neatly organized, I also have many more areas that need work. Most of these areas are hidden......seldom used drawers and closets, my storage room, my laundry room cabinets, and all of the clothes the children have outgrown. These are a few of the areas that I want to clean out and reorganize. I plan to make a list of every single drawer, cabinet, room, and box that I want to work on. Then, little by little I will tackle each item. I also plan to purchase containers for the jobs each time I visit Walmart or Dollar General. Then I will have the tools I need as I sort things out. You need a wide variety of types and sizes of containers when you are organizing things. I also hope to post some before and after pictures of these projects too. Or maybe I can get a TV crew to come do the job for me!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Rotating Chores

In addition to helping with the house cleaning four days a week, my children have daily chores. These fall into two categories: fixed chores and rotating chores. The fixed chores are done by the same child everyday. These include things like making their bed, tidying their room, tidying the bathroom, taking out the trash, sorting dirty laundry, putting away clean laundry, and straightening an assigned room of the house. Rotating chores are those chores that each child keeps for just one week. I typed a chart with these chores and who is to do each one. Since I have 3 children rotating these chores, every 3 weeks they just repeat the rotation. Rotating chores include pet care (outside dogs, inside dog, cat), unload dishwasher (top, bottom, silverware), and van seating (this is not actually a chore, but the children have assigned seats in the van, changing their seats every week). Leah and Sam are in carseats which stay in the same spot.

Check out other WFMW tips on this blog. Also note, that beginning next week, there will be a new hostess for this blog carnival. See WFMW for more information.

School This Week

My mind is being stretched this week! Between beginning to teach Leah how to read (she kept asking me to, so I finally began Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons this week) and relearning (or should I say learning) Newton's Three Laws (of Motion?? or something like that) and these two formulas:

Total force = mass x acceleration

exerted force - kinetic friction = total force

Plus studying about stems in botany with Julie and Clay, and reading and learning about the Great Lake states with all of the children.....I am taking in a lot of new information. I frequently tell my children, "I don't know WHERE I was when they taught this when I was in school"!
There is a lot of learning going on here in the Johnson home this week, and it is not all being learned by the children. That is one of the great advantages of homeschooling.....the mother learns too!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Running This Week

This week's mileage is 4,4,4,8.
Happy Running!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Menu Monday

February 14-20

take out pizza for family Bible study

BBQ chicken salad

Roast sub sandwiches
Broccoli salad

Baked salmon
Roasted sweet and white potatoes

10 can soup

Shrimp and grits
Mac and cheese

Homemade pizza

Sausage and cheese muffins
Pancakes and bacon
Eggs, bacon, toast

Chicken rollups
Snack lunch
Other rollups
Grilled cheese

Valentine's Day

I have been feeling sentimental today. Maybe it's because of the precious handmade Valentines the children made me, Jimmy and each other. Maybe it's because I watched CMT Top Twenty Countdown while running on the treadmill today, and most of the songs were love songs or songs about family. Maybe it's because Jimmy is working for 36 hours straight (with no sleep), I miss him, and I keep thinking about the early Valentine gift he gave me. Whatever the reason, I have been thinking all day about how much I am blessed. I love my family! My children really are so sweet and caring. My husband is so thoughtful and hard-working. I try to not complain about the hours he works. He is providing for me and my children. I also try to frequently tell him that I am so thankful that he works so hard for all of us.

Jimmy gave me the best Valentine present---6 cases of bottled water! I was thrilled to receive it! I love bottled water. When I used to buy it, I usually drank 4-6 bottles each day. About a year ago Jimmy asked that I not buy anymore bottled water. He felt that I was creating too much plastic trash, consuming so many bottles a day. All of that water was expensive too, so I readily agreed. I bought each of us a nice refillable bottle, and used our tap water to fill it. Well, I really love the taste of bottled water, so while I still drink water, I have not been drinking nearly as much. Occasionally I have picked up a case of bottled water when we were going on a picnic or on vacation, and I would enjoy that bottled water so much! So now you see why I am so excited about my gift! 6 cases of bottled water! I am already enjoying it so much! When it runs out, I plan to go back to my refillable water bottle, but while it lasts I am loving it!

Cherish the little things in your life with your family. Love your husband and children. Show your appreciation to them. Try to make the most of every day. You are making memories all the time. Even if you are swamped with laundry, bills, housekeeping, and other things, remember that the people you live with are way more important than the things.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Disney Day 7

This was our last day at Disneyworld. The forecast was rain, so Jimmy left his camera in the hotel. We don't have many pictures of this day, but we did have a great time. One highlight was riding Mt. Everest. What a roller coaster! Once was enough for me, but Leah and the other children and adults rode it multiple times. We posed for pictures with a few characters, rode some other rides, and saw the show The Lion King. It did indeed rain later in the afternoon, but we were prepared with raincoats.
At the end of the day we packed up our car and got on the road, headed home. We drove until about midnight. We spent the night somewhere in Georgia, and then drove the rest of the way on Friday.
What a trip! It was exhausting, but lots of fun! And lots of memories were made.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Works For Me Wednesday

15 Minutes a Day
Today's tip will help you accomplish a lot of your cleaning and organizational goals, a little at a time. Most of us don't have hours of free time each day just waiting to be filled. But, all of us can steal 15 minutes here and there. Look at your day. Find two or three times during the day that you can carve out 15 minutes to tackle some projects. For the first day, use your 15 minute time blocks to actually make a list of what you would like to work on for 15 minutes a day in the future. Your list might include things like clean out a some drawers, cabinets or closets, go through your recipes and sort, purge, organize, etc., sort through a pile a papers in your kitchen, file papers, balance your checkbook....anything that you need to work on, but just can't find the time to complete the job. 15 minutes a day works! One key to its success is to make sure you set a timer and QUIT after the 15 minutes is up! Currently my 15 minutes a day job include typing all of my recipes that I want to include in my recipe binder, enter our bank statements into Quicken, and compile documents for our taxes. Once these jobs are completed, I always have a closet, cabinet, or drawer that needs attention.
For more tips visit Rocks in My Dryer.


Supermom! Well, that's not me! I have been thinking for some time about a post that Heather wrote some time ago....about how here in the blogging world we normally don't show our "warts". I want my blog to be an encourgement to others, so I try to stay positive when I post. When I was first married, and when I was a young mother, I learned so much from ladies who were more experienced than me. I learned about serving the Lord, keeping the home, maintaining a positive attitude, and the joys of living a life of service to others. Now that I am somewhat of an "older woman", I like to share tips and ideas that have worked and are still working for me and my family. However, I am not a supermom! I get overwhelmed from time to time, and being a wife and mother is just plain hard work! However, I cannot think of anything else I would rather do with my life than serve my Lord and my family.

"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." 1 Peter 3:15 (NIV)

This is the reason for the hope that I have, the reason I can usually maintain a positive attitude, the reason I strive for unselfish service for my family, the reason I work so hard at being the best wife and mother that I can be----I have a hope of eternal life through Jesus Christ. The Lord has richly blessed me, and I am so thankful. He sent His Son to die for my sins (which are many!), and He provides me with all the strength I need to serve Him. I strive to seek the Lord and His will in all that I do. None of my "success" comes from my own strength. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13. I have a hope of eternal life. That is my true success. I am completely dependent on the Lord and His guidance.

Supermom? No.
Servant of God? I certainly am trying!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Running This Week

I have forgotten what week we are on in our training with Olivia for the Half Marathon on April 25th. We lost a couple of weeks with the stomach virus and our vacation. We began again last Monday, slowly. We ran 3,3,3,6 last week, and this week is 3,4,3,7. For our six miles last week, we ran on the trail that Olivia, Julie, and Jimmy ran on all last summer with the cross country team. Besides running on the trail in our woods, that was my first experience running a trail run. It was difficult! I prefer pavement! The scenery was pleasant though, and the weather was really nice. I am sure we will run there again; now I know what to expect!
Jimmy is coming along very nicely training for the full marathon on April 25th. While we are slowly building from 15 miles a week to a peak of 28 miles a week, Jimmy is currently logging 40+ miles each week! I am so proud of his dedication. He has set this goal for himself, and I have no doubt that he will exceed his personal expectation. Running that many miles, working and taking call, and spending every spare moment with us.....Jimmy is doing a super job!

Disney Day 6

On Day 6 we visited the Magic Kingdom for a second time. This day was Sam's birthday! He celebrated with all of the girls with breakfast at Cinderella's Royal Table in Cinderella's Castle.
Leah waiting for the bus
Jared and Leah...posingAll of us waiting for the bus---ready for the Magic Kingdom!
The boys deciding where to go while the girls eat with Cinderella.
Cinderella signing autograph books and chatting with Leah The two Cinderellas!All of the girls with Cinderella......Sam refused to stand by Cinderella!
Snow White, Jasmine, Aurora, and Belle visited each table while we were eating. They signed the girls' autograph books and posed for pictures. Sam was not interested in the princesses, only his food!Belle with Olivia, Julie, and RebeccaAvery, Aurora, and Leah
Since it was Sam's birthday, the waiter brought him a cake with a candle in it, and we all sang Happy Birthday. Sam really enjoyed his cake! He was just not in a "photo" mood! I did not get any good pictures of him!
Sam and Julie at the breakfastRebecca and Olivia at the breakfastPrincess Leah and Princess AveryWhile we were dining with the princesses, the boys drove racecars!
Jared and ParkerCarson and ClayParker and Clay waiting while the girls rode Dumbo. I think that the longest we waited for anything at any of the parks was 20 minutes.....for Dumbo! The little girls loved it, so it was worth the wait!Rebecca, Julie, and Olivia riding DumboThis is the fourth time we have taken our children to Disneyworld. Here are some pictures from our previous trips when we visited Minnie Mouse's house.
October 2001--Olivia (6), Julie (4), Clay (2)January 2005--Olivia (9), Julie (7), Clay (5), Leah (1)We went to Disneyworld in December 2006 when the children were 11, 9, 7, 2, and Sam was 10 months. We also took our two nephews, Will (15) and Seth (11). For some reason on this trip we did not visit Minnie's house so I do not have a picture of the family on her couch.
The children on Minnie's couch this year: January 2009
Olivia (13), Julie (11), Clay (9), Leah (5), Sam (3)Posing with Minnie and Mickey after visiting their homesFun! Fun! We had a blast riding Splash Mountain! We got drenched from a passing boat before we even a couple of minutes into the ride. Coming Down!
For the first and only time I held my hands high and kept my eyes open!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Menu Monday

These are the suppers I have planned. Breakfast each day is one of the following: cereal, oatmeal, eggs, bacon, and biscuits, waffles, pancakes, sausage and cheese muffins, or pig in blankets. Lunches are chicken roll ups, leftovers, sandwiches, and various fruits.

Day 1
baked chicken, brown rice, green beans

Day 2
raviolies, salad
Day 3
Asian pork tenderloin, steamed broccoli, roasted sweet and white potatoes

Day 4

Day 5
Baked Teriyaki Chicken, yellow rice casserole, peas

Day 6
Italian Chicken, pasta

Day 7
eat out

Friday, February 6, 2009

Disney Day 5

Hollywood Studios
This day was spent visiting Hollywood Studios. This was one of my favorite days. I stuck to my original plan of riding every ride at least once. The Rock N Roller Coaster was one of those that I rode once, and once was probably enough! We all enjoyed the Great Movie Ride, the Muppet 3D Show, Toy Story Mania, and the super parade: The Block Party. Lynn has some great pictures of The Block Party on her blog.
Our family as we entered the park.Lynn and Kelly's Family
Sam and Leah reading the maps to tell us where to goTHE TOWER OF TERROR!!!!!Sam happily playing while his mother had a near death experience!I have been to Disneyworld 4 times since the children were born, but until this trip, I was not brave enough to ride the TOWER OF TERROR! Words cannot describe how disturbing this ride was to me. I really though I was going to die. I told Lynn this over and over as we were dropping and dropping and dropping!!
Jimmy took this picture of me as I exited the TOWER OF TERROR. Leah and Olivia at Honey I Shrunk the Kids PlaygroundLeah with Sully in front of Boo's door
One of my favorite things we did at Hollywood Studios was visit this Toy Story Photo Op set. As you were waiting in line to meet Woody and Buzz, you could have your picture made at various places. These pictures are really cute!
Can you tell that we are standing on Andy's bed?Sam really enjoyed seeing Lightening McQueen, Tow Mater, and Luigis.Clay and Sam at LuigisSam was afraid to get down here. I think the "real" McQueen and Mater overwhelmed him!A fun, fun part of the day was attending the American Idol Experience. As we entered the park in the morning, there were a couple of people asking you if you wanted to try out for the American Idol Experience. Any park visitor could appear before a panel of judges and "try out" by singing a song. The judges narrowed down the candidates to a smaller number who then sang for the producers. The producers then chose 9 singers to compete in the American Idol Experience. I briefly considered trying out......but I really cannot sing well, I just enjoy singing! Anyway, at 4, 5, and 6 PM, they tape 3 different American Idol Experiences. We attended the 4PM show. It was so much fun! They tried to make it as much like the real American Idol as possible. There were even taped messages played from Ryan Seacrest and several past American Idol contestants and winners. The 3 contestants each sang one song and then were judged by a panel of three judges (who were similar to Randy, Paula, and Simon). At the end of the competition, the audience voted for their favorite of the three. The winner of each show then competed against each other at 7 PM. The winner of that show was awarded the grand prize of a "golden ticket"--a ticket to the front of the line at any tryout of American Idol next year. I am not sure exactly how that will work, but it sure was fun! My favorite contestant that we saw was a young father of 5 from Texas. He did not win, but he was so much fun to watch. I ran into him at the park and got to talk to him and tell him how much I enjoyed his performance!
Rebecca, Julie,Olivia, and LeahLeah and Jared enjoying a snack.The boys attended a car stunt show while we were at American Idol.
This was another great day!
Sam--too tired to eat lunch!